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Theologians have enduring interests in human flourishing, agency, freedom, the development of virtue, and other topics on which social scientists have published extensively. Yet recent theological anthropology, which explores such topics, has only addressed empirical research in limited ways. In our view, theologians and ethicists who study human nature ought to engage more rigorously with science. This three-year grant will promote rich connections between Christian theology and, especially, the social sciences.

Our goals are to nurture ambitious, science-engaged scholarship in theology, build a research team that cultivates rich intellectual community, and form scholars who will exercise lasting leadership. Rather than promoting a particular method, our project invites theologians to adjudicate how empirical considerations are germane to their work. These judgments will be informed by the training provided through this grant and consultation with our team of distinguished fellows, mentors, and advisors from the sciences and theology.

With the help of a planning grant awarded in August 2018, we have assembled an exceptional team. They have begun collaborating on research topics that shift away from well-worn controversies in evolutionary biology and cosmology towards social science topics that arise naturally as theologians reflect on human nature and human goods.

Additional funding will continue this momentum and strengthen our research by bringing in partners from the social sciences and philosophy to train and educate our fellows. Funding will provide the research time necessary to make significant progress on science-engaged scholarship, and support six workshops at which we will learn from distinguished science experts, refine work-in-progress, and build lasting relationships. Our fellows and mentors have made a three-year commitment, and we expect our teaching, presentations, and publications to set new standards.