Forum for Interdisciplinary Religious Studies (FIRSt)

The Forum for Interdisciplinary Religious Studies (FIRSt) brings together research activities related to religious studies within the faculties of Humanities, Social Sciences, Law and Theology at the University of Göttingen. It provides opportunities for exchange and further development of new research contexts. It is a central component of the university’s strategy to interlink religious studies intra- and interdisciplinarily.

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FIRSt spokesperson Alexander-Kenneth Nagel was interviewed by Deutschlandfunk: "Corona-Krise: Ein Virus namens Apokalypse" [Corona Crisis: A Virus Called Apocalypse]

Professor of Religious Studies Alexander-Kenneth Nagel was interviewed by Deutschlandfunk on apocalyptic interpretations of the Coronavirus epidemic. Notions of calamities and the end of the world in a modern society are reflected upon in connection to e.g. social media.

The complete interview (in German) can be read and listened to here.


Most recent publications


Most recent book publications


Günther, Sebastian (editor). Knowledge and Education in Classical Islam: Religious Learning between Continuity and Change (2 Volumes). Leiden: Brill, 2020. (= Islamic History and Civilization 174).
Knowledge and Education in Classical Islam: Religious Learning between Continuity and Change is a pioneering collection of essays on the historical developments, ideals, and practices of Islamic learning and teaching in the formative and classical periods of Islam (i.e., from the seventh to fifteenth centuries CE).

Becker, Matthias. Lukas und Dion von Prusa. Das lukanische Doppelwerk im Kontext paganer Bildungsdiskurse. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2020. (= Studies in Cultural Contexts of the Bible 3).
In this analysis, the relationship between the Luke-Acts and the writings of the itinerant preacher Dion of Prusa is examined for the first time. The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are classified into pagan educational discourses by comparing terminology and themes.


Jarrar, Maher in collaboration with Sebastian Günther. Doctrinal Instruction in Early Islam: The Book of the Explanation of the Sunna by Ghulām Khalīl (d. 275/888). Leiden: Brill, 2020. (= Islamic History and Civilization 174).
This study analyses the creed written by the Basran and Baghdadi Sunni preacher Ghulām Khalīl (d. 275/888) with regard to the development of dogmatic instruction in early Islam. Thus, it broaches multi-layered themes with the aim of specifying the parameters of this “Muslim Creed” in terms of the composite relationship between its content and its origin.


Kuhlmann, Peter and Valeria Marchetti. Cicero im Rahmen der römischen Bildungskultur. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020. (= SERAPHIM – Studies in Education and Religion in Ancient and Pre-Modern History in the Mediterranean and Its Environs 6).
Cicero’s philosophical works conveyed manifold innovative impulses especially with regard to issues of education and religion. In this study, aspects of Greek and Roman education in Cicero’s work are examined from different perspectives of classical studies.



Most recent articles


Koenig, Matthias. "Emile Durkheim and the Sociology of Religion." The Oxford Handbook of Émile Durkheim, edited by Hans Joas and Andreas Pettenkofer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
This article revisits Emile Durkheim’s sociologie religieuse and explores its potential and limitation for analyzing contemporary religious reconfigurations in the twenty-first century. It reviews how the “New Durkheim” as recovered by the recent historiography of classical sociology defined, explained, and assessed religion.


Nagel, Alexander-Kenneth. "Crossing the Lines? Inter- and Multifaith Governance as an Arena of Boundary Work." Religious Diversity and Interreligious Dialogue, edited by Anna Körs, Wolfram Weisse and Jean-Paul Willaime, 103-116. Cham: Springer, 2020.
The chapter analyses structural and discursive dimensions of urban inter- and multifaith governance of religious diversity through the lens of current debates on boundary work. Complementary to recent empirical and historical investigations of interfaith dynamics drawn from social movement theory, concepts of boundary work shed light on the relationship between religion and politics in multifaith societies.