Intellectual richness and unparalleled variety characterize the world of Islam throughout its history. From the 9th century CE onwards, Muslims, Christians and Jews shared a common every day and cultural language, Arabic, which they used to circulate ideas, concepts and texts. The ensuing exchange was mutually enriching. For centuries, individuals belonging to the three religious communities read a very similar canon and thus equally contributed to its development. This dynamic was multi-dimensional in character: Christian and Jewish authors influenced Islamic thought, while the writings of Muslim thinkers had a major impact on non-Muslim thinkers.
The blended-learning MA program Intellectual Encounters of the Islamicate World is dedicated to the study of this extremely rich and diverse intellectual heritage. Unlike traditional academic approaches, that tend to study the intellectual history of the Muslim world according to separated and rather monolithic disciplines, our MA program systematically crosses disciplinary, religious, cultural and philological boundaries in order to gain new and innovative insights.
The overall goal of the one-year, English spoken MA program is to provide its international graduate students with a thorough understanding of the deep and manifold interconnections between the Muslim, Jewish and Christian intellectual output during Medieval times. The program is therefore characterised by a strongly research-driven and interdisciplinary approach. Students will become acquainted with a broad spectrum of aspects of the Islamicate world, such as rational theology and philosophy, law and legal methodology as well as material culture and social history with an emphasis on primary texts in the original language (Arabic). They will be trained and mentored by internationally renowned guest lecturers who are counted among the leading experts in their respective fields of research. The primarily web-based MA program also includes three face-to-face sessions per academic year during which the students and teachers will actually come together for several days/a couple of weeks for discussion, teaching and examination.
Freie Universität Berlin acts as degree awarding university and constitutes the academic, strategic and organizational heart of this unique and innovative MA program that is realised in close collaboration with its bilateral regional partners in Israel and Palestine. Freie Universität Berlin offers the one-year full-time MA program of 60 ECTS to an expected number of 20 students, many of whom from the Middle East.
The curriculum serves to deepen specialised knowledge and experience in a scientific manner through research-oriented courses and methods of study. For this purpose a scientifically structured curriculum imparts knowledge about the intellectual history of the Islamic world in its respective socio-historical and multi-religious contexts. The primary focus lies on subsidiary disciplines such as the History of Ideas, Law and Legal Methodology, as well as Material Culture/Social History. In the modules taught on History of Ideas students work on reading and interpretation of sources in the original language regarding various approaches to problems in Rational Theology, Exegesis, Philosophy, Logic, and/or Islamic, Jewish and Christian Mysticism in the Arabic-speaking world. The module Law and Legal Methodology deals with the foundations, structure, methodology, and functional form of Islamic Law. The module Material Culture/Social History offers instruction in selected thematic areas such as Paleography, Codicology, Architecture, and/or Art on the one hand, or alternatively, in connection with socio-historical causes for the emergence of specific intellectual views and intellectual traditions.
For admittance to the master’s program applicants need to fulfill the following admission requirements:
Candidates with less than 240 CP, but at least 180 CP (with a minimum of 80 credit points in one or more of the following disciplines: Islamic, Arabic, Jewish or Religious Studies, Philosophy and/or equivalent fields) can satisfy the admission requirements in individual cases if they can additionally either provide proof of qualifications relating to the MA program (e.g. non-university education, professional experiences or knowledge of relevant languages) or successfully pass the qualifying examination
The admission is limited.