Research Axes


The RSCS Institute (Religions, spiritualities, cultures, societies) was founded at Louvain-la-Neuve on February 1st, 2010, after a preparation period during the year 2009, under the direction of Professor Eric Gaziaux, within the perspective of the University’s development plan. This institute is the result of collaboration between professors of the theology faculty and those of other faculties teaching in areas related to religions. Thus was born the idea of founding an interdisciplinary research institute uniting competencies from different horizons and using different methodologies.
Indeed, the Institute’s title: “Religions, spiritualities, cultures, societies”, signifies this ambition well. The first task is that of studying religions and spiritualities, meaning not only in their official presentations, but also the spiritualities, with their more ungraspable side, with their mystical dimension, their local or historical anchoring, and their aspect – at times external to instituted religions. As to religions, the task is to treat them with the expertise a faculty of theology implements in relation to Christianity, all the while valorising the procedure of Christian theology via the stimulus of studying other religions. By adding to the institute’s title the words “cultures, societies”, the members wished to signify the importance of cultures for the study of religions and the social impact they exert. We thus open the door to a method of analysis which is not limited to approaching the study of a religion through the study of its internal sources, but which provides specific tools (like sociology, anthropology, history, literature and aesthetics) and places them in the service of studying religions.
The presentation of the RSCS Institute made here is accomplished along three axes: positive, systematic and practical; this partitioning is functional; it does not imply a hermetical boundary between these three approaches. This presentation leads to the question of the evolution of religions, their mutations and their identities, which will be the object of the colloquium launching the RSCS Institute, as well as the question of implementing interreligious dialogue.