Max-Weber-Kolleg Religion, Society, and World Relations

International Graduate School (IGS) "Resonant Self-World Relations in Ancient and Modern Socio-Religious Practices"

The aim of the joint project is to provide an institutional base for studies comparing the self-world relations that are reflected in the polytheistic practices of ancient times, with those that crystalize in practices of the contemporary (late) modern period.

10/2017 - 03/2022

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) :
1 100 000 Euro

04/2022 - 09/2026

Project management

Prof. Dr. Jörg Rüpke
Holder of the Professorship for Comparative Religious Studies (Vergleichende Religionswissenschaft) (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)

Ritual practices have always been a crucial element of cultural research, for they provided the key to understanding the differences in cultural belief systems. Thus, the differences and changes within antiquity have been reconstructed as the differences between polytheistic and monotheistic rituals and beliefs. However, a closer look shows that many pivotal elements of those practices – ancient as well as modern – cannot be accounted for by reference to belief systems. Questions arise as soon as we notice that in contemporary society there are just as many practices that are in blatant contradiction  to the actors’ belief systems,. The central assumption of our program is that these rituals have to be taken much more seriously and need to be analyzed and understood as socio-religious practices establishing highly significant and particular relationships between self and world. We claim that in all of these ritual practices, particular persons, objects or places are endowed with a power that sacralizes these relationships and makes them resonant, i.e. responsive to the embodied subject.


International Graduate School (IGS) to be funded for a further four and a half years

  • duration of the 2nd funding phase at the University of Erfurt: 2022-2026
  • DFG approval 2.6 million euros (University of Erfurt) // 4.1 million euros in total


For more information, please contact the project-coordinator