Religious beliefs play an important role in human history. Many cultures are religious in character. Even though religions view themselves differently, many of them are characterized by elements such as the search for meaning, moral orientation and a faith that transcends the boundaries of individual existence. Dealing with these phenomena is of particular importance against the background of current developments.
The Frankfurt PhD program "Theology as ’Wissenschaft’: Formation processes of the reflexivity of faith traditions in historical and systemic analysis” is investigating how people think about their faith and how solid traditions have developed from such thinking. The researchers look back into history, as well as into the present, and examine how religious beliefs are founded and how they contribute to the formation of norms. Interdenominational and interdisciplinary work is carried out in the program and, thus, several academic subjects are being researched together: Protestant and Catholic theology, Jewish and Islamic religious studies, as well as disciplines in philosophy and history. The goal of these research projects is to work out a common understanding of a scientifically driven reflection of faith (theology) in different contexts.
The PhD program is a cooperation between Goethe University and the Philosophical-Theological University Sankt Georgen, the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The German Research Foundation (DFG) has been funding the program since April 2012 and, following a positive evaluation, has further approved it. After the funding expires in March 2021, research is planned to continue in a broader institutional context.