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Prof. Dr. Horst Junginger

Areas of interest

  • criticism of religion
  • epistemology of religious vs. non-religious studies
  • secularism, atheism
  • history of the academic study of religion

Research projects

At present, Horst Junginger’s research activities overlap with two publication projects. One deals with the criticism of religion in Germany and German-speaking countries, ranging from atheist freethinkers of both a proletarian and bourgeois background, over church critics, whose reform endeavours have failed to come to fruition, to a philosophically inspired criticism of religion without religious or anti-religious bias. A particular focus addresses the concept “Scientific Atheism” that spread from the Soviet Union to other socialist countries and lead to the establishment of a “Chair of Scientific Atheism” at the University of Jena in 1963. On the final stage of state socialism, efforts arose to change the academic negation of religion into a Marxist-Leninist sociology or study of religion.

The second publication is a handbook on religious and substitute religious education in Germany. In recent years a number of non-Christian religions, primarily Islamic denominations, have found their way into the public school system and became a subject of religious instruction. In addition to that, instruction models with other subjects than religion, that is ethics, philosophy, humanistic life skills etc., will be given due attention. Resulting from the growing number of schoolchildren without a Christian background, the established model of separative religious education has, expectably, come under pressure. While the full consequences of this change are unpredictable at present, it appears to be quite clear that integrative religious education on non-religious grounds will gain importance in the future. Both examples provide ample evidence of the weakening influence of the Church observable in most industrialised nations around Europe and the world. That religion has got into a state of flux does, however, not vindicate any teleological kind of interpretation. What becomes apparent instead is a much more normal modification process than participant observers usually perceive.


2018 – present

Professor of the study and criticism of religion, Institute for the Study of Religions, Leipzig University, Germany 

2016 – 2017

Research project on the criticism of religion in past and presence

2014 – 2016

Deputy Professor of General and Comparative Study of Religion, Institute for the Study of Religions, Leipzig University 

2011 – 2014

Deputy Professor of the Study of Religion with a focus on Methodology and Theory, University of Munich, Germany

2010 – 2011

Visiting Scholar at the University of Uppsala, Sweden


Habilitation, Study of Religion, University of Tübingen, Germany

2003 – 2010

Teaching Positions at the Universities of Tübingen and Münster, Germany

​1996 – 2003

Two Research Projects on the History of the Academic Study of Religion under Fascism, funded by the German Research Foundation


PhD (Dr. phil.), Study of Religion, University of Tübingen

Relevant Publications

  • Junginger, Horst (2017): The Scientification of the "Jewish Question" in Nazi Germany. Leiden: Brill.
  • Junginger, Horst (2017): Religionsgeschichte Deutschlands in der Moderne. Darmstadt: WBG - Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  • Junginger, Horst (2014): Zivilreligion. Mögliche Erträge für den Humanismus. In: Humanismus und Humanisierung. Edited by Horst Groschopp. Aschaffenburg: Alibri, S. 110–129.
  • Junginger, Horst; Akerlund, Andreas (Hg.) (2013): Nordic Ideology between Religion and Scholarship. Frankfurt a.M: Lang.
  • Junginger, Horst. “Nordic Ideology in the SS and the SS Ahnenerbe.” In: Horst Junginger (Hg.): Nordic Ideology between Religion and Scholarship, S. 39-69.
  • Junginger, Horst (2013): Religiöser Humanismus. In: Horst Groschopp (Hg.): Humanismus - Laizismus - Geschichtskultur. Aschaffenburg: Alibri, S. 183–202.
  • Junginger, Horst (2011): Die Verwissenschaftlichung der "Judenfrage" im Nationalsozialismus. Darmstadt: WBG - Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  • Wiesing, Urban; Brintzinger, Klaus-Rainer; Grün, Bernd; Junginger, Horst; Michl, Susanne (Hg.) (2010): Die Universität Tübingen im Nationalsozialismus. Stuttgart: Steiner.
  • Junginger, Horst. “Antisemitismus in Theorie und Praxis. Tübingen als Zentrum der nationalsozialistischen ‘Judenforschung‘.” In: Wiesing, Urban; Brintzinger, Klaus-Rainer; Grün, Bernd; Junginger, Horst; Michl, Susanne  (Hg.): Die Universität Tübingen im Nationalsozialismus. Stuttgart: Steiner, S. 483-558.
  • Junginger, Horst (2010): Harmless or Dangerous? The Eranos Conferences in the 1930s from the Perspective of National Socialist Germany. In: Archaeus (14), S. 41–55.
  • Junginger, Horst ed. (2008): The Study of Religion Under the Impact of Fascism. Leiden: Brill.
  • Junginger, Horst. “From Buddha to Adolf Hitler: Walther Wüst and the Aryan Tradition.“ In: Horst Junginger (Hg.):The Study of Religion Under the Impact of Fascism.  Leiden: Brill, S. 107­-177.
  • Junginger, Horst (2006): Academic Study of Religion. In: Kocku von Stuckrad und Robert E. Segal (Hg.): The Brill Dictionary of Religion. Leiden: Brill, S. 8–11.
  • Junginger, Horst (2004): “Sigrid Hunke (1913–1999): Europe’s New Religion and its Old Stereotypes.” In: Hubert Cancik und Uwe Puschner (Hg.): Antisemitismus, Paganismus, Völkische Religion. München: Saur, S. 151–162.
  • Junginger, Horst; Finkenberger, Martin (Hg.) (2004): Im Dienste der Lügen. Herbert Grabert (1901 - 1978) und seine Verlage. Aschaffenburg: Alibri.
  • Junginger, Horst: Das Überleben der Religionswissenschaft im Nationalsozialismus. In: Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft 2001(9), S. 149–168.
  • Junginger, Horst (1999): Von der philologischen zur völkischen Religionswissenschaft. Das Fach Religionswissenschaft an der Universität Tübingen von der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts bis zum Ende des Dritten Reiches. Zugl.: Tübingen, Univ., Diss., 1997. Stuttgart: Steiner.