How were Judaism, Christianity and Islam formed? How did these three religions and their interaction shape European culture and society as they emerged? These are pivotal questions addressed in this international Masters degree programme.
The interaction of Christianity, Judaism and Islam profoundly influenced the development of European culture and society. For centuries Christianity has been the dominant majority religion; as minority religions, Judaism and Islam have been seen as the other against which Christian European identity has been shaped.
Traditionally, the three religions have been studied more or less separately. The aspiration of Religious Roots of Europe (RRE) is to study the three religions together in their formative periods from a comparative perspective and using a variety of approaches, including historical, philological, social scientific and literary.
A joint international programme
The Masters programme is offered in cooperation between the six Nordic universities of Aarhus, Bergen, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lund and Oslo, with Aarhus University as the coordinating institution. Seminars are organised at all these institutions, and also at Nordic institutes in the Mediterranean area. The programme offered by RRE is truly international, preparing its students for careers in research and education as well as in organisations where the need for knowledge of religion and culture is increasingly recognised.
In Aarhus, RRE is taught at the Department of Culture and Society, alongside BA and MA programmes in Theology, the Study of Religion, History, and Classics in an academic environment buzzing with activity. Here you will find excellent study facilities, including a state-of-the-art library which is open around the clock and also functions as an open student environment with group work areas and IT workstations.
Graduates of this programme are qualified to conduct innovative scholarly work and to continue in further education at doctoral level, as well as to teach religion and intercultural relations. Other possible career paths include specialised employment in government institutions or organisations working with culture, integration or diplomacy, and in business, for example in connection with the Middle East.
Expertise on the major religions and on their interaction and role in society and culture is increasingly recognised as important to society. The transition to a specific career whether in a private company, a non-profit organisation or in public administration is best achieved through ingenuity, openness and creativity.
Students in the Religious Roots of Europe programme spend part of their studies doing research at Nordic institutes of culture based in the Mediterranean region.
The three religious traditions are studied in their formative periods from a comparative perspective. Religious phenomena central to all three traditions, such as doctrines, rituals, canonical texts, myths and religious institutions are studied along with the relationship of the three religions to society, politics, law and ethics.
Other topics that may be studied as part of the Programme include ideas of martyrdom, justification or condemnation of war, asceticism, religious authorities, gender issues and different strategies for interpreting authoritative religious texts from literal to allegorical interpretative strategies.
These and similar issues are studied using different approaches, including those drawn from history, anthropology, the social sciences, literature and philology.
The language of the Programme is English. Teaching will be in English. Examinations will be conducted in English. The masters thesis must be submitted in English.
Terms, modules and progression
In total, the Programme is assigned 120 ECTS credits, consisting of four terms of full-time study, each covering 30 ECTS credits. The Programme consists of modules that vary in the number of ECTS credits allotted. The modules of every single term must be examined before the student can be examined for the modules of the next. There is a steady progression culminating in the fourth term with the masters thesis. It follows that the masters thesis should be assessed as the final module in the Programme.
Teaching and travel
The teaching of the individual courses of the Programme and the entire Programme itself combine distance learning, compact seminars, course assignments, tutorials and traditional teaching at the individual Host Institutions.
Student mobility is an essential and integrated part of the Programme. Students are expected to participate in compact seminars at the other Host Institutions and at the Nordic institutes in the Mediterranean area. As part of the Programme there will be two compact seminars in the first term (one of about two weeks and the other of about three to five days), two in the second (each about three to five days), and two in the third (each about three to five days). Travel and accommodation are financed by the students. These extra expenses will be in the order of EUR 3500 for the two years of study. The Host Institutions will endeavour to provide students with information on possibilities of obtaining financial support for travel. If special circumstances prevent a student from participating in compact seminars, alternative arrangements for teaching and examinations will be made available. A student not participating in a compact seminar cannot, however, choose between a fixed and a free examination.
The individual student must complete studies equalling at least 40 ECTS credits, including the masters thesis, in courses organised by the Host Institution at which that particular student is matriculated.
Teaching is normally conducted in the periods from September to mid-December and from February to mid-May.