How Christian theology fits within the broader range of academic study has been a question posed by numerous scholars. Philosophy, once known as the handmaiden to theology, has played a particularly significant role in the construction of Christian dogmatics. The structure of this course is dependent upon the methods taken to answer the critical questions posed to theology and their application to contemporary theological expressions. The seminar will begin by investigating various trajectories from within the Christian tradition at large. Some questions to be dealt with are: what is theology?; what is systematic theology?; how is theology carried out academically?; what is the relationship between theology, philosophy, and formal logic?; how does one develop a theological hermeneutic?; and what is the relationship between theology and ethics? After addressing this wide range of questions from sources in the Christian tradition, the seminar will attend to applying the methods and skills learned. To do so, we will carefully study contemporary theologian Kathryn Tanner’s Christ the Key, a seminal work in Christology. The aim of the Proseminar is to gain a broad understanding of the Tätigkeit of theology while applying the necessary hermeneutical skills to a particular work of contemporary theology whereby we are in a communal, relational dialogue with the tradition, one another, and contemporary society.


Intercultural Theology

The term intercultural theology stands for the insight that every form of theology is contextual, such that, Western theory and theology may not in and of themselves lay claim to privileged status over against theories and theologies from other continents. As a result, attention is devoted not only to the content of theology and praxis, but also to their medial implementation, i.e. to the ways in which theology is “done” and “expresses” itself. This leads to a significant change of perspective, since mission comes to be understood less in the sense of mission actors delivering a message, and more as local actors appropriating the gospel. In terms of methodology, this calls for the use of social studies and cultural studies approaches, and for an interdisciplinary orientation as well. Concerning these issues source texts from different contexts are to be discussed.


Tuesday, 17:15 - 19:00


Protestant churches in most contexts still more or less openly understand themselves as ethnic/mono-cultural churches. As people migrate and more and more societies become more intercultural, this is increasingly anachronistic: In many places, different ethnic churches exist next to each other, often without contact to each other.

This seminar looks at what it means that the church is an intercultural and international community relating to religious plural contexts. Starting with concrete experiences from the community of 39 members of the United Evangelical Mission, we will enquire what the consequences are for theology, learning, interreligious dialogue, diaconia, etc.

Religious Education in German public schools is guaranteed by the German constitution („Grundgesetz“). Article 7 says:
(1) The entire school system shall be under the supervision of the state.
(2) Parents and guardians shall have the right to decide whether children shall receive religious instruction.
(3) Religious instruction shall form part of the regular curriculum in state schools, with the exception of non-denominational schools. Without prejudice to the state’s right of supervision, religious instruction shall be given in accordance with the tenets of the religious community concerned. Teachers may not be obliged against their will to give religious instruction.
(4) The right to establish private schools shall be guaranteed. Private schools that serve as alternatives to state schools shall require the approval of the state and shall be subject to the laws of the Länder. Such approval shall be given when private schools are not inferior to the state schools in terms of their educational aims, their facilities or the professional training of their teaching staff and when segregation of pupils according to the means of their parents will not be encouraged thereby. Approval shall be withheld if the economic and legal position of the teaching staff is not adequately assured.
(5) A private elementary school shall be approved only if the education authority finds that it serves a special educational interest or if, on the application of parents or guardians, it is to be established as a denominational or interdenominational school or as a school based on a particular philosophy and no state elementary school of that type exists in the municipality.
(6) Preparatory schools shall remain abolished.”

In our seminary we will discuss historical (starting with Luther), constitutional, also modern practicaltheological issues of religious education in German public schools.