Alister Hardy Trust
The Alister Hardy Trust is a registered charity managed by a Board of Trustees. Its object is to further the study of religious and spiritual experience started by Sir Alister Hardy FRS in 1969.
The Trust seeks to address itself to objective research, communicating its findings to the public, and offering a forum for discussion for those interested in spirituality. In seeking to undertake its objectives, the Trust is grateful for all donations to assist it in its work.
The Trust is committed to:
- Inter-disciplinary research into contemporary spirituality and religious experience;
- Bringing together people who have an interest in this study;
- Working with other organisations with overlapping interests;
- Emphasising the importance of spirituality in education, healthcare, business and other areas.
The Patrons of the Alister Hardy Trust are:
- Bronwen, Viscountess Astor
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
- His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-OConnor
- Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr
- The Revd. Dr John A. Newton
- His Eminence Supreme Primate, Koken Otani
- Sir Jonathon Porritt
- Lord Rees-Mogg
- Chief Rabbi Professor Jonathan Sacks
- Swami Chidanand Saraswati
- Dr Rowan Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth PC FBA FRSL FLSW
- Right. Revd. Wyn Evans, Bishop of St. Davids
The Trustees of the Alister Hardy Trust include:
- The Revd. Canon Professor Leslie Francis (chair)
- Dr Andrew Village (Hon. Secretary)
- The Revd. Professor June Boyce-Tillman
- Andrew Burns (Chair of Alister Hardy Society)
- John Franklin
- David Greenwood (Treasurer and Vice-Chair)
- Marianne Rankin
- Prof David Voas
- Jane Winship
The Centre's findings are published in books, reports, articles, occasional papers etc. the most important being The Spiritual Nature of Man by Sir Alister Hardy, Exploring Inner Space and Religious Experience Today by David Hay, The Original Vision and Living the Questions by Edward Robinson and A Sense of Presence by Timothy Beardsworth.
Alister Hardy RERC Archive Database
The Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre holds an archive with around 6,000 accounts of first-hand spiritual experiences sent to the centre since its foundation in 1969.
While the archive was always open to members of the Alister Hardy Society for the Study of Spiritual Experience, people had access only in the RERC on the Lampeter campus of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Now this database has been made available online.
In order to use this database you must become a member of the Alister Hardy Society for the Study of Spiritual Experience. You then download the Confidentiality Form, sign it and send it to:
Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre
University of Wales Trinity Saint David
You will then be given a password which, used with your e-mail address, will give you access.
About Sir Alister Hardy
Dating from his boyhood at Oundle School, Hardy had a lifelong interest in spiritual phenomena, but aware that his interests were likely to be considered unorthodox in the scientific community, apart from occasional lectures he kept his opinions to himself until his retirement from his Oxford Chair.
During the academic sessions of 1963-4 and 1964-5, he gave the Gifford Lectures at Aberdeen University on the evolution of religion, later published as The Living Stream and The Divine Flame. These lectures signalled his wholehearted return to his religious interests.
In 1969 he founded the Religious Experience Research Unit in Manchester College, Oxford. The Unit began its work by compiling a database of religious experiences and continues to investigate the nature and function of spiritual and religious experience at the University of Wales, Lampeter. In 1973 he met with A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and other devotees of the Hare Krishna movement and discussed Vedic literature, the divine flame and Rabindranath Tagore.
Hardy's biological approach to the roots of religion is currently shared by a number of other researchers (cf. Scott Atran, Pascal Boyer) but unlike them Hardy did not wish to be reductionist, seeing religious awareness as having evolved in response to a genuine dimension of reality. For his work in founding the Religious Experience Research Centre, Hardy received the Templeton Prize shortly before his death in 1985
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