Consciousness between Science and Religion

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2024 | Viewed by 122

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Department of Systematic Theology and Liturgical Studies, University of Graz, 3, 8010 Graz, Austria
Interests: dialog between science and theology; systematic theology and cultural/art studies; theology of creation; theological anthropology; spirituality and systematic theology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The dialogue between the humanities and the natural sciences, and especially between theology/religion and the natural sciences, has been characterized by several recurring themes since the inception of natural sciences. One of the most important themes, along with world/nature/creation, is the question of consciousness. Although it is obvious that the phenomenon of consciousness cannot be comprehensively explained by any single discipline, questions arise even within a single discipline. Philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, for instance, have different definitions of consciousness, and determining where consciousness overlaps with the mind is a challenge. When theology enters the interdisciplinary discussion, the question of consciousness becomes even more complex because it involves the phenomenon of the soul.

These complex theoretical issues are highly relevant in our time. How we approach the phenomenon of consciousness affects our understanding of the human being, which is the basis of all socio-political negotiations. Christianity and other religious traditions have always defended the holistic nature of the human being in all its diversity against monistic or reductionist simplifications of the concept of the human being from a one-sided scientific perspective. The body–soul concept must also be contrasted with transhumanist and posthumanist utopias in order to prevent them from gaining sole power. However, the body–soul concept has its challenges, such as the question of how to deal with its inherent dualism. How do matter and spirit, the material and the immaterial, interact in the human being? The history of theology and philosophy has shown that this is a difficult question to answer. With scientific progress, theological anthropology must continue to work on this interaction. The concept of human freedom depends on this interaction, as does soteriology. From a theological perspective, we must also consider how consciousness fits into the framework of spirituality and pneumatology. Conversely, this Special Issue also seeks to discuss the relevance of theological reflections on consciousness for other sciences. For example, from the perspective of evolutionary anthropology, religious phenomena can serve as material objects. Can evolutionary anthropology also benefit from theological reflection? Moreover, there are questions that challenge all sciences that focus on human consciousness. For example, for the last few years, animal studies have occupied a central place in reflections in the humanities, which brings up the question whether consciousness is a constant for anthropology alone, or a broader phenomenon altogether.

Although this Special Issue will focus primarily on the perspective of (Christian) theology, articles may refer to any religious tradition and may have a comparative character. Research lenses from theology, philosophy, religious studies, art studies, natural sciences, and natural history are equally welcome.

I ask that interested authors first submit a title and an abstract of 500 words summarizing their intended contribution. I will review the abstracts to ensure that the topics are within the scope of the Special Issue. Please send your abstract to [email protected] or to the Religions Editorial Office ([email protected]) by 30 August 2024 at the latest. Please submit your full manuscript by 15 November 2024. Full manuscripts will be double-blind peer-reviewed before publication.

Prof. Dr. Sibylle Trawöger
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • consciousness
  • soul
  • body
  • mind
  • awareness
  • dialogue between science and religion
  • theological anthropology

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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