Who studies religion? Towards a better conversation between Theology, Religious Studies, and Religious Education

Céline Benoit, Tim Hutchings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper calls for better integration between the fields of Theology and Religious Studies (TRS) and Religious Education (RE). Positive reform in RE requires integration between educational theory, policy, and practice, but we argue that the academic study of theology and religion is too often an overlooked partner in these conversations. The separation of TRS from RE is damaging at all levels of the curriculum, undermining the rigour and critical depth of school syllabi, cutting TRS and RE specialists of from valuable intellectual discussion, and leaving university departments unprepared to properly support student progression. This destructive divergence has long been observed (e.g. Cush, 1999), but this paper proposes that the emerging paradigm of Religion and Worldviews Education (RWE) has encouraged important progress. The advent of RWE has generated new interest among RE specialists in the theory and practice of multidisciplinary TRS. It has also created space for TRS academics from many felds to engage with teachers and policymakers in productive conversations. To illustrate this argument, we highlight some examples of good practice and suggest future work through which links might be strengthened.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315–326
JournalJournal of Religious Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.


  • Interdisciplinary dialogue
  • Religious Education
  • Religious Studies
  • Worldivews Paradigm


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