Prof. Dr. Sebastian Schüler

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Schüler


Schillerstraße 6, Room S 110
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-37161
Fax: +49 341 97-37169


Sebastian Schüler studied the Study of Religion as well as Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at Goethe University Frankfurt. He received his doctorate in 2010 from the WWU Münster. He has been Professor for the Study of Religion at the University of Leipzig since October 2019. Previously, he was a research associate at the Institute for Religious Studies and the Cluster of Excellence Religion and Politics at WWU Münster (2006-2011) and an assistant professor for Religious Studies at the Universities of Greifswald and Leipzig (2012-2019). His dissertation thesis was awarded the Dissertation Prize of the German Association for the Scientific Study of Religion (DVRW) in 2011. His research interests include the Cognitive Science of Religion, Evangelical and Charismatic Christianity (USA and Europe), forms of alternative religiosity, the aesthetics of religion, theories of religious movements, and qualitative methods in the study of religion.

Professional career

  • since 10/2019
    Professor for the Study of Religion at the Institute for the Study of Religion at the University of Leipzig
  • 10/2013 - 09/2019
    Junior professor for the Study of Religion at the Institute for the Study of Religion at the University of Leipzig
  • 01/2012 - 09/2013
    Junior Professorship for Empirical Religious Studies at the Ernst Moritz Arndt University Greifswald (Faculty of Theology)
  • 03/2010 - 04/2010
    Visiting researcher at the Department of Anthropology at the University of California in San Diego, USA
  • 04/2009 - 12/2011
    Postdoctoral research associate (100%) at the Cluster of Excellence Religion and Politics at the WWU Münster
  • 09/2006 - 03/2009
    Research associate (50%) at the Department of General Religious Studies at the WWU Münster
  • 02/2006 - 04/2006
    Research assistant (50%) for the coordination manager in the application process of the excellence cluster "Universalization and Particularity" Prof. Dr. Thomas M. Schmidt at the J.W. Goethe University as part of the DFG's Excellence Initiative
  • 05/2005 - 08/2005
    Research assistant at the Chair of Philosophy of Religion, Prof. Dr. Thomas M. Schmidt, FB Catholic Theology, Goethe University Frankfurt


  • 07/2004 - 06/2010
    Doctoral student (University of Münster) (summa cum laude)
  • 10/1996 - 06/2004
    Studies in Comparative Religious Studies and Cultural Anthropology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt

The main areas of research include:

  • Cognitive and evolutionary theories of religion
  • Evangelical and Charismatic Christianity (USA and Europe, Emerging Church)
  • Alternative religiosity and new religious movements
  • Theories of Religious Studies and History of Disciplines
  • Qualitative methods of religious studies (grounded theory, content analysis, metaphor analysis)
  • Religious aesthetics (Embodiment theories)
  • Theories of resilience and cognitive dissonance
  • Metaphors and Religion

Current research projects:

  • since 2/2020 When Healing Fails: Cognitive dissonance and factors of resilience
  • since 2010 Liminal Christians - The Emerging Church Movement
  • When Healing Fails: Cognitive dissonance and resilience factors in failed religious healing. A comparative study of three local Christianities
    Schüler, Sebastian
    Duration: 02/2020 – 01/2024
    Funded by: DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Religionswissenschaft; Religionswissenschaftliches Institut; Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe)
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  • Metaphors of Distinction and Transgression - Conceptualizations of the Religious and Secular in the USA on the Example of Moral Majority and Human Potential Movement between 1960 and 1980
    Schüler, Sebastian
    Duration: 04/2022 – 03/2023
    Funded by: DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Religionswissenschaft; Religionswissenschaftliches Institut
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more projects

  • Schüler, S.
    Prayers and Stories as Media and Materiality: Changing Sources of Authority in the Emerging Church Movement.
    In: Feldt, L. (Ed.)
    Marginality, Media, and Mutations of Religious Authority: Case Studies from History of Christianity.. Leuven: Peeters. 2019.
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  • Schüler, S.
    „In der Welt, nicht von der Welt“ – Simmels Konflikttheorie und die Dynamiken religiöser Vergesellschaftung am Beispiel des evangelikalen Kreationismus
    In: Graf, F. W.; Hartmann, J. (Eds.)
    Religion und Gesellschaft. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. 2019. pp. 119–144.
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  • Schüler, S.
    Die Emerging Church Bewegung – Liminalität als Identität
    Zeitschrift für Religions‐ und Weltanschauungsfragen. 2019. 82 (11). pp. 395–403.
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  • Schüler, S.
    Aesthetics of Immersion: Collective Effervescence, Bodily Synchronisation and the Sensory Navigation of the Sacred
    In: Grieser, A.; Johnston, J. (Eds.)
    Aesthetics of Religion: A Connective Concept. DeGruyter. 2017. pp. 367–387.
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  • Schüler, S.
    Religion, Kognition, Evolution: Eine religionswissenschaftliche Auseinandersetzung mit der Cognitive Science of Religion.
    Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. 2011.
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more publications

The courses offered cover, on the one hand, basic introductions to the discipline (central theories and classics of the subject) and methodological knowledge, and, on the other hand, specific in-depths on research-related subject areas. The basics include lectures and seminars (B.A. and M.A.) on the history of religious studies as well as research-seminars on methods of qualitative social research. In the latter, for example, students acquire methodological skills (such as participatory observation or interview techniques) through their own small field research with religious groups. In-depth courses on research-related topics vary and are not subject to a repetition frequency. Such courses include topics such as religion and museum, various seminars on the American history of religion, evolution of religion, esotericism and New Age, the Eranos conferences, cognitive research on religion and new atheism, festivals and celebrations in the world religions or religious healing.