Deutsch Intern
Chair for Fundamental Theology and Comparative Religious Studies

Research projects

Projekt Analytische Christologie: die Versuchungen Jesu und die Sündlosigkeit Gottes

According to Christian tradition, Jesus Christ is said to be "truly man and truly God". The Gospels and the Letter to the Hebrews, on the other hand, tell that Jesus "has been tempted in every way, just as we are". Here one needs to raise the question: Was Jesus able to give in to the temptations? Is it possible that Christ was inable to sin according to his divine nature, but able to sin according to his human nature? This question and other logical problems of the Christian teaching of Christ's nature(s) will be scrutinized in the "Analytic Christology - Divine Impeccability" research project led by Dr. Johannes Grössl and Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch (University of Paderborn) in cooperation with philosophers of religion, systematic and biblical theologians. The project is funded by the John Templeton Foundation as a cluster project of The Nature of God Project.

In 2017 and 2018, four workshops were organized as part of this project

Upcoming Workshop 4: "Sinlessness and Human Perfection in Islam and Christianity"

September 4-5, 2018 - Catholic Academy Schwerte, Germany

with Jeffrey Siker (Loyola Marymount Unversity, USA), Klaus von Stosch (Paderborn), Muhammad Legenhausen und Mohammad-Taghi Ansari-Pur (Qom, Iran)


Sign up for the event HERE  or by e-mail to

Workshop 3: "The Human and Divine Nature(s) of Christ"

June 6, 2018, 11:00 - 16:00, University of Paderborn, Germany

EVENING TALK 18:00 - 20:00

with Timothy Pawl, Unversity of St. Thomas, MN, USA


Workshop 2: Two Wills in Christ? Dyotheletism and its Alternatives

October 13.-14., 2017, Catholic Academy Schwerte, Germany 

with Oliver Crisp (Fuller), Thomas Marschler (Augsburg), Ryan Mullins (St. Andrews), Dominikus Kraschl (Würzburg)


Workshop 1: Die Sündlosigkeit Christi und der Gläubigen

May 12-13, 2017 - Catholic Academy Schwerte, Germany with Brian Leftow (Oxford), Angelika Strotmann (Paderborn), Hans-Ulrich Weidemann (Siegen), Thomas Schärtl-Trendel (Regensburg)

Vulnerabilities: A Heterology of Incarnation in Vulnerability Discourse

Over the last thirty years, “vulnerability“ has become a key concept in academic research with great social relevance and needs an interdisciplinary network. In medicine and ecology, as well as in studies on poverty, migration and religio-political violence, vulnerability is a decisive topic. But Christian theology, which has included wounds, pain and suffering among its central themes for a long time has hardly participated in these debates until now. Its absence from the discourse generates a serious research deficit that this project presented here counteracts. To this end, it has to transform the theological thematization of wounds into the new discourse and bring the precarious power of “vulnerabilities” into focus.

With respect to method, the project works with the heterology initiated by Michel de Certeau, who launched the internal theological debates on non-theological academic discourse. The analysis of discourse on vulnerability from a theological perspective shows that current research only covers the field of the profane or secular, where action focuses on protection, safety, and decreasing vulnerability. Phenomena like suicide attacks and the ordinary willing­ness of people to sacrifice themselves can be analyzed only if the power effects of the Holy are researched. Georges Bataille’s theory of religion taps this world of the Holy, where people, states, and religions are prepared to make a sacrifice and to risk vulnerability instead of protecting it.

If the research project places the problem of violence regarding vulnerability in the field of tension between the profane and holy, it thus gives the Christian theology of incarnation a completely new relevance. Incarnation is revealed as the praxis of voluntary vulnerability that responds to the requirement to protect others. Not only God in his becoming flesh, but people as well are prepared to risk their own vulnerability to protect and to foster the lives of other people, cultures, and religions. This research project introduces into this area the analyses by Michel de Certeau and  it develops a Christian answer to Judith Butler’s question as to what might be made of grief for a lost human life besides a cry for war. The “heterology of incarnation” makes clear that the risk of one’s own vulnerability, a risk that serves life, is a humanizing process: it occurs where humanity is at stake.


The merging of vulnerability discourse and incarnation theology opens up new territory. It widens and differentiates the research field considerably and promises a major gain in interdisciplinary relevance. The results of the project will be published in a book and in other publications to make them available to the academic public.