Religion is and has always been a major force in human societies, shaping individual, communal and national worldviews whilst underpinning a vast array of cultural and political systems.
It is not possible to understand a society without understanding the religion or religions that have been embraced by it, even in a seemingly secular society such as modern China. Understanding the philosophies and histories of the world’s religions comprises a fundamental aspect of cultural competence in the 21st century. Our researchers have expertise covering all the major world religions: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
A particular strength of our researchers is in the literature of the great religions, with an emphasis on a command of the languages in which they are composed to access these primary sources.
Associate Professor Mark Allon, Dr Chiew Hui Ho, Dr Jim Rhiengans, Dr Matthew Stavros and Dr Yu Sang are all engaged in the study of Buddhism in its many and various manifestations.
Expertise in the major monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are provided by Professor Iain Young, Professor Vrasidas Karalis, and Dr Ali Aldahesh.
An understanding of Confusianism and Chinese philosophy more generally are also pursued by Dr Sean Moores and Dr Yu Sang, while Associate Professor Xiaohuan Zhao researches Chinese folk religion and ghostlore.
Led by Associate Professor Mark Allon. This combines several projects involving the study, editing, and publication of Gandhari Buddhist manuscripts (dated from the 1st cent. BCE to the 2nd or 3rd cent. CE) that originate in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In the case of one collection, it involves their repatriation to Pakistan and their conservation, photographing, and housing at the Islamabad Museum. Learn more about the Robert Senior Collection.
Led by Associate Professor Mark Allon. The Kuthodaw Pagoda Project concerns the conservation, photographing and study of a 19th century Burmese recension of the Pali Buddhist canon carved on 729 marble slabs in Mandalay, Burma/Myanmar, produced at the request of King Mindon, the second last king of Burma (reigned 1853–1878).
It represents a unique royal recension that predates Western scholarship on the Pali canon.
Led by Associate Professor Francesco Borghesi, Profesor Yixu Lu, Dr Daniel Canaris, Meynard. The Jesuit translations of the Confucian canon not only provided the first European window into Chinese philosophy but also changed the intellectual and cultural history of Europe.
This project, supported by an ARC Discovery grant, examines the rich history of these translations and their dissemination, and interrogates how Confucian ideas influenced the development of Enlightenment philosophy.
It will produce the first comprehensive history of these translations and make them available to anglophone scholars primary and secondary sources in various European languages and Chinese. The project will advance our understanding of the personal and textual networks through which the first substantial philosophical exchange was conducted between Europe and China.
Led by Associate Professor Francesco Borghesi, Professor Rebecca Suter, Profesor Yixu Lu, Dr Jim Rhiengans and Dr Daniel Canaris. Based on the current SLC-based DP210100458 (Transforming the East: Jesuits Translations of the Confucian Classics), this project will expand the focus of the current research beyond Chinese borders and look at the case of Jesuits translations in Tibet, India and Japan.
Led by Yona Gilead. This project investigates Australian faith-based schools (Jewish/Catholic/Anglican/Islamic) whose educational mission’s multifaceted commitment to religious, spiritual, and pastoral care is to ensure students’ emotional, social and physical wellbeing. The project has been funded in part by Thomas Hassel Anglican College.
Led by Dr Yu Sang. Humanistic Buddhism (renjian fojiao 人間佛教) is the integration of Buddhist teachings into our daily life.
It was a significant part of the Buddhist revival in modern China and has been greatly developed in the Greater China region (in particular Taiwan) since the second half of the twentieth century.
This project aims to provide a comprehensive study of Humanistic Buddhism, examining its philosophical underpinnings and institutional expression within the Greater China region.
Led by Professor Iain Young. This project compares the major ancient witnesses to Daniel, in Hebrew/ Aramaic, the two translations in Greek, Syriac, and Latin.
Led by Associate Professor Xiaohuan Zhao. The scriptural source for the Ghost Festival in East Asia is the Yulanpen Sūtra, which, however, is overwhelmingly considered apocryphal in modern scholarship.
This book project challenges this widely held belief by demonstrating that the sūtra is a Chinese creative translation rather than an indigenous Chinese composition.