The Luxembourg School of Religion & Society
A short presentation
The LSRS is an institution of higher education and research founded in 2015. It focuses on the relationship between religion and society as an ongoing, tense, complex, and transformative process of dialogue and mutual enrichment. In other words: the conjunction “&” in the School’s name is its theme and program.
Its foundational questions are: “How can one be(come) a religious person in our pluralist postmodern society?”, and “How can religions make a contribution to contemporary ethical, social, and political challenges in a globalized world?”.
As a theological institution, it involves religious communities in the elaboration of possible answers. It develops its research and teaching by bringing into dialogue the religious heritage, i.e., sources, rites, traditions, on one hand, and contemporary life experience, on the other hand, referring to philosophy, humanities, and natural sciences as hermeneutical tools.
The LSRS is the result of the reorganization of the higher education, research, lifelong learning, and adult education in the archdiocese of Luxembourg. The predecessors of the LSRS are the following institutions: firstly, the diocesan seminary, founded in 1845, that offered professional training for clergy; then the Institute of Religious Education, that (still) offers professional training for teachers of Catholic religion in grammar schools; finally, a number of diocesan initiatives of adult education. This interest in professional training including serious theological and religious knowledge is still on our agenda.
Therefore it is our goal to hear, understand, and answer today’s challenges, questions, and problems. Luxembourg has become a very rich land and a secularized, pluralist, individualistic society that needs to think about how bringing all social and political actors together to build its future.
The LSRS respects Academic and pedagogical freedom.
It is an interdisciplinary theological institution. While “Religious Studies” offer an external view on the various aspects and elements of religions, theology is the methodological, critical self-reflection and explanation of a specific religious community of its sources, history, teachings, worship, and life in a given context.
As any other science, theology starts from a certain number of premises; it will name them, examine their heuristical status, experience their limits, as well as their intellectual, spiritual, social, cultural, and hermeneutical potential. Keeping theology into the Academic context helps religious communities to develop their intellectual life in an interdisciplinary, challenging context, and to bring their wisdom to other departments.
Over centuries, theology has split up into different disciplines: the history of the religious community; the study of Scripture, i.e., exegesis; systematic theology; and practical theology. Theological Studies use different scientific methods and enter into a lively, challenging exchange with other disciplines, be it natural sciences or the humanities.
Working in collaboration with the other religious communities that signed an agreement with the State, it offers a creative response to the changing social, political, cultural, and religious landscape in Luxembourg, a contribution to religious identities, responsible citizenship, social cohesion, and respect of diversity.
We don’t want to ask yesterday’s questions; they have had their answers. Of course we dig into tradition, but we focus on the needs of our society and Church. We don’t want to ask the questions of a closed circle of specialists or a “milieu.” We strongly believe that working on answering today’s questions we will also discover our own faith, its history, traditions, and the Word of God itself in a new way, and thus make a humble contribution to the eventful life of theology.
The LSRS develops its research and teaching activities mainly in two departments:
- The department « Religion, Communication, Education » works on the question how one can be(come) a religious person in our north-Atlantic, pluralist, secularized society, focusing on the transmission of faith between generations.
- The department « Public Responsibility » works on the question how religions can make a contribution to ethical problems, namely in the context of peace building and finance.
Beyond its Academical programs, the LSRS develops specific offers of initial training, lifelong learning, and adult education for religious communities and other clients.
The library of the seminary offers a rich philosophical, theological, and Luxembourgish collection both to scholars and students. All its books can be found in the national catalogue of Luxembourg’s libraries. In the future, the library shall welcome the library of the Jewish Consistorium and of the Shoura.