god and the good life

What constitutes the good life? The research programme “God and the Good Life” brings scholars together from across theological disciplines to explore what distinctive insights theology offers to this question. Specifically, it investigates the ways in which human beings may flourish in communities centred on the Triune God, and focuses on how these communities contribute to the Common Good.

For Christian theology (taking up the Aristotelian tenet that human beings are ‘political animals’), the good life is relational and human flourishing involves a communality: God created human beings so that they would flourish in communion with him and one another; God made a covenant with Israel, blessing his people so that they would be a blessing. In Jesus Christ, the supreme calling of human beings is revealed. Christ made a way for all human beings to find fullness of life amid suffering and death. In being sent by God’s Spirit and in sending his Spirit, he enabled and commissioned the Church to witness to the hope of God’s coming kingdom even in and through suffering. Far from ignoring broken lives and failing communities, a theological perspective on the good life and human flourishing addresses the brokenness of human existence, the reality of evil and injustice in light of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.


Participants who wish to be part of the programme «God and the Good Life» commit to being part of the  Collegium Emmaus and its activities. They devote some of their time and research to the purposes of the research programme. Beyond their research, members are open to participating, where possible, in activities and events that foster the renewal of the church and serve the common good.

The research community is committed to certain joint events and research activities. These are annual:

  1. One Study-Week with a scholar-practitioner collaborative
  2. One Colloquium
  3. One Consultation
  4. Attendance of and participation in the Study Days

The programme aims to start with the first cycle of three years in the academic year 2019/2020. Each year will have a particular focus, following the focal point laid out in the research programme mentioned.


Professors may recommend their doctoral students for membership, and postdoctoral researchers apply to the board. The final decision to accept someone into the programme is taken by the board. which reserves the right to reject applications.

Members who wish to do so can leave the programme at any time but need to inform the professors of their decision, who will then communicate with the board.

Doctoral students who are part of the programme regularly enroll as doctoral students in their home university through whatever (structured or non-structured) doctoral programmes they wish.

Their participation in and contribution to the activities of the programme «God and the Good Life» can be made extrinsically compatible with the requirements of structural doctoral programmes (i.e., they can retrospectively be awarded credits for it). In principle, the provisions and regulations of the enrolling university apply.

All members of the Collegium Emmaus are encouraged to link their research to some kind of engagement in the church (be this through teaching, preaching, youth work etc.) and/or for the common good of the wider society.