Theological research

Professor Hubertus Lutterbach’s (Department of Catholic Theology/Historical Theology) project ‘Archaische Religiosität in der Gegenwart’ (‘archaic religiosity in the contemporary world’) applies the theory of the axial age to a selection of primitive religious phenomena that are currently being covered in the German-language and global media. The author first compares them to parallel phenomena which occurred in our cultural sphere during the Early Middle Ages. Second, he explores the equivalence of related phenomena in high forms of religion, such as material offerings vs. offerings to the Immaculate Heart; dynastic sanctity and sanctity of kinship vs the unity of the universal human family etc.) His comparisons show that phenomena of primitive and higher religiousness still coexist in our own modern culture. This surprising expansion of our perspective, which is highly relevant from the perspective of religious history, makes a crucial contribution to our mutual understanding in a world that is shaped by religions and religious conflicts in many ways. It is indispensable for human-rights activists, people working in interfaith contexts, peace activists and those with an interest in ecumenism. The planned publication aims to contribute to interfaith and intercultural dialogue from the perspective of cultural studies.

To what extent do schools in socially precarious environments recognise the connection between religion, poverty/social deprivation and religious and cultural diversity brought about by migration? How do they react to it? Professor Thorsten Knauth’s and Silke Reindl’s (Protestant Theology/Religious Pedagogy) project ‘Religion, Armut und Migration in Schulen. Grundlagen einer armutssensiblen Religionspädagogik der Vielfalt’ seeks to answer this question. It is based at the research training group ‘Querschnittliche Fragen der Lehrerbildung sowie Schul- und Unterrichtsentwicklung’ (‘a cross-section of issues in teacher training, school development and lesson planning’). Using qualitative and empirical studies, the researchers reconstruct possibilities and limits inherent to ways in which (religious) pedagogy can overcome ‘difficult diversity’. The project also aims to develop a model of diversity-focused religious pedagogy that takes the realities of schools and poverty into account.