The research group Systematic Religious Studies carries out research in the field of religious studies as well as in theology. In the theological field, the research group is concerned with issues relating to public theology. Accordingly, the research covers questions as, for example, whether the public sphere can be a locus theologicus or whether theology can seriously contribute to cultural, political, or economic debates. In the case of a positive answer to such questions, one can also ask how theology can participate in public discourses without diluting or even giving up its Christian identity or how religious transformations in modern societies have to be evaluated from a theological angle.

To answer such questions, the research group employs current theological approaches but also relies on the work of influential theologians from the past as, for instance, Edward Schillebeeckx. Such figures did not call themselves public theologians, but nevertheless paved the way for a public-theological thinking.


  • Dr. Inigo Bocken is a researcher in the field of spirituality and in religion and politics in contemporary society. He is also academic director of the Titus Brandsma Institute.
  • Dr. Elisabeth Hense studies Christian spirituality with special attention to Carmelite spirituality. Furthermore, she is interested in theories on spirituality and investigates ideas about 'fullness of life' and their effects on societal engagement and societal renewal.
  • Prof.dr. Christoph Hübenthal explores the foundations and the different manifestations of public theology. He approaches these issues from the perspectives of systematic theology and theological social ethics.
  • Dr. Joshua Furnal studies the history of modern Christian theology and philosophical theology from the 20th century to the present. In particular, he is interested in modern philosophical engagements in Catholic Theology and the intersection between Catholic thought and contemporary culture.

Affiliated organisations

The Kaski is a research centre that does research in the field of religion and society. In recent years, reports have been made on, for example, spiritual care in prisons, fund-raising in the churches, parish development and the supporters of the Dutch Bible Society. The main focus of the Kaski is knowledge valorisation and the social impact of research.

The Titus Brandsma Institute (TBI) is a research institute for the study of spirituality and mystic. Research is aimed at the foundations of spirituality and its history. The SPINE project, that focuses on development in the field of spirituality, is one of the partnerships between the faculty and the TBI.

The Institute for Catholic Education (VKO) is an expertise centre for school development. IKO develops and distributes practical knowledge about issues that Catholic elementary schools need to make choices in.

The Institute of Eastern Christian Studies (IVOC) was established in 1991 when significant political changes were taking place in Eastern Europe. The IVOC does research on the actual situation in churches in Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Research topics include: developments in ecumenism, dialogue, freedom of religion, nationalism, Islam, secularism and atheism.

The Nijmegen Institute for Mission Studies (NIM) develops, transmits and applies knowledge on ongoing mission practices in relation to (inter-religious) dialogue and (socio-economic) development. Its research projects focus on Non-Western Christianity (outside and inside Europe), Interreligious Dialogue and Mission.