Announcing the 2013-2014 Research Team

by William Storrar

Top Row: Stephen Pope, Robert Roberts, Gordon Burghardt, George Graham, Andrea Hollingsworth, Brick Johnstone
Second Row: Friederike Nuessel, Arne Rasmusson, Colleen Shantz, Michael Spezio, Wesley Wildman, Sheryl Overmyer, Alexandra Parvan


Inquiry on Religious Experience & Moral Identity

Announcement of the Resident Research Team for 2013-2014



From the Director


I am pleased to announce the scholars who have been selected to participate in our Inquiry on Religious Experience & Moral Identity as members of our resident research team. They represent a range of relevant disciplines for our inquiry and all will enrich our conversation through their individual projects for the year.

Our two Senior Research Fellows, theologian Stephen Pope and philosopher Robert Roberts will lead this interdisciplinary inquiry and research team, working closely with the Center’s director of research, Robin Lovin. Stephen and Bob have added their welcome below to the one Robin and I extend to the incoming Members for the 2013-2014 academic year at the Center of Theological Inquiry.

We are all grateful to the John Templeton Foundation for their generous support of our research program. It has enabled us to convene this international and interdisciplinary team of theologians, philosophers, and scientists to address the big questions on religious experience and moral identity.

William Storrar, Director


A Welcome to the New Research Team


From the Director of Research

 "It is an exciting prospect to review the proposals of these outstanding scholars. Each of them is pursuing an original line of research, and there are many possibilities for creative interaction when they are in residence together."  

- Robin Lovin, Center of Theological Inquiry

From the Senior Research Fellows

"Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the Center of Theological Inquiry's Inquiry on Religious Experience and Moral Identity. Congratulations on being accepted from a pool of very talented and interesting applicants. We have an excellent mix of scholars from different disciplines that will make for an intellectually exciting experience. We are confident that the CTI provides an optimal context for productive interdisciplinary interchange. Bob and I are looking forward to meeting each of you individually and to beginning our conversation in the fall.”

- Stephen Pope, Boston College

“Our upcoming inquiry into religious experience and moral identity promises to be an exhilarating time of rich, sustained, and focused dialogue. The group of experts gathering at CTI in 2013–14 will include representatives of theology, philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, ethics, and ethology. Each of these disciplines intersects in auspicious but delightfully unpredictable ways with my own interests in philosophical psychology, Christian formation, and the ethics of emotions and virtues. I look forward to learning in these areas by getting to know well the minds of my colleagues-to-be.”

- Bob Roberts, Baylor University



Resident Research Team, 2013-2014


Senior Research Fellows

Stephen Pope
Professor of Theology, Theology Department, Boston College, USA

Science, Human Flourishing, and Theological Ethics

Robert Roberts
Distinguished Professor of Ethics, Department of Philosophy, Baylor University, USA

Contemplating Virtues

Research Fellows

Gordon Burghardt
Alumni Distinguished Professor, Departments of Psychology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, USA

Ritual, Play, and Animals as Formative Factors in Religious Experience and Moral Action

George Graham
Professor of Philosophy and Neuroscience, Department of Philosophy,
Georgia State University, USA

Abraham's Dilemma: Religious Experience, Spiritual Delusion, and Moral Well-Being

Andrea Hollingsworth
Assistant Professor of Christian Thought, Department of Religion and Philosophy,
Berry College, USA

Cognitive Neuroscience, Mystical Theology, and Moral Selfhood

Brick Johnstone
Professor, Department of Health Psychology, School of Health Professions,
University of Missouri, USA

Neuropsychological Basis of Spiritual Transcendence, Virtues, and Moral Behaviors

Friederike Nüssel
Vice Rector, Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenical Studies,
Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany

Narrative and Emotional Dimensions of Moral Orientation

Arne Rasmusson
Professor in Systematic Theology, Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Theological Ethics and Moral Psychology

Colleen Shantz
Associate Professor of New Testament / Christian Origins, University of St. Michael’s College, and Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, Canada

Changing Minds: Consciousness, Conversion, and Religious Identity

Michael Spezio
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Scripps College, USA

Harmonious Unanimity: Toward a Multilevel Integrative Account of the Relational Development of Character

Wesley Wildman
Professor of Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics, School of Theology, Boston University, USA

Religious Experience, Moral Identity, and the Technological Future

Postdoctoral Fellows

Sheryl Overmyer
Assistant Professor, Catholic Studies Department, DePaul University, USA

Regret: A Thomistic Account

Alexandra Pârvan
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Communication Sciences,
University of Pitesti, Romania

Evil, Emotions, and Divine Illumination in Augustine and the Psychotherapeutic Construction of Moral Identity