Mission statement

The department of FUNDAMENTAL THEOLOGY (Theologische Grundlagenforschung) endeavours to constitute itself as a theology critical of religion, culture and cognition and open to the questions, aporias and human hardships of our time.


Given our situatedness in a multicultural, multi-religious and ideologically diverse world one particular task consists in our contribution to a PLURALIST NARRATIVE for Europe as the kairos of contemporary Christianity. Theology finds itself confronted with the challenge of perceiving the living in its vulnerability, its withdrawal, its questionability and its SACREDNESS. Through this, it is the human that shall be perceived and appreciated with all its disfigurations and wounds – of positivist, practical, technical, corporately social nature – to the extent that it is a guest at the (divine) celebration of life as the meaning of history.

The guiding theme of the subject is thus under the sign of:



The attempt at critical THEOLOGICAL and RELIGIOUS-PHILOSOPHICAL reflections upon leading narratives about the human in the context of the threats of today's history (atomic armament, the ecological crisis, social exclusion, the disappearance of linguistic diversity, the virtualisation of the living environment, the substitution of mortal life with immortal machines etc.) leads to the search for traces of the sacred in its biblical textures and the philosophical, aesthetic and religious continuations inspired by them. Behind it lies the thesis to be unfolded according to which man and life respectively are being (re)created in the textures of the sacred, and not least of all in their “hospitality” that, eluding all theoretical, practical and aesthetic application, puts man in front of the open, sacred secret of reality.

For a Christian memory of history the DIALOGUE WITH JUDAISM, which constitutes another pillar of our institute, is indispensable. The relations to Israel are crucial for Christianity, because Israel has unique soteriological significance as first and permanently chosen covenant people. Israel keeps the secret of the Messiah open and thus the messianic impulse whereby a life different to the current one is possible. The position with regards to Judaism brings along effective political consequences that remain highly topical for the European societies after the Shoah.

It is part of the culture of the Viennese department to try to provide a space for hospitable encounters: In order to do so it offers reading circles in addition to the institutionalised teaching programme. There is also a special focus on the supervision of diploma and doctor theses, whereby the intense content-related exchange on a human level between lecturers and students speaking different languages and belonging to multiple cultures and disciplines contributes decisively to the development and the character of the institute.