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Sie sind hier: Startseite Die Fakultät Systematische Theologie Lehrstuhl Richter Promotionen und Habilitationen Matthew Ryan Robinson, Ph.D.

Matthew Ryan Robinson, Ph.D.

RobinsonPhoto.jpgWissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter am Lehrstuhl von Prof. Dr. Eberhard Hauschildt, Praktische Theologie in Bonn


An der Schlosskirche 2-4
2. Stock/Zimmer 2.006
Tel.: 0228/ 73-7674

Akademische Vita

  • Geboren 1982 in den USA, Verheiratet, zwei Kinder
  • Seit 2016/17 wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter für Prof. Dr. Eberhard Hauschildt, Lehrstuhl für Praktische Theologie, Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität
  • 2015 Promotion zur Theologie Schleiermachers bei Professor Christine Helmer, Northwestern University, Department of Religious Studies
  • 2013-2014 Krister Stendahl Research Fellow; Swedish Theological Institute, Jerusalem
  • 2012-2013 DAAD Stipendiat, Humboldt University, Berlin
  • 2011M.A., Northwestern University, Department of Religious Studies; Evanston, Illinois
  • 2009 M.Div., University of Chicago Divinity School; Chicago, Illinois
  • 2004 B.A., Wheaton College, Philosophy and Classics; Wheaton, Illinois


  • American Academy of Religion
  • Schleiermacher Gesellschaft

The Be.Friend Projekt

Matthew's current project proceeds from the questions: Can and, if so, how do strangers become friends today? And how is a Christian theology of hospitality and friendship with both Christian and non-Christian others to be understood and articulated today? While numerous studies have been written on the theology and sociology of friendship and of the stranger, a solid understanding of the processes by which strangers become friends, i.e., of “befriending,” remains a blind spot in both fields.

Certain realities of a global society make this research focus both difficult and particularly important. Classical and contemporary treatments of hospitality in the West have typically described hospitality either as an act of generously hosting total strangers who come from completely beyond the host’s cultural and religious sphere or as an act of welcome to neighbors and family who already share the host’s cultural and religious sphere. Likewise, an emphasis on the common, on what is shared and similar, dominates treatments of friendship in the West. Both of these, however, largely presuppose the reality of closed, separate social groups--an increasingly rare phenomenon. In ever-globalizing world societies, strangers are no longer complete strangers but part of one another’s communities and often participate in overlapping social systems. The stranger is the neighbor, colleague, teacher, and perhaps even family. How is this situation to be understood sociologically, and how, in turn, should theological understandings of neighbor love reflect this sociological awareness?

The Be.Friend Project will address this situation directly by conducting theological research on hospitality and friendship in relation to Christian doctrine as practices of redemption. The central content objectives of the project are outlined by means of a three-fold play on the English word “befriend”:

  1. Being Friends. Sociological analysis. How are the phenomena of the stranger and of friendship to be understood today? Can strangers become friends, and, if so, how? How are “the stranger” and “the friend” to be understood in a global society, wherein individuals and communities of the most diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious heritages live in the most intimate proximity to one another—that is, in a world of intimate strangers and foreign friends?
  2. Befriending. Systematic-theological description. In Christian theological perspective, what is the relationship between care for strangers, friendship, and being in Christ, i.e., redemption? While most theological studies of friendship have focused on classical sources, this project will focus on hospitality and friendship in modern Christian thought, asking about their nature and ends. In particular, it will be asked: In what ways, if any, are hospitality and/or friendship thought to be necessary for redemption in Christ?
  3. Be [well], friend. Practical-theological innovation. Still, today, the question of how hospitality and friendship have been plotted theologically must take the globalized situation of intimate strangers and foreign friends into account. This raises a stark and troubling question: Is true Christian friendship with non-Christian others possible? Do Christian hospitality and friendship specifically with non-Christian others stand in a necessary connection with Christian understandings of redemption? This project seeks, ultimately, to articulate anew a doctrine of redemption in Christ as commitment to the formation of friendship with strangers, expressing the desire that the friend might be well.

The Be.Friend Project’s research requires a combined sociological-theological method that can analyze the above sets of questions in a global society characterized by evolving forms of personal relationships and social belonging. Conventional subjectivity-oriented, psychological, and philosophical approaches to friendship have not yet taken these societal shifts adequately into account. The systems-theoretic sociology of inclusion-exclusion theorizes precisely these transformations. By forming a collaboration between Prof. Dr. Rudolf Stichweh in the Forum Internationale Wissenschaft and the Evangelisch-theologische Fakultät, The Be.Friend Project will conduct a contemporary analysis of the practices and articulations of be-friending in Christian ecclesiological and doctrinal understanding. Analyzing each content objective [(A), (B), and (C)] through the lens of inclusion-exclusion can deepen understanding of the ways that the meanings of inclusion and exclusion in the Christian church today are evolving in response to the complex forms of welcome and belonging, hospitality and friendship that characterize modern life.



  • Die Theologie Schleiermachers und liberal Protestantismus
  • Befreiungstheologien
  • Christliche Ethik in aktuellen gesellschaftlichen und politischen Debatten
  • Interreligiöser Dialog
  • Freundschaft und Gastfreundschaft in den Religionen


Wintersemester 2016/17 (Bonn)

  • Die praktische Theologie Schleiermachers im Rahmen seines Denkens
  • Einführung in das Studium der Evangelischen Theologie (mit Laura Schmitz)

2015-16 (Messiah College, Pennsylvania, USA)

  • God and Other Strangers
  • Contemporary Theology
  • Modern Theology
  • Introduction to Christian Theology


  • Robinson, Matthew Ryan. Redeeming Relationship, Relationships that Redeem: Free Sociability and the Completion of Humanity in the Thought of Friedrich Schleiermacher. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Forthcoming 2017.
  • Robinson, Matthew Ryan. "Redemption in Hosting and Helping." In Reformation und Moderne: Pluralität, Subjektivität, Kritik. Eds. Jörg Dierken and Arnulf von Scheliha. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter. Forthcoming.
  • Robinson, Matthew Ryan. “Vollendet: The Completion of Humanity, the Gospel of John, and the Intersubjective Soul of Schleiermacher’s Monologen.” In Der Mensch und seine Seele. Bildung - Frömmigkeit - Ästhetik. Eds. Jörg Dierken and Arnulf von Scheliha. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter. 2017.
  • Robinson, Matthew Ryan. “Lamech.” Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR). De Gruyter. 2016. Forthcoming.
  • Robinson, Matthew Ryan. “Karl Jaspers.” Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR). De Gruyter. 2015.
  • Robinson, Matthew Ryan. “Matthew Henry.” Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR). De Gruyter 2015.
  • Robinson, Matthew. “Theology as an Intellectual Tradition.” Perspectives on Europe 42, no. 1 (2012): 117-121.


  • Review of Hector, Kevin: The Theological Project of Modernism: Faith and the Conditions of Mineness. International Journal of Systematic Theology. Forthcoming.
  • Review of Cercel, Larisa and Adriana Serban (eds.): Friedrich Schleiermaacher and the Question of Translation. Journal for the History of Modern Theology / Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte. 23, no. 2 (2016), 282-285.
  • Review of Becker, Matthew L. (Ed.): Nineteenth-Century Lutheran Theologians. Journal for the History of Modern Theology / Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte. 23, no. 2 (2016), 296-299.
  • Review of de Graaf, Guido: Politics in Friendship: A Theological AccountPolitical Theology. 28, no. 2, 177-179.
  • Review of Lamm, Julia (Ed. and Trans.): Schleiermacher: Christmas Dialogue, the Second Speech, and Other Selections (Classics of Western Spirituality Series)Journal for the History of Modern Theology / Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte. 23, no. 1 (2016): 300-302.
  • Review of Wilcox, Jeffrey A., Terrence N. Tice, Catherine L. Kelsey (Eds.):  Schleiermacher’s Influences on American Thought and Religious Life, 1835-1920: Three Volumes. Journal for the History of Modern Theology / Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte. 23, no. 1 (2016): 302-304.
  • Review of Zachhuber, Johannes: Theology as Science in Nineteenth-Century Germany: From F.C. Baur to Ernst TroeltschJournal for the History of Modern Theology / Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte. 22, no. 1 (2015): 121-125.
  • Review of Jungkeit, Steven R.: Spaces of Modern Theology: Geography and Power in Schleiermacher’s WorldJournal for the History of Modern Theology / Zeitschrift für Neuere Theologiegeschichte 21, no. 1 (2014): 311-314.


Ausgewählte Vorträge

  • “European Tolerance, a Fragile Treasure?” (Revised paper); Paper given at the annual meeting of the AAR; Religion in Europe Group; Atlanta, November 21-23, 2015.
  • “Vollendet: The Gospel of John, Schleiermacher’s Monologen, and the Soul”; 2015 Kongress of the Schleiermacher Gesellschaft; Münster, Germany, September 27-30, 2015.
  • “Redeeming Community, Community that Redeems: Schleiermacher and the Power of the Keys”; Society for the Study of Theology; Nottingham, UK, April 13-15, 2015.
  • “European Tolerance, a Fragile Treasure?”; Invited paper at The Rise of Militant Groups and the Rule of Law in the Middle East; Conference of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung; Cadenabbia, Italy, March 9-12, 2015.
  • “A Brief History of Geselligkeit: Sociability as the Completion of Humanity in Enlightenment Germany"; Project Presentation given at the annual symposium of the Schleiermacher Gesellschaft; Wittenberg, Germany, October 16-18, 2014.
  • “Schleiermacher on freie Geselligkeit: form of the church and prototype for philosophical ethics—on relating philosophical and Christian ethics in Schleiermacher; Paper given at the annual meeting of the AAR; Schleiermacher Group; Baltimore, November 22-26, 2013.
  • “Free Sociability and Discovery of Humanity: New Horizons in Theological Practice”; Paper given at “How Shall the Next Generation Live? Theology as Responsibility”; Society for the Study of Theology Post-Graduate Conference, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity, December 3-4, 2012.