Tasks and focus of the Institute

With a view to the present cultural situation, systematic theology discusses the essential convictions of Christian faith according to the notion of the Reformation with a view to understanding and shaping reality. Systematic theology is broken down into dogmatics (doctrine of faith) and ethics (orientation for action); complemented by the theological doctrine of principles. It is of particular significance for systematic theology to take a look at neighbouring sciences such as philosophy, sociology, religious history, religious studies. The thematic priority of systematic theology in Kiel include the evolution of dogmatics and philosophy of religion and the history of theology since the Enlightenment.

The theological doctrine of principles, comparable to the fundamental theology in Roman Catholic theology, discusses the issues that are the foundation of all theological disciplines, i.e. the question of legitimisation, internal structure, external connectivity and the use of the methods of theology. The theological doctrine of principles has only fairly recently been established as a subject of its own within systematic theology. It reflects the conditions and structures under which theological thought and speech is brought about; it discusses the prerequisites and conditions implied in ideas of faith and guidelines for behaviour. The theological doctrine of principles bundles questions concerning sources and standards as well as methods and objectives of theology as well as questions concerning the basis of ecumenical dialogue and interreligious dialogue.

Dogmatics, being a vindication of Christian awareness of faith, is committed to culturally belonging to the present time. It conveys the formational ecclesiastical education of the history of Christianity with the questions of truth of present-day awareness. From a vantage point of Christian faith it deals with the comprehensive horizon of sense anchored in reality and the dialectical union of the awareness of grace and sin. 

Theological ethics specifies the convictions of Christian faith with regard to those human implementations of freedom which are shaped according to certain moral rules in a binding way. Ethics is concerned with a Christian orientation in life by which uncertain situations of decision are rendered certain in a binding way through understanding and striving. In doing so, not only basic questions of moral rule formation are discussed but also specific problems of human action arising in the different areas of conflict in moral decisions (beginning of life, end of life, genetic engineering, politics etc.).

The Institute of Systematic Theology currently has one chair focusing on dogmatics (Prof. Rosenau) and one chair focusing on ethics (Prof. Munzinger).

The Institute of Systematic Theology has particular responsibility for the management of the Schleiermacher Research Centre (Head: Prof. Dr. theol. Dr. phil. Meckenstock).