‘You shall love the Lord your God…and you shall love your neighbour as yourself’. This double love command of Jesus Christ, as recorded in the Gospels, is the inspiration for a research project running in collaboration with the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Amman, Jordan. Drawing on different religious traditions, while always in conversation with Christian faith, the aim is to explore the research question: what grounds are there for thinking that love, in religious consciousness and practice today, is the ultimate reality of the universe? The underlying conviction is that a study of the phenomenon of love is, finally, discovery of the nature and activity of God in the world.

About the Project

At the centre of the project is the ‘H.M. King Abdullah ibn al-Hussein II of Jordan Fellowship for the Study of Love in Religion’, which will be occupied in five-yearly periods alternately by a Muslim scholar and a Christian scholar. The first appointment was made in January 2016 and a second in 2021. The post includes responsibilities for research and teaching in Oxford, and may be occupied by a scholar in any area of Christian theology, Religious Studies or Islamic Studies which involves the study of love. The Fellowship is held as a College-only appointment, and the project is run and managed by the College, but the Faculty of Theology and Religion of the University of Oxford is fully supportive of the project and has a representative on the Advisory Board for the Fellowship.

The project will widen the scope of the research beyond the key religions of Christianity and Islam, to include other world religions. A third Abrahamic religion, Judaism, will be included fully in the initial three-year period, and more attention will be given to Hinduism and Buddhism in the following phase. Christian faith will always be a partner in the process, and the aim is not to achieve merely generalized statements about religion but for scholars in each religion to explore and present what is distinctive about their approach to the research question from the perspective of their tradition.

The project is being run in collaboration with one of the main funders of the Fellowship, The Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan. The founder of this Institute, HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, author of the world-renowned A Common Word (an appeal to world Christian leaders on the theme of love), is a significant personal collaborator.

Visit here for the Project’s website.