Institute of Fundamental Theology and Dogmatic Theology

Life orientation and processes of meaning-making seem to be in urgent demand because of the growing complexity of our pluralistic and multicultural society. This requires a sound understanding of the traditions of faith in particular as well as an intellectual appropriation of their teachings. The task of fundamental and dogmatic theology in this regard is to hermeneutically engage the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith in order to account for their plausibility and relevance. In continuity with the Second Vatican Council the KU Linz is particularly concerned with grasping the social and existential relevance of faith and to give a voice to its commemorative and liberating, but also critical potential. Even though the disciplines of fundamental theology and dogmatic theology are researched in separate departments both subjects are seen to share important methodological and textual aspects.

Research project: Scientific support of the Task Force “Signs of Life” (Lebenszeichen) of the Diocese of Linz

To many local Catholic parishes the years 2012 to 2015 marked a time of remembering and renewing the Second Vatican Council, which was held in Rome from 1962 to 1965. One of the main intentions of the Council, which was convened by Pope John XXIII, was the “aggiornamento.” This process aims to adapt faith to the demands of the modern world, to the demands of what matters today.

Critical and / versus Hermeneutical Theology

A Symposium on the Occasion of the 75th Birthday of Walter Raberger and David Tracy (completed)

Hermeneutics and Critical Theory are currently amongst the most important reference theories for present-day theology. They have strongly influenced the theological work of both David Tracy and Walter Raberger. The KU Linz used the occasion of their 75th birthdays, which they both celebrated in 2014, to hold a symposium in honour of their work.


Symposium with Prof Hans Joas und Prof David Tracy (completed)

How can faith be credible? A theological and sociological symposium on how Christianity still matters (11.10. – 12.10. 2010)

The currency of faith, its existential potential as well as its rationality are key issues of theology. But since faith is always “faith in history and society” (J. B. Metz), theology cannot address these issues by itself.

Research Project “Systematic Theology and Sociology of Religion” (completed)
Published as: Im Dialog. Systematische Theologie und Religionssoziologie (QD 258), Freiburg/ Br. 2013

The conditions of an interdisciplinary exchange between sociology and systematic theology have improved greatly in recent years. After its re-orientation sociology of religion has now largely renounced its former critical stance toward religion. It has also overcome its empiricist stage, which was mostly limited to church sociology and the collection of statistical data regarding participation levels in church activities and church organizations.

Habilitation Thesis Kreutzer: “Kenopraxis” (completed 2010)
A Theology of Self-Renunciation based on Action-Theory

Recent years have witnessed religion returning to modern life as an important factor of serious impact on society. One religious motif seems to be particularly fascinating yet also daunting: “selflessness.” Selflessness or self-renunciation is an important ethical and spiritual claim for the self-interpretation of believers.

PhD Thesis Telser: “Theology as Public Discourse” (completed 2009)

Published as: Theologie als öffentlicher Diskurs. Zur Relevanz der Systematischen Theologie David Tracys (ITS 84), Innsbruck – Vienna 2016

PhD Thesis Kreutzer: Critical Contemporaries (completed 2006)

Contours of a Contextual Theology in Modern Society in Dialogue with the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes. Published as: Kritische Zeitgenossenschaft. Die Pastoralkonstitution Gaudium et spesmodernisierungstheoretisch gedeutet und systematisch-theologisch entfaltet (ITS 75), Innsbruck – Vienna 2006

Research Project: “Dying in Dignity” (completed 2004)

The discussion surrounding physician-assisted suicide on the one hand, and the rapid growth of the hospice movement on the other hand are signs of a fundamental societal change in attitudes toward death. Physicians and pastors are without doubt especially sensitive to these transformations.

Publication: “Mediation in the Fragment” (Vermittlung im Fragment)
(Walter Raberger/ Hanjo Sauer, ed., completed 2003)

Franz Schupp’s theology is amongst the most profound new approaches in Catholic theology after the Second Vatican Council. Schupp taught dogmatic theology in the tradition of Karl Rahner at the Theological Faculty of Innsbruck. This book documents Schupp’s new start with essays from the years 1968 – 1976 as well as a previously unpublished lecture that Franz Schupp held together with Karl Rahner during the winter semester of 1972/73.

Lecture Series: “Human Rights as a Place of Theology” (Hanjo Sauer/ Alfons Riedl, completed 2003)

During the winter semester of 2001/2002 Prof Hanjo Sauer (Fundamental Theology) and Prof Alfons Riedl (Moral Theology) held a lecture series on the question of “Human Rights as a Place of Theology.”

Department for Religious Studies


In March 2015 the Department of Religious Studies was established as part of the Institute of Fundamental and Dogmatic Theology. With this move, the KU Linz explicitly and institutionally incorporates the perspective of religious studies in teaching and researching theology.

The winter semester of 2015/16 saw the introduction of the new Master’s programme “Religion in Culture and Society”. This MA comprehensively accounts for religion(s) and religious expression in their respective unique complexity and their various links to culture and society. In terms of teaching and research the programme places a strong emphasis on the sociology of religion and religious aesthetics.

MA Programme: Religion in Culture and Society

A new awareness of the importance of religion in culture, society, politics, and public discourse has more recently gained great momentum after a period in which many predicted the final decline of religion. The MA programme Religion in Culture and Society at the Catholic University of Linz (KUL) responds to the increased demand for knowledge in the field of religion(s). Religious phenomena and the respective self-positioning of individual religions in their social and cultural contexts as well as the challenges they face are critically addressed and explained from a religious studies perspective.

Graduates of this programme will be put in a position to deal with profound societal processes in an intellectually responsible manner and to do so in their diverse professional, social, and cultural fields. They earn a valuable qualification useful and applicable in a variety of professions in media, culture, politics, administration, social work, and education.

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject in Religious, Social, or Cultural Studies, or in the Humanities.

Duration of Study/Academic Degree

  • At least 4 Semesters (Full-Time Studies) – 120 ECTS - Credit Points
  • Master of Arts (MA)

Job Perspectives

  • In religious, cultural, or social research
  • Adult education
  • In politics, culture, media, social work, NGOs, religious communities

Study Outcome

  • Acquisition of fundamental knowledge in the field of religious studies
  • The capacity to thoroughly reflect on and engage in diverse relations between religion, culture, and society
  • The capacity to recognise and understand social challenges and matters of cultural policy in the context of religious pluralism as well as finding solutions and strategies for these problems


Module I: Systematic Religious Studies

  • General introduction to religious studies
  • Introduction to subdisciplines of religious studies (e.g. sociology of religion, psychology of religion, ethnology of religion, aesthetics of religion)
  • Metaphysics and philosophical anthropology
  • Critique and justification of religion
  • Selected topics of comparative religious studies
  • Varying seminars and lecture courses to increase specialist knowledge in systematic religious studies. This includes further philosophical and systematic-theological courses offered at other departments of the KU Linz

Module II: Historical and Empirical Religious Studies

  • Introduction to Judaism
  • Introduction to Christianity
  • Introduction to Islam
  • Introduction to East and Southeast Asian religions
  • Selected types of religion and religious movements: historical forms of deviance, new religious movements
  • Methods of empirical religious research
  • Varying seminars and lecture courses that contribute to a deeper understanding of historical and current forms of religion. This includes courses from offered at the historical, biblical, and practical-theological departments of the KU Linz

Module III: Religious Studies from a Contemporary Diagnostic 

  • Religion and societal processes of transformation: mutual challenges
  • Religion in civil society and the state: legal aspects of religion
  • Secularisation, detraditionalization, and individualisation as contemporary, contextual conditions of religion perceived through the lens of Christianity
  • Introduction to the philosophy of religion
  • Varying seminars and lecture courses on religious phenomena occurring in politics, economics, ethics as well as art, pop culture, and media

Head of the Department for Religious Studies

Honorary Professor