School of Divinity

Research projects

Research projects at the School of Divinity are centres of excellence for their subjects.

Art and the Sacred

Dr Alison Jack and Dr Caleb Froehlich, together with Professor Gordon Graham, are co-ordinating the Art and the Sacred project in 2021 and 2022. It aims to empirically test whether the experiences of artists, performers, participants, audiences with sacred art at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival extend their knowledge and understanding of spiritual reality. It is part of the Templeton Religion Trust grant making strategy called ‘Art Seeking Understanding’.

Art and the Sacred - Website

Comparative Buddhology in Indian Narrative Literature

Dr Naomi Appleton has been awarded a grant by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a collaborative three-year project (2020-23), with Dr Chris V Jones (Cambridge), looking at the development of the figure of the Buddha in Asian religious literature from the early Common Era.

The project, Comparative Buddhology in Indian Narrative Literature, will focus on the period after the emergence of the Mahayana, one of the main traditions of Buddhism.

God and the Book of Nature

Professor Mark Harris and Dr Sarah Lane Ritchie were awarded funding from the John Templeton Foundation in 2019 for a major international research project, God and the Book of Nature. The 33-month initiative, organised from the University of Edinburgh, has built a network of theologians and philosophers of religion to form a wide-ranging collaborative engagement with the natural sciences. The project finishes in May 2022.

See: God and the Book of Nature

Governmateriality of Indigenous Religion(s) 

Dr Arkotong Longkumer is involved in the GOVMAT research. It is a multi-national project led by UiT the Arctic University of Norway. Our aim is to explore the influence of indigenous religions in different settings across the world today: in local communities, at certain international events, and in a range of diverse exchanges – social media, journalism, art, education, politics, law, environmentalism, tourism.

The work will build on foundations laid by a related project, Indigenous Religion(s): Local Grounds, Global Networks (INREL).


Gurus, Anti-gurus and Media in North India

Dr Arkotong Longkumer is also the principal investigator of the research project Gurus, Anti-gurus and Media in North India supported by the Leverhulme Trust (2019-2022). #gurumedia is a blog and virtual exhibition showcasing the findings of the study. It is an interdisciplinary project which deploys a range of religious studies, media studies and anthropological skills in order to understand the unrecognised ways that visual media have become a site of intense interaction between gurus and the anti-superstition movement in India.

See: #gurumedia

Loyalty & Fidelity: Christian and Muslim Perspectives

On the heels of the Issachar Fund sponsored project, ‘Gratitude: Christian and Muslim Perspectives’ (2018-2020), the School of Divinity is pleased to announce a new project, ‘Loyalty & Fidelity: Christian and Muslim Perspectives’ (2020-2022), chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui with Dr Nathanael Vette as Postdoctoral Researcher and sponsored by the Issachar Fund. The project will bring together leading international scholars working at the intersection of religion, ethics, law and politics to discuss issues raised by loyalty in a series of three exploratory workshops.

Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls is a series intended for the scholarly study of the most important non-biblical Dead Sea Scrolls. It aims to provide scholarship of the highest level that is accessible to non-specialists, based on the best digitized images and readings. Each volume will include a synthetic and substantial introduction, followed by a line-by-line commentary on the scrolls. The commentary will provide an English translation, textual notes and thematic discussions of the original Hebrew text of the scrolls. The general editor of the publication is Professor Timothy H. Lim. Connor Boyd, one of our PhD students is also involved as editorial assistant.

See: Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls

TheoCon: Theology in a time of crisis

Dr Sarah Lane Ritchie and Dr Tripp Fuller have been awarded £5,000 to facilitate international, interdisciplinary theological discourse and reflection on the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The project - TheoCon: Theology in a Time of Crisis – will be funded through a Rapid Response Impact Grant from the University of Edinburgh’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Register for updates:  TheoCon: Theology in a Time of Crisis

Previous projects

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