Study of Religions

The Study of Religions at Oxford integrates anthropological, sociological, and psychological approaches to religion alongside the theological. Research in this area delves deep into the ethics, writings, practices, and thought worlds of traditions within Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Students are encouraged to master source languages and to gain insight into their tradition of focus by bringing that tradition into dialogue with others. Overall, the Study of Religions at Oxford allows space not only to explore particular religious expressions but to explore the nature of religion as such. 

Research Centres & Projects

Renouncing the world: Hindu politics and ascetic life in independent India

Prof Sondra Hausner is studying the life of Hindu ascetic Pagal Baba to give ethnographic insight into the changing meanings of Hindu nationalism in India since 1947. This project is funded by a Major Research Fellowship awarded by the Leverhulme Trust in 2017.

Religion and the Frontier Challenges

Prof Justin Jones coordinates this postdoctoral research fellowship programme, which is affiliated with the Faculty of Theology and Religion. Established in 2019 and based at Pembroke College, the programme supports individual research projects that enrich discussion of how contemporary religious traditions and ideas might provide or are providing knowledge and leadership in facing the major challenges currently confronting humanity. Currently, the programme hosts four postdoctoral fellows, each of whom is conducting their own exciting research project. 


Fortnightly inter-disciplinary research seminars are the touchpoint for the Study of Religions community throughout the academic year, with presentations from senior academics and DPhil students. Prof Anna Abulafia also runs an selective annual seminar (for selected DPhil participants) on the Abrahamic religions, in collaboration with Ben Gurion University of the Negev which in the past has evenin 2019 included travel to Israel for a trip tojoint workshop in  IsraelBeersheba! . Beyond that, Oxford is home to multiple research centres, specialising in the major world religions. Each one regularly hosts events that attract students and researchers in the Study of Religions. The Faculties of Anthropology, Sociology and Oriental Studies also host events and seminars with overlapping interests to the Study of Religions.