In lists of recognized academic fields, theology and religious studies tend to be placed in a category of their own. For a long time, theology stood exclusively for Christian theology including its exegetic-philological, historical, systematic and practically-theological subdisciplines. The field of religious studies, on the other hand, seemed to be mainly responsible for religions other than Christianity. This situation has changed considerably in recent decades as a result of institutional and methodological changes, not only at German research institutions: On the one hand, non-Christian religions are now treating their histories and faith beliefs in theological teaching and research institutions, for instance Judaism and Islam. But religious self-perception and religious interpretations may sometimes suffer breaks in content and method when treated in the context of „religious studies“. Seen in this way, theology and religious studies deal with partly divergent, partly convergent fields when they turn to the history, institutions and the cultural and political effects of religions.

The Fritz Thyssen Foundation accepts applications from all areas of theology and religious studies. The foundation´s policy of support allows it to include in its programmes a wide range of thematic interests, specialization in the sub-disciplines, and a variety of methodical approaches. Historical projects such as editions and other contributions to basic research are welcome, as well as studies on the current environments in which religions exist. The foundation also encourages projects which, aside from the interdisciplinary structure already inherent in theology and religious studies, aim at synergetic effects with other academic disciplines.