FAQ - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Who established the Foundation?
When was the Foundation established?
The Eugen Biser Foundation was established on 14 November 2002 in Munich.
Is the Eugen Biser Foundation a Catholic foundation?
No, the Eugen Biser Foundation is a Christian foundation. It is independent and not tied to any particular denomination or church. Eugen Biser always advocated a multi-denominational theology, and this is also reflected in the work of the Foundation. Accordingly, the membership of the Foundation's committees also includes representatives of different denominations and religions.
Why does the Eugen Biser Foundation have its headquarters in Munich?
The Eugen Biser Foundation has its headquarters in Munich because it was founded there by Eugen Biser and his friends and contemporaries.
The city of Munich was the scene of activities by Eugen Biser from 1974 until his death in 2014.
Does the Eugen Biser Foundation work only in Munich or Bavaria?
How many employees does the Foundation have?
There are nine employees working with the Eugen Biser Foundation on a full-time basis. In addition, there are several volunteers who support the Foundation in the administrative area and in the context of events. The members of the Board of Trustees, Executive Committee and Advisory Board work on a volunteer basis as well.
Who was Eugen Biser?
Eugen Biser (1918 - 2014) was a priest, philosopher of religion and theologian.
In 1974, he was appointed to the Romano Guardini Chair for Christian Philosophy and the Theory of Religion and Culture at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU). Following his retirement in 1987, he founded the University of the 3rd Age Department at LMU Munich (German: Zentrum Seniorenstudium an der LMU München), which he headed until 2007.
His sermons at Sunday evening services at the University Church of St. Ludwig inspired people of all age groups and walks of life. The volumes of interviews and TV shows with him were particularly popular as well. You can find more detailed information about his biography and his work here.
What does ‘Dialogue from a Christian Origin’ mean?
Dialogue from a Christian Origin means the Christian understanding of values and the world that forms the basis of the Eugen Biser Foundation, encouraging dialogue with people of other denominations, other faiths or other worldviews. Further information about sub-themes and projects in the thematic field of 'Dialogue from a Christian Origins' can be found here.
What does the Eugen Biser Foundation mean by ‘Dialogue’?
Dialogue is a way of encountering the Other and the Foreign. It is predicated on an attitude of openness towards getting to know the Other without prejudice: the way in which that person views him- or herself and his or her practices. The relationship that this approach fosters will also change and enrich the partners to the dialogue. The aim is to work together to find a way to respect differences on the basis of mutual understanding.
What are the topics to which the Foundation dedicates itself?
On the basis of current issues and challenges, the Eugen Biser Foundation focuses its science-based and practice-oriented work on its two core areas: Future of Christianity and Dialogue from a Christian Origin – always on the basis of the new theological approach of Eugen Biser.
What does ‘Future of Christianity’ mean?
Christianity originated two millennia ago in a setting that is fundamentally different from the reality of life we know today. Nevertheless, Christians experience the core of their faith as the living foundation of their lives: An unconditionally loving God bestows dignity and future upon each and every one of us, even if inner-worldly opportunities have come to an end. 'Future of Christianity' means that although this core message for a humane life abides, it must also be updated in contemporary times.
What does the logo of the Foundation represent?
Today's Foundation logo is the second since its establishment in 2002. The contours of the red signet evoke the figure of Sophia, divine wisdom, the way it is represented in numerous paintings.
'Wisdom' for Eugen Biser is a key theological term. It describes a form of universal knowledge comprising emotional aspects (love) and ethical practice (life): 'Wisdom and love are essentially one, just as in God there is no difference between His sophia increata [uncreated, eternal wisdom] and His essence, which is eternal love' (Eugen Biser, 'Was ist Weisheit?' ['What is Wisdom?']).
Refer to the Bibliography online (in German language) for more on the topic of 'wisdom' in Eugen Biser's work.
Can I apply to the Eugen Biser Foundation for funding?
The Eugen Biser Foundation is not a foundation that awards grants but rather an operating foundation. In other words, it designs and carries out projects of its own. The Foundation attaches great importance to cooperation with competent partners. Please get in touch with us for any further questions you may have in this regard.
Does the foundation award fellowships?
The Foundation does not grant any fellowships as a matter of principle. It is possible, however, to apply for a subsidy for the costs of printing costs of summa cum laude dissertations on Eugen Biser's work in theology and the philosophy of religion. Funding is available for post-doctoral works (Habilitationen) in exceptional cases as well. You are welcome to get in touch with us for any further questions you may have.
Where do the Foundation’s assets come from?
Since the establishment of the Foundation in 2002, the endowment of around EUR 200,000 has increased through donations by individual friends and contemporaries of Eugen Biser to its current level of around EUR 1 million. The proceeds from the endowment and gifts from the Association of the Friends of the Eugen Biser Foundation ensure basic funding for the Foundation. For its projects and events, the Foundation also requires additional, earmarked funds from individuals, foundations and businesses, as well as government grants.
How is the Foundation financed?
The Foundation finances the basis of its activities from the proceeds of its capital and the gifts it receives from the Association of the Friends of the Eugen Biser Foundation. Decisive in this connection, however, are the grants the Foundation receives from government sources, together with discretionary and earmarked donations from individuals, businesses and foundations. Accordingly, the Foundation relies on financial support for its work.
The foundation has public funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and the European Integration Fund (EIF), for example, for the Dictionary of Encounter and the Manual on Christianity and Islam in Germany.
If you would like further information or would like to bring funding opportunities to our attention, you are kindly requested to call Marianne Köster or Stefan Zinsmeister.
How can I help the Foundation achieve its aims?
There are numerous ways to help the Eugen Biser Foundation achieve its aims, whether the assistance you provide is financial or conceptual in nature.
Are donations tax-deductible?
Yes, all gifts – including the fee for membership in the Association of the Friends of the Eugen Biser Foundation – are tax-deductible pursuant to Section 10b of the German Income Tax Act (EStG). The Eugen Biser Foundation is a recognised, non-profit organisation.
Can I become a member of the Foundation?
The applicable laws prohibit a foundation from having members of its own. But the Eugen Biser Foundation has launched the Association of the Friends of the Eugen Biser Foundation and welcomes new members. The Association provides ongoing support for the work and projects of the Eugen Biser Foundation. The membership application form (in German language) can be found here.