Research Project Monotheism under Suspicion of Violence

Theological discourses with Jan Assmann


"Wenn man die monotheistische Idee retten will, muss man sie
ihrer inhärenten Gewaltträchtigkeit entkleiden.“ (Jan Assmann)


Among the voices articulating the discomfort related to monotheism, the works of Jan Assmann deserve special attention. He has pointed to the fact that the holy texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam narrate the founding and assertion of monotheism in a language of violence. At the same time, he has argued that biblical monotheism has brought into the world a new form of hatred motivated by religious truth claims.

The research project intends to further theologically consider these critical impulses in a dialogue with Jan Assmann. Since the summer semester 2012, the renowned Egyptologist and cultural scientist has been prepared to present and discuss his reflections on the potential for violence in monotheism within the framework of the Wiener Theologische Kurse and the Faculty of Catholic Theology. The project grew out of these conversations.