Saarinen, Risto: Centre of Excellence in Reason and Religious Recognition Research, University of Helsinki

The research of the Centre of Excellence focuses on the question of how religious groups in the past as well as today have accepted or recognised other groups in society and vice versa, how religions have been accepted in different societies. Researchers at the CoE are interested in studying the era of Antiquity and Early Christianity as well as encounters between Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Another area of interest is the discourse on tolerance from the Middle Ages to Enlightenment. Indeed, the treatment of minorities, a recurring theme in public debate today, is one of the CoE's areas of focus. In addition, one of the research teams is working to develop philosophical models to help understand contemporary religious discourse.

The CoE's research methods are historical and philosophical: the aim is to gain a better understanding of the subject and to develop as universal models as possible for religious thinking and behaviour. It also puts the results to practical use.

The first major report of then CoE is concerned with religious recognition in the history of ideas. It will be putting forward models of religious recognition that can help increase tolerance in multicultural society. The CoE presents an academic case for the view that despite their differences, religions could in fact share a common understanding of the opportunities and limits of rational discussion.

Last modified 19 Feb 2015
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