Prof. Dr. Christoph Kleine

Prof. Dr. Christoph Kleine

Professor

Religionsgeschichte
Institutsgebäude
Schillerstraße 6, Room 110
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-37162
Fax: +49 341 97-37169

Abstract

Since 2008 Professor for the History of Religions; co-director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Siences "Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities"; vice-chairman of the German Association for the Study of Religions (DVRW); editor-in-chief of Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft. 


1996/97 Research fellow of the École Française d'Extrême-Orient at the Hōbōgirin Institute in Kyōto. From 2004 to 2008 Professor of Religion and Philosophy in East Asia at LMU Munich.


Main research areas: Buddhism in East Asia; history of religion in Japan; historical sociology of religion (especially formation of 'religion' and 'secularities' in East Asia); theory and methodology of religious studies.


Publications incl.: Buddhismus in Japan (Tübingen 2011); Buddhismus (together with O. Freiberger, Göttingen 2011); "Religion and the Secular in Premodern Japan from the Viewpoint of Systems Theory," Journal of Religion in Japan 2, No. 1 (2013): 1-34.

Professional career

  • since 10/2008
    Full professor for "History of Religions" with a focus on Buddhism at the Faculty of History, Art and Oriental Studies at Leipzig University
  • 12/2004 - 09/2008
    full professor for "Religion and Philosophy in East Asia" at the Japan Centre of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
  • 10/2004 - 03/2005
    Substitute Professor for "General and Comparative Study of Religion" at the Leipzig University
  • 02/2003 - 09/2004
    Lecturer for the Study of Religion at the Faculty of History, Art and Oriental Studies at Leipzig University
  • 06/2002 - 01/2003
    Lecturer for the Study of Religion at Philipps University Marburg
  • 02/2002 - 09/2004
    Research associate at the Institute for the Study of Religion at Leipzig University, DFG project "Norm and Practice: Religious Historical Research on the Ideal and Reality of Monastic Buddhism in India (7th century AD) ..."
  • 05/1996 - 04/1997
    Research fellow with a grant from the École Française d’Extrême-Orient am Hōbō­girin-Institut in Kyōto
  • 10/1982 - 01/1984
    Civil service at the hospital St. Adolphs Stift in Reinbek near Hamburg

Education

  • 01/1998 - 12/2001
    Habilitation with a grant from the DFG (German Research Foundation) on "Religious Biographies in East Asian Buddhism: A Study of Content, Form and Function of Hagiographic Texts" at Philipps-University Marburg
  • 05/1996 - 04/1997
    Research fellow with a grant from the École Française d’Extrême-Orient am Hōbō­girin-Institut in Kyōto
  • 10/1991 - 05/1995
    Doctorate on the topic "Hōnens Buddhism of the Pure Land: Reform, Reformation or Heresy?" (summa cum laude; dissertation award of the University of Marburg) at Philipps University Marburg as a scholarship holder of the Evangelisches Studienwerk
  • 10/1987 - 09/1991
    Advanced study at the Department of Non-European Languages and Cultures, Department of Religious Studies of the Philipps-University of Marburg; degree "Magister Artium"
  • 12/1986 - 09/1987
    two-semester study stay at Bukkyō University in Kyōto
  • 10/1984 - 09/1987
    Basic studies in the Study of Religion with the minors Japanology and philosophy at Philipps-University Marburg
  • 07/1972 - 06/1981
    School education at Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Geesthacht; graduation: "Abitur"
  • 07/1968 - 06/1972
    Primary school in Lübeck and Lauenburg

My main research field in empirical terms is East Asian Buddhism and Japanese religious history, especially medieval Buddhism with a focus on the Pure Land tradition. My main theoretical interest lies in the interplay between epistemic and social structures, with special emphasis on practices of conceptual distinctions and forms of institutional differentiation of social fields of action, which are categorised as 'religious' or 'secular' under the conditions of global modernity. In this sense, I situate my research in the field of historical (religious) sociology in the tradition of Max Weber, among others. I also draw important suggestions with regard differentiation theoretical questions from Niklas Luhmann's systems theory. Since I regard the formation of epistemic and social structures as being in many cases the result of partially path-dependent decision-making processes at critical junctures triggered by cultural encounters, I am interested in historical entanglements, especially in mutual cultural comparisons and cultural translations. I try to make corresponding historical studies fruitful for the theory and methodology in the study of religion. This is especially true for questions of the comparability of cultures and the applicability of comparative concepts such as 'religion' or 'secularity'.

  • Kleine, C.
    Formations of Secularity in Ancient Japan? On Cultural Encounters, Critical Junctures, and Path-Dependent Processes
    2019. 8 (1-3). pp. 9-45
    show details
  • Kleine, C.
    Premodern Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogues and the Formation of Comparative Concepts: How Encounters between European Missionaries and Japanese in the 16th and 17th Century Changed the Conceptual World
    NotaBene (Special Issue: Eas-West Dialgogue: Cultural and Rligious Aspectss; edited by Antoaneta Nikolova). 2019.
    show details
  • Kleine, C.
    „The Secular Ground Bass of Pre-modern Japan Reconsidered: Reflections upon the Buddhist Trajectories towards Secularity.
    Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe „Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities“. Leipzig. 2018
    show details
  • Kleine, C.; Wohlrab-Sahr, M.
    Preliminary Findings and Outlook of the CASHSS “Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, ​Beyond Modernities”.
    Universität Leipzig, Kolleg-Forschergruppe „Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities“. Leipzig. 2020
    show details
  • Kleine, C.; Wohlrab-Sahr, M.
    Comparative Secularities. Tracing Social and Epistemic Structures beyond the Modern West.
    Method & Theory in the Study of Religion. 2020. 32 (4). pp. 1-30
    show details

more publications

The aim of my teaching is to make my research foci (see there) fruitful for a basic education in the study of religion. This means that I examine empirical and historical data from a decidedly religionswissenschaftliche perspective and address theoretical questions relevant to the discipline as a whole. By providing insights into my own research, I would like to inspire students, especially in the Master's program, to become interested in scholarship and motivate them to conduct independent research. It is particularly important to me that empiricism and theory are always combined. In this context, it is of particular importance to me to raise awareness of the necessity of acquiring basic knowledge of religious traditions already during the BA course, especially with regard to pre-modern and non-European traditions, since without this, serious theory formation cannot succeed or remains stuck in Eurocentric models. While being open to the theories and methods of other disciplines, I always emphasise the identity of the discipline of Religionswissenschaft and the independence of its discourse. I would like to enable students to competently participate in this discourse.

  • Introduction to the research on religion(s): religion and politics

    interdisciplinary lecture series, together with Sebastian Schüler, Gert Pickel and others, Leipzig University 2018/19

  • Religions of East Asia

    Lecture, University of Leipzig, repeatedly, last in 2018/19

  • Fundamentals of work in the history of religion

    Seminar, Leipzig University, repeatedly, last in 2018/19

  • History of religions in Japan: A topic-centered introduction

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2018

  • Foundations of Buddhism

    Lecture, Leipzig University, repeatedly, last in 2018

  • East Asian Buddhism

    Lecture, Leipzig University repeatedly, last in 2017/18

  • Introduction to research on religion(s). Religion, gender relations and gender

    interdisciplinary lecture series, together with Sebastian Schüler, Gert Pickel and others; Leipzig University 2017/18

  • Secularity, secularization and secularism in Asia

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2017

  • Introduction to Research on Religion(s): Religious Plurality and Pluralization in Compararison

    interdisciplinary lecture series, together with Sebastian Schüler, Gert Pickel and others; Leipzig University 2017/18

  • The 'New Buddhism of the Kamakura Period': A Buddhist Reformation in Japan?

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2016

  • Fundamentalism: Political 'Kampfbegriff' or category of religious studies

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2015/16

  • Multiple secularities in the history of religion

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2014/15

  • Introduction to Research on Religion(s): Religions in their cultural context

    interdisciplinary lecture series, together with Sebastian Schüler, Gert Pickel and others; Leipzig University 2014/15

  • History of Religions in Japan

    Seminar, Leipzig University, repeatedly, last in 2014

  • Religion and space

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2014

  • The Religions of East Asia

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2013/14

  • Religious nonconformism: theoretical and empirical approaches

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2013/14

  • Buddhism and the indigenous cults of Japan

    Lecture as part of the interdisciplinary course "Buddhism across Asia: Past and Present Transformations"; October 3 2013, Copenhagen University, Asian Department

  • The ‘practical atheism’ of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism

    Lecture as part of the interdisciplinary course "Buddhism across Asia: Past and Present Transformations"; October 4 2013, Copenhagen University, Asian Department

  • Religion and jurisprudence: Current court decisions on religious issues

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2013

  • Aggression and autoaggression in religions: from religious suicide to "Holy War

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2013

  • Religion & Social Development: Max Weber re-read

    Research seminar within the framework of the Research Training Group "Religious Nonconformism and Cultural Dynamics"; together with Prof. Dr. Philip Clart (East Asian Institute), Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Höpken (History Department), Prof. Dr. Monika Wohlrab-Sahr (Institute for Cultural Studies), Leipzig University 2013

  • Critical terms in the study of religions

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2012/13

  • Doctrinal traditions and popular cults of Japanese Buddhism

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2012

  • The discussion about the term "religion" and the search for non-European equivalents

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2012

  • European representations of the religions of the world in the 17th century: Samuel Purchas (1577-1626), Alexander Ross (1590-1654) and Bernhard Varen (1622-1650/51) - pioneers of comparative studies of religions?

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2012

  • Religious self-representation: From hagiography to internet presence

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2011/12

  • Religions of the world at a glance

    Lecture, Leipzig University 2011/12

  • Max Weber's study on Buddhism

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2011

  • Topics and problems of research on Buddhism

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2011

  • Canon and canonization in the history of religion

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2011

  • Critique of religion from Tominaga Nakamoto to the 'New Atheists'

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2010

  • State and religion: theoretical and historical approaches

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2010

  • Buddhism: historical and dogmatic foundations

    Vorlesung, Leipzig University 2010

  • Forms of religious encounter and interaction

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2009/10

  • Fundamentalism

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2009/10

  • Niklas Luhmann's functional systems theory

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2009/10

  • Buddhism in China

    Lecture, Leipzig University 2009

  • Doctrinal systems of Chinese Buddhism

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2009

  • Non-conformist movements and sects in the history of Japanese religion

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2009

  • Selected Problems of Buddhist Studies

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2008/9

  • Introduction to Buddhism

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2008/9

  • Buddhism II: China and Korea

    Lecture, LMU Munich 2008

  • Introduction to Japanese religious and intellectual history III: From 1868 to the present

    Undergraduate seminar, LMU Munich 2008

  • Japanese religions on the Internet

    Advanced Seminar, LMU Munich 2008

  • Buddhism I: Foundations

    Lecture, LMU Munich 2007/8

  • Reading and translation of Buddhist source texts in original language: The Amituo jing / Amida kyō (T no. 366)

    Technical language exercise, LMU Munich 2007/8

  • Introduction to Japanese religious and intellectual history II: From 1333 to 1868

    Undergraduate seminar LMU München 2007/8

  • The indigenous religions and philosophies of East Asia; Part 2

    Lecture, LMU Munich 2007

  • History, teaching and practice of Zen Buddhism

    Seminar LMU Munich 2007

  • Introduction to Japanese religious and intellectual history I: From the beginnings to the Kamakura period (1185-1333)

    Undergraduate seminar, LMU Munich 2007

  • Reading course for the lecture "The indigenous religions and philosophies of East Asia II

    Reading course, LMU Munich 2007

  • The indigenous religions and philosophies of East Asia; Part 1

    Lecture, LMU Munich 2006/7

  • Reading course for the lecture "The indigenous religions and philosophies of East Asia I

    Reading course, LMU Munich 2006/7

  • The esoteric-tantric Buddhism of East Asia

    Advanced Seminar, LMU Munich 2006/7

  • Technical language history of religion: "Selected texts on Japanese religious history".

    Reading exercise, LMU Munich 2006/7

  • Modernization processes in Buddhist influenced cultures

    Block seminar in cooperation with Michael von Brück, Hans van Ess, Jens Uwe Hartmann and Klaus Vollmer, LMU Munich 2006

  • Hagiography and religious edification literature in East Asia

    Advanced seminar, LMU Munich 2006

  • The New Religions of Japan

    Undergraduate seminar, LMU Munich 2006

  • Buddhism III: Japan

    Lecture, LMU Munich 2006

  • Introduction to the History of Japanese Religions II

    Undergraduate seminar, LMU Munich 2005/6

  • Reading Buddhist texts in Chinese: Sūtras Mahāyāna -Sūtras

    reading exercise, LMU Munich 2005/6

  • Buddhism II: China and Korea

    Lecture, LMU Munich 2005/6

  • The Lotus Cult in East Asian Buddhism

    Advanced seminar, LMU Munich 2005/6

  • Reading Buddhist texts in Chinese

    reading exercise, LMU Munich 2005

  • Introduction to the history of Japanese religions

    Undergraduate seminar, LMU Munich 2005

  • Buddhism I: The Foundations

    Lecture, LMU Munich 2005

  • The Amida Cult in East Asian Buddhism

    Advanced seminar, LMU Munich 2005

  • Religious precepts, laws and rules

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2004/5

  • Founder legends; stories of saints, edifying descriptions of life: Content, form and function of religious biographies

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2004/5

  • Introduction to the history of Japanese Buddhism

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2003/4

  • Critical terms in the study of religions

    Seminar, Philipps-University Marburg 2002/3

  • Daoism: An Introduction

    Seminar, Philipps-University Marburg 2002

  • Reading of selected Buddhist texts in translation

    Seminar, Hannover University 2001/2

  • The dynamics of religious movements in Japanese Buddhism of the Kamakura period

    Seminar, Leipzig University 2001/2

  • The history of European critique of religion

    Seminar, Philipps-University Marburg 2001

  • How Buddhist is Japanese Buddhism?

    Seminar, Philipps-University Marburg 2001

  • Reviews of new publications on Buddhism

    Seminar, Free University Berlin 2001

  • Hagiography in intercultural comparison

    Seminar, Philipps-University Marburg 2000/1

  • Buddhism in the context of Japanese modernity

    Seminar, Philipps-University Marburg 2000

  • Aspects of Japan's religious and intellectual history

    Seminar, Philipps-University Marburg 1999/2000

  • Introduction to Buddhism: Mahāyāna

    Seminar, Free University Berlin 1999

  • The Narrative in the Religions

    Seminar, Philipps-University Marburg 1998

  • Selected texts of particular significance for religious studies (1): "Eastern Texts

    Undergraduate seminar, Philipps-University Marburg 1997/8

  • Hagiography in comparison

    Exercise, Philipps-University Marburg 1995/6

  • The Amitābha cult in Buddhism: Its historical origins and manifestations in East Asia

    Exercise, Philipps-University Marburg 1994