Constructive Studies in Religion

The Committee on Constructive Studies in Religion brings together faculty and students whose work focuses on religious thought, traditions and their value.  

It comprises three areas of study: 

  • Philosophy of Religions (concern with philosophical issues arising from various religious beliefs and practices, and from critical reflection upon them)
  • Religious Ethics (concern with the meaning of religion for the lives of persons and the ordering of societies, and, therefore, with problems of the good life, justice, and the common good)
  • Theology (concern with the historical study of the self-understanding of a religious tradition and with the interpretation of its meaning and truth for the contemporary world).  


Daniel A. ArnoldRyan CoyneKristine A. CulpArnold I. DavidsonMichael FishbaneSarah. E. FredericksKevin HectorDwight N. HopkinsMatthew KapsteinJean-Luc MarionFrançoise MeltzerRichard B. MillerWillemien OttenWilliam SchweikerBrook A. Ziporyn, Laurie Zoloth

Read more about the Areas:

These pages contain more in-depth information about the specific areas, including sample courses and exams.

Brief overviews are also available (below).

Students will be expected to focus their work within one of the three areas (Philosophy of Religions, Religious Ethics, Theology), but they will also be expected to gain an understanding of the relations among these areas, and to do at least one of their written examinations outside the Committee on Constructive Studies. 

The Committee on Constructive Studies in Religion supplements the written Ph.D. examinations offered in its areas with three Committee-wide examinations:

1. Metaphysics view exam bibliography (pdf)
2. Hermeneutics and Religious Reflection view exam bibliography (pdf)
3. Issues in Contemporary Theory view exam bibliography (pdf)

Subject to the requirements of his or her area of concentration, a Ph.D. student in the Divinity School may stipulate a Committee-wide examination as one of his or her four written examinations.