In 2005 the Institute of Ecumenical Research was established within the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu. It was the expression – on an academic level – of a long common history of the two theological traditions and their respective churches, which also represented two language traditions: the Romanian Orthodox Church and the German-speaking Protestant Church. In 2009 the Institute’s Review of Ecumenical Studies (RES) first came to print: the journal was thought of as an outreach of the Institute for Ecumenical Research to the international research community in the field of theology, with an emphasis on issues focusing on ecumenical dialogue. The journal, initially issued in Romanian, sought to make studies in theology that were carried out in Romania available to the international academic community. As a logical consequence of its international orientation, the language of the journal has changed in the first years of publications: English has replaced Romanian, so that presently the majority of the contributions are in English, alongside other articles in German.
Over the years, the objectives and focus of the review have developed so that presently the RES is not just an expression of the work within the Institute for Ecumenical Research or from the Romanian theological world, but has become a forum for voices from worldwide Christian theology, as the high percentage of international scholars publishing in RES rightly indicates. The specificity of the RES in global theological discussions is its focus on questions and perspectives of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and theology, and on their relationships with other denominational traditions, especially with the theology that emerged from the Reformation of the 16th century. The RES has understood from its inception its role as cultural bridge between Eastern and Western Christianity and has made it part of its core publishing aim so that voices from the East and the West may be brought in religious and theological conversation with one another.
The attribute “ecumenical” was broadly understood from the outset, not in the narrow sense that is only related to the ecumenical movement, but as an ecumenical (i.e. diverse, worldwide) perspective on a vast array of issues. The RES fosters, through its publishing policy, an expression of an ecumenical attitude within theology, i.e. a dialogical attitude that seeks to understand the problematics of theology by constantly contextualising a given problem from different denominational and disciplinary perspectives. In the RES, different voices that are granted publishing space attest for one of the principles of the review, namely that there is never only one perspective on a particular question.
RES has aimed from its very beginning and has succeeded to become a landmark in the Romanian theological milieu for its high standards for academic theological publishing, contributing thus to the advancement of theological studies in Romania. Along with its first RES issue, the journal has followed a very strict double blind peer review procedure and has sought to be the expression of a theology that has the academic tools and discourse to properly engage with other academic disciplines. Its academic rigour alongside its stated thematic openness has allowed the journal to address increasingly diverse topics of theological relevance pertaining not only to Christian denominations, but also to other religious groups as well. Questions of interreligious dialogue are now just as much a part of the RES as topics from the field of social ethics, philosophy, or church history. Each RES issue has a thematic focus so that, on the one hand, this enables a targeted search for authors, and on the other hand, it creates the possibility that each issue may become a reference point for the state of art of research of the specific topic that it covers.
The publishing process of RES starts with a call for papers session followed by a double blind-reviewing process, which is meant to assure high-quality articles.
The articles for RES should be written in English or German and are to be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and they are selected depending on the relevance to the given topic and on the observation of the author guidelines. The final decision of publishing an article belongs to the reviewers.
The editors’ programmatic preface of the first issues of RES (1/2009) specifies the basis and the aims of the journal and you can read it here in German: