Research Centre "Religion and Transformation"
Link to the web version
Edition XVIII / October 2020


Dear members and friends of RaT,


A new semester is about to start and we very much hope that you could make full use of the last summer weeks and early autumn days. 

With this first newsletter of the winter semester, we would like to inform you about recent publications, current research projects and upcoming events by the research centre and its members. Over the summer months, we took the time to update the RaT website in order to provide you with an even clearer overview over our research, publications and events.

While formats for exchange and dialogue that require physical presence were scarce, RaT members have been pursuing other formats of discussion over the last months. Thus, our members contributed to various publications, among them the new issue of our open access journal JRAT 6 (1/2020). Similarly, our Blog has been a place of animated conversation, lately focusing on the works of German philosopher of religion Klaus Heinrich with a series of contributions.


We wish you an enjoyable read and a great start into the new semester, 


Lisa Achathaler, Kurt Appel, Jakob Deibl, Marlene Deibl, Martin Eleven, Daniel Kuran, Katharina Limacher, Margareta Wetchy. 


Please consider forwarding our newsletter to those interested in the topics we work on!


The newest issue of our Open-Access Journal J-RAT has recently been published:


J-RAT 6 (1/2020): "Exploring Human Dignity. Foundations and Applications that Transform Contemporary Society",
edited by Sigrid Müller, Todd Salzman, Nenad Polgar, Katharina Mairinger

Two generations after the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there is a need to evaluate what has been achieved when it comes to discussions on human dignity and human rights in terms of their foundations and applications. This issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society addresses this task from the point of view of theological ethics and religious studies. Part One of this collection provides a solid foundation for defining human dignity and promoting human rights. Part Two demonstrates how this foundation can be applied to current and pressing ethical, legal, and theological issues confronting humanity, by addressing four exemplary issues (homosexuality, gender, migrants, and climate change). Combined, these essays point a way forward for the ongoing development of a comprehensive, comprehensible, consistent, and credible definition of human dignity and human rights and their role in addressing ongoing ethical, legal, and theological issues.


Access the new issue here.


We currently have two Calls for Papers for JRAT


"Religion and Disease", to be edited by Rüdiger Lohlker, and "From Syncretism to Hybridity: Transformations in African-derived American Religions", to be edited by Hans Gerald Hödl and Bettina Schmidt. We would like to cordially invite you to forward the calls to researchers interested in the topics!




"What kind of metamorphosis may a term undergo to still be recognized as the same term?"


On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Research Centre RaT, Esther Ramharter explores the meanings of the term "transformation" and analyses how it was used in publications of RaT members over the last years. The text "'Transformations' in the Context of Religion and Society" was published in JRAT 6 (1/2020) and on our blog.



The University of Vienna currently restructures its doctoral programmes. In this context, the Research Centre RaT has initiated the application process for an interdisciplinary doctoral school for theology and research on religion. Together with the Faculty of Catholic Theology and the Faculty of Protestant Theology, a proposal for the “Vienna Doctoral School for Theology and Research on Religion (VDTR)” was submitted to the rectorate at the beginning of September and is currently under evaluation.


Moga, Ioan: "Orthodoxe Selbst- und Fremdbilder". RaT series volume 18, Vienna University Press. 


This volume offers a theological-historical analysis of the orthodox-theological identity discourses in the Romanian-speaking area of the 20th century in view of the perception, assessment and recognition of the Roman Catholic Church. In summary, the author advocates for contingency-conscious hermeneutics in the history of Orthodox theology and for the historication of the different, still influential self-concepts of the Orthodox Church.

Link to the publication. 

Polak, Regina. "Israel's 70th Anniversary: Insights and Perspectives. Politics - Culture - Religion". RaT series volume 19, Vienna University Press. 


This volume discusses political, cultural and religious issues concerning the society living in the State of Israel from an interdisciplinary perspective. It offers insights unknown to many into the interior of the religious, cultural and political laboratory that is Israel.

Link to the publication.

Hödl, Hans Gerald/Mattes, Astrid/Pokorny, Lukas. "Religion in Austria, Volume 5". Praesens, (forthcoming). 


In this volume, experts in their respective fields share important insights into varied aspects of religion in Austria and Austrian religious history. Topics include "Revise, Reclaim, Revive: Towards a New Christian Right in Austria?" and "Occult Vienna: From the Beginnings until the First World".

Link to the publication.


Danz, Christian: "Jesus von Nazareth zwischen Judentum und Christentum. Eine christologische und religionstheologische Skizze". Mohr Siebeck 2020.


In the light of a newer quest for the historical Jesus, the author discusses the role of Christology for the Christian religion and, on the basis of this analysis, proposes a redefinition of the relation between Christianity and Judaism.

Link to the publication.

Rosenberger, Sieglinde; Gruber, Oliver: "Integration erwünscht? Österreichs Integrationspolitik zwischen Fördern, Fordern und Verhindern". Czernin (forthcoming). 


While some forms of institutionalisation of integration measures and policies of integration have been implemented in Austria, the policy field continues to be controversial. This book looks at the developments of these policies, main steps, actors and interests, with special focus on the period 2013-2019. It also aims at understanding the basic image of society and politics in right-wing populism.

Link to the publication.

Deibl, Jakob: Sacred Architecture and Public Space under the Conditions of a New Visibility of Religion. Religions 2020, 11(8). Read the article here.

Lehmann, Karsten: "Textgattungen in der Analyse religiöser Kommunikation und weltanschaulichen Wissens, - Konstruktion eines ‚internationalen Ethos’ in den Archiven des ÖRKs".

In: Schnettler, Bernt / Szydlik, Thorsten / Pach, Helen (Hg.), Religiöse Kommunikation und weltanschaulichen Wissens, Kommunikative Konstruktionen unbeweisbarer Gewissheiten und ihrer gesellschaftlichen Wirkungen, Wiesbaden.

Lehmann, Karsten: Analyse der Grenzstreifen des religiösen Feldes - Eine Einladung zur Diskussion im Anschluss an Pierre Bourdieu. Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft 28 (2020). Read the article here.


Lohlker, Rüdiger: "Saudi Arabia in the Mirror of Saudi Cables". Logos Verlag, October 2020.

An exploratory analysis of the hacked files of the Saudi Foreign Ministry, reinterpreting the idea of state and analysing the structures of Saudi foreign policy, esp., the Islamic missionary system.


Lohlker, Rüdiger: Astronomy as a Global Science: The Case of Islamic Astronomy, published June 3, 2020, at Read the article here.

Lohlker, Rüdiger: Muslim*innen in Österreich. Research Paper on Islam No. 1. Learn more here.


Lohlker, Rüdiger: Islamischer Ökumenismus: Einige Überlegungen. Research Paper on Islam No. 2. Learn more here.



Edition of Paul Tillich’s Correspondence

The international joint project (FWF and DFG) by Christian Danz and Friedrich Wilhelm Graf (University of Munich) has been granted funding by FWF for three years. The overall goal of this project is to edit the correspondences of the Protestant Theologian Paul Tillich (1886-1965) during his German time (1887-1933) and to make it accessible for research in an Open-Access hybrid edition.

Read more about the project here.




Lecture “Politik und Religion”

Religion – understood as both a part of individual identities and of religious communities – impacts social life as well as politics. In Austria, this relationship finds different expressions, from legal regulations of recognition for some religions to the use of religious traditions in symbolic politics or religious engagement in civil society. This lecture intends to shed light on the diverse aspects of the politics-religion-relation from a political science perspective.

Sieglinde Rosenberger, deputy speaker of RaT, invites researchers and experts to speak on topics such as current challenges for the law on religion, the politicisation of Islam and the role of religion in policies of integration. The lecture takes place on Tuesdays, from 4:45 to 6:15pm - in hybrid format! If you would like to participate online, the link to the livestream will be made publicly accessible on this website. For any questions regarding online access, please contact


Lecture Series “Judaism – Christianity – Islam: Inter- and Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Interreligious Dialogue of the Three Abrahamic Religions”

In the winter semester 2020, interreligious dialogue will be the main focus of the cooperation between the Faculty of Catholic Theology, the Faculty of Protestant Theology, the Institute for Jewish Studies, the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies, the Research Centre “Religion and Transformation”, and the Kardinal König Foundation.

The lecture series “Judaism – Christianity – Islam: inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives on interreligious dialogue of the three Abrahamic religions” constitutes the core of this project. It will take place between October 6, 2020 and January 26, 2021 on Tuesdays, 6:30pm-8pm.

For more detailed information, you are welcome to contact


Liberation Theology Workshop "Doing Climate Justice"

The workshop held at KU Leuven between October 22 and 24, 2020, aims to explore the intersections between climate (un)sustainability and (in)justice from the perspective of contextual liberative theologies (liberation theologies, postcolonial theologies, intercultural, feminist and constructive theologies) and stimulates the (re-)formulation and (re-)discovery of theological theories and practices that contribute to climate protection by inspiring the development of socially and economically just ways of life and society. The workshop is organized by RaT member Sebastian Pittl (currently University of Tübingen). The workshop will take place online. Conference language is English. Click here for more information. 

Workshop "Gesellschaftliche Erzeugung von Vielfalt"

As the first event of the research cooperation "Religion_Pluralität" by Anne Koch and Karsten Lehmann, a workshop is held on February 23, 2021 at PHDL Linz (or possibly online). The workshop focuses on the presentation and discussion of brief episodes on religious diversity in Austria. First ideas and concepts have already been uploaded to the website of the Journal 'Pädagogische Horizonte'. Anne Koch and Karsten Lehmann sincerely invite those interested in the topic to participate in the workshop.


Learn More

Conference on Jürgen Habermas postponed to 2021

Due to the current situation, the conference on Jürgen Habermas, organized by the Department of Christian Philosophy and RaT, will now take place from September 22 to September 24, 2021. 



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




"A philosophical narrative of freedom is at the centre of Hegelian philosophy".


On the occasion of Hegel's 250th birthday, Kurt Appel looks at the impact of his writings, his critics and why Hegelian thought experiences a renaissance. The article "Hegel - A Thinker of Freedom" can be found on our RaT Blog.



"Common theme to Heinrich’s erudite lectures and writings (...) is the need for self-reflection of modern society." 


A new edition of the works of Klaus Heinrich, the Berlin-based scholar of religion, has been published by ça ira (Freiburg/Vienna). We honor this publication with a mini-series on our RaT Blog in which several authors pick out an aspect of Heinrich’s pivotal and expansive works and examine it from their perspective. 



Learn more





On the occasion of World Animal Day, Katharina Limacher spoke about pets in the religions. Read more on the show here.


Ö1 Report

Astrid Mattes and Stefan Hammer took part in the panel discussion with the title "Again and again Islam: How does the politicisation of religion affect the political system?" that Ö1 reported about in "Praxis - Religion und Gesellschaft".

Read more here.


Die Presse

Jan-Heiner Tück wrote about the usurpation of church symbols for political campaigns for the Vienna elections that are held on October 11, 2020, in an article titled "Der Stephansdom in Flammen" for Die Presse.

Read the article here.


Der Standard

On the Der Standard - Blog on the Study of Religion, the research project by Karsten Lehmann and Alexandra Katzian on religious diversity in schools in the 1920s and 2020 is introduced. Read the article here.

European Forum Alpbach 

Irene Klissenbauer discussed the influence of religious actors in the engagement for women´s rights at the European Forum Alpbach. More than 200 participants joined her hybrid Working Group and discussed heatedly debated topics in this context.

Read more here.



RaT member Sabine Grenz recently took up the post as a tenure track professor for Gender Studies at the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences and at the Department of Social Sciences. We wish her all the best for her new position!

Research Centre "Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society" | Schenkenstraße 8-10, 1010 Wien | | Unsubscribe here