Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe”

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The International Consortium for Research in the Humanities ”Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe”, headed by Prof. Dr. Volkhard Krech and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, has started working in April 2008. Within the Consortium, 49 researchers from 13 academic disciplines are working on 28 individual projects. In addition, up to ten Fellowships each year are granted to scholars from all over the world.

Ruhr University researchers from disciplines like East Asian Studies, South Asian Studies, Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies, Protestant and Catholic Theology, Classical Philology and History, in close cooperation with Religious Studies, investigate the dynamics of formation and spread of religions, the interaction between different religious traditions as well as their densification within the complex structures of the so-called “Major Religions” in Asia and Europe. A special focus lies on the relational constellations in the emergence of the religious field. Based on this premise, cultural and religious traditions can be described as a combination of ongoing processes of orientation and exchange.

Methodologically, the International Consortium combines material and systematic research on religion both in a synchronic and in a diachronic perspective. Accordingly, the work is structured, on the one hand, in historical research fields dedicated to formation, expansion and globalization of religious tradition as well as to the development of specific terminology. On the other hand, we will examine recurring analogous religious phenomena like “secrecy” or “purity” (with their differing modes of integration, ascription, and exclusion) that act as attractors of religious community formations. Both approaches mutually complement each other in the comparative examination of religious semantics and of the formation of religious concepts and ideas.

One of the scientific objectives of the Consortiums based on this relational approach is the formulation of a systematic typology of religious contacts, and the formulation of a comprehensive theory of religious transfer which includes both the interrelations between religious impetuses and the dynamics of intrareligious dissents.

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