Werner G. Jeanrond new professor in systematic theology
With the appointment of Werner G. Jeanrond, the Faculty of Theology has one of the most influential theologians of the last 30 years under its roof. Although a seasoned researcher, his hunger for more theological explorations is still the same.
Photo: Mathias H. Eidberg/UiO
Born in 1955 at Saarbrücken, Saarland, Werner Jeanrond grew up directly at the German-French border, enjoying the benefits of both cultures. He studied theology, education and German language and literature at the Universities of the Saarland and at Regensburg, “initially with the aim of becoming a secondary school teacher” Jeanrond tells us.
However, thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship, his professional life took quite another direction. The scholarship gave him the opportunity to pursue his doctoral studies in systematic theology at the University of Chicago, under the supervision of David Tracy and Paul Ricœur.
Werner Jeanrond has since had a remarkable career, taking him to top universities around Europe. From 1981-94 Jeanrond taught theology at Trinity College Dublin.
“During my years in Ireland, I met my Swedish wife Betty, we got married and have been blessed with a son and a daughter”, Jeanrond says.
Next stop was Lund University in Sweden, where he was professor of systematic theology from 1995-2007. This was followed by nearly five years as Professor of Divinity at the University of Glasgow.
Prior to his present appointment at the University of Oslo, he worked as Master of St Benet’s Hall and Professor of Theology at the University of Oxford (2012-18).
Werner Jeanrond has become one of the most significant systematic theologians of his time, and his research has influenced and inspired students, fellow researchers and church communities for almost four decades.
“My theological research has focussed chiefly on two intellectual and practical challenges”, Jeanrond explains. “The role of hermeneutics for theological method (Theological Hermeneutics: Development and Significance 1991), and the significance of a theology of love for approaching religion, otherness, transcendence, and communal transformation (A Theology of Love 2010).”
Although he has an extensive authorship behind him, he has a clear ambition to contribute to the theological development and discourse in the years to come.
“Together with students and colleagues I am keen to explore the potential of more appropriate ways of understanding and shaping the four primary and interdependent human relationships: to fellow humans, to God, to the universe, and to my own emerging self”, Jeanrond continues. At present, he is completing a book called Reasons to Hope.
Jeanrond tells us he has been co-operating with colleagues and students at the University of Oslo for more than thirty years.
“I have always enjoyed the open, inclusive and diverse character of theological pursuits in the Faculty of Theology. Hence, I feel honoured to join this Faculty now as a full-time member”, he concludes.