50 Years of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington

2020 marks the 50-year anniversary of the Religious Studies programme. Since Lloyd Geering’s appointment as foundation professor, the programme has grown to be one of the largest and most influential of its kind in Australasia, with a longstanding reputation for outstanding teaching and cutting-edge research. We are excited to celebrate this milestone and invite you to join us.

Upcoming Events

Throughout 2020-2021, Religious Studies will host a variety of public events that help us to mark our 50 years. You are warmly invited to attend any of the events listed below. Details and further events will be updated on this site throughout the year. Or, keep in touch with our major events via the Religious Studies mailing list.

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Prof. Paul Morris

Details to be advised

Scholarship funds

Sir Lloyd Geering Scholarship in Religion (Postgraduate)

In honour of our founding professor, Sir Lloyd Geering ONZ, GNZM, CBE, the programme is delighted to launch the Sir Lloyd Geering Scholarship in Religion. This scholarship will celebrate Sir Lloyd’s contribution to the study of religion, and his legacy of prescient and progressive thinking, by supporting an annual postgraduate scholarship of $10,000.

Paul Morris Scholarship in Religion (Undergraduate)

The Paul Morris Scholarship in Religion celebrates Paul's contribution to Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington and to religious and cultural debate in New Zealand. This scholarship will support undergraduate study in Religious Studies. Your contribution will help a new generation to explore the role of religions in the contemporary world.

Find out more about the scholarships and our fundraising project.


Corinne Barnard
Development Manager—Humanities and Social Sciences,
+64 4 463 6952

Dr Geoff Troughton
Programme Director, Religious Studies
+64 4 463 5590

Past Events

Pádraig Ó Tuama—Stories of Trouble and Peace

The St John’s Visiting Scholar for 2020 was the acclaimed poet, theologian and conflict mediator Pádraig Ó Tuama. Pádraig was initially going to present a number of free public events on campus from 18-20 March, however the worldwide spread of the Covid-19 virus forced him to return home early.

His two public lectures were combined into one and we were very grateful that Pádraig offered to give slightly shortened versions of his two planned evening talks at this one event.

Public lecture

Both parts of this lecture can now be viewed online from our St John's Visiting Scholar page.

Cancelled events

These events were cancelled:

Photo of Joan Taylor

Prof. Joan Taylor


A public talk presented by Professor Joan Taylor

7pm, Friday 24 July 2020


In the time of Jesus the region of Judaea was included within the Roman Empire. Some prospered, but a large part of the population was poor and insecure. Jesus himself was from a simple, rural village. Yet, he was also a visionary. His story is one of empowerment and a call for change. He became a phenomenal healer in a land rife with disease. In his teaching he tackled crucial matters of his time and ours: the natural world, disease, ethics, trade, and the role of the political and religious elite. How can we ‘translate’ his teaching for the world of today?

Dr. Joan Taylor is Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London, and Visiting Scholar in Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. She is a leading expert on the world of Jesus, with a focus on history and archaeology, and the author of numerous books and articles, notably What did Jesus Look Like? (2018). She also works on the Bible in cultural reception (ed., Jesus and Brian, 2015), women/gender and the body (ed., The Body in Biblical, Christian and Jewish Texts, 2014), and the Dead Sea Scrolls (The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea, 2010). She is currently writing a Very Short Introduction to Mary Magdalene for the Oxford series. In addition, she writes novels and poetry.