Aims and Object
The object of the Académie Internationale des Sciences Religieuses (AISR, International Academy for religious Sciences) is to try to reach balanced conclusions in theology on fundamental questions in an interdisciplinary manner, notably engaging with the science and philosophy of religions. It functions on a deliberately interconfessional and international basis, at a university level of free and exact research. Results are shared with a view to acritical and intellectually fruitful outcome, in an environment favourable to personal and friendly contact between those engaged in the study. The organization of regular colloquia (annually up to this point) is the favoured means of offering such an environment. This web site is intended to be an extension of it, but also a means of sharing more widely in the ideas arising from these debates.
AISR was created in 1964 by a Dominican Friar, Father Stanislas Dockx, Father Dockx, who was present as an expert at the Second Vatican Council, at the service of the Melkite (Greek-Catholic) Patriarch Maximos IV. This experience made him deeply aware of the ecumenical dimension of Christianity. It was also in this milieu that he discovered the group of theologians keen to carry forward open enquiry in theology. The inaugural symposium was held in the ancient Convent of the Dominicans in Constance, in May 1964, on the theme of Episcopal Collegiality. Over a long period some sixty colloquia have followed annually, each time leading to a publication.
The Académie Internationale des Sciences religieuses is one of two branches, with the Académie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences (AIPS), of the Institut International des Sciences Théoriques (International Institute for Theoretical Sciences), which Father Dockx, who was in addition a physicist and mathematician, had founded in 1944. There too he sought to gather the best experts to discuss the fundamental questions of science, transcending all divisions, academic, national, linguistic and personal.
The Academy is quite independent of any superior authority. Its funding was ensured originally by an important legacy of the Dockx family. The association gets no public or institutional subsidy. It is the Patrimony of the International Institute for Theoretical Sciences (Patrimoine de l'Institut International des Sciences Théoriques – PIIST) which annually provides for each of the two Academies a grant to organize planned activities. These activities are planned, with complete autonomy as regards content, by the General Meeting (Assemblée Générale) of elected members held in the course of the annual colloquium. Members, whether offering themselves as candidates, or nominated by existing members to the Academic Committee (Conseil académique), are elected for life at the same general meeting on presentation by the Academic Committee. This ensures, in the spirit of the Academy, the quality of the candidates whom it agrees to present to the General Meeting. Members are asked for no subscription. No fee is charged for participation or for residence during colloquia; members pay only their travelling expenses. Administrative arrangements are managed by a Secretariat, which serves both Academies.