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Exclusive circle: Scholar joins European academy Dr. Ulrich Lehner received a letter last fall that caused

coexistence among religions. “I talked with the dean

him to whisper, “Oh, my.” The letter notified the assistant

of my class, who is at the forefront of the Christian

professor of theology he was nominated to join the

pacifist movement in Europe, and he said we want

European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

your expertise especially on Catholicism and modernity,

Lehner attended a ceremony in Salzburg, Austria, as one of seven inductees to the academy’s world religions class and is listed on its roster of 1,200 scholars, a membership that includes 25 Nobel Prize winners. “I was deeply honored,” says Lehner. The director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Theology was recognized for his research of the Enlightenment and Catholicism. “The challenge now is to live up to the expectations.” The academy was founded in 1990 to build a “knowledge pool” of European scholars who bring the insights of their disciplines to bear on critical questions affecting Europe. In the 1990s, the academy expanded to fold in scholars worldwide who have European roots — Lehner is German and joined Marquette’s faculty in 2006 — or who work at universities with strong ties to European universities. One of the major tasks of the world religions class, according to Lehner, is to foster dialogue and peaceful

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marquette university discover 2015

on important questions such as ecumenism, tolerance and world religions,” Lehner says. “I would like to contribute to the discussion to what extent Catholicism and modernity are compatible because there are some theologians who think you cannot be Catholic and embrace major areas of modern thought. I believe that is not the case. You have to be in dialogue with modern philosophies and worldviews so you can communicate your faith tradition in ways that are relevant to a modern audience.” Having specialized in the study of religious history and historical theology from the late 15th to the early 19th century, Lehner has significant experience exploring how Catholicism responded to the emergence of modern thought. In fact, it’s ground he covers thoroughly in his forthcoming book, The Catholic Enlightenment: The Forgotten History of a Global Movement, to be published in 2015. JONI MOTHS MUELLER


Discover Research 2015