Birkbeck team gets £300,000 to look at monotheism

A major new research project is to explore the different meanings of monotheism in today’s Britain.

April 20, 2014

A £300,000 gift from the Exilarch’s Foundation will enable a team at Birkbeck, University of London to look at the ethics of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the religious identities of their young followers.

The principal investigator will be Stephen Frosh, professor of psychology, whose academic interests include identity formation, relational ethics, Jewish identity and antisemitism.

“This new research project will lead to a better understanding of the psychological and sociological dimensions associated with the monotheistic faiths,” he said.

“Religion plays a central role in societies throughout the world, including our own secular society in the UK,” Professor Frosh added. “As well as following religious doctrines and practices, people often turn to religion for individual spiritual guidance, and ethics has always featured prominently in religious discourse.”

“The major monotheistic faiths continue to influence the lives of millions of people in the UK,” added Naim Dangoor, founder of the Exilarch’s Foundation, a charitable trust that funds educational projects in the UK and internationally. “It is necessary to investigate the social, political and cultural impacts of these religions.”

A three-year Dangoor postdoctoral fellowship will look at monotheism in relation to social and ethical values, perhaps examining shared value systems, and dissension from them, within the UK’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.

A Dangoor PhD scholarship will focus on how adolescents engage with monotheistic faiths and their understanding of the social, ethical and political consequences of membership of religious communities. Applications for both positions remain open until 9 May.

matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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