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Sample Theological Puzzles

Our project aims to support top-level academic study in theological anthropology by using research from behavioral science alongside the more familiar theological sources. One way to help us toward this goal is by being concrete in what we study. To this end, we distinguish Research Topics from Research Puzzles. A puzzle is a theological question that heads toward a concrete answer, deals with possible objections, is transparent about using a methodology appropriate to its success conditions, and in principle is unsolvable without the help of, at least some, empirical data.

Your eventual output, growing out of the Summer Workshop, maybe an article, book, or book chapter—which need not necessarily be as concrete as a puzzle. Instead, we think of our time together as a collaborative exercise in ‘concretizing’ our ideas. During our workshops, we will help each other be more concrete in this way, turning our research topics into theological puzzles. The following examples clarify this difference: