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Dr Stephen Roberts

Senior Lecturer in Modern Theology

S.Roberts@chi.ac.uk | 01243 816194

Dr Stephen Roberts is a theologian who researches in the area of theology in the public sphere.  His PhD thesis, Religion and Dialogue: Textuality, Rationality and the Re-imagining of the Public Sphere (2011), used the inter-religious practice of Scriptural Reasoning to articulate a dialogical conception of the public sphere as a space hospitable to religious forms of reasoning.  His current research is exploring a variety of ways in which theology is performed in the pluralistic public sphere, such as in the texts of popular culture and the life and worship of faith communities.  Having previously worked as a University Chaplain he has an ongoing interest in the distinctive role of chaplains in relation to public theology, his own theological research trajectory arising directly out of that context and practice.  

Professional

Stephen is a member of the Interfaith Theological Advisory Group of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.  From 2011 to 2015 he was a member of a theological dialogue project under the auspices of the Council of Christians and Jews, resulting in the text of a book currently awaiting publication.  He was a consultant on the Muslim Chaplains Research Project in the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University.  In 2008 he was guest editor for an edition of Crucible: The Christian Journal of Social Ethics on Islam in Britain.

Research

At the heart of Stephen’s research is a conception of the public sphere derived from the critical reception of the work of Jürgen Habermas.  He is using the conception of religious and other forms of public reasoning developed in his doctoral research to investigate a variety of ways in which theology is present in the public conversation.  In this way, his interest and involvement in inter-religious dialogue has broadened to include theology and popular culture, music in particular.  He is working on a monograph on the role of the professional public theologian in relation to these various public manifestations of theology.  He has contributed book reviews to: Crucible, Australian Religion Studies Review, and Theology.

PHD Supervision

Stephen is interested in supervising students working in the following areas:

  • Theology in the public sphere
  • Inter-religious dialogue
  • Theology of religions
  • Theology and popular culture

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