Universität Erfurt

Herzlich willkommen auf den Seiten der Zeitschrift "Theologie der Gegenwart"


Abstracts ThG 3/18

Uta Poplutz

Alterität als missionarischer Anknüpfungspunkt am Beispiel des ersten Petrusbriefes

The first epistle of 1 Peter reflects a situation, where the Christians of the diaspora in Asia Minor found themselves in the role of strangers. They suffered from social disintegration and (verbal) attacks. The author of 1 Peter encourages them to live their distinguishing Christian identity in a way that it could be seen in a positive light by others. This resembles a rather quiet, individualized mission. Christians primarily convinced through their way of living, while still revealing their willingness to account for the convictions of their faith (1 Pet 3:15).


Philipp Schmitz

Frei zu glauben oder durch Glauben frei?
Eine Spurensuche nach dem Verhältnis von Freiheit und Glaube bei Paulus und Luther

This article deals with freedom of faith from a systematic-theological perspective by analyzing the relationship between Christian faith and human freedom in Paul and Luther. Subsequently, difficulties as well as benefits arising from the concept of freedom gained from these two thinkers will be discussed. It will be shown that a distinction between different concepts of freedom can not only make a contribution to the history of research but also to the current theological discourse.


Anja Middelbeck-Varwick

„Zwingst du denn die Menschen, dass sie gläubig werden?“ (Sure 10,99).
Glaubenkönnen in den monotheistischen Religionen

Beyond the broad debate on the human right to freedom of religion which is currently of immense relevance for interreligious relations worldwide, this article focuses a theologically connected issue: the capability of faith. Within Judaism, Christianity and Islam a wide range of answers was given over the centuries to determine the relationship of faith and human freedom. Generally spoken all three monotheistic traditions assume that the “Word of God” has to be embraced by humans, but there are many ways how the process of accepting and answering God’s address can be understood – even within each religion.


Andreas Fincke

Vorzugsweise ohne Gott.
Zum Verständnis von Religionsfreiheit in der säkularen Szene

Freedom of religion is like a coin: it has two sides. One is about choosing a religion; the other side is about dissociating oneself from any religion. Latter is the side that dominates in the secular scene. Freethinker, atheists and humanists try to force back the church and religion. But even if they share a similar common goal they differentiate in some issues. For example, the Humanist Associaton of Germany (Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands) wants to participate in the privileges of the church. This article aims at clarifying the main approaches of the organisations regarding this question.


Theologie im Diskurs

Ursula Nothelle-Wildfeuer

Digitalisierung – Globalisierung.
Arbeit 4.0 im Kontext der Sozialen Marktwirtschaft

Work 4.0 stands for the transformation of the working world on the basis of digitally supported innovations, which holds opportunities, but also risks and dangers and thus raises the socio-ethical question of a fair and humane work and economic order anew. On the basis of Christian social ethics and its reflections on the dignity of human labour, concrete commandments for work 4.0 arise within the frame-work of a correspondingly readjusted social market economy.


Josef Pilvousek

55 Jahre Friedrich-Dessauer-Kreis – ein wertender Rückblick

The “Friedrich Dessauer-Kreis”, a society named after the scientist Friedrich Dessauer, was founded in 1963 as a society for people in academia within the area of Erfurt (Generalvikariat Erfurt, Bischöfliches Amt Erfurt-Meiningen, Bistum Erfurt). Dessauer was chosen as the patron for the society in order to show that the society’s understanding of its work and of it pastoral responsibility also included academics that worked in fields other than the humanities. The society is still in existence today. Within East Germany, it was the only such society with a structured annual program, with written invitations sent to all members on file, with an annual weekend where spiritual questions could be discussed, and with a counsel (Geistlicher Beirat) selected by the bishop himself.

Abstracts ThG 2/18


Die Unumgehbarkeit der Anwendung abstrakter Normen im konkreten Einzelfall.
Die Relevanz der Klugheit nach Thomas von Aquin

How can people arrive at making wise decisions for their actions? Thomas Aquinas writes that they cannot just follow a given natural order. They have to find conclusions using practical reason in order to interpret different natural inclinations. Such conclusions inevitably give rise to conflicts between goods and norms which stipulates the use of wisdom in balancing reason and when acting. Hence, the application of abstract norms to the specific circumstances of a case or situation always requires wisdom.



Kirchliches Begräbnis für „sterbewillige“ Katholiken?
Eine herausfordernde Entscheidung zwischen Verkündigung und Seelsorge im Einzelfall

Termination of life for irreversibly sick people is subject to medical, ethical and political debates. The Church absolutely rejects the carrying out of euthanasia or (medically) assisted suicide presented as the last act of human freedom to cause a supposedly dignified dying. Despite the magisterial condemnation the church sees itself confronted with questions while exercising its pastoral ministry: can, may or must she celebrate or deny an ecclesial funeral for Catholic faithful who died in this way? The local pastor is called upon to make a decision about possibilities and limitations of the sanctifying office of the Church in individual cases.



Die Rolle des geweihten Amtsträgers der lateinischen oder orientalischen Kirchen bei der Trauung orientalischer Katholiken

Whenever Eastern Catholics marry, their marriage should be blessed by a priest. This is also the case when they marry a Catholic from the Latin Church. Even when the marriage takes place in the Latin Church, the deacon is absolutely incompetent to assist at such a wedding. The article explains the theological and canonical relevance of the blessing by the priest and comments on the recent changes in the legislation of the Code of canon Law for the Latin Church promulgated by pope Francis.



Kardinal Joachim Meisner und die Geheimweihen für die Kirche in der Tschechoslowakei

The article deals with the relationship of Cardinal Joachim Meisner to Czechoslovakia, his contacts in the Czech and Slovac church and his willingness to administer secret ordinations during the Communist time (1948–1989). In the second part the author describes the complicated situation of the clandestine ordinations in Czechoslovakia as well as the rather unsuccessful recognition of them by the Apostolic See after the Iron Curtain had fallen in 1989. 



Reform und Einheit der Kirche.
Rückblick auf das Reformationsgedenkjahr

Looking back on the Reformation commemoration year 2017, not only critical remarks of the events emerged, but also pioneering insights for the future of ecumenism. Both the Reformation concept and the concept of reform should be reconsidered. On the whole, it shows that ecumenical formation is a component towards unity. In that regard, the examination of the theology of the Reformers is a lasting challenge for an ecumenically oriented theology of the future.



Die Entscheidung, das Schauen und die Liebe.
Zu einer philosophischen Analyse des Mythos von Orpheus

Decision-making, gaze, and love are the main components of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Everything important in human experience is targeted in this myth. While this is the reason why an ancient legend in the history of human thought is reformulated again and again, it is important to analyse it from an ethical-philosophical viewpoint. Because this myth is about the possibility of understanding and respecting the impact of temporality on human existence, without this chance our decisions and relationships would inevitably lose their meaning.

Abstracts ThG 1/18

„Tut dies zu meinem Gedächtnis …“
Erwägungen zu Ursprung und Deutung des Herrenmahls in der nachösterlichen Jüngergemeinde

The origin of the Eucharist is not a last supper Jesus celebrated with his disciples in the night before he suffered and died on the cross. The narratives of the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament Gospels originated within the Early Christian com-munities and their meals that should commemorate Jesus who considered his meals with sinners as a sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God and its blessings.

‚Symbolismus‘ und ‚Metabolismus‘.
Zur theologischen Deutung der eucharistischen Elemente in der Alten Kirche

In the early church there was a variety of mutually complementary explanations of the Eucharist. This text demonstrates that the theological interpretations of the Eucharistic elements in a ‚symbolic‘ and ‚metabolic‘ form cannot be played off against each other at this time, since some writers managed to represent the two.

Das ist mein Leib
Grundzüge des Verständnisses Luthers vom Herrenmahl

In 1519, Luther began to deal with the questions concerning the the Lord's Supper in greater detail. In the beginning his main focus was on its community character. But with the appearence of the Fanatists as well as Zwingli and the reformation in Zurich and the controversial theological discussions with them the immediate happening between the promising Christ and the trusting believer was brought to the fore. That´s why Luther adhered to the Real Presence of Christ so strongly. According to Luther, only this „modell“ allowed to „take [the promising Christ] at his word“ and to experience and to proclaim the salvation as trustworthy from there.

Klingende Rezeption des Letzten Abendmahls im Wandel von 50 Jahren.
Klangschöpfungen von Max Baumann (1959) und Wilfried Hiller (2009)

Using the example of two settings by Max Baumann und Wilfried Hiller, this article illustrates the 20th-centuary musical interpretation of the Last Supper over the course of 50 years. The theological-spiritual dimension of the music is analyzed on the basis of liturgical as well as secular sources of inspiration. In this way, both traditional and unconventional approaches to the biblical event become apparent.

Abstracts ThG 4/17

Wie pfeift man das Johannesevangelium? Über Autorität und Eigensinn

History is characterized by constant movements and powers that both create order and destroy it while replacing old authorities by new ones. This is mirrored in the setting of societal norms of formation in the fields of education, science, religion, and art. The paper investigates the historical interplay of authority and subversion. By means of selected examples from literature, the article explores their political power to build society and their facilities for self-determination and freedom beyond norms and censorship.

Lesen, Schreiben, Übertragen. Zur kulturellen Bedeutung des Übersetzens für die Bildung

Stressing the crucial role of language(s) for concepts like education, intercultural communication as well as mental development and agility in general, the essay introduces various approaches to translation theory, exemplified by Martin Luther and Friedrich Schleiermacher. Drawing on the author’s substantial hands-on experience as translator of numerous art- and cultural-historical, philosophical and other texts, it contrasts these theoretical notions with the requirements and challenges of the daily translational practice in the age of Rosetta Stone and other automated translation programmes.

Nach dem Posthumanismus
Bildung, Politik und der Stachel christlicher Erinnerung

This essay focuses on the contemporary debate about education. This debate, it argues, is more often than not characterized by a pragmatic exclusion both of the wider political and social and of the wider philosophical anthropological dimensions of education. In the following, it shows the political consequences of a functionalist, collectivistic, scientistic, and formalistic understanding of education and discusses the contribution of a new humanism and of Christianity for a „post-post-humanistic“ approach to education.

Der Mensch als uneingelöstes Versprechen. Theologie und Anthropologie bei Eugen Biser: Eine Erinnerung zum 100. Geburtstag

Who or what is a human being? This question is a current one in the 20th century, the age of extremes (Eric Hobsbawm), as humanity faces seduction, totalitarianism, and barbarism once more. The analysis of the human existence plays a fundamental role in the thought of Eugen Biser. He does not reduce Christianity to mere anthropology but takes the constant threat to humanity’s existence into consideration – which he experienced first-hand – by opening his theology to the question of what God intended for a truly human life. In his work, the philosopher Biser connects a diagnosis of the times with existential philosophy, and hermeneutics to an extensive theory of the faith. His main characteristic is the reference to Friedrich Nietzsche. Biser views Nietzsche’s critique of religion as a „space“ from whence a renewed theology might gain new impetus in order to let the good news of God becoming human flow into the human discussion once more.

Kleine Rezension zu Nietzsches Antichrist und zu Schleiermachers 250. Geburtstag, oder: Philosophie als halbseitige Lähmung und Theologen-Instinkt

Today’s attempts to understand the relationship of Christianity and philosophy are still predominantly characterized by all-too simplifying dichotomies such as Reason and Enlightenment vs. Faith and Mysticism. Conceived as a „small review“ in the sense of the Moravian poet Jan Skácel, this article takes up Nietzsche’s critique of philosophy as „deceitful theology“ and illustrates this with a Berlin caricature from 1868 that resonates with the upcoming 250th birthday of German philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher.


Der ökumenische Gottesdienst in Lund am 31. Oktober 2016: ein theologischer Kommentar

The text addresses the challenge for Lutherans and Roman Catholics to jointly commemorate the Reformation 500 years ago. It analyzes the theological findings presented in the Catholic/Lutheran dialogue document “From Conflict to Communion”, especially the distinction between different meanings of “Reformation” and the presentation of main features of Luther’s theology against the background of 50 years of ecumenical dialogue. These insights served as the basis for the ecumenical prayer service in the Cathedral of Lund (Sweden) with Pope Francis and the leaders of the Lutheran World Federation on October 31, 2016, that was observed worldwide. In it, both communities looked back at the Reformation in thanksgiving and regret, and committed themselves to continue the journey to communion. This prayer service is described as an outstanding reception of an ecumenical dialogue result through its liturgical manifestation.

Abstracts ThG 3/17

Reinhard Feiter
Das Evangelium ist für alle da

The main challenge of the presence is to realize the universality of the gospel in a new way – in a dual sense: realize in terms of a new understanding and in terms of implementing it into the pastoral care – this is the central Thesis of this article. Given reasons are the history of Christianity in western europe and the doctrine by the Second Vatican Council, the doctrine of the sacramentality of the church. The pastoral conversion, who demands this, is characterized by three elements: (1) a practice of hospitality, that is open for people who are searching, or of different faith, or who are indifferent to religion; (2) an attention for the faith of life of people and the courage, to appeal them on it; (3) the connection between a “missionary option” and “the option for those who are least the option for those who are least, those whom society discards” (Pope Francis).


Ewald Huscava
Die hellenistische Kultur des Symposions als Grundmodell für das Herrenmahl.
Vielstimmiger Austausch versus Monolog

The article leads back to the roots of the “Meal of the Lord”, by means of contextualization. This context is reconstructed in the Hellenistic culture of the symposium, which allows the detection of a two-part coming together; firstly the meal, that leads to saturation and secondly a symposium, that refers to the culture of wine. In this second part, everybody has to make his contribute by telling stories, reciting a poem or raising interesting questions even on philosophic topics, what includes a manner of teaching. This culture of symposium can be detected in the praxis of the Lord, in St. Paul’s community of Corinth up to Tertullian at the beginning of the third century. That allows the reconstruction the homiletic situation, which one can characterize as “polyphonic”. Everybody had the chance to give his (teaching or singing) contribute in the celebration of the Eucharist, which included a real meal and drinking wine in a real sense and not in a symbolically compressed manner.


Alexander Deeg
Verkündigung in der Geste des Zeigens.
Oder: Predigt in der Erwartung des Wortes Gottes

The Protestant Church used to be called the “Church of the Word” (Kirche des Wortes). But nowadays there is some ambiguity among Protestant Christians about the role and status of preaching and proclaiming the ‘word’. On the one hand, Protestants still see the sermon as the most important part of the Sunday service; on the other hand there is an ongoing critique towards the sermon. This critique may, and this is the suggestion of the author, be connected with a theological problem: Christian proclamation cannot convey messages the preacher ‘has’ or the church ‘holds’ or ‘possesses’. The word of God is a transforming word for the listeners and therefore the gesture of preachers can only be the gesture of pointing towards. Both – preachers and listeners – are thus expecting the word of God. This concept of preaching and proclaiming is shown in the article by reconstructing Martin Luther’s understanding of a sermon and the word of God and by asking, how the content of the sermon, i.e. the message of the living Christ, can be described today.


Martin Lörsch
Von Gott erzählen in der Spätmoderne.
Überlegungen zu einer praktisch-theologische Ekklesiologie der Kirche als Überlieferungs-, Erzähl- und Hoffnungsgemeinschaft – reflektiert anhand der Synode für das Bistum Trier

The situation of the Church in Western Europe proves to be precarious when critically reflecting the preaching of the Gospel, the binding commitment of its members and the socialisation of the next generation. In latter years synodal discussion processes („synodale Gesprächsprozesse“) have taken place in the German Church to respond to these challenges. This article discusses the question of whether a diocesan synod (cf. can. 460 et seq. CIC) can help the local church as a traditional and narrative community and also one of hope („Überlieferungs-, Erzähl- und Hoffnungsgemeinschaft”) in order to establish and achieve a church fit for the future. This reference is made to the Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Trier (2013-2016) and the process of implementation of its decisions as a practical example.


Elke Mack
Die Suche nach westlicher Identität, die Europa zusammenhält

Currently, many hostilities occur towards the European Union and the Western System as such. Therefore the author asks for the reasons of those mental reservations and political radicalization in parts of Western societies. At the same time she analyzes the common ground, put forward by a common history of the Western mind, a similar culture of right based interaction and a rational mutual understanding in spite of differences in culture and language. Globalisation, inequality, social deprivation, migration and similar problems make people feel uncertain and frightened, so they often become political radicals as well as nationalists. However, cosmopolitical openness, tolerance of pluralism and a sense of universal humanity are complex and overly demanding, even for Europeans. Nevertheless, these values correspond to their moral tradition of universality which is mainly influenced by Christianity and enlightenment. In the face of this ethical tradition, it shows, that the idea of humanity is the core of Western and European identity.





Nutzermenü und Sprachwahl