A variety of resources are available to those who are pursuing their own course of study, or are interested in the work of the Centre. The tabs below contain more information about staff projects and research.

Research networks

The Centre has been integral in the formation and running of the following networks:

British Association for the Study of Spirituality (BASS)

British Association for the Study of Spirituality - A national and international organisation that brings together the disciplines around the issue of spirituality and practice.

The Objectives of the Association are:

  1. To encourage the further study of spirituality in its practice and theoretical aspects.
  2. To strengthen the teaching and learning of spirituality as an academic and professional discipline.
  3. To encourage dialogue about spirituality with different faiths, professions and interest groups.
  4. To encourage and facilitate scholarship and research in spirituality, through the development of a journal and joint collaborative research projects.
  5. To establish an international journal of the association.
  6. To hold a biennial conference.
  7. To hold at least one General Meeting of the Association in each calendar year.
Reports and teaching materials
Papers and essays by Centre personnel

John Swinton

Brian Brock

Harriet Mowat

David Hay

  • The Spirit of the Child[Korean translation], Seoul: Daiseo Publishing Company (October, 2011)
  • God’s Biologist: A Life of Alister Hardy, London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2011
  • Why Spirituality is Difficult for Westerners, Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2007
  • Something There: The Biology of the Human Spirit, London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2006; Philadelphia: Templeton, 2007
  • The Spirit of the Child(with Rebecca Nye) [revised edition], London & Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley, 2006
  • Religious Experience Today: Studying the Facts, London: Cassell, 1990
  • New Methods in RE Teaching: An Experiential Approach(Ed), London: Oliver & Boyd, 1990
  • Exploring Inner Space: Scientists and Religious Experience, London: Penguin Books, 1982

Jean Vanier and John Swinton: Mental Health: The Inclusive Church Resource 


John Swinton: Dementia: Living in the Memories of God                           

Cover of Dementia Living in the Memories of God by John Swinton. The cover is a forest in the autumn with browning leaves.

Brock, B. and Swinton, J(Eds) Disability in the Christian Tradition: A Reader

Cover of Disability in the Christian Tradition.

Living Well and Dying Faithfully: Christian Practices for End-Of-Life Care (2010) (Edited text with Richard Payne) Grand Rapids: Eerdmans

This collection of essays, edited by John Swinton (professor of practical theology and pastoral care at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and founding director of the Centre for Spirituality, Health, and Disability at Aberdeen) and Richard Payne (professor of medicine and divinity at Duke Divinity School and director of the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life) is drawn from papers delivered during a 2006 symposium held at Duke University in conjunction with the Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability.

Living Well and Dying Faithfully explores ways in which Christian practices — the practice of love, prayer, lament, compassion, and so on — can contribute to the process of dying well. Working on the premise that one dies the way one lives, the book is unique in its constructive dialogue between theology and medicine as two complementary modes of healing.

"Extraordinary. . . . These essays are filled with wisdom because they have been written by those who have learned how to die by either being with the dying or listening to those who have learned to listen to the dying." — Stanley Hauerwas (from the foreword)

Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness (2009) ( Stanley Hauerwas, Jean Vanier and John Swinton) IVP

These essays emerged from two days of conversations hosted by the Centre for Spirituality, health and Disability at the University of Aberdeen in September 2006.

How are Christians to live in a violent and wounded world? Rather than contending for privilege by wielding power and authority, we can witness prophetically from a position of weakness. The church has much to learn from an often overlooked community--those with disabilities.

In this fascinating book, theologian Stanley Hauerwas collaborates with Jean Vanier, founder of the worldwide L'Arche communities. For many years, Hauerwas has reflected on the lives of people with disability, the political significance of community, and how the experience of disability addresses the weaknesses and failures of liberal society. And L'Arche provides a unique model of inclusive community that is underpinned by a deep spirituality and theology. Together, Vanier and Hauerwas carefully explore the contours of a countercultural community that embodies a different way of being and witnesses to a new order--one marked by radical forms of gentleness, peacemaking and faithfulness.

The authors' explorations shed light on what it means to be human and how we are to live. The robust voice of Hauerwas and the gentle words of Vanier offer a synergy of ideas that, if listened to carefully, will lead the church to a fresh practicing of peace, love and friendship.

This invigorating conversation is for everyday Christians who desire to live faithfully in a world that is violent and broken.

Theology, Disability and the New Genetics: Why Science Needs the Church. John Swinton and Brian Brock (Eds)

Theology, Disability and the New Genetics: Why Science Needs the Church


These essays emerged from three days of conversations hosted by the Centre for Spirituality, health and Disability at the University of Aberdeen in September 2004.

Recent developments in genetic technology promise to eradicate disease and disability. Such promises pose challenging questions with regard to our understanding of what it is to be human. Taking a Christian and theologically informed viewpoint, this book explores and challenges our concept of disability. This book will seek to explore the question: does our current attitude toward the use of genetic technologies in contemporary practice risk a slide into social habits which are implicitly evil and destructive of the humanness of our society? The central theological question that will be addressed by the book is: Is the image of humanness that underpins the implicit and explicit assumptions of new genetic technology compatible with Christian theological understandings of what it means to be human and to live humanly? This book aims to explore these questions within a multidisciplinary context with a view to developing an informed practical theological perspective which can guide the theory and practice of the church as it engages with the world around the complex issues that are emerging in response to new genetic technology. John Swinton, and Brian Brock have drawn together an international team of the top scholars from medicine, ethics and theology to produce a unique text which will lay out the complex problems genetic technology raises, and offer fresh understandings and solutions that are theoretically significant and practically vital.

  • ‘Altruism as an aspect of relational consciousness and how culture inhibits it’, in, Robert W. Sussman & C. Robert Cloninger (Eds.) Origins of Altruism and Cooperation,New York: Springer, 2011, 349-376
  • ‘Pondering the role of spirituality in Education’, Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 2011
  • (With Halina Grzymala-Moszczynska and Joanna Krotofil), ‘Between Universalism and Ethnic Particularism: Polish Migrants to the United Kingdom. A Perspective from the Psychology of Religion.’ Studia Migracyjne - Przeglad Polonijny(Migration studies - Polish Diaspora Review) 37 (1), 2011, 223-236.
  • ‘Religion under siege: a scientific response’ [Alister Hardy Memorial Lecture, Oxford], Implicit Religion11 (2), 2008, 143-152
  • ‘Are we naturally religious?’ TheosThinkTankFebruary 2008
  • ‘Music as revelation’, RE Today25 (1), 2007, 4-5
  • (With Helmut Reich & Michael Utsch) ‘Spiritual development: intersections and divergence with religious development', in, Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, Pamela Ebstyne King, Linda Wagener & Peter L. Benson (eds.) The Handbook of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence, Sage Publications, 2006, 46-59
  • ‘Jakosc zycia/jakosc zarzadzania: znaczenie swiadomosci relacyjnej’, Problemy Zarzadzania(Journal of School of Management, Warsaw University, Poland), 1, 2006, 123-136.
  • (With Pawel Socha) ‘Spirituality as a natural phenomenon: bringing biological and psychological perspectives together', Zygon, 49 (3), 2005, 589-612
  • 'Experience' in, Arthur Holder (ed.) Companion to Christian Spirituality, Oxford: Blackwells, 2005, 419-441
  • 'Experience' in, Philip Sheldrake (ed.) Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, London: SPCK, 2005, 295-297
  • ‘A biologist of God: Alister Hardy in Aberdeen ', Aberdeen University Review, LX, 3, No. 211, 2004, 209-223
  • ‘Quality of life/quality of management: the importance of relational consciousness', European Business Review16 (4), 2004, 435-445
  • 'Why is implicit religion implicit?' Implicit Religion6 (1), 2003, 17-41
  • 'Spirituality and primordial experience', in Arto Kallionemi, Antti Räsanen & Päivi Hilska (eds.), Studia Pedagogica(Helsinki) 30, 2003, 1-14
  • 'Nurture, commitment and curriculum' in, Michael A Hayes & Liam Gearon (eds) Contemporary Catholic Education, Leominster: Gracewing Press, 2002, 170-186
  • 'The biological basis of spiritual awareness', in Ursula King (ed.) Spirituality and Society in the New Millennium, Sussex Academic Press, 2001, 124-135
  • 'The cultural context of stage models of religious experience', International Journal for the Psychology of Religion,11 (4), 2001, 241-246
  • 'Spirituality versus individualism: why we should nurture relational consciousness', International Journal of Children's Spirituality, 5 (1), 2000, 37-48
  • 'The Religious Experience and Education Project: Experiential Learning in Religious Education', in, Michael Grimmitt (ed.) Pedagogies of Religious Education: Case Studies in the Research and Development of Good Pedagogic Practice in RE, Great Wakering: McCrimmons, 2000, 70-87