University of Erfurt

Theological research seminar

Scientific program

The Theologische Forschungskolleg deals with transformation processes of Christianity and the Church in European contexts. It is based on profound processes of change, which will continue to seriously change the profile of the Christian faith and its practice as well as of church institutions in a short period of time. The Research College investigates scientifically various aspects of these processes, develops theologically responsible models for the future of faith and church, and accompanies the development of both constructively and critically. The general interest shared by the various projects in the college is devoted to the tasks, challenges and perspectives of Christianity in a strongly secularized society. Both individual manifestations of the Christian faith and the institution church change with their cultural and social environment:

  • In order to be able to understand the current situation of faith and church, the Research College works both historically and in relation to the present.
  • The question of God is posed in a new and different way in a pluralistic society that offers many interpretations of history and life and opens up the possibility of the "secular option".
  • In a plural, strongly secularized society, the place and task of academic theology must be redefined.
  • That model of church, which is strongly hierarchically structured and relies on a local parish structure, is clearly in crisis, with it also traditional forms of ecclesiology.
  • The liturgy, the church's action with rituals, must be more and more open also for people who are little or not at all familiar with religious traditions, and must prove itself in new, churchly unusual life situations.
  • Intercultural and ecumenical experiences of the churches and academic theologies open up perspectives for contemporary development.

Of particular interest are specific conflict situations and their solutions in (religious-) political, social and church contexts.
Theologians from various disciplines work together on the described and similar questions. They work together with scholars from other disciplines of the humanities, cultural studies and social sciences.  The cooperation with partner institutions in Central Eastern and Western Europe broadens the view to their own questions and integrates findings from other scientific contexts.
The Research College particularly supports doctoral students with their respective projects. The professors contribute to the research work with their own and networked research projects. Regular colloquia, guest lectures and interdisciplinary as well as international conferences offer space for scientific discussions and the development of new research projects.

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