Religions - Encounters - Traditions

Whether the "Far East", the "Orient" or the "Christian Occident" – geographical territories are often identified as cultural and even religious homogenous blocks and/or traditions. Not has not started in today's age of globalisation, but even in the millenials before frequent and fruitful encounters and contacts between culturally different remote regions and thereby religions were already in existence. 

CERES' focus area on Religions - Encounters - Traditions deals with these encounters and contacts that time and again provoked mutual effects on both religions as well as remote territories as for example to the development of religious traditions. The research within this focus area is based on the assumption that all so-called world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hindu religions, Taoism and Confucianism) are no monolithic entities at all but were constituted in a long process of mutual exchange - and are still developing further today.

The main target of this focus area is the development of a common typology for religious encounters combined with a comprehensive theory of religious transfer, which takes the wide sprectrum of adoption, identification, and demarcation into account. Special emphasis is laid on the topic of tradition, which is for example employed by religious actors to legitimate processes of re-identifcation and demarcation. Further appropriate topics identified and used for comparisons between religions are "purity", "secret", "religion and the senses", or "stability and dynamics". In order to achieve the research results, a new online companion to Entangled Religions (ER) will be established. 

Current Projects

Armenia Entangled

Reimagining Cultural Encounters and Connectivity in Medieval Eurasia 9th - 14th Century

The ERC-project Armenia Entangled deals with the entangled history of the Armenian plateau and its adjacent areas. It is based …

EMPATHIA³ - Research Network

Empowering Police Officers and Teachers in Arguing Against Antisemitism

EMPATHIA³ is unique research network of five partners from six institutions in Germany. The name of the network stands for …

Metaphors of Conversion in Latin Late Antiquity

This project is the first extensive study on conversion metaphors for Latin Late Antiquity. Using cognitive-linguistic metaphor theories and model …

Research Focus "Missionary Collections"

CERES researchers, together with colleagues from museums and other universities, are studying the material dimension of cultural and religious contacts …

Scientific Network on the Relationship Between Religious Minorities and Majorities

Over a period of three years, the network, which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), will investigate how …

Theorie and Empiricism of Religious Evolution

In this project, Volkhard Krech builds up on his own research and the findings of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg ‘Dynamics …

Completed Projects

Ancient Religion(s) in Contact: Contemporary Religious Phenomena and Their Ancient Predecessors

The teaching-learning-project "Ancient Religion(s) in Contact" (ARELINCO) enables students from the fields of religious studies, history, archaeology, philology, and related …

Betä Ǝsraʾel Autonomy in the Sǝmen Mountains and Its Wars with the Solomonic Kingdom

Medieval and early modern Jews usually lived as a minority under non-Jewish rule, but there are a few known cases …


Dynamics in Buddhist Networks in Eastern Central Asia 6th to 14th Centuries

The objective of the research project Buddhist Road is to create a new framework to enable understanding of the complexities …


Digitization of Gandhāran Art

The DiGA project will digitize (2D and 3D) and catalogue a corpus of 1,791 Buddhist sculptures from Gandhara currently kept …

Iconic Religion

How Imaginaries of Religious Encounter Structure Urban Space

Within ongoing processes of religious pluralisation across Europe, materialized religion, in the form of icons in public space, has been …

Jainism in the West

Jain Communities in Europe between internal Self-Insurance and strategic Self-Representation

Jainism is the third religion, along with Buddhism and Brahmanism ("Hinduism"), that originated in ancient India and continues to exist …

Jews and Christians in the East

Strategies of Interaction between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean

The encounters and interactions between Jews and Christians in the Middle East, Ethiopia, India and the Caucasus, which have hitherto …

Käte Hamburger Kolleg

Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe

The Käte Hamburger Center Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe, headed by Prof. Dr. Volkhard …

Plureligion Network

Unlike the United States, European countries hardly look back on centuries of religious diversity. Questions like how to encourage a …

Tradition Building Processes among the Kagyüpas

Based on a Mid to Late-Thirteenth Century Manuscript of Jigten Sumgön’s dGongs gcig

With the purpose of providing philologically well-grounded research concerning tradition building processes among the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyüpa traditions in the …


Photograph of Dr. Tim Karis

Dr. Tim Karis


Universitätsstr. 90a
44789  Bochum
Office 3.10
+49 234 32-25492
Photograph of Prof. Dr. Volkhard Krech

Prof. Dr. Volkhard Krech


Universitätsstr. 90a
44789  Bochum
Office 3.12
+49 234 32-22395