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Philosophy of Religion subject area overview

Philosophy of Religion at Cambridge

Cambridge is one of the leading centres for the study of Philosophy of Religion. It has developed a distinctive approach to the field, which, over the past 100 years, has pioneered attention to metaphysical frameworks, questions of ontology and epistemology, philosophical analysis of Christian doctrine, interdisciplinary engagement, including metaphysical realizations in poetic and literary form, human creativity and the imagination. Other interdisciplinary extensions include classics, linguistics, international relations, feminist criticism, environmental humanities, music, comparative literature and history of art.

Philosophy of Religion at Cambridge has been defined by a dual concern (1) to bring pre-modern sources to bear upon contemporary philosophical questions, and (2) to address analytic and continental philosophical developments from a philosophico-theological perspective. One of its distinctive features, since the seventeenth century, has been a commitment to the continuing contemporary relevance of the original Platonic corpus and later Platonic traditions, especially in terms of their close relationship to and partial constitution of, Christian theology. Today, this is extended into a concern also with their relationship to the Jewish and Islamic legacies and to a comparison of Platonic tradition with Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

As well as the D Society, there are many seminars, research and reading groups and other events in which undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers explore current themes and sources together. The Whichcote Society at Emmanuel College is open to all and focuses on themes and sources from the Christian Platonic tradition.

The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism

Professor Douglas Hedley’s Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism is a major international forum for research into the Platonic Tradition, especially Neoplatonism, its sources, significance and legacy.