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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Institute for Public Theology


Mission Statement


Public Theology, understood as theologically informed interdisciplinary discourse on public issues and the scholarly reflexion thereof, is of paramount importance in modern societies which tend to be pluralistic in regard to religions and comprehensive worldviews. It involves the plural perspectives of faith into public debates and allows for a critical reflection of those perspectives.


Thus, it enables public scrutiny of those perspectives while enriching public discourse by the contribution of religious perspectives. As Public Theology is vitally interested in public discourse as part of a democratic and pluralistic culture, it tries to enable and further it wherever possible. By rendering the particular background perspectives transparent, Public Theology contributes to the clarification of normative issues, the formation of opinions and political delibaration.


Even though originating in a Protestant Christian field of discourse, Public Thelology as an academic endeavour aims at an horizon encompassing ecumenical, interreligious and other perspectives on comprehensive worldviews.



Politische Partizipation in Digitalen Öffentlichkeiten. Fachgespräch mit Theorie-Praxis-Dialog (15.-16. Juni 2018)


Im Zuge der viel diskutierten "Digitalisierung" verändert sich die Formation von politischen Öffentlichkeiten. Die Debatten um Filterblasen lassen die gesellschaftliche Verunsicherung dabei sichtbar werden: Die Kultur und Technik der Digitalität wird mit der Entstehung und Beförderung von Populismus genauso in Verbindung gebracht wie mit der heftigen Kritik an den als integrativ angesehenen Medien des öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunks und der großen Zeitungsverlage. Wie ist und wird Bezteiligung an demokratischer Meinungsbildung und Entscheidungsfindung unter diesen veränderten Bedingungen möglich? Das Fachgespräch mit Theorie-Praxis-Dialog findet am 15. und 16. Juni 2018 in Kooperation mit dem Zentrum für Ethik der Medien und der digitalen Gesellschaft in den Räumen der Theologischen Fakultät, Burgstr. 26, 10178 Berlin statt.

Es wird um Anmeldung per Mail bis zum 31. Mai an bettina.schoen@hu-berlin.de gebeten. Weitere Informationen finden sie hier.




16 church leaders on bikeChurches as Agents for Justice and against Populism (Berlin, May 2nd - May 4th, 2018)


Nationalist populist movements endorse exclusionary strategies that fragment societies and marginalize people. Churches should respondby strengthening respect and equal participation, and by wideningthe civil society discourse through exchange between different global contexts and social locations.
The conference has several aims: examining the mechanics of exclusionary populist movements, clarifying theological arguments against divisive politics, and – thereby – encouraging participatory processes that strengthen people’s agency in church and society.
The Evangelical Academy in Berlin, Bread for the World, the Church of Sweden, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in cooperation with the Berlin Institute for Public Theology bring together theologians, church leaders and political scientists from different parts of the world to further initiatives for inclusion, justice and religious pluralism. The speakers and participants of the conference come from over 25 countries, and will introduce perspectives from church leadership, political science and theology.

Please find more information here.




Religion und FluchtExhibition "Religion und Flucht" (April 26th - May 17th, 2018)


The Berlin Institute for Public Theology invites to the exhibition "Religion und Flucht" at the foyer of the Faculty of Theology. At the center of the exhibition, there are eight stories of refugees, most of them leading from Syria to Germany. As the first exhibition on this subject, this exhibition not only retells the stories, but also questions how difficult they are to fully understand for Western Europeans and how easily they are instrumentalized for political purposes.

Eights Humboldt students have taken on the role of curators of the exhibition that has been developed in cooperation with students from the department of Kommunikationsdesign at HTW Berlin. The exhibition makes scientific, artistic and personal approaches to the topic tangible. Films, audiocours a comic and experimental space and other elements can be discovered. The project is headed by Benjamin Kryl, master student in Religion and Culture under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Torsten Meireis.

Please find more information here. Read more about the words of welcome, given during the vernissage here and here.




Cover Religion and DemocracyT. Meireis, R. Schieder (Eds.): Religion and Democracy. Studies in Public Theology


"Democracy isn´t dead, it just smells funny." This variation about a quip on jazz by Frank Zappa sums up our current experience with democracy: even though most countries profess to have some sort of democracy, a change for the worse seems underfoot. As public theology has a strong affinity to democracy, a critical, interdisciplinary, ecumenical an dinterreligious assesment of how religions may help in furthering democratic forms of government seems appropriate. This book tries to undertake steps in this direction. It consists of three sections: the first tries to identify challenges and resources in the relationship between religion and democracy. The second part reflects on the framework of that relationship and the third section tries to identify examples of tasks that need to be accomplished. All the texts have been contributed by the members of the newly founded  Berlin Institute for Public Theology, who agree on the necessity of a public theological effort, especially with regard to the question of democracy, but disagree on what this effort needs to consist in.

Contributions by Andreas Feldtkeller, Eva Harasta, Florian Höhne, Mouez Khalfaoui, Torsten Meireis, Matthias Möring-Hesse, Marcia Pally, Rolf Schieder, Christine Schliesser and Clemens Wustmans.


Torsten Meireis, Rolf Schieder (Eds.): Religion and Democracy. Studies in Public Theology (Ethik und Gesellschaft, Vol. 3), Baden-Baden: Nomos 2017, 181 pp., ISBN 978-3-8487-4135-9, 34,- €




Logo Fritz Thyssen StiftungWhat is „Public Theology“?

Opening Conference, Berlin Institute for Public Theology (June 21st-22nd, 2017)


„Public Theology“ is a possible lable for debates on religious issues in the public sphere. But the question of theologoy´s public significance and impact is a contested one inside and outside religious communities - not least in question of who´s in charge. The Berlin Institute for Public Theology accepts the challenge. Thus, the opening conference is dedicated to the question: What is Public Theology?

Please find more information here.

Find some impressions of the Opening Conference here and the complete video documentation here.