Research Fellows

Currently Affiliated with the Centre:

Dennis Beach

Dennis Beach earned his BA in English at Saint John’s University in Minnesota and his doctorate in Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University, with a dissertation that examined otherness in Hegel and Levinas: The Infinite Passion of Responsibility: A Critique of Absolute Knowing. He is an Associate Professor at Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota (USA). His research interests have focused on the work of Emmanuel Levinas, sometimes within phenomenology, but also in the contexts of liberation theology and solidarity work in Latin America and social ethics generally. Teaching interests include the history of philosophy, Heidegger, Philosophy in Literature, as well as Martha Nussbaum’s work on the importance of emotional intelligence and compassion in modern democratic societies. His current project involves Hans-Dieter Bahr’s philosophy of the guest. Beach is a Benedictine monk of Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, USA, and has long worked with undergraduate residential life at its college.


Dennis Beach is currently registered as a RaT Senior Research Fellow from January 8th, 2024 until June 30th, 2024.

Martino Bozza

Martino Bozza  trained at the University of Perugia, received his BA in Philosophy there, and later received his PHD in Humanities from the University of Trento. He is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Perugia for History of Philosophy and teaches Philosophy and History in Italian high school.

He has developed his studies mainly in the area of philosophy of religion and modern and contemporary ontology. His research interests are directed toward twentieth-century Ontology and twentieth-century Italian spiritualism, with particular attention to authors such as Moretti-Costanzi, Sciacca, Martinetti, and Guardini. The intention is to take up and resonate the suggestions and stimuli that the thought of these authors has brought to philosophical reflection, with the aim of proposing anew the reasons for a philosophizing that is able to discern truth in the dimension of an Absolute that manifests itself to the dimension of the human.


Martino Bozza ist von 01.10.2023 bis 30.09.2024 Senior Research Fellow am Forschungszentrum RaT.

Maurizio Malimpensa

Maurizio Maria Malimpensa (1993) completed his doctorate at the University of Padua in 2021 with a dissertation on the systematic role of the doctrine of language in Fichte. He obtained his master’s degree at the University “Vita-Salute S. Raffaele” in Milan in 2017. He is currently postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Vienna with a project on the concept of the living I in Fichte, Schelling and F. Schlegel, aimed at tracing the fundamental lines of an alternative paradigm of modern subjectivity to the Cartesian one.

His main areas of research are classical German philosophy, Romanticism and modern and contemporary Italian philosophy, with a focus on the correlation of theoretical, aesthetic and theological problems.

During his PhD he spent a period of ten months as visiting student at the University of Munich, where he started working on the new critical edition of Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre nova methodo together with Prof. Radrizzani and Dr. Zhu, which will appear for the publisher Frommann-Holzboog at the end of 2024.


Maurizio Malimpensa is currently registered as a RaT Senior Research Fellow from Octber 1st, 2023 until September 30, 2024.

René Schaberger

René Schaberger studied religious education and theology at the University of Lucerne and the Theologische Hochschule Chur. He is currently working as an assistant at the Theologische Hochschule Chur and is in parallel working on his own research projects. After successfully completing his Master's degree in theology, he intensively studied the philosophical hermeneutics of Italy. In a preliminary study, he authored a licentiate thesis focusing on the ideas of Luigi Pareyson. In his current dissertation project, he is researching a significant motif within Pareyson's philosophy. He is also interested in the interface between aesthetics and theology and in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.

René Schaberger is currently registered as a RaT Research Fellow from Octber 1st, 2023 until September 30, 2024.

Anna Sjöberg

Anna Sjöberg received her doctorate in Theology from Lund University, Sweden, in 2020. Her dissertation En annan Abraham. Tre undersökningar av den kristna historiens kris (An other Abraham: Three Investigations of the Crisis of Christian History), examines the notion of modernity as synonymous with accelerating crisis, and the ways in which this crisis is conceptualized as connected to the process of secularization of the Christian heritage in the Western world. The interpretations focused on works by Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Barth and Franz Kafka, and drew on theories of crisis and secularization by among others Edmund Husserl and Giorgio Agamben. The dissertation was awarded by the Swedish Academy through ”Stina och Erik Lundblads stiftelse”. Among Sjöberg’s research interests are political theology, phenomenology, modern protestant theology and literature. She is currently working on a project on the 20th century Austrian philosopher and cultural critic Ivan Illich, and his theory of modernity as an extension of Church history and a perversion of the Christian gospel. The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council, and will be executed partly in Vienna at RaT and partly at the Theological faculty at Uppsala university.


Anna Sjöberg is currently registered as a RaT Senior Research Fellow. She currently works on her research project: ”A new way of doing Theology”: Christianity, Secularization and Modernity in the Thought of Ivan Illich".



Mag. Dr. Peter Zeillinger

Mag. Dr. Peter Zeillinger studied theology, philosophy and computer science in Vienna. From 1994 to 1997 he was assistant to Prof. Johann Baptist Metz, then assistant at the Institute for Fundamental Theology in Vienna. Since 2008 he works and teaches at the THEOLOGISCHE KURSE of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, where he is responsible for the areas of fundamental theology, philosophy and religious studies. He is also a lecturer in contemporary philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, as well as in political theory at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Vienna.

In his research he focuses on the social and political relevance of the biblical message of God in unmasking and overcoming ideology, as well as on the grounding of politics, law and community.

His complete profile can be found here.


Peter Zeilinger is currently registered as a RaT Senior Research Fellow from April 1st, 2023 until March 31, 2025.

Former Visiting Scholars:

Dr. Piotr Kubasiak

Dr. Piotr Kubasiak studied philosophy and theology in Krakow, Regensburg and Vienna and completed his doctoral studies at the University of Vienna's Institute for Fundamental Theology in 2019 with a dissertation on "Europe and History in the Thought of Krzysztof Michalski". His main interests are political theology, the Christian understanding of time and historical theology. In his next research project, he is comprehensively dealing with credo formulas and professions of faith across the history of theology.
Since 2017, Piotr Kubasiak has been working as a director of studies for the AKADEMIE am DOM and as a research assistant at the THEOLOGICAL COURSES as well as at the Chair of Liturgical Studies at the University of Regensburg.

Agostina Pirrello

Agostina Pirrello is a PhD Candidate in EU and International Law at the Law Department of Utrecht University, where she works in the Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE). Her research aims at investigating empirically how access to justice can be enhanced in the light of the emerging supranational governance of migration.  Agostina started her journey into academic research at the Forschung Platform Religion and Transformation, where she worked with Professor Stefan Hammer as a Research trainee. During her time in Vienna she polished the research she conducted for her master thesis in Comparative constitutionalism. She analyzed the legal challenges that the EU has to face due to religious multiculturalism through the lenses of the process of "westernization" described by the french philosopher Serge Latouche.    Agostina's current interest includes the impact of EU Agencies on migrants' fundamental rights, the guarantees ensured by the right to an effective remedy and its relationship with elements of good administration.   Prior to academia, Agostina gained valuable professional experience in the field of migration by working at the Italian Ministry of Interior (Territorial Commission for International Protection of Bologna) and at the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) in Malta. She had also previously completed her vocational training at the European Commission, in the Visa Policy Unit of the DG Home Affairs.

Link to personal Homepage:

Giovanni Scattolin

Giovanni Scattolin holds a Master's degree in Philosophy from the University of Trento. His main research interests are the philosophy of Hegel and German Idealism, with special reference to the doctrine of identity and otherness in the science of logic. He worked on this topic at the Research Centre under the direction of Prof. Kurt Appel. Another of his main areas of work is the question of Hegel's relationship to Greek philosophy: his Master's thesis linked these two aspects, with a focus on the Hegelian interpretation of Plato's Parmenides.

Clarissa Breu

Clarissa Breu is a research assistant at the New Testament Seminar of the University of Göttingen. After a dissertation on postmodern theories of authorship and the Revelation of John ("Autorschaft in der Johannesoffenbarung", Tübingen 2020) at the University of Vienna, she is now working on a connection between performative gesture theories and the Gospel of John. Her approach to New Testament texts is characterised by a focus on cultural studies questions and theories. Her article "Female Seed as a Metaphor" (JSNT 45/2022) was awarded the "Bernadette J. Brooten Award".

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.

During the winter term 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

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

During the winter term 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