HDS Announces the Religious Literacy Project

jbeasley@hds.harvard.edu
617.496.6004
Diane Moore
HDS professor Diane Moore will lead the Religious Literacy Project. HDS photograph

Thanks to a generous donation from Bruce McEver (MTS '11), Harvard Divinity School announces a new initiative, the Religious Literacy Project (RLP), which will enable HDS to continue our nearly four decades of leadership in religious studies and education in the United States.

As a successor to the Program in Religious Studies and Education, the RLP will be a virtual resource and research center housed at the Center for the Study of World Religions. Its primary aim will be to create and maintain scholarly resources in the general study of religion and in specific religious traditions via an open access website designed primarily for public-school teachers and their students.

The initial resources will be created to supplement and enhance commonly used textbooks that introduce religion at the middle and secondary levels in world history and world civilizations courses. Other resources will be developed to supplement and enhance English and world literature courses, highlighting commonly taught texts with significant religious themes or dimensions.

A third set of resources will focus on teaching sacred texts, including, but not limited to, the Bible. A fourth will be case studies of significant historical events involving religious issues, and a fifth will provide resources for educators to understand and teach about contemporary issues related to religion.

In addition to the content resources outlined above, the RLP will also generate and publicize relevant research regarding religion and education, with a special emphasis on the relationship between literacy about religion and civic and moral education in a global world.

The Religious Literacy Project will function in tandem with the Certificate in Religious Studies and Education program that is jointly sponsored by Harvard Divinity School and the Harvard Extension School. This program targets in-service teachers, who can earn the certificate by taking courses through the Extension School that offer them the content and skills required to teach about religion in constitutionally sound and educationally innovative ways in their K-12 classrooms. The certificate is available for distance learners as well as those who reside in the greater Boston area.

Construction of the website will begin immediately and will be launched in a series of stages over the next three years. Beginning in the coming academic year, HDS professor Diane Moore will head this project, in addition to teaching part-time at both HDS and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.