Una sit religio

The Philosophical Need for the Collective Singular "Religion" in the Works of Lull, Nicolas of Cusa, Spinoza, Hamann and Herder

The main task of the project is the phenomenological description of a basic term used in occidental strategies of argumentation in intellectual debate with other religious traditions. It begins with an analysis of texts of a certain philosophical tradition, combining the concept "religion" with metaphysics of unity. Authors are Raimundus Lullus, Nicolas de Cusa, Spinoza, Johann Georg Hamann and Johann Gottfried Herder. With their ideas they reacted to situations of religious crises and analyzed them as religious problems. Thus we will describe the establishment of a metaphysical and phenomenological position, which influenced the semantics of the modern collective singular "religion". Methodologically, this requires exegetical and analytical features to be combined with the analysis of the historical situation of crisis in order to develop a systematic approach, which allows it to be applied to historical and current forms of methodology in comparative religion as well as to future forms of dialogue of religions. As a result, comparative religion is basically phenomenology of metaphysical notions. Thus, we aim to renew a phenomenology of religion in a modified way, in the sense of the phenomenology of the collective singular "religion". Although it is a construction by intellectuals interested in religious dialogue, it is nevertheless not mere fiction. Phenomenologists give phenomena a functional form. This function is a matter of logic, of the logos of phenomenology.


Explaining the term "religion" in the works of the selected authors can provide useful insights into a neglected development that led to current basic religious concepts. The collective singular is not the result of the age of enlightenment or idealistic philosophy alone. It developed out of metaphysics of unity, which reacted to certain historical crises. This development can be highlighted by the mutual references to one another by the selected authors. Modern semantics of religion are thus grounded in a metaphysical basis, which does not determine language, but which prepares the religious dialogue for translations. This tradition of thought is able to provide basic concepts for a hermeneutics orientated towards mutual understanding and a culture of mutual acceptance. Only if the collective singular is established, does the idea of common understanding become predicable. The term provides the basis of effective religion. The collectiveness of the singular includes the world and grounds it in religious thinking. Only if "religion" is established, can religion have planetary influence. The main task of the collective singular is the indication of a communicative unity as the basis for religious contact. The unity of religion produces the contact between religions. The collective singular provides the possibility of translation by indicating unity. Making translations possible is what constitutes the forward-looking dynamics of the collective singular. The project aims to illustrate this opportunity.

Affiliated Persons

Photograph of Prof. Dr. Volkhard Krech

Prof. Dr. Volkhard Krech

Project Leader

Universitätsstr. 90a
44789  Bochum
Office 3.12
+49 234 32-22395
Photograph of PD Dr. Knut Martin Stünkel

PD Dr. Knut Martin Stünkel

Cooperation Partner

Universitätsstr. 90a
44789  Bochum
Office 2.05
+49 234 32-21993