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Sjoerd Griffioen receives PhD with distinction cum laude with thesis on German secularization debate

05 October 2020

On Thursday 1 October, Sjoerd Griffioen defended his PhD thesis, entitled Contested Modernity: Karl Löwith, Hans Blumenberg and Carl Schmitt and the German Secularization Debate. He received his PhD degree with the distinction cum laude.

In his dissertation Griffioen analyzes the postwar debate on secularization in Germany. Does modernity mean a gradual disappearance of religion? What does it owe to religion? The War had made these questions even more pressing: Was the Holocaust the result of an extreme process of modernization? The debate about the role of religion in modern culture is still of immense importance as the rise of popularism, the multicultural society with all its challenges and many other developments show. Griffioen’s dissertation is therefore not only of historical interest but sheds light on these current debates.

A future reference work

Members of the examining committee praised the high quality of the thesis: Griffioen’s work “could become a reference work in discussions about secularization and post-secularization”, “belonging to one of the very best and most profound works about this topic”. Another referee wrote: “an impressive piece of high-carat scholarship. (…) destined to become an important reference work on the German secularization debate for years to come’. And yet another referee wrote: “I t is the successful combination of historical reconstruction and philosophical methodology that place this work among the most excellent and thoughtful studies I have seen in a long time”.

Contested Modernity (thesis cover)
Contested Modernity (thesis cover)

More information

Sjoerd Griffioen's profile page

Contested Modernity: thesis summary

Contested Modernity: complete thesis


This article was published by the Faculty of Philosophy.

Last modified:05 October 2020 2.28 p.m.
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