Visiting scholars

Mattia Vicentini

Mattia Vicentini is a doctoral student in Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University with a research project entitled "Sacramentality as a form of a hermeneutic of history". He has a master's degree in Philosophy at the Università degli Studi di Trento, a master's degree in Philosophy at the TU Dresden as well as in Fundamental Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He is currently at the research centre RaT in order to do research for his doctoral project.


His research is a fundamental theological work within the context of the theology of history starting from some of its aporias. By taking into consideration some classic categories of reflection, he wants to re-elaborate them in a historical-hermeneutic key with particular attention to their practicability. The field of the reworked questions is identified as sacramentality. It is sacramentality, thanks to its theoretical and practical, concrete and transcendental being, a unitary dimension of the human and the divine, that represents the religious fact in history.


A particular attention is paid to the method, which is intimately connected to the purpose of the work. The primary bibliography has a interdisciplinary character. Among others, Maurice Blondel, Pierre Bourdieu, Henri-Irénée Marrou and Chrisptoph Theobald are considered.

Francesco Porchia

Francesco Porchia is a PhD student in Ethics of Communication, Scientific Research and Technological Innovation at the University of Perugia and is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Vienna.

In his research project, he investigates the theme of existence starting from F.W.J. Schelling, dwelling on the concepts of life and death in the Philosophie der Offenbarung: these concepts are not contradictory, but can be useful for rediscovering the relationship between the human being and the foundation.

According to this approach, death does not only constitute the end of life, and so it is not possible to consider life as a determination of the individual's will to dominate the world.

Through the concept of revelation, the most personal act of God, it is possible to rediscover a new sense of these concepts in which death is understood as a possibility and in which life is re-evaluated thanks to the reflections conducted on the relationship between the human being and the foundation. The research aims to propose possible contributions to an ethics of communication from a theoretically oriented perspective. Thus, starting from the search for God as a person, the common personal side of human beings can be rediscovered.

Lorenzo Ruggerini

Lorenzo Ruggerini wrote his Master Thesis in cooperation with RaT. He examined the theological aesthetic developed by Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988). See his abstract below:

Title: The beauty in the world: a philosophical reading of H.U. von Balthasar's Aesthetic Theology


In this thesis I carry out a philosophical reconsideration of the theological aesthetic developed by Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) concerning the form and the matter of the divine Being’s disclosure in transcendental beauty.

Hence, It delves deeply into the meaning of the trinitary expression as a complete and eternal form of expression of each divine Person towards the others, of creatural beauty as a limited but beautiful image grounded on God’s infinite transcendence and of Jesus Christ as concreta analogia entis. This allows to further examine the Balthasarian characterization of the creatural nature as limited, determined and incidental in such a way that will become problematic in the light of the philosophical reconsideration of the phenomenon of beauty. Subsequently I argue the philosophical inability to observe in the worldly realm of being the distinction between existence and essence and, hence, the difference between limited creatural being and unlimited divine Being abridged by the analogia entis formulation.

Dr. Nataliia Reva


Dr. Reva obtained her PhD in Philosophy from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in 2021. Her doctoral research focused on the intersection between the philosophy of logic and cognitive science. Dr. Reva was awarded a JESH Scholarship by the Austrian Academy of Science and spent July and August 2022 as a Visiting Researcher at our research centre RaT.

In her current research she focusses on the topic of “Evil and Suffering in the World” with specific attention to the concept of the embodiment of evil and how to find resilient strategies in coping with it. She proposes to study evil not as an abstract philosophical concept, but as a real-life threat that can we be felt and therefore studied empirically. The areas of her research interests are philosophy of religion, informal logic, critical thinking, experimental philosophy and cognitive science.

Sumit Sonkar

Sumit Sonkar is a Ph.D. Candidate at Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His thesis topic, “Progressive Constitutionalism in India: Examining Women’s Right to Access Hindu Temples and its Societal Harmonization,” examines how the Supreme Court of India has recognized women’s right to worship and how it can be made more socially acceptable from a gender equality perspective. Currently, he is visiting the Centre, in the capacity of Visiting Research Fellow on Ernst Mach-Stipendien, Eurasia-Pacific Uninet Grant, 2021, funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Holzleithner.

Muhammad Machasin

Dr. Muhammad Machasin is a Professor of the History of Islamic Cultures at the Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University (UIN) Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He has been actively promoting interfaith dialogue and is a member of the Board of the Asian Council on Religion and Peace. He used to be one of the Heads (Ra’is) of the Consultative Board of Nahdlatul Ulama and is now a member of its advisory board. As a faculty member of the graduate school at his university, he teaches approaches and methodologies in Islamic Studies.

In the winter semester 2019, he was a guest at the Institute for Oriental Studies and the Research Centre RaT.

Daniel Minch

Daniel Minch was a guest lecturer in Vienna in the framework of the Erasmus+ Program in the summer semester 2018. He has participated in and presented his research at several seminars and conferences held by RaT, including “The Crisis of Representation” in June 2017.
Minch is currently a postdoctoral University Assistant at the Institut für Dogmatik, University of Graz. His research has focused on the hermeneutical theology of Edward Schillebeeckx, the economic dimensions of contemporary political theology, eschatology and theologies of hope. Recently, he published a monograph with the title "Eschatological Hermeneutics: The Theological Core of Experience and Our Hope for Salvation" (New York 2018).

Current publication

Ugo Dessì

Ugo Dessì was Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Religious Studies in 2017/18 and worked on a project co-financed by RaT. The topic of the project was religious adaption in the context of globalisation, especially in Japan.

He is Associate Professor at the Institute for Religious Studies at the University of Leipzig and has done research at several universities in South Africa, Japan, the United States and other countries. The focus of his work lies on Japanese Religions, Shin Buddhism and the relation of religion and globalisation.

Website of Ugo Dessì

Website of the Institute for Religious Studies

Francesco Ghia

In the summer semester 2017, Francesco Ghia, Professor for Political Philosophy at the University of Trento, was visiting scholar at the Research Centre RaT. His work primarily focuses on authors like Humboldt, Rosmini, Troeltsch, Weber and Jellinek, but also on classical German philosophy. His research on the relation of religion and politics was also presented and discussed during his stay in Vienna.

Review Workshop

Review Guest Lecture

Website of Francesco Ghia

Paolo Costa

Paolo Costa was a visiting fellow at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Vienna from May to July 2017. He is a philosopher and senior researcher at the Center for Religious Studies of the Bruno Kessler Foundation in Trento, Italy.

His research field is the theory of secularization and, more generally, the changes in contemporary spirituality. During his stay at the faculty, he collaborated with the Research platform “Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society” and gave two talks, respectively, on the new secularisation debate and the concept of “religious unmusicality”. In the course of his visit, he also wrote a substantial section of his book “La città post-secolare. Il nuovo dibattito sulla secolarizzazione” (Brescia: Queriniana, 2019).

Website Academia

Website Bruno Kessler Foundation

Current Publication

Juraj Skačan

In the winter semester 2014/15, Juraj Skačan was visiting scholar at the Faculty of Catholic Theology, University of Vienna.

He is assistant for the professorship of philosophy at Constantine The Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia. His main research interests are medieval and late medieval mystics and the possibility of a philosophical portrayal of mystic aspects. During his stay in Vienna, he did research on ontologic and gnoseologic aspects of Meister Eckharts philosophy.

Website Juraj Skačan