Northland News

Pontifical College Josephinum

German theologian to deliver April 17 lecture


How the study of religion has evolved in the wake of something as faith-shaking at the Holocaust will be the subject of the ninth annual Lecture on World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue on Wednesday, April 17.

Put on by the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus, the address by German theologian Gunda Werner-Burggraf will begin at 7 p.m. in the Jessing Center at the Pontifical College Josephinum, 7265 N. High St.

The lecture is free and open to the public. No advance notice of attendance is required.

Werner-Burggraf, who is on the faculty of the Department of Dogmatic Theology at Ruhr-University Bochum, will speak on the topic "Theology After Auschwitz: Abrahamic Perspectives."

The Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus includes Trinity Lutheran Seminary, the Pontifical College Josephinum and the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Bexley Hall Episcopal Seminary is an associate member.

"These speakers are chosen by the deans of the seminaries," said Paul N. Numrich, Ph.D., chairman of the Program in World Religions and Inter-Religious Dialogue for the Theological Consortium. "I meet regularly with them and we throw out ideas.

"These are usually people somebody in the group knows about. We may have a personal connection with them or know someone who knows someone," he said. "It's who we know and what we want to tackle in terms of a topic and what topic would draw our audience."

In this instance, the provost at Pontifical College Josephinum, Michael Ross, suggested Werner-Burggraf as the speaker for the ninth annual lecture in the series. The two met three years ago while she spent a postdoctoral semester in residence at the Catholic seminary, which was started by German immigrant Joseph Lessing in downtown Columbus in 1888.

"She's a very thoughtful person," Ross said. "She's quite talented, and she's one of the very few female Catholic theologians in German universities. She's attended conferences on this subject in recent years. She's going to give us a sort of account of the state of the question.

A native of Bonn, Germany, Werner-Burggraf completed secondary studies at the Catholic Gymnasium in Bonn in 1991, according to a biography supplied by Pontifical College Josephinum on behalf of the consortium.

From 1992-1998, she studied theology and philosophy in Munster, culminating in a master's degree. She then worked as an assistant nurse in a home for the elderly, doing pastoral care with hospice, and counseling for the AIDS Foundation in Munster. The following years were spent contributing to the formation of priests and lay people in the Archdiocese in Berlin as well as to the preparation for and follow up to World Youth Day in Cologne.

After completing a doctorate in dogmatic theology, summa cum laude, in Munster in 2005, Werner-Burggraf worked in human rights and the development of European networks for the Franciscan Brothers headquartered in Bonn.

From January 2008 until December 2009, she was a staff member and one of the chief executive officers for the Second Ecumenical Church Assembly held in 2010. Later that same year, she was a visiting scholar at the Pontifical College Josephinum, conducting research in ecclesiology.

In addition to her academic degrees, Werner-Burggraf holds a diploma in theme-centered interaction and has several qualifications in human resources, conflict management and management skills.

For directions or more information regarding the April 17 picture, call the academic dean's office at the Josephinum at 614-885-5585 or send an email to