The founding idea of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion is that the many forms and publics of the study of religion are best served by the rigors of humanistic and social scientific inquiry and guided by the purpose of the University of Chicago's motto: crescat scientia vita excolator.
The Center thereby exists to further advanced research into the religions with the confidence that growth in knowledge enriches personal and social existence. In order to achieve that purpose, the Center provides support for research pursued by the Divinity School faculty, University of Chicago graduate students, and affiliated scholars from around the world. Through a wide and inclusive variety of consultations, conferences, and publications, the Center brings scholarly perspectives to bear on religious questions facing the wider national and global publics, while encouraging scholars to situate their academic questions within a broader cultural frame of reference.
The vision of establishing an institute for the advanced study of religion at the University of Chicago came from Joseph M. Kitagawa, the Dean of the Divinity School from 1970 to 1980. The Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion officially opened in October 1979 with Professor Martin Marty as its first director; In 1998, the Institute was renamed the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion in order to honor "Marty" for his distinction as a scholar of religion and public life.
I urge you to explore our website for details on the ongoing projects and seminars of the Marty Center. These include the Junior Fellows Seminar, Senior Fellows and Visiting Scholars programs, faculty working groups , lectures, and national and international conferences. Additionally, the Center and the Divinity School publications and online materials are available. A brief glance at the list of conferences (upcoming and past) will show an astonishing range of topics and traditions explored as well as the number of world-renowned speakers who have participated in those events. Similarly, you can explore our Fellow's Seminar to see the range of disciplines, traditions, and topics of the dissertations of Junior Fellows and the focus of Senior Fellows research and lectures.
The Divinity School of the University of Chicago and The Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion are the forefront of careful, intelligent, rigorous, and creative inquiry into the world's religions in all their forms. I invite you to explore the Center's resources and also to join the conversation about religion in our global age.
The Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion