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The Heythrop Institute: Religion and Society

Power of the Word

Founded in 2003, the Heythrop Institute: Religion and Society (or HIRS) seeks to provide a place for research, reflection and action by means of projects related to the relationship of religion and society. We foster research opportunities and resources for individual researchers and groups, for churches and faith communities, for civil society organizations and for the wider public. HIRS hosts seminars, training days and conferences. 

HIRS projects deploy a range of approaches fostering links between Heythrop’s core disciplines of theology and philosophy, and a range of other academic fields including history, the social sciences, Organization Studies, and healthcare.
A number of theological methodologies are made use of at HIRS. Theological Action Research (TAR) combines insights from practical theology and action research for the renewal of both theology and practice. As well as this we are home to an international research group on Catholic pastoral theology, understood as ‘reflection on ecclesial practice’. Further to this, we are currently seeking to identify the characteristics of Jesuit theological wisdom.

The institute comprises of seven different projects, each distinctive but situated beneath the rubric of religion and society. These are as follows:

Health, Healing and Human Flourishing
The Power of the Word: Theology, Philosophy, Literature and the Arts in Conversation
REMUSProject (Religion-Mimesis-Society): René Girard’s Mimetic Theory
The Santiago Group: Pastoral Theology
Secularisation and Modernity
Scribani: The European Jesuit Network
Visions for Educational Leadership (VfEL) and the New Vision for Catholic Education

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