Church history is concerned with the expressions and manifestations of Christianity over the last two thousand years: the development of Christian dogma, spirituality and liturgy, Church organization, countless biographies and not least the material witnesses of faith in architecture, art and music. Church History applies the same methods and deals with the same kinds of sources as other historical studies, often in close cooperation with them. The patient analysis of historical artifacts (manuscripts, documents, prints, etc.) is just as much a part of the daily work as the development of overarching narratives that provide a framework for current questions.
Church History in Basel profits in a special way from its genius loci: a modern city, shaped to this day by its medieval prosperity, is host to the oldest university in Switzerland and one of the few faculties of theology that, though founded prior to the Reformation, developed a distinct protestant profile. Here, the sources for Church History are literally at our doorstep: Archives, prints, museums, libraries and last but not least the beautiful medieval churches of Basel.
A special focus of research lies in the transitional phase of the late Middle Ages, Reformation, and Early Modern period. Past and present research projects address questions of continuity and discontinuity, whether with a focus on medieval sources, significant figures of the Reformation and early Reformed orthodoxy, or Early Modern figures like René Descartes. In this research, Digital Humanities approaches have become increasingly relevant.