Research projects are(co)funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.

Member of the University of Ljubljana

UL Faculty of Theology




The Return of the Religious in Postmodern Thought as a Challenge for Theology


1.1.2016 - 31.12.2018

Range on year

1,88 FTE


Klun Branko

Research activity

Humanities / Theology

Research organisations

link on Sicris



In a time of a postmodern and post-secular return of the religious on both the individual and societal levels, this joint Slovenian-Austrian research project aims to be an original contribution towards building a new platform of dialogue between postmodern thinking and theology. Its goal is an identification and analysis of theologically relevant topoi, which this project intends to explore according to three venues of postmodern thought. The first venue includes representatives of French phenomenology (e.g. Levinas, Henry, Marion, Chrétien) who have undertaken within this field the so-called “theological turn,” and have thus revealed new possibilities for the means of relation between philosophy and theology. The second venue of inquiry relates more to hermeneutical thinkers (e.g. Ricoeur, Vattimo, Caputo) who have already initiated dialogue with the biblical religious tradition and thereby demonstrated the potential of postmodernism for theological reflection. The third venue consists of two alternative postmodern approaches, which embody two different orientations. Girard’s anthropological approach returns to Christianity and adopts an affirmative attitude toward it, while on the other hand, Luce Irigaray demands a critical reinterpretation of Christianity from the feminist point of view and calls for a broader notion of religiosity with new topoi of corporeal gestures of proximity and of cosmico-ethical elements.


link on Sicris

The phases of the project and their realization

In the first phase of the project, the research will critically examine different notions of transcendence in relation to the aforementioned postmodern thinkers, who are of crucial importance for a dialogue with Christian theology. The second phase will engage in extrapolating theologically relevant topoi, which will serve as a horizontal connection between different postmodern approaches.  Such topoi include, for example, the notions of gift and grace, event and narration, time and messianism, call and response, sensitivity and incarnation, weakness and kenosis, love (caritas) and hospitality.  The main quality of this project consists, however, in combining two different approaches. The inquiry into postmodern thinking will not investigate only its relevance for theology (ad intra), but will also inquire into the presence of – often not reflected – religious elements on the societal level and to identify religious topoi in our post-secular society (ad extra). The Austrian partner will explore the potential of the theological turn in phenomenology for a post-secular political philosophy and thereby contribute to a better understanding of the postmodern status of religion in society. The synergy of both approaches (ad intra and ad extra) and the mutual relevance of the research results will provide a basis for new possibilities of dialogue between theology and secular thought, and between religion and society.  Thus, it will contribute to overcoming the modern Enlightenment paradigm of separation between religion and society, which often amounts to an exclusion of religion from society, and will move toward a new culture of coexistence and mutual respect.

Citations for bibliographic records

link on Sicris

Presentation booklet: conference 5.9. – 7.9.2018