Workgroup for Empiric Research of Religion (AGER)

Dr. Oliver Stens

Oliver Stenss a theologian, I studied the motivation(s), the resources and the question of relevance of religiosity for people who help in the diaconal work. The analysis of the data provides insights into the everyday understanding and the subjective world of experience of helping people.
In connection with another research project I intend to engage in the religiosity of (highly) religious people in old age. In doing so I am interested in the following questions: How do people live and experience religiousness in old age? Which religious questions are vital in old age? What effect does religiosity have on the thinking, feeling and acting of old people? In what ways is religion a resource and what role does it play in regard to the well-being in old age?


Curriculum Vitae

November 2011: PhD at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Thomas Schreijäck. Dissertation: ‘Death set to music — A practical-theological study of the cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach on the theme of death and dying’

since April 2008: Healthcare chaplain and pastor in the GZO hospital Wetzikon, in the private clinic Bethanien and in the City Hospital Waid Zurich

July 2005: Graduation to the Dr. theol. at the University of Fribourg (CH) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Leo Karrer. Dissertation: ‘Motivated to help — a qualitative study on the motivation and resources of employees in a hospice with regard to the relevance of their religiousness’

September 2001 to March 2008: Assistant priest, deacon, vicar, parish administrator in several churches in the Canton of Zurich

August 2000: Diploma in charity studies, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg im Breisgau

August 1998: Diploma in Catholic Theology, Ruhr-University Bochum

Research Priorities

  • Gerontology und Theology
  • Religiosität (als Ressource?) in old age
  • Growing old in Dignity
  • Religiosity and helping acitivity
  • Theology of diaconia
  • Music as proclamation


Stens, Oliver: ‘Zum Helfen motiviert — Eine qualitative Untersuchung zu Motivation und Ressourcen von Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern eines Hospizes im Hinblick auf die Bedeutung ihrer Religiosität’. Academic Press, Fribourg 2005

Stens, Oliver & Schwitter, Guido: ‘Seelsorge an Leib und Seele’. In: Diakonia 1/2006, Freiburg im Breisgau 2006

Stens, Oliver: ‘Der vertonte Tod — Eine theologische Untersuchung der Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs zum Thema Tod und Sterben’. Ostfildern 2012

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Prof. Dr. Stefan Huber
Faculty of Theology
Länggassstrasse 51
3012 Bern