Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion


Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support, and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum. Its mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history. The ISR also embraces the study of religious effects on such things as prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development, and social conflict. Their scholars’ research encompasses a diversity of fields, including history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, philosophy, epidemiology, theology, and religious studies. Engaging these distinct yet interrelated fields, ISR holds conferences and lectures to feature their scholars’ research, featuring topics that range from faith and film to leadership and national unity in times of crisis. Key partners include the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health, Institute for Jewish & Community Research, and the Berkley Center’s Religious Freedom Project, among others.

Program on Historical Studies of Religion

The Program on Historical Studies of Religion unites a number of outstanding scholars associated with Baylor University to pursue and promote historical research and writing on religion.

Global Studies of Religion

Just as the Program on Historical Studies pursues religion across time, this program pursues it across space.

Program on Religion and Population Health (PRPH)

The mission of the Baylor ISR Program on Religion and Population Health (PRPH) is to conduct and promote social, behavioral, and epidemiologic research on the impact of religious involvement on indicators of population health.

Program on Prosocial Behavior

The Program on Prosocial Behavior approaches the study of behavior from a different starting point. For decades a great deal of government funding has been dedicated to studying the causes of social problems like crime and delinquency. Much of this work has focused on why people commit deviant acts or the many factors that put people at-risk for the commission of illegal behavior.

Manuscript Research Collegium

The Baylor University Collegium for Manuscript Research is an association of Baylor scholars who do manuscript or papyrus research in Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Latin and several medieval vernaculars. We have formed a collegium to facilitate the work of our members, which includes primary research on both documentary and literary papyri, the preparation of diplomatic editions with translation, critical editions and the study of reading practices.

Religious Freedom Project

The Religious Freedom Project (RFP) is the nation’s only university-based program devoted exclusively to the analysis of religious freedom, a basic human right restricted in many parts of the world. The RFP engages a team of international scholars to examine and debate the meaning and value of religious liberty; its importance for democracy; and its role in social and economic development, international diplomacy, and the struggle against violent religious extremism. The project is made possible by the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation and our partnership with Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project.


  • A Baylor ISR Special Research Report
    Not by Faith or Government Alone: Rethinking the Role of Faith-Based Organizations
  • ISR Reports
    View reports from the Institute for Studies of Religion.
  • Recent Publications
    View recent publications by ISR staff and scholars.
  • Case Studies
    View case studies from the Institute for Studies of Religion.
  • Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion (IJRR)
    IJRR was founded to publish very high quality, original research on religion by scholars, regardless of their field of specialization. Unfortunate accidents of history separated the social sciences into an archipelago of fields and departments. Efforts to break through these artificial barriers by publishing interdisciplinary journals have been handicapped because these publications have conferred less prestige to authors than have the best journals focused on a single field. Consequently, some of the most important articles published by the specialty journals are difficult for nonspecialists even to be aware of, let alone appreciate fully, while interdisciplinary journals have lacked the space needed to include the additional explanations, definitions, and context to make many important articles fully accessible to nonspecialists.

ISR Staff & Affiliates


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