Publication Project „The Soul“


Annette Meuthrath © Copyright: M. Meuthrath


+49 241 80 97169



Many cultures have developed some sort of concept coined with the term soul. Especially in the European context, the soul has played an essential part in religious and anthropologic concepts. Religious and theological discourses often presuppose the existence of an (immortal) soul as a necessary premise for eschatology as well as to justify human dignity and freedom. Yet, while the term is presupposed in theological debates, it mostly disappeared within the rest of the scientific community and the public discourse. Neither hermeneutic nor empiric disciplines seem to refer to a soul, even the disciplines of philosophy and psychology hardly mention the term at all.

This collected volume attempts to refocus on the term of the soul and its potential use for contemporary interdisciplinary discourses by shedding light on its underlying concept.It starts with a broad reconstruction of the emergence of the term in antiquity, in order to trace its development and, more importantly, to shed light on its function and meaning. In a further step, the cultural horizon will be broadened to include non-European traditions (or non-traditions/alternative-traditions) of the soul and potentially provide a fresh perspective on the wide uses of the term. The final part not only questions the reasons for the disappearance of the term in Western culture, but also investigates the interdisciplinary potential of the term for modern discourses (e.g. by focusing on modern anthropological concepts and worldviews).