Tom Sojer

Dissertation project:

My dissertation project explores micropolitics of reading, i.e., the transformational promise in practices altering the way one is reading oneself and world. Here, I focus on the writings of Simone Weil (1909–1943) and her concept of lecture (fr., reading). Against this backdrop, I apply traditional techniques of tropological exegesis. The umbrella term ‘tropology’ historically summons practices in different religious traditions that apply a performative hermeneutics of sacred text: This is, the meaning of divine text discloses reality in the way the text is lived out and embodied in the reader’s life and history. Considering Simone Weil’s transformational concept of lecture, I investigate the relationship between, on the one hand, textual shifts in meaning when applying sacred tropes, and, on the other hand, performative shifts in action when exercising tropological exercises. For Simone Weil, applying sacred text, especially biblical tropes, provides textual instruments to shift thought in a way to encounter reality in human life aiming at the sacred as the fugitive concreteness in everyday life rather than an abstract concept of God.

I am interested in processes, techniques, and practices when something turns into flesh and blood (tropology), when something materializes or "incarnates". My work moves along the intersections of late modern mysticism, performance art, and theopoetics. Here, I engage primarily with the writings of the French philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943). With Weil, I try to explore the ancient heritage of tropological exegesis along with the insights of Continental philosophy.

On a theo-political level, tropological thinking brought me to the notion of eusymbiosis, the inevitable interconnectedness and thus shared vulnerability of life - or as Catherine Keller puts it: intercarnation. Against this backdrop, I pursue "doing theology" as something that is both political and never innocent, and never without violence. Theology, for me, is therefore indebted to society for asking ever anew the question of what ultimately matters. In a nutshell, I want to contribute to the theological discourse with a tropological theo-poetics based on Simone Weil. 



For my research profile click here

For my PhD project click here



  • since 05/2021 research assistant at the Chair of Philosophy, University of Erfurt
  • since 11/2019 prae Doc member of the Erfurt School of Theological Research 
  • since 06/2019 fellow at the Titus Brandsma Instituut of the Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
  • since 10/2018 prae Doc member of the IGS Resonant Self-World Relations at the MWK Erfurt and the University of Graz (since 10/2021 associated member)
  • 2012-2018 assistent in research projects funded by the Flemish Science Fund (19th century mysticism and nationalist politics), the Austrian Acadamy of Sciences (early modern cultural translations), the Austrian Integration Fund (Islamic Theologies in European contexts), and the Austrian Science Fund (contemplation and knowledge production) 


  • Studies in Philosophy, Catholic Theology, and Classics in Innsbruck, London (Heythrop College), and Graz
  • Magister Theologiae (University of Innsbruck, 2014)
  • 2018-open PhD in Philosophy 
  • 2018-open MA in Religious Education