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Andreas Grünschloß (born 1957) is Professor of Religious Studies at Göttingen University. An ordained Protestant pastor, he is the author of books and scholarly articles about interfaith matters and new religious movements. He publishes both in German and in English and is a co-editor of the Marburg Journal of Religion.

Academic career

Grünschloß studied Protestant theology, religious science and psychology at Tübingen University, the University of Michigan (M.A. in Religious Studies, 1984) and Stanford University. (Ph.D. in Religious Studies and Missionary Science, 1992, followed by habilitation in 1998).[1] He is also an ordained Protestant pastor.[1] Having first taught at Mainz University, he became Professor of Religious Studies at Göttingen University in 2002.[1]

Grünschloß has been a co-editor of the English-language Marburg Journal of Religion, a peer-reviewed academic Internet journal, since 1999.[1][2]

In his research and publications, Grünschloß is concerned with interfaith matters. He has authored a book-length German-language study of the work of Wilfred Cantwell Smith (Religionswissenschaft als Welt-Theologie: Wilfred Cantwell Smiths interreligiöse Hermeneutik, 1994), described in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies as "the most comprehensive, balanced account and evaluation of the life and work of Wilfred Cantwell Smith".[3] In Der eigene und der fremde Glaube: Studien zur interreligiösen Fremdwahrnehmung in Islam, Hinduismus, Buddhismus und Christentum (1999), he wrote about how members of one religion perceive those belonging to other faiths; he argues that as each religion postulates that it has privileged access to the knowledge of how things should be, it fails to see others as they really are, only ever perceiving them from a self-referential perspective as different: assuming a religious identity simultaneously creates the "other".[4]

Grünschloß has also written about new religious movements, notably UFO religions such as Raëlianism and Fiat Lux, as well as Scientology and authors such as Erich von Däniken.[5][6] Grünschloß puts the appeal of UFO religions down to several factors. The thought that there should be angels or aliens overseeing human development is profoundly consoling; and members' sense that they are becoming "light workers" by joining such a movement allows them to feel enhanced self-worth, as they believe they are among the chosen few destined to prepare the new age.[5] Lastly, Grünschloß says, as the established religions lose their mass appeal, it is only natural that some will be attracted to "freelance" spiritual workers; he sees the most effective response to this development not in an assertion of church tradition, but in retaining the ability to engage in dialogue.[5] Observing that UFO religions tend to combine euhemerism (by reinterpreting celestial beings simply as morally and technologically more advanced aliens) with a distinctly "religious" personal quest, Grünschloß has concluded that "UFO faith, therefore, can be understood to oscillate between disenchantment and re-enchantment."[7]

Further reading


  • Religionswissenschaft als Welt-Theologie. Wilfred Cantwell Smiths interreligiöse Hermeneutik (Forschungen zur systematischen und ökumenischen Theologie, 71). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994. Summary Template:En icon.
  • Der eigene und der fremde Glaube. Studien zur interreligiösen Fremdwahrnehmung in Islam, Hinduismus, Buddhismus und Christentum (Hermeneutische Untersuchungen zur Theologie, 37). Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1999. Summary Template:En icon.
  • Wenn die Götter landen ... Religiöse Dimensionen des UFO-Glaubens. (EZW Texte 153) Berlin 2000. Summary (German).



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Home page at the Göttingen University website
  2. Marburg Journal of Religion
  3. Klostermaier, Klaus K. "Religionswissenschaft als Welt-Theologie: Wilfred Cantwell Smiths interreligiose Hermeneutik", Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Vol. 34, 1997. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  4. Danz, Christian. Einführung in die Theologie der Religionen, LIT Verlag, Münster 2005, p. 229, ISBN 9783825870584
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Lieber nicht an Aliens glauben", Oberösterreichische Nachrichten. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  6. Lewis, James R. (2009), Scientology, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, pp. 225–243, ISBN 978-0-19-533149-3
  7. Partridge, Christopher. UFO Religions, Routledge 2003, pp. 25, 188–189, ISBN 9780415263238

External links

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