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Dr Alexandra Grieser

Assistant Professor for the Theory of Religion


t: + 353 1 896 4714

Room: Arts 3151

Departmental and School Responsibilities

Head of Year for Junior Fresh

Examinations Officer

Disability Officer


Teaching Responsibilities

JF Aproaches to the Study of Religion

JF Religion in Public: Great Speeches & Great Images

JF History of Religion

SF/JS Classical Thinkers on Religion

SF/JS Religion, Media and the Public Sphere

SF/JS Contemporary Theories of Religion

SS The Sensory Sacred: Aesthetic and Material Approaches to Religion


Academic Degrees / Qualifications

MA Study of Religion, German Literature and Rhetoric (Tuebingen University, Germany)

PhD Study of Religion,  “Modern Immortality. Changing patterns of religious plausibility in modernity” (Tuebingen University, Germany)


Alexandra Grieser adds to the programme on religion at TCD from the angle of the cultural study of religion. Being trained in the academic study of religion, in general rhetoric and in German literature in Tuebingen and Munich, Germany, she also worked at the University of Bremen, at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
In her PhD, she investigated “changing plausibility patterns in modern religion” (Transformations of Immortality, 2008), addressing the larger question what kind of theoretical concepts we need in order to understand recent religious pluralism and religious change.

Research Interests

As Professor for the Theory of Religion, Alexandra focusses on the diversity of approaches, theories and methods applied in the Academic Study of Religion, and on the disciplinary history of this subject as well. Her teaching and research fields include European religious pluralism, the history of knowledge, and the interaction between religion and other societal sub-systems such as politics, art, literature, or science.

A special focus of her work lies on the newly emerging Aesthetics of Religion, referring to the Greek notion of aisthesis (sensory perception) rather than to the philosophy of art and beauty. This approach starts from the assumption that religions are not confined to beliefs, institutions and theological doctrines; rather, it asks how religions cultivate emotions, attitudes and the body and the senses and how religious ways of “perceiving the world” come to influence social aesthetics in a larger culture. Alexandra is a founding member of the German working group for the Aesthetics of Religion, and a member of the DFG-funded network (see An edited volume on this approach brings together scholars from diverse European countries, the US and Australia who are using aesthetics as a concept to understand better the intensity and persistence of religion throughout history and in the modern world (Alexandra Grieser and Jay Johnston (eds), 2017. Aesthetics of Religion: a Connective Concept, Berlin and Bostonde Gruyter.

A previous research project concentrated on the relationships between religion and science, particularly on the popular usage of scientific imagery and the aesthetic ideologies that go along with the sensory aspects of different knowledge cultures. Future plans comprise an aesthetic analysis of recently developing “new universalisms” (Global aesthetics—Global religion?), which should provide a fresh view on religion, media and the divide between the religious and the secular.

Recent Publications


Alexandra Grieser and Jay Johnston (eds). Aesthetics of Religion: a Connective Concept, de Gruyter: Berlin and Boston, 2017.

Transformationen von UnsterblichkeitZum Wandel religiöser Plausibilitätsmuster in der Moderne, Peter Lang: Frankfurt 2008(Transformations of immortality - Changing patterns of religious plausibility in modernity)


Grieser, Alexandra, and Jay Johnston. “Introduction: What is an Aesthetics of Religion? From the Senses to Meaning – and back again”, in Aesthetics of Religion: a Connective Concept, edited by Alexandra Grieser and Jay Johnston, de Gruyter: Berlin and Boston, 2017.

“Blue Brains: Knowledge Formation and Aesthetic Ideologies between Religion and Science”, in Aesthetics of Religion: a Connective Concept, edited by Alexandra Grieser and Jay Johnston, de Gruyter: Berlin and Boston, 2017.

Grieser, Alexandra, and Arianna Borelli (editors), “The ‘Beauty Fallacy’: Religion, science and the aesthetics of knowledge”, Special Issue Approaching Religion 7/2 (2017).

 Grieser, Alexandra, and Arianna Borelli, “Recent research on the aesthetics of knowledge in science and in religion”, The ‘Beauty Fallacy’: Religion, science and the aesthetics of knowledge, Special Issue Approaching Religion 7/2 (2017), 4-21.

Grieser, Alexandra, „Religion und Literatur in populaeren Medien: Diversifizierung und Pluralisierung vom fruehen 19. Jahrhundert bis in die Gegenwart“, Religion und Literatur. Konvergenzen und Divergenzen, edited by Richard Faber and Almut-Barbara Renger, Wuerzburg, Koenigshausen und Neumann, 2017, 300 – 305.

"Imaginationen des Nichtwissens: Zur Hubble Space Imagery und den Figurationen des schönen Universums zwischen Wissenschaft, Kunst und Religion", in: Wilke, Annette, Traut, Lucia (Hg.), Religion – Imagination – Ästhetik: Vorstellungs- und Sinneswelten in Religion und Kultur (Göttingen: Vandenhoek) 2014(Imaginations of Non-Knowledge: Hubble Space Imagery and Figurations oft he beautiful Universe between Science, Art, and Religion)

"Erzählte Gemeinschaft. Zur Multi-Funktionalität kollektiver Narrative und der dynamischen Rolle von Religion". In: Brahier, Gabriele/Johannsen, Dirk (Eds).: Konstruktionsgeschichten. Narrationsbezogene Ansätze in der Religionsforschung, Ergon: Würzburg 2013, 319-333.

"Museality as a Matrix of the Production, Reception, and Circulation of Knowledge Concerning Religion“(together with A. Herrmann, K. Triplett)in: Special Issue Relocating Religion(s) — Museality as a Critical Term for the Aesthetics of Religion, Journal for Religion in Europe 4.1 (2011), 40-70.

"Wurzeln der Sprache als Ursprung von Religion? - F.M. Müller und die philologische Konstruktion von Religion zwischen Religions- und Sprachwissenschaft", in: Robert Mailhammer & Theo Vennemann (Hgg.): The Linguistic Roots of Europe , Kopenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, (2012). (Roots of language as roots of religion? – F.M. Müller and the philological construction of religion between linguistics and the study of religion).

"Perspektivität als Arbeitsform: Ein Beitrag der Religionswissenschaft zur Bearbeitung komplexer Gegenstände, zur Plausibilität von Religion und Wissenschaft und den Rhetoriken der Genetik", in: Meier, Thomas/Tillessen, Petra (Hg.): Über die Grenzen und zwischen den Disziplinen. Fächerübergreifende Zusammenarbeit im Forschungsfeld historischer Mensch-Umwelt-Beziehungen,(Budapest: Archaeolingua 2011) 159-178. (Perspectivity as method: A contribution to investigate complex subjects, to the plausibility of religion and science and to the rhetoric of genetics)

"Perspektivität als Arbeitsform: Szenarien". In: Thomas Meier/Petra Tillessen (Hrsg.): Über die Grenzen und zwischen den Disziplinen. Fächerübergreifende Zusammenarbeit im Forschungsfeld historischer Mensch-Umwelt-Beziehungen (Budapest: Archaeolingua 2011) 497-507. (Perspectivity as method: Scenarios).

"Religionswissenschaft in der Geschichte: Ambivalenzen des Fortschritts bei Friedrich Max Müller", in: Glasbrenner, Eva-Maria/Hackbarth-Johnson, Christian (Hg.): Einheit der Wirklichkeiten, München: Manya 2009, 354-375. (The study of religion in history - ambivalent notions of progress in the work of F.M. Müller)

"Rhetoric of immortality – describing changes in modern religion", in: Jong, J. de/ Haaften, T. van/ Jansen, H./Koetsenruijter, W. (Hg.): Second Conference: Rhetoric in Society, University of Leiden, Leiden 2009, CD-ROM ISB /EAN: 978-

Last updated 23 February 2018 (Email).