Prof. Michael Sievernich SJ in conversation with Prof. Thomas M. Schmidt

Moderation: Bernd Frye

Frankfurter Kunstverein, Steinernes Haus am Römerberg, Markt 44, Frankfurt am Main

Eintritt frei

Presented by:
Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders"

Is a return of religion really taking place? In Europe at least, religious apathy, both among members and nonmembers of churches, seems if anything to be on the rise. Nevertheless, religious themes have seldom been so ever-present. Treatments of religion in the media range from criticisms of religion to special issues on the papal election. Yet what do these findings tell us about the significance of religion, particularly in pluralistic societies? Interviews with Prof. Michael Sievernich on his meetings with Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio have appeared under titles like ‘Frankfurt remains a little bit Pope’. The Jesuit priest, who among other positions is the former vice chancellor of Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, is an expert on religion in late modernity.

The now tenth Frankfurt Encounter will involve an exchange between him and Prof. Thomas M. Schmidt of the Goethe University Frankfurt and members of the Cluster of Excellence ‘The Formation of Normative Orders’. Schmidt, as a philosopher of religion, will also address the claim to reason of religion and the appropriate place of religion in a political community marked by secularism.    

Michael Sievernich, S.J. is Emeritus Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Honorary Professor of Pastoral Theology at Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt am Main, where he also served as vice-chancellor from 1986 to 2000. Numerous study visits and guest professorships have taken the Jesuit father to Latin America where he got to know the current Pope already in the early 1980s. They met again some years later when Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio in turn came to Sankt Georgen for a study visit lasting several months. Among Fr. Michael Sievernich’s research concentrations are intercultural theology and approaches to religious diversity. His publications include (as co-editor) the collected volume Aufbruch in die Urbanität – Theologische Reflexionen kirchlichen Handelns in der Stadt (2013) and the essay ‘Zukunft der Kirche in der religiösen Landschaft der Gegenwart – Herausforderungen und Chancen’ (2011).

Thomas M. Schmidt is Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the Goethe University Frankfurt with a joint appointment as Professor at the Institute of Philosophy. As a member of the Cluster of Excellence, he is director, among other things, of the research project ‘Religious Convictions in Normative Orders’. Prior to his appointment at Frankfurt, Schmidt was Assistant Professor of Philosophy at California State University in Long Beach and held guest professorships at St. Louis University (2001) and the University of Washington, Seattle (2004). The philosopher of religion is the main applicant of the DFG Collaborative Research Centre ‘Theologie als Wissenschaft’ and has been a fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2009) and at the Max Weber Centre (2011-2012). Among his publications are (as co-editor) the collected volumes Religion in der pluralistischen Öffentlichkeit (2008) and Moderne Religion? Theologische und religionsphilosophische Reaktionen auf Jürgen Habermas (2009) and the essay ‘Vernünftiger Pluralismus – irrationaler Glaube? Säkularisierung und die Zukunft der Religion’ (2011).

Bernd Frye is a press officer at the Cluster of Excellence. The journalist, who has enjoyed a long career especially in radio, specialises in humanities and social sciences issues in science communication.

Article: "Im Sinne einer Solidarität im Diesseits" - zur Rolle der Religion in pluralistischen Gesellschaften

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