The Center

The CTSI fosters international research in comparative theology. Comparative theology understands itself as the endeavour of scholars to engage with religions, theologies or world-views other than their own not as neutral observers, but from the perspective of their own particular religious adherence, in order to thus open up, enrich and further develop their own theology.

The Center pursues a better understanding of the world of religions in its vast plurality as well as of the major social challenges connected with religion and with its multiple semantics, practices, and traditions. To achieve this, the CTSI engages with those academic disciplines that are dealing with the chances und challenges of coexistence of different religions and world-views in our societies. These include, but are not restricted to, law studies, economics, sociology and political science, religious studies, philosophy, pedagogics, philology, history, cultural and literary studies. The CTSI aspires to be a platform for close international cooperation between these disciplines and theology on the one hand, and between theologies of different religions on the other.

To this end, the International Center of Comparative Theology and Social Issues intends to offer an international network of research. It cooperates with faculties, research institutes and scholars from all over the world. Some major research fields are:

  • Ethics and Law in the World of Religions: Functional equivalents between different religions as well as between religious and secular world-views can be shown to be enablers of mutual appreciation and mutual development inscentive.
  • Peace and Conflict Research: Towards a better understanding of the conditions, under which religions can catalyse violent conflicts or, vice versa, can activate and deploy their innate peace-building potential.
  • Historical-Critical Research on the Late Antique Near East: To cast new light on the formational period of emerging Islam and its theological as well as socio-cultural interaction with Near Eastern Christianity and Judaism.
  • Identities and Ambiguities: The productive, creative, and integrating potential of ambiguities helps analyse – among others – the relation of religion and political power in a way that can promote religious ambiguity tolerance and inclusion.
  • Interreligious Episteme: The methodological prospect of the CTSI is to develop a common epistemic pattern of encoding and transferring knowledge between theologies of different religions as well as between theologies and sociology, humanities und law studies.

Beyond the domain of scholarly research, the CTSI is also committed in boosting the outreach of comparative theology by engaging in an open dialogue with religious communities and by communicating research results to broader public discussions.

At a time when religious diversity seems to many to be one of the major centrifugal powers that polarise and threaten the coherence of the social tissue all over the Western world, the CTSI wants to demonstrate how religions can bring to bear their potential for social cohesion and sustainability, crisis mediation and peace building.


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