Christina Gschwandtner and Thomas Schärtl-Trendl

Project leaders:

Prof. Christina Gschwandtner (Fordham University)
Prof. Thomas Schärtl-Trendl (LMU Munich)


Non-propositional Concepts of Divine Revelation: Phenomenological and Hermeneutic Perspectives


The proposed project is a collaborative endeavour between an analytic/systematic theologian with expertise in religious epistemology and philosophical theology with that of a continental philosopher with expertise in phenomenology and hermeneutics of religion (especially Marion and Ricœur) to bring the resources of continental philosophy to bear on central theological questions, especially that of divine revelation as it is marked in human experience. Although some theologians have begun to draw on insights from Heidegger, critical theory, or contemporary French phenomenology, no sustained or systematic collaboration between these fields has really been undertaken so far.

There is next to no interaction between analytical and continental philosophy of religion: although even analytical philosophy of religion has in recent years turned to the epistemology of religious experience or even investigated Christian liturgical experience (e.g. Nicholas Wolterstorff, William Alston, Terence Cuneo, etc.), it entirely ignores the more than a half-century of research in the phenomenology of religious experience (Martin Heidegger, Hedwig Conrad-Martius, Gerda Walther, Paul Ricœur, Jean-Luc Marion, Jean-Yves Lacoste, Michel Henry, Jean-Louis Chrétien, Emmanuel Falque, Anthony Steinbock, Natalie Depraz, Richard Kearney, etc.). The present project seeks to remedy this lack of collaboration by drawing on the resources of continental philosophy—especially in identifying, describing, and analysing phenomena of revelation—for theological purposes.

The two principal investigators will engage in joint research for a major book project combining, integrating, and furthering their respective expertise to employ philosophical tools for investigating religious experience in the Christian traditions (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant). They will also host several workshops, colloquia, and guest lectures at the supporting institutions (Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany, and Fordham University, New York, USA) to inspire further collaboration, integration, and investigative, cross-disciplinary insights in this area and to cultivate younger scholars who will contribute further research to this emerging field.