Completed Research Projects in Religious Studies
Explore this page to discover past research projects undertaken by scholars in our School's discipline of Religious Studies. Find out how our researchers have contributed to issues such as interfaith relations, historical analysis, ethics, and theological questions.
Explore our completed projects by clicking on their name in the drop-down menu.
• Bertolt Brecht and the David Fragments (1919-1921): An Interdisciplinary Study (2016-2019)
This collaboration between the Trinity Centre for Biblical Studies and Nicholas Johnson from the School of Creative Arts produced the first English translation of Bertolt Brecht’s play fragments of a life of the biblical David. It also adapted these fragments for the stage in English for the first time and performed the play at the Beckett Theatre in Dublin and the Greenwood Theatre in London. Finally, a book was written which incorporated the new English translation, an analysis of the fragments in light of other stage adaptations of the time and reflections on the process of bring the fragments to the stage.
Principal Investigators – David Shepherd and Nicholas Johnson (Drama)
• Rediscovering Ancient Hebrew Heritage in Irish Stained Glass (RAHHIS) (2019)
RAHHIS discovered how the legacy of the ancient Jewish Scriptures (e.g. characters like Moses, David, Ruth etc) has been preserved in the stained glass of church buildings. It also sought to build capacity within local communities for nurturing an appreciation of their ancient Jewish/Hebrew visual heritage. Building on recently completed cataloguing, this project analyzed the interpretation of ancient Hebrew traditions in the glass of various parishes and its local use within the dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough (Church of Ireland), and facilitated knowledge transfer and capacity building by means of one-to-one training, seminars and published outputs.
Principal Investigator – David Shepherd
• Aesthetics of Knowledge - framing Concepts for an Aesthetics of Religion approach (2015-2018)
The newly emerging approach Aesthetics of Religion was awarded a Network programme to develop terms, concepts and methods; my sub-project is dedicated to the basic concept of an Aesthetics of Knowledge, focusing on the sensory forms by which human beings produce, impart, receive and authorize knowledge, and how they deal with what they do not know. Seeing religion as a knowledge culture enables us to investigate areas such as ritual knowledge, practices of healing, what needs to be known to be a member of a religion, but also how humans organize what can be known, and what not, or how they make political or ontological claims that can clash with other knowledge-producing spheres of society. The Aesthetics of Religion as an approach responds to the thriving field of material culture, the relevance of embodiment theory and the bridge-building between scientific (esp cognitive studies) and cultural studies' methodologies. It systematizes and synthesizes approaches to understanding religion as a sensory practice that is not confined to text, doctrines and beliefs, but literally creates ways of perceiving the world religiously. This approach allows us to explain better the strong binding forces, the emotional engagement and the variety of impacts religion can have on a wider culture. With the DFG-funded research network AESToR.net this new field will be established in the years to come. The volume "Aesthetics of Religion: A connective concept", De Gruyter, 2017, is part of this endeavour, and it is the first publication on the topic in English language. The group is working on a volume on "Narrative Aesthetics", and on a Handbook establishing the approach further (the Aesthetics of Knowledge will make a fundamental part of the epistemological section, together with a chapter on an "Aesthetic Subjectivity"). The Network aims at extending the collaboration by applying for a European research grant for the study of an Aesthetics of the Religious and the Secular, and the development of the "post-secular" societies.
• Visioning Ecumenism for the 21st Century: Diversity, Dialogue and Reconciliation (2008-2011)
Professor Linda Hogan was a Principal Investigator on the 'Visioning Ecumenism for the 21st Century: Diversity, Dialogue and Reconciliation' project. This three-year project was funded by the Irish Research Council. The project evaluated the contributions of ecumenism in Ireland and globally, and identified key areas in which ecumenics contributes to conversations about theological and cultural diversity, immigration, inter-faith dialogue and reconciliation.
The project has resulted in numerous publications and online learning resources. It also provided the basis for a major international conference to mark the centenary of the 1910 Edinburgh Missionary Conference. Associate Researchers included: Professor Gladys Ganiel, Professor Andrew Pierce, Professor Geraldine Smyth, Professor David Tombs and Professor John D'Arcy May. More than 40 publications were produced by associated researchers during the project time.
• Modernity and Modernism: Interpreting the Roots of Religious Crisis (2008-2009)
In 1907, Pius X condemned 'modernism,' imposing theological 'integralism' and a restrictive discipline which remained in force until Vatican II (1962-65). After a century, the construction of modernism and anti-modernism merit evaluation. Modernism occurred within a modernity the value of which is debated. Dr Andrew Pierce was principal investigator on this project. The aim of the project was to situate debates from the early twentieth century in the context of current theological contendings with modernity, thus contributing to debate within modernist studies, and to the theological reception of modernity's past. The project was funded by Government of Ireland Senior Research Fellowships in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
• The ‘Silents’ of Jesus: Representations of the life and passion of the Christ in the early Cinema (2014-2016)
A collaborative project involving a symposium held in Vienna, Austria and culminating in a publication (The Silents of Jesus in the Cinema [1897-1927]) published by Routledge in 2016. The project was funded by Trinity College Dublin.
• Towards Theological Engagement with Religious Fundamentalism (2007-2008)
Resurgent religiosity has attracted widespread attention from social and political scientists, but not - in any significant way - from those engaged in Christian systematic theology. As a preparation for an in-depth study of fundamentalism's theological significance, this project involved a scoping study of the field, culminating in an international consultation in Dublin to make available the initial results. Dr Andrew Pierce was principal investigator on this project and the project was funded by St Stephen Green Trust and the Irish School of Ecumenics Trust.