Research group "Religion and Aesthetics"

"Into the Open!" Religions as aesthetic programme


There "has been an increasingly widespread cognizance of the multiple ways in which artistry and aesthetics shape what one might think of as the geography of religion” (Frank Burch Brown 2014, The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts, p. 1).

"There is no doubt that there is an intersection between religious experience and aesthetic experience—so obvious, in fact, that the current ‘aesthetic turn’ in Christian theology no longer needs to be vigorously defended.” (Anthony Godzieba 2023,


"Religion and Aesthetics" was founded in the fall of 2019 by Jakob Deibl after his appointment as tenure track professor as an interdisciplinary research group. It has ever since been successively expanded.

The aim of the research group is twofold: on the one hand, it is about understanding religions in their doctrinal, legal, cultic, communal, and artistic expression as an aesthetic program. In this perspective, the aesthetic dimension does not constitute a mere add-on, but permeates all of the aforementioned areas, enabling a holistic perception of religious traditions. On the other hand, the members of the research group make it their task to explore transformations of the mutual influence of religions and art in contemporary society. In both cases, aesthetics is understood as an indissoluble connection between theological and philosophical reflection on the one hand and the consideration of concrete forms of expression in religions and the arts on the other. A great emphasis is placed on the city of Vienna as a concrete place of artistic richness and topos in the arts.

The phrase “Into the Open!” taken from Hölderlin functions as a primary motto of these reflections. It means to express that an aesthetic approach can reveal and uncover potentials in religions that counteract their inherent tendencies towards closure and fundamentalism. In addition, artistic forms of expression can also represent an opening of religious traditions towards interreligious dialogue and exchange.  

The members of the research group strive for internationally visible (including third-party funded) research as well as the active involvement of students in academic work. A crucial part of this is close contact with artists and art institutions.


  • A newly published text by Jakob Deibl on how to read Hölderlins "Homburger Folioheft": The divine and the open text: Five steps for reading Hölderlin’s Homburger Folioheft, in: German Quarterly 97, (1/2024), pp. 1–18.
  • An article introducing the topic of the research project "Gott in Anmuth" on the Homburg Folio by the poet Friedrich Hölderlin was published in the RaT blog on December 13. The text can be read here.
  • Manuel Inselmann wrote a dialogue on beauty in the seminar on aesthetics: The question of beauty, held by Jakob Deibl in the summer semester 2023 as part of the discussion of Plato's aesthetics. The text can be downloaded here.
  • A special issue of the open access journal Religions on "Theology and Aesthetics" (Religions 14 (2023) (ISSN 2077-1444)) edited by Jakob Deibl is now available online. For full access to all articles, cklick here. We wish you a pleasant read!

Current Research Projects:



Research Fellows:

  • Dennis Beach
  • René Schaberger
  • Fana Schiefen

Student Participation:


  • ... in the context of their dissertation:
    • Anthony Adekoye Adeola: “Gospel of Prosperity of the Christian God of Nigeria and the Gospel of the Cross from the Theology of Eberhard Jüngel: A Pastoral and Theological Challenge for Africa”
    • Samuel Tetteh Siaw: “Rethinking Christianity with Johann Baptist Metz. The Challenge of the Era of the New Gospel”
    • Christian Macha: „Die Gesellschaftsdiagnose Zygmunt Baumans im Gespräch mit Evangelii Gaudium“
    • Peter Prinesdom: „Gelebte Nachhaltigkeit und ökologische Aspekte bei Klostergebäuden anhand ordensspezifischer Zugänge der Kartäuser, Benediktiner und Kapuziner“
    • Mattia Coser: "Das Böse in Gott? Ontologie des Bösen und des Leidens in der Philosophie Luigi Pareysons" (submitted in the spring of 2023)
    • Julius Frank Theodor Günther: „Geschichte der Persönlichkeit. Untersuchungen zur Dynamik des Religiösen und des Unbewussten bei F.W.J. von Schelling“ (submitted in spring 2023)
    • Lisa Achathaler: "From Trust in God to an Ethics of Hope: Biblical Narratives, Grenzsituationen, and the Productive Role of Welte´s Mitvollzug" (2022)
    • Marlene Deibl: "Neuer Gebrauch. Agamben als Leser theologischer und philosophischer Tradition" (2022)
  • ... in the context of their master's thesis:
    • Marco Fiorletta: "«Che cos’è fondare?». Il pensiero del fondamento nell’opera giovanile di Gilles Deleuze" (submitted at the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia der Sapienza Università di Roma, supervised by Jakob Deibl as Relatore esterno; 2023)
    • Georg Schaberger: "Psalm 23 in der Vertonung von Alexander Zemlinsky – Timbres einer Theophonie" (submitted in July 2023, exam during the Fall of 2023)
    • Katrin Dax: "Darstellung des Nicht-Darstellbaren. Christusbilder im Werk von Arnulf Rainer" (2022)
    • René Schaberger: "Von der unerschöpflichen Unendlichkeit des Wahren. Luigi Pareysons Denken auf der Suche nach einem Weg jenseits von Relativismus und Dogmatismus" (submitted at the Theologischen Hoschule Chur, external co-supervisor; 2022)
    • Daniel Kuran: "„Von der Religion zur Ästhetik“. Überlegungen im Anschluss an Kant mit einem Ausblick auf Benjamin" (2021)
    • Sandra Lendavits: "„Christus am Kreuz“ von Lucas Cranach dem Jüngeren – Emanzipation des Bildes von der Dominanz des Wortes in lutherischer Theologie" (2021)
    • Samuel Tetteh Siaw: "The Fraternity of Creation. A Ghanaian Appreciation of the Encyclical Laudato Si’" (2020)

Selected publications of group members:


  • Jakob Deibl
    • Deibl, Jakob: Auf dem Weg zu einer ästhetischen Philosophie. Zwischen Nostalgie für das Universale und Aufmerksamkeit für das Partikulare, in: Caterina Genna (Hg.): Quale filosofia ad inizio del XXI secolo? Introduzione di Gianni Puglisi. Postfazione di Piero Di Giovanni, Milano 2023: FrancoAngeli, 265–272.
    • Deibl, Jakob: The Concept of Religion in the Context of Aesthetics, in: Christian Danz/Jakob Helmut Deibl: Transformation of Religion. Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Religion and Transformation in Contemporary European Society 25), Paderborn: BRILL/Schöningh 2023, 133–162
    • Deibl, Jakob: Theology and Aesthetics, in: Religions 14 (2023) (ISSN 2077-1444). Edited by Jakob Deibl, Religions | Special Issue : Theology and Aesthetics (
    • Deibl, Jakob: Eigenzeit von Liturgie und Kunst. Eine Annäherung an den Zeitbegriff ausgehend von Leibniz‘ Briefwechsel mit Clarke, in: Codices Manuscripti & Impressi. Zeitschrift für Buchgeschichte, Supplementum 19 (April 2022), 61–68.
    • Deibl, Jakob: From Infinite Rapprochement to the Open. From Kant to Hölderlin, in: Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics vol. 14 (2022) Edited by Vítor Moura and Connell Vaughan, 56–67 (2022-Deibl_ESA.pdf (
    • Deibl, Jakob: Metapher und Zwischenraum. Thesen zur an-archischen Gottesrede der Bibel, in: Veronika Burz-Tropper (Hg.): Gottes-Bilder Zur Metaphorik biblischer Gottesrede. Kohlhammer: Stuttgart 2022, 259–272.
    • Deibl, Jakob: Möglichkeit, Wiederholung, Offenheit. Zur Gottesfrage in Dichtung und Philosophie Hölderlins, in: Klaus Viertbauer/Stefan Lang (Hg.): Gott nach Kant? Felix Meiner, Hamburg 2022, 149–180.
    • Deibl, Jakob: Baum und Doppelpunkt. Über Sophie Reyer, in: IKZ Communio 50 (3/2021), 337–339, DOI: 10.14623/com.2021.3.337-339.
    • Deibl, Jakob: On the Name of God and the Opening of New Linguistic Horizons. Considerations Starting from the Bible, Hölderlin, and Rilke, in: Kurt Appel (ed.): In Praise of Mortality. Christianity and New Humanism (JRAT supplementa 1), BRILL 2022, 35–94, DOI:, On the Name of God and the Opening of New Linguistic Horizons in: In Praise of Mortality ( and in: Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory (Spring 2021) 20:2 (, 208–248.
    • Deibl, Jakob: What the Catholic Church has learned from Protestant Churches in terms of Sacred Architecture: 1919–2019, in: Maroš Nicák/Martin Tamcke (Hg.): Theologie: Dienst und Notwendigkeit, 100 Jahre evangelisch-theologische Ausbildung in der Slowakei. Berlin: Lit-Verlag 2021, 181–188.
    • Deibl, Jakob; Appel, Kurt: Hegel, Hölderlin e l'apertura della "Gottesfrage", in: estetica. studi e richerche 10 (2/2020), 439–478. DOI: 10.14648/99201.
    • Deibl, Jakob: Interreligiöser Dialog, öffentlicher Raum und Ästhetik, in: Irene Klissenbauer/Franz Gassner/Petra Steinmair-Pösel/Peter G. Kirchschläger (Hg.): Menschenrechte und Gerechtigkeit als bleibende Aufgaben. Beiträge aus Religion, Theologie, Ethik, Recht und Wirtschaft. Festschrift für Ingeborg G. Gabriel. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2020, 159–173;
    • Deibl, Jakob: Sacred Architecture and Public Space under the Conditions of a New Visibility of Religion, in: Religions 11 (8/2020): 379 [Übersetzung: Natalie Eder]
    • Deibl, Jakob: Versetzungen: Wiederkunft zu rechter Zeit? Hölderlins „Patmos“ im Gespräch mit dem Landgrafen von Homburg, dem Seher Johannes und dem Komponisten Hans Zender, in: Violetta Waibel (Hg.), „Ein Zeichen sind wir, deutungslos“. Hölderlin lesen, Ikkyû Sôjun hören, Musik denken, Göttingen: Wallstein 2020, 239–271.
    • Deibl, Jakob: Abschied und Offenbarung. Eine poetisch-theologische Kritik am Motiv der Totalität im Ausgang von Hölderlin. J.B.Metzler 2019.
    • Deibl, Jakob: Ästhetik der Sphäre und der offenen Wendungen. Überlegungen zu Kunst und Medizin im Ausgang von Massimo Kaufmans „Gingko“, in: Andrea B. Del Guercio/Isabella Guanzini/Hans-Walter Ruckenbauer/Ida Terracciano (Ed.), Kunst heilt Medizin. Interdisziplinäre Untersuchungen zu vulnerabler Körperlichkeit (Theologie im kulturellen Dialog 34), Innsbruck/Wien: Tyrolia 2019, 136–157.
    • Deibl, Jakob: Ästhetik – Poesie – Religion. Eine Verhältnisbestimmung im Ausgang von Hölderlins theoretischen Schriften mit einem Ausblick auf die Elegie „Heimkunft“, in: Wolfgang Braungart/Joachim Jacob/Jan-Heiner Tück (Hg.): Literatur/Religion. Bilanz und Perspektiven eines interdisziplinären Forschungsgebietes (Studien zu Literatur und Religion, Bd. 1 / Studies on Literature and Religion, vol. 1), Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler 2019, 57–84.
    • Deibl, Jakob: From Kant to Hölderlin: Poetry and Religion in the Wake of Philosophical Aesthetics, in “Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory“ JCRT 18, (3/2019) [Übersetzung: Philipp Schlögl], 491–507; (peer reviewed).
    • Deibl, Jakob: The Intertwining of Prayer and Poetry in Friedrich Hölderlin, in: Maroš Nicák (Ed.), Poetry and Theology, Mlyn: Jihlava 2019, 259–282 (peer reviewed).
    • Deibl, Jakob: Verdichtungen. Karin Knobel: Rosig. Dichtung als Raum offener Möglichkeiten. Ein Gedicht von Karin Knobel, in: IKZ Communio 48 (1/2019), 111–115. DOI 10.14623/com.2019.1.111-115.
  • Cem Kara
    • Kara, Cem: “Religious Boundaries through Emotions: The Representation of Emotions and Their Group-Forming Function in Alevi Poetry”, in: Religions 2023, 14(6), 732,
  • Daniel Kuran
  • Gerhard Langer
  • Eduard Prenga
    • Prenga, Eduard: Translation as Original of a Grounded Theology. Sketch of a Relational Anthropology in the Age of Post-Anthropocentrism, (Beitrag für JRaT. Voraussichtlicher Erscheinungstermin: Frühjahr, 2024).
      • German Version: Übersetzung als Muttersprache geerdeter Theologie. Skizze zu einer relationalen Anthropologie im Zeitalter des Postanthropozentrismus.
    • Prenga, Eduard: Il pensiero come forma della sapientia nulliformis secondo Bonaventura, in: Sophia 2/2022 (Bd. XIV), 325–336.
    • Prenga, Eduard; Curi, Maria Benedetta: Un’inaugurazione profetica del nuovo pensiero, in: Maria Benedetta Curi / Eduard Prenga (Hg.): Tesi per una ontologia trinitaria di Klaus Hemmerle, Bd. 2 von Dizionario Dinamico di Ontologia Trinitaria, Città Nuova, Rom 2021, 11–45.
  • Milja Radovic
    • Radović, Milja: Film as History: Religion in the Early Documentary Film of the Yugoslav space 1896- 1939. New York: Routledge, 2024 (forthcoming).
    • Radović, Milja: “Framing the War: The Calvary of Serbia: Innovation, Faith, History in the Early Documentary Film”, in: Journal of Religion, Film and Media, Graz: University of Graz, 2023.
    • Radović, Milja: “Reframing Space: Religion, History, and Memory in the Early Documentary Film of the Yugoslav Space”, Journal of Religion and Film, Omaha: University of Nebraska, 2023.
    • Radović, Milja: “Liturgy on the Reel: Ascesis through Film”, in: Journal of Religion, Film and Media, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2022, DOI:
    • Radović, Milja: “Film as a Scene of ‘Rupture’: Religion, Gender and Rights in Middle Eastern Film”, in: Kristian Petersen (ed.): New Approaches to Islam in Film, New York: Routledge, 2021.
    • Radović, Milja: “The Whole Tragedy of War: "The Many Deaths of Aristides" by Lázaro Lemus.”, in: Interfilm, Frankfurt/Bern: Interfilm International Interchurch Film Organisation, 2020.
    • Radović, Milja: “Constructing Space, Changing Reality of Israel through Film”, in: Journal of Religion, Film and Media, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2019, DOI:
    • Radović, Milja: Film, Religion and Activist Citizens: An Ontology of Transformative Acts. New York: Routledge, 2019/2017.
    • Radović, Milja: “Life and Liturgy in Film”, in: Sanders, Theresa and Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch (eds.): The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2018.
    • Radović, Milja: “The Ambivalent Direction of Images: Festival Report Karlovy Vary 2018”, in: Interfilm, Frankfurt/Bern: Interfilm International Interchurch Film Organisation, 2018.
    • Radović, Milja: Transnational Cinema and Ideology: Religion, Identity and Cultural Myths. New York: Routledge, 2018/2014.
  • Jan-Heiner Tück
    • Tück, Jan-Heiner: Gelobt seist Du, Niemand. Paul Celans Dichtung - eine theologische Provokation (Poetikdozentur Literatur und Religion, Bd. 5), Freiburg i. Br. 2020.
    • Tück, Jan Heiner; Mayer, Tobias (Hg.): Die Kunst umspielt das Geheimnis. Literarische Annäherungen (Poetikdozentur Literatur und Religion - Bd. 4), Freiburg i. Br. 2019.
    • Tück, Jan-Heiner; Braungart, Wolfgang; Jacob, Joachim (Hg.): Literatur / Religion. Bilanz und Perspektiven eines interdisziplinären Forschungsgebietes, Stuttgart 2019.

Excursions and Art Talks:


  • Workshops with Students
    • January 13, 2020: Museum Sammlung Leopold ("Leopold Collection"): Students prepare a guided tour for students
    • April 22, 2022: Workshop „Trakl im Brenner“ (Place: Melk)
    • June 18, 2022: Workshop about Umberto Eco: „Form als Engagement” ("Form as engagement")
    • January 09, 2023: Workshop with Martin Crowley (Cambridge): „Opacity (Eduard Glissant)” (Place: Melk)
  • Art Talks and Excursions with Students
    • October 25, 2019: Art Talk with Eva Bardura-Triska about the exhibition „Vertigo“ (mumok)
    • October 28, 2019: Introducing the institution "Museumsquartier", talk with Erwin Uhrmann
    • November 25, 2019: Art talk with Verena Gamper and Stefanie Fridrik about Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and the Vienna Secession (Leopold Museum)
    • December 12, 2019: Art talk with the curator Luca Lo Pinto about the exhibition „Time Is Thirsty“ (Kunsthalle Wien)
    • December 05, 2022: Art talk with Rotraud Krall (Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna)
    • January 20, 2023: Art talk with Mikki Muhr about the exhibition „mixed up with others before we even begin“ (mumok)
    • March 31, 2023: „Rajkamal Kahlon. Which Side Are You On?” – Workshop with Andrea Hubin (Kunsthalle Wien)
    •  April 24, 2023: „In’s Offene“ – Performance and art talk with Karlheinz Essl
    •  May 08, 2023: „Das Zimzum. Sechs Annäherungen an das Unsagbare" – Poetics Lectureship with Ulrike Draesner
    •  June 01 and June 13, 2023: „No Feeling Is Final. The Skopje Solidarity Collection“ – Workshop with Andrea Hubin (Kunsthalle Wien)
    •  June 01, 2023: „Religion im Zeitalter der Biomacht. Ein Kreuzweg“ – Poetics Lectureship with Sophie Reyer
    • June 06, 2023: Die Frage nach dem Schönen – A tour through the Kunsthistorische Museum (Museum of Art History) with Annette Schmincke
  • Lecture Series „Religion – Ästhetik – öffentlicher Raum“ ("Religion - Aesthetics - Public Space") (SoSe 2022–WS 2022/23) for the “Vienna Doctoral School of Theology and Research on Religion”
    • June 23, 2022: Cornelia Offergeld: „Gedächtnis der Stadt" (presentation and excursion). Cornelia Offergeld is the Curatorial Director of "Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien (KÖR)" ("Art in the public space Vienna")
    • November 15, 2022: Andrea Hubin: Visit and discussion of the exhibition „Works of Heart” (Sanja Iveković) at Kunsthalle Wien
    • December 12, 2022: Ernst Pfaffeneder (TU Wien): „Architektur als ästhetisches Bekenntnis“ (presentation)
    • January 23, 2023: Ernst Pfaffeneder (TU Wien): „Architektur als ästhetisches Bekenntnis“ (excursion)