Since 2006 the “Centre for Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions” at the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Salzburg has been a signpost, reacting to the changing socio- and religio-political situation. Intercultural Theology and the Study of Religions is a new subject at the university – but it is more than that. It takes into account that any theological reflection takes place under conditions of cultural diversity and religious plurality and within the dynamic(s) of cultures, religions and identities. Accordingly, the research platform at the Faculty of Theology is called “Cultures, Religions and Identities: Areas of Tension and Interdependencies”. Intercultural Theology and the Study of Religions is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented discourse which is sensitive to difference. It meets the challenges of societal complexity and global power structures as well as the impositions of the foreign and – in accordance with the Second Vatican Council – perceives the “signs of the time” as a transformative impetus.
- is located between the poles of the local church and the universal church, between local contexts and a global dissolution of boundaries, and
- reflects on the demands of the Christian message in a politically, socio-culturally, economically and religiously plural and conflicted world.
Central topics and areas of research are:
- contextual theologies which have evolved in various parts of the world,
- involvement in discourses regarding cultural, social and political studies,
- postcolonial and postsecular theories as well as theories of globalisation and development.
The Study of Religions is conceived as theological engagement with foreign claims of salvation and other religions’ responses to today’s existential and political challenges.
Fields of research are in particular:
- the development of a theology of Israel,
- the dialogue with Islam,
- current approaches to a theology of religion,
- the methodology of comparative theology,
- contemporary research on spirituality.
Starting with the academic year 2016/17, a master’s programme in Religious Studies augments the religio-theological perspective with a focus on religious and cultural studies. The core themes of this master’s programme are issues pertaining to contemporary (global) society such as migration, religion and violence, gender aspects of religious practice, medial and embodied religion, and the transformation of religion under modern conditions of economisation.