The Centre for Theology and Philosophy in Eastern Orthodoxy

The Centre for Theology and Philosophy in Eastern Orthodoxy investigates the relationship between theology and philosophy in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Its main purpose is to find answers to the challenges of modernity and postmodernity. It seeks alternatives that transcend the common dichotomies between an instrumental and a foundational use of philosophy, between onto-theology and post-metaphysical theology, and between rationalism and fideism. These approaches tend to either undervalue or overvalue reason and philosophy and thus fail to envisage their specific mediatory function in Christian thought.

To dispense with philosophy would diminish the full incarnational scope of Christian faith. Christian experience is always mediated by the second person of theTrinity and demands linguistic and cultural incarnation in all human spheres, including the abstract level of philosophical reflection. Yet there is no such thing as an independent, pure, and presuppositionless philosophy, which theology can uncritically rely on. For at the basis of every philosophy there ‘proves to be a metaphysical premise that represents only an expression of an intuitive world-perception’ (S. Bulgakov). This is an important insight for the dialogue between theology and philosophy.

Accordingly, Christian thought must emphasize, first, the importance of the mediation of reason and philosophy, and second, the unique and irreducible character of the Christian logos. This is not to say that there is a timeless, unchangeable Christian philosophy that can be set out once and for all. Rather, the idea of a Christian philosophy is an eschatological concept.

The dialogue between theology and philosophy is not merely self-referential, but the precondition for a theological engagement with contemporary issues in politics, science, psychology, and the arts etc. The Centre’s activities include (online) reading groups, seminars, conferences, and publications. It has an ecumenical orientation and endeavours to involve scholars with different ecclesial backgrounds. While its main aim is a critical examination of modernity and postmodernity, contributions about other historical eras are welcome too.

Areas of investigation:

  • The Christian transformation of Greek metaphysics
  • Russian Religious Philosophy: esp. P.A. Florensky, S. Bulgakov, V. Solovyov; Christos Yannaras
  • Orthodox theology and Continental philosophy
  • Ecumenical perspectives on theology and philosophy
  • Truth, love, beauty
  • The mediation of transcendence: Trinitarian theology and apophatic theology
  • Language & semiotics
  • Theology and metaphysics; the debate about fideism and ontotheology
  • The crisis of liberalism; geopolitics: the universal and the particular
  • Propaganda research; totalitarianism

Contact: Dr Christoph Schneider,