Neuroscience and Spirituality: Towards a Thomistic Approach (Juurikkala)

Fr Oskari Juurikkala

Pontifical University of Santa Croce

There is a growing body of research on the relationship between spirituality and neuroscience. Some scholars have sought to identify the neural basis of spiritual experiences, while others have studied the neurological effects of spiritual practices. Little has been done so far to put this research in dialogue with classical theology. This talk will give an overview of recent research on spirituality and neuroscience, and propose a Thomistic framework for establishing a constructive dialogue.

Fr Oskari Juurikkala is an assistant professor of fundamental theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He did his doctoral work on the metaphor of the book of nature in patristic and medieval theology. He is currently a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and Religion, working on the dialogue between cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and fundamental theology. Before moving into theology, he worked as a researcher in law and economics, which he studied at the London School of Economics and the University of Helsinki. Fr Oskari is passionate about building bridges between different specializations and traditions, and finding the true and the good in its varied manifestations in thought and experience. A semi-professional drummer from his youth, he is also an avid music lover across genres from jazz to heavy metal.