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Research and Outreach

The Yale Divinity School is part of a research university committed to transmitting and producing knowledge in ways that serve both students and alumni. At YDS, with its emphasis on having an impact on the larger world, these functions continue to play a critical role.

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Yale Initiative for the Study of Antiquity and the Premodern World

The Yale Initiative for the Study of Antiquity and the Premodern World (YISAP; www.yale.edu/yisap) is a collaborative forum that brings together one of the largest groups of scholars in the world working on early civilizations. Scholars in the humanities and social sciences join with those working in Yale Divinity School, Yale Law School, the collections, and the university libraries. The initiative encourages traditional modes of work and traditional fields of scholarship but seeks to build a new inter- and multidisciplinary framework that redefines old disciplinary boundaries. This collaboration brings together in sustained dialogue literary scholars and archaeologists, art historians and cuneiformists, legal historians and anthropologists, papyrologists and numismatists. Via description, analysis, and comparison, the initiative allows for broader exposure to new ideas and methods that will stimulate new research agendas across disciplines encompassing the whole of the premodern world. Students are exposed early in their careers to a wider intellectual world and learn to understand in new ways the value of antiquity—from the Mediterranean to Japan—and its rich cultural heritage for our own world.

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Yale Center for Faith and Culture

The mission of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture is to critically examine and promote, by means of theological research and leadership development, practices of faith that advance authentic human flourishing and the global common good. Founded in 2003 by its present director, Miroslav Volf, the center seeks to engage major cultural issues from the perspective of faith, pursuing groundbreaking research and leadership programs. Information on current activities and research can be found at the center’s Web site, http://faith.yale.edu.

The center is widely known for its legacy programs addressing reconciliation with Islam, faith and globalization, and ethics and spirituality in the workplace. Its mission is currently focused on three major programs.

The God and Human Flourishing Program is the center’s capstone project, exploring human flourishing with an aim to expose the inadequacy of experiential satisfaction as the defining characteristic of human well-being and to propose an alternative and deeper definition of flourishing rooted in convictions about God.

The Life Worth Living Program draws on the center’s research and insights to develop, teach, and disseminate curricular materials supporting undergraduate courses intended to return a robust discussion about the foundations of human flourishing to the center of university education as well as to public debates in the larger culture.

The Adolescent Faith and Flourishing Program seeks to advance authentic human flourishing among youth by drawing on the center’s research and insights to enhance and support transformative Christian youth ministries.

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The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale

The objective of the Forum on Religion and Ecology (http://fore.research.yale.edu) is to create a new academic field of study that has implications for environmental policy. To this end, the forum has organized some twenty-five conferences, published books and articles, and developed a comprehensive Web site on world religions and ecology. The largest international multireligious project of its kind, the forum recognizes that religions need to be in dialogue with other disciplines (e.g., science, economics, education, public policy) in seeking comprehensive solutions to both global and local environmental problems. To this end, the forum works closely with students in the joint master’s degree program in religion and ecology between the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Divinity School.

In 2011 the forum released a highly acclaimed film, Journey of the Universe, that narrates the epic story of universe, Earth, and human evolution. The film won an Emmy and has been shown widely on PBS and Netflix. Accompanying the film is a book from Yale Press and a series of twenty conversations on DVD with scientists and environmentalists. The directors of the forum are Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim.

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The Jonathan Edwards Center and Online Archive

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), Yale graduate, pastor, revivalist, philosopher, missionary, and college president, is the subject of intense interest because of his significance as a historical figure and the profound legacy he left on America’s religious and intellectual landscapes. The Jonathan Edwards Online Archive provides a comprehensive database of Edwards’s writings (http://edwards.yale.edu) that serves the needs of researchers and readers. The Edwards Online Archive is housed within the Jonathan Edwards Center at YDS, the most prestigious center for scholarship on Jonathan Edwards and related topics. Staff members assist numerous scholars of Edwards and American religion every year and provide adaptable, authoritative resources and reference works to the many scholars, secondary school and college-level teachers, seminarians, pastors, churches, and interested members of the general public who approach Edwards from many different perspectives. The center also encourages research and dialogue through its international affiliates, publications, fellowships, lectures, workshops, and conferences.

The staff of the Jonathan Edwards Center consists of Harry S. Stout and Kenneth P. Minkema, assisted by a team of student editorial assistants. The office can be contacted by telephone, 203.432.5340, or e-mail, worksje@yale.edu.

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World Christianity Initiative at Yale

The World Christianity Initiative at Yale is an interdisciplinary project concerned with the current global religious resurgence and its impact on movements of democratization and social empowerment. Amidst current economic challenges and rising expectations driven by demographic and labor shifts, religious resurgence is evidence of the search for new meaning and forms of community across the world. Religious diversity has increased, as has the sharpening of boundaries, along with challenges to freedom of religion.

These new realities require new ways of research and scholarly collaboration and partnership. Yale is richly endowed with a great University library system containing significant manuscripts and documents devoted to the topic, with an active research and teaching faculty well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities now available. With the support of the Yale Divinity School and the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, the World Christianity Initiative at Yale (www.yale.edu/worldchristianity), under the directorship of Lamin Sanneh, is committed to developing partnership with others, with special attention to three areas:

  • • Research is necessary to understand the implications of new religious movements and to increase awareness of the effects of the global religious resurgence on the economic, political, social, and research dimensions of the world’s societies.
  • • The World Christianity Initiative is engaged in ongoing conversation and joint endeavors with institutions and centers in the United States and with emerging religious communities abroad. The WCI’s efforts are directed at assisting religious and academic organizations and churches in projects of partnership. The director is involved in new initiatives being undertaken in Africa and elsewhere on issues of religion and society, including production of the Accra Charter on Religious Freedom and Citizenship.
  • • The World Christianity Initiative is designed to be a platform of interaction among scholars and religious leaders, with a special focus on encouraging the participation of younger scholars in discussions on campuses and elsewhere. The WCI collaborates with international religious scholars and institutions to facilitate contact and conversation with North American-based scholars, researchers, and students.

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Yale Indian Papers Project

The Yale Indian Papers Project is a scholarly editing endeavor and collaborative research initiative that promotes understanding of, and dialogue on, the historical and cultural forces that have shaped New England Indian life for several hundred years.

With a focus on the three essential elements of the learned process—collections, scholars, and publications—the project accomplishes its mission by locating, digitizing, transcribing, and annotating primary source materials by, on, or about New England Indians and publishing them at one readily available online resource, The New England Indian Papers Series Electronic Archives (http://yipp.yale.edu). The archives provide visual and intellectual access to a fragmented and widely dispersed collection of primary source materials, assembled from partner institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom. This represents a foundational set of documents exploring various aspects of nearly four centuries of native life, including history, religion, politics, law, and culture, as well as issues of community, land, gender, race, identity, migration, sovereignty, and social justice.

The editors of the Yale Indian Papers Project are Paul Grant-Costa and Tobias Glaza. They can be reached at indianpapersproject@yale.edu.

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Summer Study at Yale Divinity School

Each summer, clergy and laypersons from around the country come to New Haven for Summer Study at Yale Divinity School. Running during consecutive weeks in June, Summer Study brings together distinguished teachers and practitioners to teach workshops and weeklong courses that enrich and enlighten. While courses do not carry academic credit, Summer Study work can be submitted by clergy participants for denominational continuing education credit.

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