Get an overview of the projects currently being worked on in the field of Systematic Theology. If you would like to learn more about the projects, please get in touch with the contact persons mentioned.

Resilience and Humanities

Related projects

  • DFG-FOR 2686 "Resilienz in Religion und Spiritualität. Aushalten und Gestalten von Ohnmacht, Angst und Sorge", September 2019 – August 2022 (Homepage)
  • VW project "The role of transcultural semantics and symbols for resilience during the Corona pandemic – a hermeneutic approach to historical and intercultural expressions of severe crisis"
  • DFG project "Trajectories of perceived stress and resilience through the crisis and the influence of semantic representations of SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare and pastoral/spiritual care workers", in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Franziska Geiser and Prof. Dr. Lukas Radbruch
Team_DFG For_2686_6.09.19.jpg
© Privat

Prof. Dr. Cornelia Richter_neu
© Barbara Frommann

Liberal Piety?

The protestant theological faculty of the University of Bonn stands in the mediating theological tradition as well as in relation to the sharp debates of the 20th century concerning “liberal theology”. Plotting the history of the liberal theological tradition leads one to list names like Semler and Schleiermacher, Albrecht Ritschl, Wilhelm Herrmann, Adolf von Harnack, and later Rudolf Bultmann, but a unified or clearly delineated school never formed. “Liberal“ is also not meant in the sense used by contemporary political parties and discourses. Rather it stands for a field under development, a program that studies the interlocking of religion with culture, science, politics, and art through the critical observation and analysis of contemporary public and private forms of life. Against this background, Christian faith is concentrated in its ethical significance for persons, personality, and conduct of life. The claims of a harsh theology of revelation step into the background in this tradition in exchange for a concentration on a mature and enlightened form of Christianity that places emphasis on inner experience and the realization of faith in life.


In the context of contemporary intercultural and inter-religious tensions and processes of understanding, this line of inquiry into the significance of Christian faith is experiencing increasing significance and carries a formative influence on the majority of theological faculties in Germany. This is also the case in Bonn, even while this faculty at the same time remains – and rightly so – connected with the name of Karl Barth.

Among the most significant contributions of the liberal tradition are its extensive engagements with the concepts of religion and culture as well as its inquiry into the significance of media – including symbols, metaphor, images, narrative, interpretation – in the development and experience of these phenomena. The potential for an explicitly theological form of theology – as Barth called for and as is implied in the liberal tradition’s interest in contemporary forms of expression for liberal piety – has hardly been used up. The question is, in fact, of great significance: For only an enlightened “liberal piety,” attentive to and applied in the broader culture can guard against fundamentalist instrumentalisations of religion.

The question concerning the conjunction of “liberality” and “piety” – between liberal political values and religious faithfulness vis-à-vis understandings of Christianity in general – outlines a larger range of questions that is not restricted to Protestantism, but envelops ecumenical and interreligious collaborations. The question is one, again, of the forms of mediation that yield transformations in religious contents and their structures and in turn how these become more and less determinative for religious orientations and analysis of them. At every turn, the work of interpreting and understanding Christianity today must be remain near to life and sensitive to the pressing concerns of our day.

  • Matthew Ryan Robinson, Ph.D.: The Be.Friend Projekt
  • Katharina Opalka: "Das Geheimnis des religiösen Menschen vor sich selbst". Die Demut als performativer Vollzug - Überlegungen anhand einer Relecture Albrecht Ritschls
  • Ann-Kathrin Armbruster: Philipp Melanchthons theologische Anthropologie. Ein Beitrag zur Tugendethik
  • Jennifer Lackmann: Die Gegenwart Gottes - Eine hermeneutische Untersuchung der religiösen Rede von "Gottes Nähe" unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Wittgenstein, Cassirer und den klassischen hermeneutischen Theologien von Fuchs, Ebeling und Jüngel
  • Daniel Rossa: Leere voller Gott – Die Fruchtbarkeit negativer Theologie für die Dogmatik

Hermeneutics: Truth and Fiction

Project in developement at the Institute of Hermeneutics within the framework of Transdisciplinary Research Area "Individuals, Institutions and Societies".

© Frank Luerweg / Universität Bonn

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© David Renz

Semanticisation in discourses on the future

Agency and integrity with regard to the "Grand Challanges" – project in cooperation with Transdisciplinary Research Area "Individuals, Institutions and Societies".

Coordination: Rasmus Wittekind


Collaborative project under development within the framework of the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Individuals, Institutions and Societies".

Hauptgebäude bei Sonnenaufgang
Hauptgebäude der Universität Bonn bei Sonnenaufgang © Volker Lannert / Universität Bonn

© Volker Lannert / Universität Bonn

Dissertation Projects

Get to know the dissertation projects currently being written in the field of Systematic Theology at the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Bonn. In the following overview you will also find recently completed projects.

Qualification Projects in the department for Systematic Theology and Hermeneutics

Dr. Katharina Opalka's postdoctoral project.

Thorben Alles' project.
Ann-Kathrin Armbruster's project (completed 2022).
Anne-Kristin Dillmann's project (Cologne University).

Dissertation project by Johannes Fröh

Tl;dr: The dissertation project aims to epistemologically and practically open up theologies' access to digital religious/Christian communication. Objective: A tool for data scientific access and analysis of digital religious communication as well as theory on how this communication can inform theological research.

More extended (but not too long) version:

"Social media is becoming the most important channel of communication" - a bold statement by Ali Saha in her contribution to the 2021 collection "Pandemic Communication and Resilience" (see p. 349). Yet, considering the historically unprecedented mediatization process of the digital (see Stalder) facilitating the ever-increasing digitization of our globalized world, Saha's statement points towards a field that has barely been researched but potentially bears significant impact on the future of religion(s), church and faith: Digital religious communication.

The lack of theological research in this area is not just due to the (rather obvious) fact that digital and social media platforms are majorly just a phenomenon of the last two decades. Additionally,

  1. theological epistemological concepts on how communication taking place in digital spaces (empirical side) can inform our theological research (hermeneutical side) is still in its infancy and
  2. practical access to digital religious communication artifacts via a concept of "digital religious/Christian communication" that allows for deploying data scientific methods.

This dissertation project aims to address those two barriers (humbly and well aware of the limited "depth" proposed answers in the context of a dissertation will offer, but confident in making a first contribution towards solving them).

  1. Therefore, the first part of the project will focus on how digital religious communication relates to the new and upcoming research area of digital religion (drawing from Heidi Campbell et al.) and digital theology (i.a., as conceptualized by Frederike van Oorschot).
  2. In the second part of the project, the theological significance of empirical digital religious communication will be evaluated via concepts such as Karl Barth's "Verkündigungsbasierte Dogmatik" and Friedrich/Reichel/Renkert's testimony-based epistemology for their "citizen theology" (on the later see van Oorschot "Digital theology", 2020).
  3. Afterward, building on the theoretical conceptualization of digital religious communication in 1., algorithms will be developed capable of collecting social media communication quoting the "holy scripture". The resulting database will then facilitate a machine learning-based approach to identifying religious communication.
  4. In the last step, the trained algorithm capable of identifying religious communication on social media platforms will then be used to construct a second database. This second database will then be analyzed via a grounded theory-based approach to identify the empirical criteria of digital religious communication and relate them to the theoretical conceptualization.

Erik Nau's project.

Daniel Rossa's project.

See also


Get to know the department.


Get to know the department's team.


Current publications by the researchers.

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