ProjectFOR 2828-P9 – Textgebrauch und Lebensdeutung anlässlich von Bestattungen

Basic data

FOR 2828-P9
Textgebrauch und Lebensdeutung anlässlich von Bestattungen
10/1/2021 to 9/30/2024
Abstract / short description:
P9 The use of text and the interpretation of life on the occasion funeral ceremonies

This sub-project of the research group FOR 2828 De/Sacralization of texts, investigates the connections between references to texts and the use of biographical material within funeral speeches. Based on the observation that texts are quoted during funeral speeches in a variety of ways, as a means of interpreting the multifaceted lives of the deceased and the situation of the bereaved, the practice of drawing on texts in funerals will be empirically collected and analyzed. In this context, the use of “text” is understood as being a reference or quotation deriving from religious tradition, popular song lyrics, classical literature or quotations whose origin is not identified. The review of the life of the deceased as well as the effort to understand life in the face of death is often moderated by the reference to one or more texts. Texts are drawn upon as authoritative sources which hold the potential for further interpretation. In this sense, funeral speeches are in many ways characterized by intertextuality: they are to be analyzed as text compositions or bricolages and their functional ritual contexts will be described.
In the context of the research group FOR 2828, the relationship between text usage and the interpretation of life will be examined and described as a dynamic of De/Sacralization. The research hypothesis that the reference to texts has a key function for contemporary religious communication can be tested using the concrete example of eulogies. The funeral (with a focus on funeral orations/mourning speeches) is understood as a medium for the public reflection upon of life orientation and the contemplation of the meaning of life on the occasion of a death.
Against the background of religious pluralization and transcultural dynamics, the project aims to show how texts are pragmatized for understanding life in the face of death. The sub-project pursues three goals: 1. to name (some of) the texts that are ascribed the potential to interpret an individual life story. This will contribute to the canonization or decanonization of texts; 2. to describe the interactions between texts and life histories in more detail and to determine how the texts function to interpret a life; 3. to analyze the arguments for values and patterns of interpretation in pluralistic religious and cultural contexts.

Involved staff


Protestant Seminary
Faculty of Protestant Theology

Other staff

Protestant Seminary
Faculty of Protestant Theology
Protestant Seminary
Faculty of Protestant Theology
Catholic Seminary
Faculty of Catholic Theology
Probst, Hans
formerly Universität Tübingen

Local organizational units

Faculty of Protestant Theology
University of Tübingen


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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