Dr Geraldine Smyth, OP
Associate Professor in Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies and Head of Discipline for the Irish School of Ecumenics
Geraldine Smyth OP is Associate Professor in Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies and Head of Discipline for the Irish School of Ecumenics. She gained a first in English at the University of Ulster (1973) and a Ph.D in theology from Trinity College (1992). In 2003, Queen’s University Belfast conferred on her an honorary doctorate for services to reconciliation. She received Princeton University’s James McCord Award for ‘advanced scholarship promoting ecumenical understanding in a global era’ (2005). She is also a qualified psychotherapist, interested in the intersections of religious experience, theology and psychology. Formerly Director of ISE ( 1995-1999), she has taught courses on ‘Theological Foundations for Ecumenism’; ‘Theology, Ethics and Social Theory’; ‘Conflict, Religion and the Politics of Peace in Northern Ireland’; and ‘Ecumenics of Loss and Reconciliation’. She is an associate on ISE’s research project, Visioning Ecumenism for the 21st Century. Her involvement in the Post-Conflict Justice Centre in Trinity College highlights her commitment to inter-disciplinary research and collaboration.
Currently her research is focussed on theological and political approaches to acknowledgement, commemoration and forgiveness in post-conflict societies (Ireland and South Africa); the role of churches in peacebuilding; and tackling the psychological, social and confessional obstacles reconciliation in a pluralist society. She has acted as consultant to the World Conference on Religion and Peace, the World Council of Churches on Faith and Order and Creation and Peace concerns, and to the Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity on ecumenical education. She has been a member of the editorial boards of Studies, Religious Life Review, and is now on the editorial board of One in Christ. Since 2005 she has been Chair of the International Advisory Group of INCORE, (Institute of Conflict and Peace Research) at the University of Ulster; and is on the board of Healing Through Remembering, a public body engaging issues of dealing with the past through practical research and action. She is an invited member of the international Ara Pacis project, Rome, on forgiveness in politics and religion. Currently, she is visiting Senior Research Fellow at Durham University (2010).
A member, inter alia, of the Irish Theological Association, Societas Oecumenica, the European Society for Catholic Theology and the American Academy of Religion, she has been research associate an EU-funded project on Conflict and Religion (with Universities of Uppsala and Muenster). Within the ‘Ecclesiological Investigations’ research cluster she has been active in an interreligious conference series in India – Christianity in Plural Contexts – with scholars from India, Sri Lanka, USA and UK. She has lectured across continents and cultures, most recently in Australia, and is well published – including A Way of Transformation: a Theological Evaluation of the Conciliar Process of Mutual Commitment to Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, Bern, Peter Lang (1995); Distance Becomes Communion: Dominican Journeys in Mission and Hope, (contributing editor), Dublin, Dominican Publications (2004); The Critical Spirit: Theology at the Crossroads of Faith and Culture, (contributing editor with A. Pierce), Dublin, Columba Press, (2003); ‘Creation in the Light of God’s Reign: Reimaging the Theology of Creation’ in G.M. Fahrenholz (ed.), Geneva: John Knox Press (2009); ‘Deep Symbols and Mythic Imagination in the Hermeneutics of Creation Texts’ in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. Vol. 20, Issue 3, July 2009; ‘Jerusalem, Athens, and Zurich: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Factors Inhibiting Receptive Ecumenism’, in Catholic Learning: Explorations in Receptive Ecumenism, P. Murray (ed.), Oxford: O.U.P. (2008); ‘Telling a Different Story: Hope for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland’ in (eds), P.Rothfield, C.Fleming, and P. Komesaroff, Pathways to Reconciliation: Between Theory and Practice, Aldershot, Ashgate (2008). Her current Ph.D. students are working on scriptural interpretation and use in the ecumenical movement; pastoral theology’s role in overcoming AIDS-related stigmatisation; faith and reconciliation in the church in Rwanda; theological aesthetics within ecumenism; and churches, moral imagination and responsibility towards undocumented migrants.
Areas of expertise
Theology of Creation, Ecumenical Theology, Ecclesiology and Inter-church Relations, the World Council of Churches, Sectarianism, Conflict and Religion, Theology of Peace, the role of memory in reconciliation and post-conflict societies, Christianity in plural contexts
Theology, Ethics and Social Theory: Christian Ethics Between the Local and Global; Northern Ireland: Conflict, Religion and the Politics of Peace; Fields of Reconciliation: Students’ study visit to Belfast
Ph.D. in Theology, Trinity College Dublin
D. Univ. (honoris causa), Queen’s University Belfast
Diploma in Psychosynthesis Therapy and Transpersonal Theory, Eckhart House, Institute of Psychosynthesis Therapy and Transpersonal Theory, Dublin
B.A. (Hons) in English Studies, University of Ulster
A.L.C.M. in Speech and Voice, London College of Music
Direct Tel: +353 (0) 1 218 0535
General Tel: +353 (0) 1 260 1144, ext. 103
Fax: +353 (0) 1 260 1158
Direct Tel: + 44 (0) 28 9037 3983
General Tel: +44 (0) 28 9077 5010
Fax: +44 (0) 28 9037 3986
- Lesley Carroll and Geraldine Smyth, Glimpses of God: Reflections for Days and Seasons, Dublin, Veritas Publications, 2010, 7 - 126pp
- Chapters: ‘Jerusalem, Athens, and Zurich: Psychological Perspectives on Factors Inhibiting Receptive Ecumenism’, in Catholic Learning: Explorations in Receptive Ecumenism, Paul Murray (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
- Geraldine Smyth with Lesley Carroll: ‘Wisdom to know the Difference:
Reconfiguring a Theological Paradigm in the Transition to Peace in Ireland’ in John O’Grady and Peter Scherle (eds), Ecumenics from the Rim: Explorations in Honour of John D’Arcy May (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2007), 151-167.
- Edited Collection (co-editor Andrew Pierce), The Critical Spirit: Theology at the Crossroads of Faith and Culture (Dublin: Columba Press, 2004)
- Monograph: A Way of Transformation: A Theological Evaluation of the Conciliar Process of Mutual Commitment to Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, World Council of Churches, 1983-1991, Bern: Peter Lang, 1995