Research project of Teresa Peter

Coordination and execution of the research project

Sitzkissen.TexteDoing Spiritual Theology - Die Praxis Spiritueller Theologie

Study and practice in the Christian Ignatian tradition and in the Buddhist Vipassanā tradition and consequences for doing Spiritual Theology

This project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): V168-G15. 

Duration of the project: January 2011 - October 2018.

First interruption due to maternity leave: October 2013 - September 2014.

Second interruption due to maternity leave: June 2016 - May 2017.

Abstract of the project

The phenomenon on which this research project is working is the inter-connectedness of existential faith practice and intellectual faith reflection. The project is based on the preliminary assumption that this phenomenon cannot be observed in Christianity alone but that it can be considered as a cross-reli­gious and cross-cultural phenomenon. Therefore this project tries to explore the mentioned inter-con­nectedness in one particular Christian tradition (Ignatian) as well as in one particular Buddhist tradi­tion (Vipassanā). As Christianity and Buddhism are very different ways of looking at reality and inter­preting it, the expressions (and practices) which are used to name (and practice) „existential faith practice“ and „intellectual faith reflection“ differ a lot. These two poles are also just considered as two orientation marks which indicate a field in which more than these two differentiations might be meaningful.

Within the Christian approach this project works with the following differentiation:

  • speaking to God
  • speaking of God
  • speaking about God

Within the Buddhist approach this project works with the differentiation:

  • meditative insight
  • dharma talk
  • scholarly under­standing

This project combines a qualitative-empirical investigation (source of insight: experiences of people from the Ignatian and the Vipassanā-tradtion who live the balance between faith practice and faith reflection) with a text-hermeneutical one (source of insight: selected scholarly writings from the Ig­natian and the Vipassanā-tradition on the balance between faith practice and faith reflection). Eventu­ally the results of both sources are taken into consideration in order to develop further the following theological research questions.

  • Which new aspects appear regarding the inter-connectedness of existential faith practice and intellectual faith reflection?
  • In what way are the results significant for the understanding of a Christian Spiritual Theology as an academic discipline and/or a way of doing theology?
  • In what way are the results significant for a Christian understanding of the revelation process?

 This research project is affiliated to:

Cooperating students:

  • Thomas Sojer (participation in the project stopped in August 2014)
  • Benedikt Winkler (submitted in July 2014 at the Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt a. M.) - "Speaking to, speaking about, speaking of Dhamma"
  • Hans Laireiter (submitted in July 2015 at the Cath.-Theol. Faculty of the University of Innsbruck)

Publications of Teresa Peter in connection with the project "Doing Spiritual Theology"

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