Research News for Münster

December 6, 2021

Find out the latest research news from the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster:


Second annual theme at the Cluster of Excellence on traditions

Debates about equality, identity or religion often portray traditions as static, but on closer examination we find that they are subject to constant change. “Depending on the interests of the group that bears them, traditions have been and still are being changed, reinterpreted, reshaped, kept secret, veiled or even invented”, explain Jewish scholar Regina Grundmann and Catholic theologian Michael Seewald at the start of the second annual theme, “Tradition(s)”, at the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”.
Read the full article here.


Traditions in transition from antiquity to the present

To launch the new annual theme, “Tradition(s)” at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”, a lecture series of the same name will shed light on how traditions in religions, law and literature emerge, are transmitted, and change. The themes of the lectures range from the ancient Egyptian god Amun to the transmission of religious traditions in families today.

Read the full article here.


Advanced training course for journalists specializing in religion on “Tradition and Innovation”

Adopting the title “Tradition and Innovation”, the fifth part of the advanced training course for journalists specializing in religion took place in Frankfurt am Main, and dealt with faith and lived religiosity. Its topics included church transformation processes such as the “Synodal Way”, modernization conflicts in religions, and contemporary Jewish cultures. The programme included visits to the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt and to the Protestant Association for Media Communication (Gemeinschaftswerk der Evangelischen Publizistik (GEP)).

Read the full article here.


500 years of Bible translation
Martin Luther’s translation of the New Testament will be 500 years old in 2022, and, to mark the anniversary, the University of Münster will be participating with the cities of Münster and Eisenach and other partners in the “Festival of Language” in September 2022. Vice rector Michael Quante signed a “Letter of Intent” for the University of Münster in Eisenach. The Cluster of Excellence is participating in the festival with a panel involving the church historian Hubert Wolf and the Protestant theologian Holger Strutwolf that will deal with the question, “What language does God speak?” The University of Münster Bible Museum is contributing its expertise in the reconstruction of the original Greek text.
Read the full article here.


Legal scholar Peter Oestmann on 70 years of the Federal Constitutional Court

For legal scholar Peter Oestmann from the Cluster of Excellence, 70 years of the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) have been a success story. In the University of Münster podcast, he talks about the founding and development of Germany’s highest constitutional court. He also classifies the filling of judgeships, takes a stand on criticism of the institution, and describes the relationship between the BVerfG and European examples.
Read the full article here.


“His accomplishments outweigh his awful comments”
To mark the “Franz Hitze Memorial Year”, historian Olaf Blaschke from the Cluster of Excellence spoke to the University of Münster’s newspaper about the anti-Semitism and later apology of the Catholic theologian and social reformer Franz Hitze, who was the University’s first professor of Christian social sciences.
Read the full article here.


Worldwide survey on how individuals are coping with corona
Psychologists from the Universities of Münster, Munich and Osnabrück have come together in a joint project called “Coping with Corona” (CoCo) to conduct a worldwide survey on how individuals are coping with corona. Project spokesperson is the psychologist Mitja Back from the Cluster of Excellence, who is also CoCo spokesperson. Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the aim of the study is to understand differences in how people are coping with the pandemic, and to develop individualized measures for this and future crises.
Read the full article here.


Facial expressions decisive for first impressions that Germans have of refugees
Smiles win: according to new research, facial expression and attractiveness are more influential in people’s first impressions of refugees than the latter’s refugee status. Spontaneous degradation of refugees is found especially among Germans with right-wing attitudes. These are the findings of studies conducted by the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster.
Read the full article here.

Further News


Call for applications. 2021 Call for Research Fellowships

November 19, 2021


FSCIRE invites applications for Postdoctoral Fellowships for its Bologna and Palermo centres.


Fellowships are established in accordance with requirements defined by the policy of FSCIRE, its agreements with the Regional Government of Emilia-Romagna, the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research, and its donors.

Candidates may thereby apply for one of the following positions:

  • Junior Research Fellow (2 years, renewable). Applicants must have obtained their doctorate within the last five years. The successful candidate will sign a research contract for two years, equivalent to the Italian “Assegno di ricerca junior” (which amounts to a monthly net sum of about € 1,400). The contract defines a research programme in accordance with the research lines of FSCIRE.

  • Senior Research Fellow (2 years, renewable). The Applicant’s doctoral thesis must have already been published. The successful candidate will sign a research contract for two years, equivalent to the Italian “Assegno di ricerca senior” (which amounts to a monthly net sum of about € 1,650). The contract defines a research programme in accordance with the research lines of FSCIRE.


Applications should be sent by December 20th, 2021 to:

Read the call in full for more information on the fellowship, how to apply, and the evaluation process.

The Enigma of the Ecclesiastes. Webinar

November 5, 2021


The John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue kindly invites you to participate in the webinar with Rabbi Jack BemporadThe Enigma of the Book of Ecclesiastes.


The book of Ecclesiastes is and was a controversial book not readily accepted into the Jewish Biblical Canon. Its seeming skepticism and uncertainty as to its true religious significance rendered it suspect. Numerous interpretations have been offered as to its meanings and why it was inserted into the Canon. Rabbi Jack Bemporad will discuss these interpretations and offer one of his own.

The webinar is scheduled for November 16, 06:30 PM (Rome time). Click here to register.

REFORC Book Award 2022, Call for Submissions

November 4, 2021

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The Reformation Research Consortium (REFORC) is accepting submissions for the REFORC Book Award 2022. Submissions are welcome by March 1, 2022.


The Award, which aims to encourage academics to present their research, is presented annually for publications related to Early Modern Christianity (c. 1400-1700). The prize-winning book will be announced during the Eleventh Annual REFORC Conference and the author will receive € 1000 and a certificate.

To know more about the eligibility and selection criteria, important dates, and how to apply for the prize, please visit the dedicated page on the REFORC website.

Library of Latin Texts now Searchable via ReIReSearch

October 8, 2021


An important new dataset, viz the metadata about and links to the works contained in the Library of Latin Texts (LLT) has been added to ReIReSearch, the unified discovery environment RESILIENCE is working on.


The Library of Latin Texts (Brepols/Corpus Christianorum) is the world’s leading database for Latin texts, bringing together works from the beginnings of Latin literature down to the present day. The texts which are incorporated are selected from the best editions available and established according to the best contemporary scholarly practice.


ReIReSearch addresses the growing need of scholars in Religious Studies to discover more data, regardless of location, on a platform where disparate digital resources and databases are searchable in a unified and standardized way. The unified discovery environment as developed by the ReIReS project preceding RESILIENCE is further extended and built upon by RESILIENCE. In this way, RESILIENCE will facilitate the long-term sustainability of the discovery environment by taking care of the inclusion of the metadata of new collections, aligning formats, metadata standards, license information and providing a human and machine readable output using the latest semantic web and indexing technologies.


Go here to read more.

Call for Paper. Eleventh Annual REFORC Conference

October 1, 2021


The Eleventh Annual REFORC Conference will be hosted by the Sonderforschungsbereich 980 Episteme in Bewegung of the Freie Universität in Berlin, and will take place May 4-6, 2022.

The topic of the plenary lectures is Body and Soul. Comparative Studies on the Body-Soul Concept in the Pre-Modern Era.

The conference is open to individual short paper presentations (20-minute presentations) and to thematic sessions of two or three short papers. Papers can focus on all disciplines related to Early Modern Christianity, ca. 1400-1700, such as philosophy, law, history, theology, etc., independent of the theme of the plenary papers.

t is also possible to attend the conference without giving a paper.


Go here to read more information about the conference.

Research News for Münster

September 22, 2021

Find out the latest research news from the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster:


Kiss of Judas, regicide, whistleblowing: traitors make history

Whether regicide, whistleblowing or “traitor to the people” cries from so-called lateral thinkers – according to historians, treason has shaped political fortunes since antiquity. “High treason is considered the ultimate political crime in all epochs and states, and is punished draconically”, says historian André Johannes Krischer in the run-up to an international conference on the history of treason at the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”.

Read the full article here.


Questions of religious policy for the 2021 Bundestag election on the radio station Deutschlandfunk

Scholars from the Cluster of Excellence have talked about questions of religious policy in the upcoming Bundestag elections in a three-part series of the programme “Tag für Tag” (Day by Day) on the radio station Deutschlandfunk (in German). The political scientist Ulrich Willems took a look at church lobbying, the Catholic theologian Judith Könemann dealt with the question “Does politics still need religion?”, and sociologist Marc Helbling, current Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor at the Cluster, discussed religious policy as integration policy.

Read the full article here.


TED-talk on “Campus of Religions”

At the TEDx-talk in Münster, the Islamic theologian Mouhanad Khorchide and the Catholic theologian Johannes Schnocks, both from the Cluster of Excellence, have spoken about the Campus of Religions in Münster. In their talk, they discussed the importance of the campus for interreligious dialogue. From 2023, it will bring together the various theologies and institutions of non-denominational religious research at the University of Münster, and become a place of exchange for representatives from academia, politics, religious and non-religious communities, and non-governmental organizations, as well as from the media, culture, and the arts.

Read the full article here.


Research at the European Academy on “Religion and Change”

The “European Academy of Religion” (EuARe) is coming to Germany for the first time with its annual conference at the end of August. Under the title “Religion and Change”, the conference will see 900 international scholars involved in interdisciplinary research on religion come to the University of Münster. As a founding member of the Academy, the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” will host 15 of the 160 panels with themes from its current research programme.

Read the full article here.


Fake news long before Trump

According to researchers from the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”, fake news existed long before Donald Trump and social media. Whether courtly plots or conspiracy theories in the face of the plague: uncertainty about the truth of news is not a new phenomenon. “The negotiation of true and false information has always been able to develop its own dynamics in times of crisis. This also applies to the Middle Ages, although communication in this period required a much stronger corporeal presence”, explain the Romance scholar Pia Claudia Doering and the historian Marcel Bubert from the Cluster of Excellence. “Contrary to what we think today, the spreading of fake news and the assessment of the truth of news are not necessarily linked to mass media”.

Read the full article here.


New Dossier Chapter: God's will/God's succour? Religious interpretations of epidemics

Writing in Christ & Welt in February 2021, Peter Frey, editor-in-chief of the German television channel ZDF, criticized the churches for having gone underground during Corona, saying that, while it is true that the church is no longer portraying the pandemic as God’s punishment (as it used to do), it has not embraced a new creativity during the crisis. For Frey, there has been no spiritual depth to the pandemic and its consequences. In contrast, the Münster sociologist of religion Detlef Pollack said in an interview in March 2021, also in Christ & Welt, that it was right for the churches largely to refrain from interpreting the meaning of the pandemic, saying that the time when religion was responsible for solving all problems is long gone. For Pollack, many people probably do not interpret the crisis in religious terms, but rather perceive it as a medical and political problem only. The contributions in this dossier trace religious interpretations of epidemics, as they can be read in textual testimonies and images from past (and more devout centuries), but also turn their gaze to present-day Africa, for example.

Read the full article here.


Podcast series “Belonging or Excluded? 1,700 Years of Jewish Life in Germany“

In the podcast series "Belonging or Excluded?", researchers from the Cluster of Excellence and the Institute for Jewish Studies of Münster University such as Prof. Dr. Regina Grundmann and Prof. Dr. Katrin Kogman-Appel report on the everyday life, religious life and history of persecution of Jews from antiquity to the present (in German language). The series is part of the nationwide festival year "1,700 Years of Jewish Life in Germany".
Read the full article here.





ReIReS. Time to say goodbye

August 2, 2021

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The ReIReS H2020 funded project has ended July 31, 2021.

A lot happened in the past 3,5 years and the starting community obtained many important results, such as laying the foundations for the research infrastructure RESILIENCE.


While ReIReS says goodbye to its many users, followers, partners, and colleagues, we congratulate the community for its achievements and we wish them an even greater success with RESILIENCE.

Keep following their work via the RESILIENCE newsletter and social media!


July 1, 2021


On June 30th, 2021, the ESFRI Forum included RESILIENCE in the Research Infrastructure Roadmap 2021. This means that RESILIENCE will take its place in the strategic Research Infrastructures for the European Research Area and that it can work on the further development of the Research Infrastructure for Religious Studies.


The first initiatives to build a Research Infrastructure date back to 2016, which finally led to the launch of RESILIENCE in September 2019. RESILIENCE has since worked on the design of a sustainable European infrastructure for all Religious Studies. This design has now proven to be mature and was successfully evaluated by the ESFRI forum, allowing RESILIENCE to take its place in the strategic Research Infrastructures for the European Research Area.


Characteristic in the infrastructure design is that it includes physical as well as digital access to knowledge about religion. Via this infrastructure, academics who are working in the broad field of Religious Studies will be supported in many ways: they will be able, among other things, to access more resources, to enhance their digital skills, to participate in projects, to promote their research, and to build a professional network. Also other professionals, such as those working in galleries, libraries, archives and museums, policy makers, and representatives of religious communities can benefit from the knowledge offered by RESILIENCE.
The placement in the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 assures that the 13 consortium partners, coordinated by the Italian research institution FSCIRE, take the next step. This next step will be the development of the preparation phase, such as ensuring the finances and distribution of tasks among the partners. The new Research Infrastructure is intended to support its users for at least 34 years.
The news of the ESFRI decision was received with great joy and gratitude by FSCIRE and all the consortium partners. All institutions are grateful to the national ministries and delegates for their support.


Download the press release here.