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Institute for Catholic Theology

Professor positions

The professor positions must focus on the profile of theological anthropology with global or global historical perspectives. The Institute has five professor positions, two W3 professor positions, two W1 professor positions with tenure track and one W1 professor position. In addition to this there is also the Guardini professor position, who is currently re-appointed every two to three years as a guest professor.

The focus of the professor positions’ teaching and research is the following areas:

1. Professorship in Biblical Theology

The main theme of biblical theology is the texts in both the Old and New Testament. It deals with the history of creation and methods of interpreting biblical texts. The object and objective is to analyse and interpret the biblical texts both in terms of the historical, cultural and religious context of their origins and to consider these in terms of their significance to current issues in theology and the Church. It therefore looks at cultural and literary history, religious history of the ancient Near East and Graeco-Roman antiquity and biblical archaeology, simultaneously reflecting on issues of hermeneutics with regard to an academic interpretation and appropriation of biblical texts in the context of theology and the Church. The same methods and processes as those common in literary history and literary studies are used in the analysis and interpretation of biblical texts. The history of the reception and effect of biblical texts is also part of biblical theology. There is some cross-over with patrology and the history of dogma here. The significance of the bible as a normative guideline for theological arguments and ecclesiastical lives means biblical theology takes on a key and fundamental role within the theological subjects and interdisciplinary collaboration. The post holder should attach particular importance to issues of the position of man as a person within biblical texts and from the period in which Christianity first developed.

2. Professorship in Historical Theology

Historical theology looks at the various forms that Christian belief has taken over the course of its development and up to the present day and examines and reflects on the development, significance and role of the Church and churches in various phases of history. It looks at both people and events and structures and lives within the Church and churches. By always analysing historical facts against the background of their significance in terms of theological issues and modern ecclesiastical practice and the development of this, it goes beyond the subject matter, issues and tasks of general and mundane history. At the same time, it does not use any principles or sources that are any different to those used for history, and uses conventional historical and philological methods and processes for its investigations and evaluations. In the same way as history, historical theology as a university discipline is broken down in line with the division of time periods into antiquity, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Historical theology also includes sub-disciplines such as patrology and the study of Eastern Christian teaching. The history of dogma and theology includes overlaps between historical and systematic theology and the history of liturgy includes overlaps between historical and practical theology. The professor position will therefore play a key role in interdisciplinary collaboration in the new institute. According to the profile of the institute, the post holder should dedicate particular attention to the history of ideas of Christian anthropology and research this within global historical perspectives.

3. Professorship in Systematic Theology

The subject matter and objective of systematic theology are the examination and associated representation of Christian belief. It looks at both the content and the development and changes in it over the course of history and at the consequences of faith for the life of both the Church and the believer. It examined individual convictions for coherence with one another and with their origins in biblical tradition. It discusses the claim that there is truth in Christian convictions and the validity of the standards of human behaviour that arise from faith, including engaging with the large number of modern philosophical, religious and ideological positions. It reflects on existence and the subject of divine revelation and the theoretical requirements of belief and revelation. At the same time it also attempts to give an account of faith and revelation as the source of theological insights and ethical and moral statements using critical reasoning tools. The job of systematic theology is therefore to critically reflect on and examine church teachings and theological doctrines but also to discuss church dogmas and theological convictions in light of the current issues and challenges with which the Church and believers are faced as a result of social, cultural, economic and ecological developments and other changes in other areas of life. The post holder should reflect in particular on religious convictions taking into account anthropology in particular.

4. Professorship in Practical Theology

Practical theology addresses and examines different areas of ecclesiastical and religious life and religious practice. In addition to pastoral theology, it primarily comprises religious education, liturgical sciences and church theory. As practical theological disciplines, pastoral theology and religious education analyse and reflect on the requirements and forms of religious learning processes in children, adolescents and adults in church, school and society. They develop both theoretical approaches and models for the practice of religious instruction and religious education in all of these areas. To do this, they use methods and processes that are used in educational and communication sciences. They look at issues of religious education within the family, at fundamental issues of instruction within religious studies classes in school, in adult education and in the media and at the requirements and opportunities for religious learning and the passing on of faith in the catechesis. The object and objective is to enable academically founded practice within ecclesiastical preaching, within the catechesis and in religious studies classes in school. It also reflects on the existing practice of lived religion. In terms of the profile of the institute, the post holder should dedicate themselves in particular to the issue of how the meaning of man as a person can be justified in a social context shaped by religious pluralisation and secularisation and how human dignity can be taken into account in social relationships.

5. Professorship in Theological Ethics

As a basic discipline, ethics is closely linked to theological anthropology and addresses issues of moral good. What is morally good behaviour? What standards are there when it comes to such behaviour? How can these standards be justified? How can morally good behaviour lead to a good and just life? All of these questions need to be asked from an individual ethical perspective. The structure and the justifiability of the actions of individual people then has to be considered. On the other hand, the questions also need to be asked from a social and ethical perspective. We then need to look at the structure a social group, a society or a state has to have for there to be fairness. The post holder should focus on individual ethics and/or social ethics while emphasising the particular theological dimension in dialogue with representatives of philosophical ethics. Since many ethical issues nowadays are in the field of life sciences (for example those linked to reproductive medicine, the latest developments in brain research and gene therapy, the technical opportunities afforded in terms of extending life or handling animals), the post holder should research and teach in close collaboration with representatives of these sciences. It is desirable for them to dedicate time and research to selected problems in applied ethics or bioethics in addition to the fundamental ethical work.

6. Guardini Professorship in Religious Philosophy and the History of Theological Ideas

Romano Guardini, an important Catholic theologian and historian of ideas, held lectures and seminars in Berlin from 1923 until the ban on teaching instituted by the National Socialists in 1939. He was interested in problems of religious philosophy and the Catholic world view. The holder of this guest professor position should strengthen the theological and anthropological profile of the institute within this tradition. They should examine fundamental issues of religious philosophy from both a historical and a systematic perspective and look at issues of the rational justification of faith, the structure and function of religious statements and the relationship between faith and science. Particular attention should also be paid to the theological history of ideas. The aim is to examine how key theological terms developed, how they are used in religious and non-religious debates and how they have changed in different historical and social contexts. In the tradition of Guardini, who was dedicated in his work against the National Socialist world view, attempts are also to be made to analyse how theological concepts can be used to defend core values against repressive ideologies and unjust systems.