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Prof. Dr. Thomas M. Schmidt
Prof. Dr. Markus Wriedt

Scientific Coordination
Dr. Daniela Wehrstein


Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

GRK Theologie als Wissenschaft
IG-Farben-Haus (FB 07)

Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1

60629 Frankfurt


How to Find Us
Campus Westend,
IG-Farben main building:
6th floor, room 6.357.
Phone: 0049 - (0)69 798 33343

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Theology as an Academic Discipline

Recent academic Theology is the result of a long historical process which established forms and institutions of reflexivity within different religious traditions. This process is fundamental for any dialogue among religions themselves and between religion as such and the secular world. Although the multifarious presence of religion(s) is very much in the focus of today’s (post) secular society, the analytical potential of Theology and its ‘scientific’ character as an academic discipline are regarded as precarious.

Research Theological Reflexivity

Against this background, the PhD programme “Theology as an Academic Discipline” (in German: Graduiertenkolleg “Theologie als Wissenschaft”, abbr. “GRK”) will reconstruct the historical formation and constitution of theological reflexivity in exemplary fields and, at the same time, offer a systematic account of a rational basis for religious normativity today. Intrinsically interconfessional and interreligious in its character, the PhD programme will not only engage the different normative religious traditions, represented by the respective theologies, but by including relevant non-theological disciplines will also foster a transdisciplinary discourse which aims at a mutual illumination about the emergence and purpose of theology.

Focus on Fields of Conflict

On the level of specific topics of research, the PhD programme focuses on exemplary fields of conflict between the religious traditions themselves and with their ‘secular’ surroundings. These conflicts are studied with regard to their relevance for the historical evolution and for the contemporary form of Theology. In contrast to more empirical approaches in religious studies, sociology and psychology, the PhD programme will put a lesser emphasis on a neutral description of the diverse religious phenomena, but will provide an analysis of the reflexive self-description of religions and their normative claims and argumentations.

Strengthen Interdisciplinary Cooperation

On the level of academic organization the PhD programme will build on and strengthen existing interdisciplinary cooperation between the faculties of Protestant and Catholic Theology, Philosophy and History and the Institute of Islamic Studies at the Goethe-University (main research area: “Religion in Dialogue”). This applies also to the cooperation with the Philosophisch-Theologischen Hochschule Sankt Georgen and the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, Heidelberg. The PhD programme will help to establish Islamic Theology as an academic discipline in Germany. It aims at bringing forth alumni with an interreligious competence for academic, political, social and religious careers, and at creating equal opportunities for women in the theologies.


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