Friederike Nüssel
Heidelberg University

Narrative and Emotional Dimensions of Moral Orientation

Project Description:

In my research project I aim to explore the narrative and emotional dimension of moral orientation. Departing from new approaches in Christian ethics focusing on the complex conditions and processes of moral orientation, I plan to analyze the narrative and emotional aspects in dialogue with findings from cognitive and narrative psychology and affective neuroscience and relate them to philosophical and theological theories of religious experience and emotions. My assumption is that an interdisciplinary description of moral orientation and its narrative aspect will contribute to a closer understanding of how and in what sense religious experience is involved in the shaping of moral identity and moral values. This in turn may provide an example for a fruitful interaction between theology and science. Moreover, the reflection on the narrative element in decision making may point to new ways of connecting ethics and theology.

Friederike Nüssel is Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Institute for Ecumenism at Heidelberg University and also served as the university’s vice rector for education from 2010 to 2013. She received her doctoral degree from Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany, where she worked with Prof. Dr. Wolfhart Pannenberg. Her research interests are dogmatics and ethics, christology, the concept of religion, the impact of narratives on religious experience and commitment, and theology of ecumenism.