Johannes Hoff's Research


Hoff's earlier research focused on the post-phenomenological discussion of the 20th century and the late medieval mystic, philosopher, cardinal, and bishop of Brixen Niklaus von Kues (1401-1464). These works aimed at exploring the significance of spiritual and performative practices for our modern understanding of art, science, philosophy, and theology. Many of his publications in this field arose out of his collaboration with leading representatives of contemporary art, such as the performance artist Christoph Schlingensief, who died in 2011.

Hoff's most recent research focuses on the anthropological challenge of the Digital Revolution, which represents, as leading philosophers of technology agree, the greatest socio-cultural rupture since the Axial Age (about 500 BC). An important role is attributed here to the posthumanist discussion on 'self-technologies', in which Hoff discovers the key to a critical revision of our modern-humanistic concept of man. In doing so, Hoff ties in with contemporary, neuroscientific, post-analytical and post-phenomenological thinkers such as Thomas Fuchs, Charles Taylor, Hilary Putnam and Bernard Stiegler, as well as pre-modern theologians and philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, Augustine, Dionysius Areopagita, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart and Nicholas of Cusa. The theological goal of this research project is to free the holistic thinking of Eastern and Western Christianity of the first millennium from its modern overpaintings, and to discover the nerve of Christian doctrine in spiritual 'self-technologies'. In this way, Hoff aims to merge the theological and philosophical transformation program of French and English Ressourcement theologians such as Henri de Lubac, Andrew Louth, John Milbank, and Rowan Williams with the anthropological discussion of the German interwar period and the beginning of the 21st century, which goes back to Max Scheler.

Part of this project is Hoff's research cooperation with the "Institute for Information Systems & Society" at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration and his participation in the research group ''Ethics in Action for Sustainable Development'', which was convened by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University) on behalf of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. In the Anglo-American world, Hoff has become known to a broader interdisciplinary readership through his monograph "The Analogical Turn. Rethinking Modernity with Nicholas of Cusa", which appeared in 2013. A German-language monograph on his most recent research project is due to appear shortly under the title: "Verteidigung des Heiligen. Anthropologie der digitalen Transformation des dritten Jahrtausends“ („Defence of the Holy. Anthropology of the Digital Transformation of the Third Millenium“)

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