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Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology

School Description:

Welcome to the Confederal School of Religions, Peace Studies and Theology which brings together three departments: the Department of Religions and Theology; the Irish School of Ecumenics (Dublin and Belfast); and the Loyola Institute. Located in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Confederal School engages with such diverse areas as, biblical studies, ecumenics, conflict resolution, theology, ethics, religious studies, international peace studies, reconciliation and intercultural theology as independent but related disciplinary fields. Research and scholarship are integral to the activities of each of the three academic units of the Confederal School, with different but inter-related research strengths and thematic priorities within each unit.

Department of Religions and Theology
The Department of Religions and Theology has research strengths in Biblical Studies and Early Christianity, Ethics and Christian theology, and in Religious Studies. Its staff members have published in the following areas in which they invite applications for postgraduate supervision:
Biblical Studies and Early Christianity treat the development of and interaction between religious traditions in Antiquity from the second century BCE to the third century CE by investigating the writings, languages, intellectual currents, material culture, archaeology and art from Second Temple Judaism to the inculturations of Christianity around the Mediterranean.

Areas of specialisation in Biblical Studies include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the synoptic gospels, the book of Revelation, conceptualizations of “evil” (Dualism, Demonology), and the phenomenon of ancient “apocalypticism”.

Studies in Early Christianity center on devotion and religious identity in the Graeco-Roman world, Greek language, the interpretation of the New Testament and its reception, the use of pagan sources in Jewish and early Christian literature and early Christian art. Specific themes include the redaction and interpretation of the Gospel of John, the reception of Paul in the second and third century, and the role of Graeco-Roman moral philosophy in the development of early Christian asceticism.

In Philosophical, theological and domain-specific ethics, areas of specialisation are:
- foundations of ethics, theories of action, anthropology and ethics, discourse ethics, P. Ricoeur;
- the autonomy approach in Christian ethics; religion, public reason, and the public sphere;
- research ethics, environmental ethics, biomedical ethics, ethics of memory.
Themes in Christian Theology include conditions of faith in modernity, science and religion, hermeneutics, Christology and theological anthropology, F. Schleiermacher.

In Religious Studies, a core area of enquiry is aesthetics of knowledge in science and religion. Specialisations include method and theory in the academic study of religion; religion and knowledge cultures; transfer processes between religion, science, and the arts; religion and rhetoric; theory of metaphor; plausibility structures, and religious change in modernity.

While these are key areas of competence in the Department, applications for research projects on cognate themes are welcome.

Irish School of Ecumenics
The Irish School of Ecumenics is committed to the study and promotion of dialogue, peace and reconciliation in Ireland and other contexts worldwide. ISE is recognised for its vigorous interdisciplinary approach to teaching, research and social engagement. Theoretical and applied research are at the heart of ISE as a graduate institute, where students and staff engage with critical issues facing global societies, governments, faith communities and international institutions and NGOs committed to the promotion of peace and reconciliation.

ISE collaborates with other departments in the Confederal School and across College e.g. Sociology and Gender and Women's Studies. It participates actively in Trinity College's interdisciplinary research centres such as the Long Room Hub; the Centre for Post-Conflict Justice; and the Trinity International Development Initiative,

ISE offer a stimulating environment for students to pursue Ph.D. and M.Litt. degrees and post-doctoral research students participate fully in the life of the department, and are encouraged to share their work through seminars, conferences, public lectures and in field work and social engagement.
We encourage applicants for Ph.D. or M.Litt. - research in areas relating to the academic work of ISE and the research interests of individual staff members. Details about staff research projects and recent publications can be found on individual staff pages at
Ph.D. degrees generally are completed in four years full-time and six years part-time. M.Litt. degrees are completed in two years full-time and four years part-time. Students benefit from the full range of facilities and support services available at TCD. More details about our current research students' projects are available at enquiries should be directed to Students taking research degrees can choose to do their research at either ISE campus in Dublin or Belfast.

Loyola Institute
The Loyola Institute is dedicated to education and research in theology in the broad Catholic tradition. Our central concern is the creative intersection of theology, Church and contemporary society. We particularly welcome research projects in this field.
Among the specific research interests of the staff members are the contemporary debates on the question of God; philosophical and theological approaches to human flourishing; the theology of virtue; issues in contemporary ministry and ecclesiology; the relationship between the capabilities approach to human development and contemporary moral theology; the ethics of human development; feminist theology; ecological ethics, gender and sexuality studies, constructive theology, theopoetics, continental philosophy; the theology of the early Irish Church.

The Institute has a particular research concentration in issues of social justice and on theology's role in social and political difficulty. Theology's potential contribution to dialogue across the boundaries of difference, especially regarding ecumenism, poverty, matters of identity and human rights is another area of research interest and strength, as is engagement with critical theory and political philosophy and theology.

Another area of interest is in the theology of Thomas Aquinas, and its relevance to the contemporary theological project. In the area of scripture scholarship, the Institute has research and publication strengths in the Bible and popular culture, and the Bible and early cinema, as well as the Hebrew Bible especially - especially Deuteronomistic history and Ezra-Nehemiah, the Aramaic background to the New Testament and the Gospel of John, and ancient Aramaic translations: Targum, Peshitta and Qumran versions.

The Loyola Institute staff welcomes inquiries in any of these areas or in cognate areas, and offers a stimulating and welcoming environment to pursue PhD and M. Litt. degrees by research.

Ph.D. degrees generally are completed in four years full-time and six years part-time. M.Litt degrees are completed in two years full-time and four years part-time. Students benefit from the full range of facilities and support services available at TCD.

In exceptional circumstances it may be possible to register retrospectively. Applicants wishing to be considered for retrospective admission should contact the Graduate Studies Office by emailing

March 2019 Entry

September 2018 Entry

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