From August 13 to 20, 18 of us visited Rome as part of the seminar Rome: The theological and cultural significance of the "eternal city" for religious educators today. We visited many cultural sights from the history of the Roman Empire and the Church. For example, we visited the Roman Forum, the Jewish Museum and went on the traditional Roman church pilgrimage. There were also individual highlights such as spontaneously making music with other tourists in Rome, dancing above the rooftops of the city and the heat, which "welded" us together as a community in many ways. We would like to thank Daniel Bertram and Helena Fernys-Adamietz for organizing the seminar and the excursion and for accompanying us on site.
7th Religious Education Theological Study Day on June 15, 2023
On 15.6.2023 the very well attended 7th Religious Pedagogical Theological Study Day took place under the title "Speaking of God* in Religious Education - Potentials of Classroom Talks" with up to 80 participants, students, trainee teachers and teachers of religionand other interested parties. In several respects it was a special study day among those that had been held so far, because it thematically focused on the results of the Kassel study on classroom discussions, which are also summarized in the book "Gespräche im Religionsunterricht - Einblicke, Einsichten, Potenziale", edited by Reese-Schnitker, Bertram, Fröhle, Kohlhammer 2022.
The study was based on 53 videotaped religious education lessons on the talk of God or the question of theodicy, in which different types of conversations had been observed, analyzed, and reflected upon under various aspects. Excerpts from these videos formed the basis of the work in the five thematic workshops during the study day. Even the titles - mostly apt quotes from the videos by students - aroused the curiosity of the 80 or so participants:
"God wants a vacation too!",
"Yes, because the Bible hated women...", or
"I never actually realized that God helped me."
All workshops focused on areas relevant to religious education, such as student and gender issues, dealing with student expressions, the use of media, and interreligious learning.
During the break, the participants exchanged their experiences and insights in the workshops and gave very good feedback to the delighted workshop leaders.
As the study day also wanted to honor the work of the said study, an entertaining keynote speech followed. In their presentation, the speakers looked back on eleven years of the research group in a humorous, media-supported and sometimes somewhat wistful way and showed how, for example, a dissertation and an examination thesis, but also the acquisition of employees, have resulted from this time.
This was followed by the impressive systematic-theological lecture of Prof.in Dr.in Julia Knop (University of Erfurt) on the topic "God: (k)ein Thema mehr?The question of God in secular times". In a remarkably pointed way, she explained how the talk about God changes in the change of secularization and also has to change in order to remain, to be and/or possibly also to become a topic for people.
Afterwards, Dr. Daniel Bertram (University of Kassel) and Dominic Fröhle (religious education teacher in Münster) as co-editors and collaborators of the religious education research group "Conversations in Religious Education" presented the most surprising and important results of the study.
After a short round of exchanges and heartfelt words of thanks, there was a joint toast and celebration of the extremely successful study day and the summery evening.
On May 16, 2023, the IKTh celebrated a Dies Academicus with a graduation ceremony, which was musically framed by the ecumenical student choir SINGING RACOOOHNS. With the title "Vom Wert des Vergessens. A Contribution to Understanding between Theology and Cultural Studies", Dr. Fana Schiefen from the WWU Münster gave an exciting ceremonial lecture, which at the same time was an addendum to the theological-interdisciplinary lecture series "Holy Times. Understanding between Theology and Cultural Studies from the winter semester 2022/23. Dr. Fana Schiefen vividly illustrated that remembering and forgetting are not a dualistic pair of opposites, but rather are to be understood as processes of memory that depict two sides of the same coin. Focusing on the value of forgetting, Schiefen highlighted the positive functions of forgetting without ignoring the critical perspective of forgetting processes. In particular, reflecting on one's own culture of forgetting could be fruitful and open up new perspectives that could also be profitable for theology. But not only for theology in general the lecture offered possibilities of connection, also the present graduates of the IKTh received impulses for reflection, for remembering and forgetting of the now ended study time.
A suitable opportunity for this was offered directly afterwards by the speech of the two graduates, Anna Müller and Saskia Romeis. With pride, a little melancholy and a good pinch of humor, they looked back on their years of study on behalf of all graduates and noted that they had acquired a lot of knowledge, met formative people and gained maturity. They will have fond memories of many things, but of course there were also moments, especially the stressful exam period, that were extremely challenging and sometimes overwhelming. Even though Anna Müller and Saskia Romeis have emphasized that they have also grown from it, these are memories for them that they want to forget rather than remember in the future.
Guest lecture by Prof. em. Dr. Stephan Leimgruber: "Interreligious learning using the example of Christians in dialogue with Muslim women" on May 11, 2023
On Thursday, May 11, 2023, Prof. em. Dr. Stephan Leimgruber gave an interesting lecture on the topic "Interreligious learning using the example of Christians in dialogue with Muslim women" in the Gießhaus. For many years he has been dealing with this topic, in particular with the potentials of "dialogical encounter learning" between believers of the three Abrahamic religions, and has published numerous articles on this topic.
After a short welcome and introduction by Prof.in Dr.in Annegret Reese-Schnitker and locating the lecture among others within the ecumenical and interdisciplinary event "Interreligious Learning and Interreligious Dialogue - Religious Plurality as a Systematic and Religious Pedagogical Challenge" in cooperation with Thalia Riedl from IEvTh, Stephan Leimgruber started with an overview of the conception and the basics of interreligious learning.
He especially emphasized the importance of "encounters as the royal road of interreligious learning". Interreligious learning always takes place in dialogue at eye level and can only be based on a perception that is free of prejudice. In this way, all the key competencies of (inter)religious learning can be promoted.
In addition to the known five competencies that were defined by the KMK and included in the core curricula, he also named a sixth: the anamnetic competency, i.e. the competency that relates to history and the present and thus draws lessons from history for the present and can point to the future.
He concluded his lecture with exemplary basic contents of interreligious learning for religious education, in which he repeatedly focused on the commonalities of the religions.
Afterwards there was time for some questions and an exchange.
Conference "The Normativity of the Torah in the Christian Bible", March 15-17, 2023.
Publication "Sacred Texts" - published in January 2023
Sacred texts are of crucial importance in many religions. Nevertheless, the approaches differ - both within and between the individual religions: In what processes is holiness ascribed to a text and what is it determined by? How is the tension between plurality and unity in the scriptures to be dealt with? What results from this for the addressees of the text with regard to its reception and mediation?
By addressing the mediation of the sacred and the profane, questions of identity, and feminist approaches, the volume takes up current research discourses. Its contributions intertwine theological and cultural studies perspectives and demonstrate the fruitfulness of this interweaving for the exchange of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In this it is the first of a series of three volumes that will continue to deal with sacred spaces and sacred times.
Table of contents
Lecture Series "Sacred Times. Understanding between Theology and Cultural Studies in winter semester 2022/23
In the winter semester 2022/23, the lecture series "Holy Times", which was postponed due to the pandemic, has finally been able to take place.
About the content of the lecture series:
The "sacred" is never "given" as such, but shows itself exclusively in the profane. Therein lies an insurmountable bond of the sacred to culture in its changing, historical forms of expression. The understanding of the sacred is thus always also an understanding of the cultural and refers theology to the perspectives and methods of cultural studies.
In the lecture series "Sacred Times" we looked from different disciplinary perspectives for what constitutes the quality of the "sacred". The aim was to find out which strategies and techniques of demarcation are effective: What makes times "sacred," how are differences from "normal" times produced, what practices are associated with them, where do religious conceptualizations of time continue to have an effect in the secular? Time is not to be understood solely as a medium that is more or less fixed in its structure. Rather, it is about temporality in its religious-cultural forms of appropriation, which in turn can be reflected theologically as well as philosophically and considered with regard to their respective situation of the (religious) subject. Finally, the question of the sacred is posed: How do conceptualizations of time affect the ideas of and dealings with the sacred, which can only be thought of as accessible to man insofar as it manifests itself in the temporal?
Online lecture "The war in Ukraine and the Church of Orthodoxy" on 19 January 2023.
As part of his lecture "Introduction to the History, Theology and Spirituality of the Orthodox Church", Prof. Dr. Dr. Alexander Lohner gave an online lecture entitled "The War in Ukraine and the Church of Orthodoxy" on Thursday, January 19, 2023 from 12:00 to 14:00.
About the content of the lecture:
In Ukraine, the majority of the population professes the Orthodox Church, but Orthodoxy in Ukraine has been divided for decades. For just over four years, there have been two (partial) churches or metropolises: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOK), traditionally part of the Moscow Patriarchate (but due to the war on 27. May 2022 broke away from Patriarch Cyril), and the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OKU), which resulted from the merger of two older national church communities and was granted autocephaly by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 2019 against Cyril's wishes. The two churches are in competition with each other and deny each other canonical legitimacy. Especially since the annexation of Crimea, the UOK has also been politically accused of not being clear enough about Ukrainian sovereignty and of giving Russian propaganda a firm foothold in the middle of Ukraine.
More than ten months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the clerical situation has worsened. The Selensky government suspects priests and bishops of the UOK of collaboration with the Russian occupiers - with far-reaching consequences: in the Kiev Cave Monastery and other dioceses of the UOK, state investigations were carried out, as a result of which sanctuaries of the UOK were withdrawn and handed over to the OKU. The Russian Orthodox Church (ROK) reacted immediately to the "state repression" against the "only canonical church" in Ukraine. Parallels are drawn with the Bolshevik persecution of the Church, which in the 1920s also used a "renewal church" to split the Orthodox Church. In doing so, the ROK is again playing into Putin's hands.
However, the conflict, whose historical and ecclesiological elements will be presented in the lecture, goes far beyond Ukraine and is currently weighing heavily on Orthodoxy worldwide. Specifically, the lecture will address the ideology of the "Russian World" (Russkiy Mir) - and its complicated philosophical and political history - that underlies Putin's war and the actions of Moscow Patriarch Cyril. At the end of July 2022, Metropolitan Epifaniy (Dumenko), the head of the OKU, sent a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios to initiate as soon as possible a pan-Orthodox investigation against the Moscow Patriarch and to condemn the Russkiy Mir ideology as heretical and deeply un-Christian.