Summaries of the lecture series in the summer semester 2023


After the lectures of the online lecture series "Interreligious Hermeneutics in a Plural Society" by Ibrahim Kocyigit (key research area Islam in Contemporary Society) and Senol Yagdi (discipline of Islamic Religious Education), the summaries of the individual lectures will be uploaded for reading.

Summary of the online lecture by Prof. Dr. Christian Danz: Difference hermeneutics. Reflections on dealing with religious alterity in systematic theology

On 07.03.2023, the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies hosted the online lecture by Prof. Christian Danz "Differenzhermeneutik. Überlegungen zum Umgang mit religiöser Alterität in der Systematischen Theologie" [Difference hermeneutics. Reflections on dealing with religious alterity in systematic theology] took place.

Danz dealt with difference hermeneutics by referring to the previous religion-theological debate and taking into account the differences and particularities of religions in theological theorising. At the beginning, he emphasised that he was largely referring to Protestant theology and thus did not claim to be transferable to the view of other religions. The lecture was divided into three sections. The first part dealt with the previous theological debate on religion. The second discussed the problems associated with it and proposed a concept of religion that leaves them behind. In the last part, Danz dealt with the consequences of the proposed differential hermeneutical approach for a theology open to pluralism. He first presented alternative models to traditional Christian views of other religions, in particular the pluralist model, which proposes a distinction between the transcendent Absolute and historical religions. This model can lead to a contradiction between theology and religion, and the view of historical religions is not taken into account in the theology of religion.

The lecturer emphasised the need to recognise particularities and absolutes of individual religions. In contrast, new forms such as inclusivism and comparative theology do not start from a universal concept of religion. The concept of religion thus refers to the theology that is applicable to the Christian religion and is understood and passed on as communication in culture as a religion in its own right. Theological differences between religions must therefore be present in order to be recognised as an independent religion. The theology of Christianity thus refers to itself and not to other religions and their truth, but merely observes them. Its task is primarily to look at the historical transmission.

The lecture led to an exciting subsequent discussion between members of different faiths and has offered a comprehensive insight into the debate of difference hermeneutics from a Protestant perspective.

On behalf of the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies, we would like to thank Prof. Christoph Danz for his interesting lecture and all participants for their interest.

Summary of the online lecture by Dr. Swami Medhananda: Interfaith Hermeneutics in Hinduism: From Advaitic Inclusivism to Religious Pluralism

On 17.05.2023, Dr. Swami Medhananda delivered his online lecture "Interfaith Hermeneutics in Hinduism: From Advaitic Inclusivism to Religious Pluralism" at the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies. This was attended by a large number of people who actively participated in the concluding discussion.

The speaker presented exciting insights into Ramakrishna's teachings on religious pluralism, which allow a reference to the understanding of inter-religious dialogue in modern societies. Medhananda gave interesting insights into the three paradigms of religious diversity, introducing the concepts of exclusivism, advaitic inclusivism and religious pluralism. Following this, he provided insights into Sri Ramakrishna's philosophical view of how Vedantic philosophy helps to harmonise the world's religions and how the path of non-dualism enables pure consciousness that is not limited to a single religion. This perspective aroused great interest among the audience, leading to a lively discussion on whether each religion can be considered equal and whether there are concrete criteria that are more conducive to finding final salvation through one's own religion.

Medhananda answered these questions to the effect that, with the exception of fundamentalist and dogmatic currents, there is no wrong path that leads to achieving ultimate salvation through God. The insights into interreligious hermeneutics and the philosophical-theological concepts of religious diversity in a plural society are an important basis for an ambiguity-tolerant and appreciative encounter in the course of interreligious teaching/learning processes.

In summary, Medhananda aroused great interest among the international audience. For this, the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies would like to thank him and all participants.

Summary of the online lecture by Cem Kara: Hermeneutics between Unambiguity and Ambiguity. An ambiguity- and emotion-theoretical reading of Alevi sources

On 30.05.2023, the online lecture by Dr. Cem Kara "Hermeneutik zwischen Eindeutigkeit und Mehrdeutigkeit" [Hermeneutics between Unambiguity and Ambiguity] took place at the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies.

The participants from different disciplines were extremely interested and had ample opportunity to ask questions after the lecture. The focus was primarily on clarifying ambiguity and the representation of emotions in Alevism in a religious studies context, which Kara presented based on the results of his research. Thanks to his internal Alevi theological perspective, he has a broad range of expertise to draw on in this context.

Kara began by giving a brief overview of the way knowledge was transmitted in Alevism. In doing so, he emphasised that in addition to the prevailing assumption of a mainly oral tradition, a core corpus of written sources also played a significant role that should not be underestimated. Kara then presented a definition of the term ambiguity within Alevi theology. He explained the differences in the divergence of ideas, which can be either complementary (diversa) or controversial (adversa). Kara underlined his particular interest in the importance of production aesthetics and presented ambivalent concepts of faith that prioritise central aspects of faith. He placed a special emphasis on the diverse ideas of Imam Ali in the context of ambiguous beliefs and emphasised that ambiguity can also be used intentionally to appeal to a wider audience. In the second part, Kara devoted himself to the representation of emotions in Alevism and first explained the general sociological understanding of emotions. Building on this, he presented his research interest, which focuses on the emotional charging of beliefs. Based on his findings, he presented the basic emotions that dominate in Alevi poems and are used as rhetorical devices. Kara presented the basic emotions such as love, sadness and anger that dominate in Alevi poems.

In the concluding conclusion, he again addressed the ambiguity of the doctrine of faith and emphasised the unambiguity of the prevailing emotions in Alevism, which he described as orthopathy. The lecture offered a concise review of the current research situation and paved the way for critical reflections that can contribute to the shaping of a pluralistic society and the promotion of intra- and inter-religious dialogue.

On behalf of the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Dr Cem Kara for his exciting lecture and to those present for their active participation.

Summary of the online lecture "Cross-religious Narratives in Hadith Traditions as a Starting Point for Interreligious Hermeneutical Considerations" by Dr Ulvi Karagedik

On 13.06.2023, Dr. Ulvi Karagedik gave the online lecture "Religionsübergreifende Narrative in Hadithüberlieferungen als Ausgangspunkt interreligiös-hermeneutischer Überlegungen" [Cross-religious Narratives in Hadith Traditions as a Starting Point for Interreligious Hermeneutical Reflections] at the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies.

The lecture attracted participants from different denominations who contributed their expertise and contributed to an exciting discussion that emphasised the importance of inter-religiousness. The speaker focused on clarifying interreligious hermeneutics based on the monotheistic religions, highlighting commonalities, interactions and areas of tension. Karagedik first highlighted the impact of a largely monotheistic world on the hermeneutical dimensions of understanding religion and emphasised Islam's fundamental openness to an interreligious understanding of religion.

Karagedik pointed to the birth of Jesus and the belief in the Trinity as exemplary topics that encourage the Muslim community to practice a differentiated understanding and to be open to divergent points of view. The speaker then referred to the relevance of the image of Hadith as a suitable source for interreligious and hermeneutical enquiry. He explained that the image hadith, which states that God created Adam in his image, initially evokes a certain defensiveness in classical Islamic teaching, as it contrasts with the view that nothing can resemble God. The lecturer underlined the points of contact between the texts of the Old Testament and the Torah, as well as the associated contradictions in relation to the Islamic primary sources. This led to a discussion on how to deal with interreligious hermeneutical questions, the subject orientation in Christianity and existing challenges in religious discourse. In the end, the participants and the speaker agreed that interreligious dialogue is crucial for an understanding encounter between the monotheistic religions.

The Department of Islamic Theological Studies would like to thank Dr Ulvi Karagedik for the exciting lecture and all participants for their active participation in the discussion.

Summary of the online lecture by Chief Rabbi Jaron Engelmayer of the IKG: The Jewish Foundations for Interreligious Understanding

On 27.06.2023, an online lecture by Chief Rabbi Jaron Engelmayer of the IKG took place at the Department of Islamic Theological Studies, in which he gave an insight into the religious foundations of Judaism and its relations with other religions.

At the beginning, Engelmayer presented a detailed overview of the origin of the Torah and explained the difference between written and oral teachings in Judaism. The Torah, consisting of the five books of Moses, represents the central source and the fundamental foundation of the Jewish faith. Engelmayer explained the tradition of transmission and emphasised the authenticity of Jewish oral teaching, which is based on continuous self-criticism and the pursuit of truth in Judaism.

The speaker particularly emphasised the unity and equality of all human beings, which he traced back to the story of Adam and Eve. This narrative is meant to illustrate that every single human being was created as an individual being. In Judaism, therefore, it is not descent but a person's moral choices that are used as a yardstick for their evaluation.

Furthermore, Engelmayer explained that according to the Jewish view, every person has an individual task that they must fulfil in the course of their life. Although conversion to Judaism can be a demanding path, this is by no means to be seen as a negative assessment, as Judaism is not a missionary religion. Rather, Judaism places a high value on religious pluralism, rejecting only idolatry. For non-Jews, therefore, only seven basic commandments apply instead of Judaism's 613 commandments. Judaism does not consider itself superior to other religions, but encourages living moral behaviour and treating each other with respect. The ultimate goal is a messianic time of world peace in which people can live together harmoniously.

Finally, the speaker gave an insight into the three pillars (the people, the land of Israel and the religion) of Judaism as well as the understanding of the afterlife and how this religion deals with polytheism. According to Engelmayer, it is of great importance for Jews today to actively engage in interreligious dialogue and maintain a constructive exchange with representatives of other faiths. The event contributed significantly to broadening the understanding of Judaism and promoting interreligious dialogue.

On behalf of the Department of Islamic-Theological Studies, we would like to thank Jaron Engelmayer for his exciting lecture and all participants for their active participation.