Fakultäten » Theologische Fakultät » Hermeneutik und Religionsphilosophie, Institut für » Prof. Dr. Ingolf Ulrich Dalferth (emeritiert) » Schaede

Completed research project

Title / Titel The human being before God at his life’s beginning and end – The medieval "De anima"- and "De generatione animalium"-interpretations’ contribution to the bioethical question of life’s beginning and the eschatological question of its end
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Original title / Originaltitel Der Mensch vor Gott am Anfang und Ende seines Lebens. Zur Relevanz der Auslegungsgeschichte von ›De anima‹ und ›De generatione animalium‹ für die bioethische Frage nach dem Beginn und die eschatologische Frage nach der Zukunft des Lebens.
Summary / Zusammenfassung With regard to the dimensions of its history of ideas, the project focusses on the reception of the Aristotelian work ›De anima‹ in the context of its reflections concerning the concept of life, which Aristotle has unfolded for instance in his ›Metaphysics‹, ›Ethica Nicomachia‹ and his „biological“ work ›De generatione animalium‹.
Why ›De anima‹? With this work, Aristotle has – for the very first time – dedicated a systematic philosophical investigation to the (human) soul. This investigation has been as important for medieval anthropology as Petrus Lombardus’ ›Sententiae‹ for medieval dogmatics. ›De anima‹ constituted the critical basis of discussion for doctrinal disputes. The work’s history of reception, the influence it has exerted over the centuries are rather enduring. Consequently, the habilitation will focus on six main aspects (which constitute the project phases):

1. Thorough analysis of Aristotle’s opus
2. Digest of its most important Graeco-Roman interpreters
3. The medieval and early modern discussion, starting with Thomas of Aquinas
4. The state of the art concerning the beginning and end of life, and finally
5. How do interpreters of Aristotle and the secondary literature use biblical texts? Is the reception of the bible reasonable and adequate?

The answer to this last question aims at hermeneutically answering the question as to whether, and if yes, how, by reflecting biblical statements without theological craftwork, scientific assertions concerning the beginning and the end of human life could be achieved. Does the controversial debate about Aristotle open new perspectives? Or does it hinder or even prevent the theological discernment of the research project’s central question?
Keywords / Suchbegriffe beginning an end of human life; eschatology; bioethics; theological anthropology; Aristotle; De anima
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Dr. Stephan Schaede (Project Leader)
Other links to external web pages
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Direktor Evangelische Akademie Loccum
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Prof. Dr. Ingolf U. Dalferth
Theologische Fakutät
Universität Zürich
Kirchgasse 9
8001 Zürich
Prof. Dr. Detlev Ganten (Berlin)
Prof. Dr. Christoph Markschies (Berlin)
Prof. Dr. Dominik Perler (Berlin)
Prof. Dr. Notger Slenczka (Berlin)
Prof. Dr. Klaus Tanner (Halle)
Prof. Dr. Reiner Anselm (Zürich, Göttingen)
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Jun 2004 to Dec 2011