CODEC has been designated as a Research Centre of the University of Durham, hosted by the world-renowned Department of Theology and Religion, and within the Faculty of Arts.
What does that mean? Well, it means that our ground-breaking research, our passion for networking and our brilliant staff are recognised within the university as offering a leading role in developing the new field of Digital Theology. It means that we have more confidence in approaching Research Councils, knowing that we are part of one of the UK’s top five universities and one of the top 100 universities in the world (QS and THE) and 34th in Arts and Humanities rankings (THE). It means we can hopefully secure more funding to do some more great work.
Coming at the same time as we opened up our interview process for the appointment of the three new CODEC posts, this is indeed good news for Digital Theology.
Some more information about the new Research Centre:
The CODEC Centre for Digital Theology
Codec: /kəʊdɛk/ a device, either physical or virtual, hardware or software, for translating, re-coding, re-engineering the analogue and the digital. CODEC is not an acronym: it is a name.
CODEC began as a research project at St John’s College focussed on biblical literacy and Christian preaching. Since then, we have developed into a major research centre exploring the interfaces between theology, media and digital culture, focussing especially on religious communication, theology and the sacred texts.
The CODEC Research Centre for Digital Theology seeks to provide an ongoing place of translation, re-coding, re-engineering between the ancient world of faith and contemporary world of the digital. CODEC aims both to research and to transform theological discourse around and within digital culture.
Our focus is on the interaction between theology studied/practiced/performed within digital culture, and on the impact of the digital environment on religious identity and practice. But our research also looks into the theological implications of that digital culture. For example, CODEC seeks to research the full scale of the interaction between social media and religion: “What is the theology of social media?”, “What are the implications of social media for the teaching of theology?” and “How does social media affect the contemporary practice of faith communities?”
CODEC seeks to translate/re-code/re-engineer theological discourse through developing major national and international research projects on aspects of the pedagogy, practice and culture of contemporary religious communities, as well as on classical aspects of religion research such as biblical literacy, hermeneutics and homiletics. The outcomes and delivery of this research aim to transform theological discourse as part of the new movement of Digital or Transformative Humanities.
CODEC’s overall research focuses on three areas:
- Theology for a Digital Age – including Biblical/Scriptural literacy; humanology; impact of digital transformation on society, culture and communication; theological issues related to transhumanism, digital divides, singularity research
- Preaching and Imagination in a Digital Age – homiletics; communication of ideas; narrative theory and imagination theory
- Discipleship in a Digital Age – ongoing Biblical Literacy projects; BigBible web project; issues of growth and discipleship within religious communities and their use of social media; being human; humanology
The CODEC Research Centre for Digital Theology, integrated into the UK’s leading research department in Theology and Religion, offers a unique opportunity to develop major research projects exploring the interface between biblical literacy, theology and digital culture. The impact of the Centre is intentionally both academic and public: through peer-reviewed publication, conferences and seminars, research and taught courses as well as through engagement with religious practitioners, religious bodies and society in general.
CODEC is non-denominational in focus and does not apply any sort of faith test for those it employs. On the one hand, growing out of a Christian theological seminary at Cranmer Hall, CODEC’s current research focuses mostly on Judaeo-Christian texts (Biblical Literacy), discipleship in the Christian Church and preaching in the Christian traditions. However, CODEC is excited about and will actively pursue options to widen this research into other contexts – for example we are actively seeking out research funding to explore Jewish and Muslim aspects of contemporary discipleship.
The Centre will seek to work collaboratively with other research centres, institutes, departments both at the University of Durham and at other institutions; with the Academy and Religious Bodies; with public bodies and with the public; with researchers and practitioners.