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Why choose this programme?

This joint and international programme explores the traditions, formative processes and mutual interactions of the three most influential religions of European culture and history: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The programme is a cooperation between the four Nordic universities of Aarhus, Copenhagen, Lund and Oslo, and is based on online teaching, as well as seminars both at the host institutions and Nordic institues in the Mediterranean area.

These three religions have traditionally been studied more or less separately. The aspiration of the programme is to study the three religions together in their formative period from a comparative per­spective and using a variety of approaches, which include historical, philological, social scien­tific, feminist and literary ones.

Doctrines, rituals, canonical texts, myths, religious institutions – phenomena central to each of the three religions – are studied along with their relationship to society, politics, law, gender issues, and ethics. Specific topics may include ideas of martyrdom, the justification or con­demnation of war, asceticism, religious authorities, the position of women, different strategies for interpreting authoritative religious texts and many more.

The programme offers more than themes of merely historical relevance. It will also enhance the students’ general understanding of contemporary Nordic, European and Western identities, since the three religions in interaction with one another have had and continue to have a profound influence on the development of European culture and society.

Special competence in Oslo

Among the fields of special competence at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Oslo must be mentioned Biblical Studies, Early Christian social and political history, Gender Studies and Ritual Studies. From the fall of 2011 the Faculty will offer courses of Islamic Studies.

An international programme

The Religious Roots of Europe (RRE) is a joint master’s degree programme offered by the Faculty of Theology, the University of Oslo, in cooperation with the following four Nordic Universities:

Each of the hosting institutions are responsible for courses within their special competence. Compact seminars are held at host institutions.

Learning outcomes

Building on the bachelor’s degrees of the students, this master’s degree programme aims for the students to acquire:

  • Advanced knowledge about the religious traditions at the root of European culture in their formative periods.
  • A deeper understanding of the formative processes of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the parallels and differences between the three traditions, and the interaction of their followers.
  • The ability to apply and use relevant scholarly methods and to understand and describe these theoretically.
  • Skills to communicate their knowledge of the subject matter and their theoretical insights and to transmit the acquired methods to others, both orally and in writing.
  • The ability to enter into more specialised occupations, to participate in innovative scholarly work and to qualify for further education, e.g. in PhD-programmes.
  • The tools to evaluate critically the role of the three religions in contemporary society.

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