Research Centre "Religion and Transformation"
Link to the web version
Edition XV / March 2020


Dear members and friends of RaT

As the spring term draws near, we are pleased to send you edition XV of our newsletter in a new design!

As always, you will find information on publications, upcoming and past events, research projects and third mission activities in this newsletter.


We wish you an enjoyable read!


Lisa Achathaler
Kurt Appel
Jakob Deibl
Marlene Deibl

Martin Eleven

Anna Maria Kontriner

Daniel Kuran

Katharina Limacher




Since 2019, the open access Journal JRAT is published by the renowned publishing house BRILL. You can read and download all issues of JRAT in the BRILL-online library.


JRAT 1/2019

Religious Experience, Secular Reason and Politics around 1900. Sources of the Contemporary Turn to Spirituality


The emergence of a scholarly and popular interest in religious experience, spirituality and mysticism around 1900 plays a crucial role in the further transformations in religion in the twentieth century and in contemporary Western and non-Western societies. The ‘rediscovery’ of the various spiritual and mystical sources and traditions, and the turn towards the individual’s religious experiences, can be situated against the background of a growing critique of global scientific positivism and the rise of secular (atheistic, Marxist) philosophies. The turn to spirituality and mysticism is associated with political projects of anti-imperialist emancipation in for example, India, the Islamic countries, Russia and Latin-America. Through philosophical inquiries into key authors such as Bergson, Blondel, James, Heidegger, Bremond, Weil, Solov’ëv, Rodó, Iqbal and Vivekenanda, this volume presents a comprehensive perspective on the fundamental issues and discussions that inspired the turn to spirituality in a modern era of secular reason.


Download the articles or find out more on our website!

JRAT 2/2019

Religion, Community, Borders: Social Imaginaries and the Challenge of Pluralism

This issue was published in collaboration with the international consortium SIMAGINE (based at the University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht; members from the Universities of Cambridge, Boulder, Bloemfontein, Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna).


Download the articles




Cornelius Zehetner (Ed.): Menschenrechte und Metaphysik. Beiträge zu Francisco Suárez. Vienna University Press bei V&R unipress, Göttingen 2020.

This is the first German volume for more than one century, dealing with the two main subjects that have dominated the present reception of the Spanish philosopher and theologian Francisco Suárez (1548 – 1617): metaphysics and law theory. The contributors discuss both Suárez as an influential thinker of modern European school metaphysics and as a representant of a global law philosophy and ethics. They also debate on the combination of theory and praxis in the light of the question which commitment a universal First Philosophy could have today. The volume is complimented by an introduction to Suárez’s works and vita, an overview and guide to recent primary and secondary literature, as well as a name register.

Find out more on the V&R-webpage or our website

Featured Publications by our Members

Christian Danz, Kathy Ehrensperger, Walter Homolka: "Christologie zwischen Judentum und Christentum", Tübingen 2020.


Seventy years of Jewish-Christian dialogue has found surprisingly little resonance in Christian Systematic Theology. Arising from findings of contemporary exegesis, the volume presents a variety of diverse approaches to Christology that take Jesus the Jew seriously, and are willing to recognize Judaism in a manner characterized by mutual acceptance and esteem.



Find out more

Dominique Bauer, Astrid Mattes: "Austria", in: Oliver Scharbrodt et al.:

"Yearbook of Muslims in Europe Online" 11/2018.


The Yearbook of Muslims in Europe is an essential resource for analysis of Europe's dynamic Muslim populations. This comprehensive annual reference work summarizes significant activities, trends and developments, and features the most current statistical information available from more than 40 European countries. Dominique Bauer and Astrid Mattes contributed the country chapter on Austria for the recently published Yearbook 2018.

Find out more


Martin Fieder,  Alexander Schahbasi, Susanne Huber: "Do birds of a feather flock together? Factors for religious heterogamy", in: "Journal of biosocial science", Cambridge 2019.

Social cohesion – particularly with regard to the integration of migrants – is primarily measured in terms of education, labour market participation, unemployment, income levels and poverty. When seen from a historical long-term perspective admixture merged members of diverse groups and forged – in addition to social ties – ‘strong biological ties’ of kinship, proposing that religious heterogamy is a long-term layer of social cohesion. Accordingly, this study investigated which demographic characteristics foster religious heterogamy, controlling for various confounding factors using linear mixed modelling.

Find out more


Do you want to learn more about the research of our members? Have a look into our online archive of monographs and articles!




March to May 2020



We warmly invite you to the diverse events on our research topics:


Wednesday, March 18, 3 pm

Guest lecture by Thomas Krüger (Zürich): "Fake History im Alten Testament - Welche theologischen Konsequenzen hat die historische Kritik?"

University of Vienna, Schenkenstraße 8-10, 6th floor, HS 3


Friday, April 24 - Sunday, April 26

Conference "Religion und Psyche. Paul Tillich und die Tiefenpsychologie"

Evangelische Akademie Hofgeismar

Further information


Tuesday, May 5, 09:45 am

Guest lectures by Zdeněk Vojtíšek: "The Millenarianism of the Grail Movement" and "The Millenarianism of the Plymouth Bretheren"

University of Vienna, Schenkenstraße 8-10, 1st floor, SR 5

Further information


Friday, May 8, 10 am

Workshop on the Construction of religious plurality

PHDL Linz, Salesianumweg 3

Further information


Further events organised by RaT-members:


Monday, March 30, 11:30 am

Guest lecture by Danilo Verde (Leuven): "'Who Is Like You Among the Gods, O YHWH' (Exod 15,11). The Interweaving of Metaphors in the Song of the Sea"

University of Vienna, Schenkenstraße 8-10, 6th floor, HS 3


Tuesday, April 21, 9:45 am

Guest lecture by Uri Gabbay (Jerusalem): "Sumerian Laments from Ancient Mesopotamia: Performance and Emotions"

University of Vienna, Campus Court 7, Institute for Jewish Studies, HS 1


 If you want to keep up to date, you always find the latest information on our upcoming events here.



On occasion of Jürgen Habermas' latest publication, the Department for Christian philosophy will organise an international congress in cooperation with RaT. The congress will take place from September 23 to 25 2020 in Vienna.

Detailed information will follow.



Among the many events that took place in the recent months, we want to highlight two: The international conference "Interreligious Dialogue in Context. A European Comparison" and the workshop "Theology and Africa".



Interreligious Dialogue in Context

From October 17 to October 19 2019, the international conference “Interreligious Dialogue in Context: A European Comparison“ took place. The conference was organised by Karsten Lehmann (KPH Vienna/Krems) in cooperation with RaT.

A characteristic of the conference was that it allowed for a systematic comparison of activities of Interreligious Dialogue in diverse European countries for the first time. Experts gave talks on Interreligious Dialogue in countries like England, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sweden, Denmark and Macedonia. Additionally, interdisciplinary contributions from the perspectives of theology, educational studies, law and others enriched the conference.

Theology and Africa


The workshop „Theology and Africa“ took place in the Dominican monastery in Vienna on December 17 2019. It was organised by the Institute of Fundamental Theology and  RaT and took place for the second time. Students coming from different theological fields presented projects on theological topics in African contexts. The presentations and discussions were complemented by a lecture by Daniela Waldburger, lecturer at the Institute for African Studies, University of Vienna.


Read a review written by Samuel Siaw



Find out more on recent events in our archive!


Ugo Dessì is currently working at Cardiff University. He was Research Fellow at the Institute for Religious Studies, University of Vienna, in 2017 and 2018. Here, he worked on a research project on Religion and Secularity in Japan cofinanced by RaT.

Recently, the volume "Secularities in Japan" (Journal of Religion in Japan 8/2019) was published by BRILL. Find more information on the publication here.

On our website, you can read more about visiting scholars and current research projects.



RaT members also contribute to public discurse by writing in newspapers, giving statements in television and podcasts or publishing on our blog.





Astrid Mattes and Georg Traska on air


Astrid Mattes and Georg Traska were Julia Grillmayr's guests in a new episode of "Makro Mikro", a podcast produced by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In their talk entitled "Gretchenfrage 2.0", the researchers engage in questions of youth religiosity in the light of increasing secularity, diversity and digitalisation.


Listen to the podcast online



Find more press contributions by RaT-members in our archive and read texts by Regina Polak, Jan-Heiner Tück and others.





On our blog, you find contributions by RaT-members and affiliated scientists. Read texts by Joceylne Cesari, Ingeborg Gabriel, Karsten Lehmann and others online. 


Call for papers

Liberation Theology Workshop - Doing Climate Justice. Theological contributions between concern and resistance

6th workshop „Liberative Contextual Theologies“
October 22-25 2020, Leuven

Organised by RaT-member Sebastian Pittl and others


Deadline: April 30 2020


Further information


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