The return of religion as a Challenge to thought

Bilateral research project, in collaboration with Branko Klun, Faculty of Theology, University of Ljubljana, jointly funded by FWF & ARRS/Slovenia


For a full list of all project achievements see the project webpage.


Project description:

This project investigated the so-called "return of religion" and its impact on philosophy (esp. phenomenology) of religion and (philosophical) theology in general, with a view on their traditionally contested relationship, in particular. Departing from the fact that the project partners were steeped in their espective fields, it was our overall intention to productively expand our research horizons and cross-fertilize intellectual capacities by taking on the challenge of our "relevant other." As to the initial setup, the lovenian team focused on the hermeneutic and deconstructive reassessments of theological motifs, whereas the Austrian team put the emphasis on novel phenomenological explorations of religion. One general question we dealt with concerned the relationship of philosophy and theology, and the way our barren conceptions of this relationship could benefit from a more sensible approach to its existent, yet frequently disavowed intersections. As to our hypothesis, a tradition like continental philosophy of religion—and as part of it phenomenology—offers vast potentials to approach a more fruitful understanding of the said relationship. The systematic reconsideration of the French "theological turn," and the assessment of its unfathomed potentials for promoting philosophy of religion, was our first major task. A good deal of research consisted in reconstructing the various theological concepts that are applied and exploited in this context. We set out to show that the pejorative label "theological turn" must not be accepted as a fair branding of this turn. The related polemics rather contributed to disregard the potential impact of phenomenological methods on philosophy of religion as such. As our results demonstrate, the phenomenological philosophy of religion that can be derived from this confrontation rather helps to pose challenges to theology, delimiting its theo-logical core by exposing their inherent instability, openness, and "rational" potential.


Involved researches:


PD Jason Alvis, PhD


Dr. Sebatian LEDERLE


Full final report.