Mission statement

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


In view of our situatedness in a multi-cultural, multi-religious and ideologically diverse world, one particular task lies in our contribution to a PLURAL NARRATIVE of Europe as the kairos of contemporary Christianity. Theology faces the challenge of perceiving the living in its vulnerability, its withdrawal and deprivation, its questionability and its SACREDNESS. Thereby, it is the human that shall be perceived and appreciated in all its distortions and wounds – of a positivistic, practical-technical, socio-cultural nature – insofar as it is a guest at the (divine) celebration of life, which constitutes the meaning of history.


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




The attempt of a critical THEOLOGICAL and RELIGIOUS-PHILOSOPHICAL reflection on guiding narratives of the human under the threats of our contemporary history (nuclear armament, the ecological crisis, social exclusion, the disappearance of linguistic diversity, the virtualisation of worlds, the substitution and replacement of mortal life by immortal machines etc.) leads to a SEARCH FOR TRACES OF THE SACRED in its biblical textures and the philosophical, aesthetic and religious continuations inspired by them. Behind this lies the to be developed thesis that man and life respectively are being (re-)created in the textures of the sacred, not least in their “hospitality”, which, eluding any theoretical, practical, and aesthetic handle, place the human before the open, sacred mystery of reality.


The DIALOGUE WITH JUDAISM is indispensable for a Christian memory of history and represents a further pillar of our institute. The relationship to Israel is of decisive importance for Christianity, because Israel, as the first and permanently chosen covenant people, has unique soteriological significance. Israel keeps the secret of the Messiah open and thus the messianic impulse that a life other than the current one is possible. The position towards Judaism is accompanied by effective political consequences that remain highly relevant for contemporary European societies after the Shoa.


Part of the culture of the Viennese department is the attempt to be and provide a space for hospitable and convivial encounters. To this end, we invite students to reading circles in addition to the institutionalised teaching programme. Furthermore, we place an emphasis on the supervision of dissertations and theses, whereby the intense content-related and personal exchange between lecturers and students of different languages, cultures and disciplines contributes decisively to the development and character of the department. A third focus of the hospitable development are the international and interdisciplinary contacts as well as the regularly held symposia, to which researchers from all over Europe are invited.