Deadlines for the March 2024 Symposium
Abstract Submission: 11 February
Final Registration Payment Deadline: 19 February
The Oxford Symposium on Religious
Studies brings together scholars of religion from a wide background, both internationally and in terms of their specific religious interests. This allows
for broad engagement and is different from narrowly specialist conferences. The great majority of past participants have found this approach rewarding and professionally helpful.
In a global situation where religion is culturally and politically predominant for many, yet marginalised and
diminishing for others, and where spirituality is frequently disengaged from institutional religion, the Symposium regularly explores the place of religion in contemporary society: the nature of
belief, the place of ritual, the place of family, the significance of community, the balance between Faith (belief, doctrine, and creed) and Practice (ritual, sociology, ethics,
Typically, our delegates hail from different faiths, and discussion is conducted with openness and
mutual respect. We do not shy away from controversy, either, regularly thinking about religion and politics – how religion affects political life, for example, in the USA, UK, Israel, and Muslim
fundamentalist states, and how to enable pluralism and tolerance between societies with clashing ideologies.
We also consider ethical questions, such as the clash of ideology between a secular state and religious ethics, sex and marriage, the place of women, war and peace, and Black Lives Matter, to name but a few. A list of suggested topics can be found by clicking here.
The Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies is a forum for discourse and presentation of papers by scholars who have a particular interest in the study of religion. Canon Brian Mountford MBE, former Vicar of University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford and Fellow of St Hilda's College at the University of Oxford, will host the March 2023 session.
You are invited to make a presentation and lead a discussion on an aspect of religious studies, or you may wish to participate as a non-presenting observer. Your presentation must adhere to an abstract of about 300 words approved by the Programme Committee of the Symposium.
You are also encouraged to submit a full paper, in keeping with your abstract, which may be published in an appropriate journal or book of conference proceedings. All papers presented for publication or inclusion in books or sponsored journals will be subject to peer review by external readers.
Church Going Gone
"Church Going Gone is the work of a man of great goodness, considerable stubbornness, and not a little cunning. How can a person of liberal, humane, and imaginative instincts survive in the modern Church of England? Brian Mountford has not only survived, but for thirty years had the living of St Mary’s, the University Church in Oxford, the site of events of enormous consequence such as the trial of the Oxford Martyrs in 1555, and the centre of a busy and intellectually challenging modern parish. In the course of his life as a priest Mountford aroused enormous admiration not only for his liberal stance but also for his personal qualities of kindness and open-mindedness, and for the imaginative (and occasionally provocative) way in which he welcomed speakers from many different traditions to his church. All his qualities are vividly present in this book, as well as a lively gift for scene-setting and character-drawing. I enjoyed it enormously."
- Philip Pullman
Religion and Generation Z
Essays by Oxford students on why 70% of their age group has 'no religion'. Subjects include: loss of certainty, culture shift, science, being brought up Muslim, feminism, Catholicism, music, the environment, and the future of religion. This gives a platform to voices not normally heard.
In 2017 NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey published statistics that 53% of the people in Britain say they have ‘no religion’ and that of those 70% of the 18-24 age-group claim to have no religion. This collection of essays by Oxford graduate and undergraduate students attempts to say why. The essays are individual responses rather than a systematic examination of the question. Atheist, Agnostic, Irish, Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim views are represented.