Jens Zimmermann

Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2011-10-01
Trinity Western University
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Examining the role of theories of interpretation in assessing the role of religion in providing ethical guidelines and definitions of our essential humanity in post-Christian Western culture.

Research relevance

The research is providing insights into the process of assessing the viability of religiously motivated humanism(s) for the reshaping of the Western cultural ethos.

A Common Humanity: The One True Path?

The philosophical climate of our times is encouraging a return to religion as the ethical and spiritual foundation of human culture. And the return of religion is coinciding with an emerging interest in the idea of a common humanity.

This renewed public recognition of religion as an essential part of our humanity and socio-political activity promises a new direction and purpose for the humanities. It also, however, poses problems because, along with religion, comes the spectre of fundamentalism and religiously motivated violence. How can we reconcile religion's universal claims on human existence with the need for harmonious co-existence?

Canada Research Chair Jens Zimmermann is tackling this question in his research by examining the philosophical, theological and cultural assumptions that are shaping recent "re-articulations" of Christianity within a global multi-faith and religious context. In the process, he is providing us with a better understanding of the conflicting tendencies in Western society: On the one hand, there is a resurgence of religion that is defining our humanity, spirituality and social ethic. And, on the other, there is a fear of religious fundamentalism and its destructive, dehumanizing tendencies.

Zimmermann's multidisciplinary study cuts across the disciplines of philosophy, theology and cultural theory. Besides his academic research at Trinity Western University, Zimmermann is also developing links with scholars in Germany, France, the United States and elsewhere in Canada, who will participate in a series of colloquia, which he is planning as part of his work as the Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture.