The Biographical Location of Interreligious Processes by the example of Bettina Bäumer (*1940)
The project investigates the biography of the Austrian religious scholar and Indologist Bettina Bäumer (*1940), who has lived in India since 1967, on the basis of methodologies of religious studies, history, religious history, comparative theology and cultural theory. Particular attention will be paid to the interplay between micro- and macro-historical perspectives. Bettina Bäumer’s biographical thread will provide an in-depth look at the historical fabric of the interreligious, intercultural and interspiritual encounter between India and the West in the post-colonial period, i.e. from the end of colonialism to the present. The aim is to provide a perspective analysis of the historical period and its general and specific discourses and historical processes in which the protagonist participates.
Bettina Bäumer is the first to dedicate an in-depth study to a prominent protagonist of the movement of dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism who is still alive. This opens up the possibility of exploring interreligious processes not only through written material, but also through biographical interviews. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between personal motives of the spiritual quest, the orientation towards religious and spiritual traditions, and the wider social and intellectual discourse as it occurs at the borders between religions and cultures. What can we learn from threshold experiences? What skills develop there, skills of language, bridging, translation and transformations? What repercussions do they have on the religious and cultural traditions involved?
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