Language of Instruction: English
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Religion and History in the Pre-Modern World: Encounter and Conflict.
Why is Jerusalem still such a contested place? What are the reasons for the systematic destruction by the Islamic State (IS) of the cultural heritage of the past? Why do sacred texts produced centuries ago continue to shape the lives of people today? How are they used and abused? Why does the sword sometimes replace the word in religious matters? How did religious groups, ideas and artefacts travel from one continent to another and how did that migration transform them? In other words, how did religious conflicts and encounters shape the modern world and why do they still matter today?
These are some of the topics MF Norwegian School of Theology tackles in its new M.Phil program in History of Religions, with a primary focus on Religion in the Pre-Modern World: Encounters and Conflicts.
The program is focused on the issues of religious cross-pollination, coexistence, and conflict in three target areas: Europe, South-East Asia and the Middle East. Addressed in a long historical perspective stretching from Late Antiquity to the European Renaissance, the program seeks to illuminate the roots of present peaceful coexistence and interchange, as well as of today’s antagonisms and conflicts. The underlying idea of the program is that, in order to fully grasp current religious conflicts and alliances, we need to understand how the perceptions of past and present are intertwined, reciprocally dependent and constantly reshaped.
Based on a multidisciplinary approach and applying various theoretical frameworks and interpretative methods, the core courses of the program aim to reveal historical dynamics, privileging ‘how’ and tentatively ‘why’ over ‘who’ and ‘when’.
The program is conceived at the intersection between political history and history of religions but relies also on other disciplines, such as the history of ideas, art history, and archaeology. These are meant to provide the depth of field expected in Big History by illustrating and clarifying the macro-historical perspectives.
Teaching and learning are driven by a hands-on and case-oriented attitude and core courses are complemented by lectures and seminars of theory and method.
The program is open to all students with a BA in related disciplines (history, religious studies, theology, archaeology, art history, social sciences, etc.).
The program coordinator is Victor Ghica, Professor of Antiquity and Early Christian Studies. The core courses of the program will be taught by Kristin B. Aavitsland, Professor of Cultural History, Liv Ingeborg Lied, Professor of the Study of Religions, John Kaufman, Associate Professor of Church History, Iselin Frydenlund, Postdoctoral Researcher and historian of religions, as well as by Victor Ghica and several other specialists.
This program aims at providing education for positions within research and education, as well as within Norwegian and international institutions and organizations where knowledge of the development of Christian and Jewish identity is required. The Master's degree qualifies for further studies at a doctoral level.
- A B.A. or equivalent degree in Theology, History, Religious Studies or related fields.
- Grade average equivalent to Norwegian C level.
History of Religions (M.Phil)
The Master's program aims at providing education for positions within research and education, as well as within Norwegian and international institutions and organizations where knowledge of Religion and History: Encounter and Conflict is required. The Master's degree qualifies for further studies at the doctoral level.
The Master Program Religion and History: Encounter and Conflict consists of 120 ECTS, including a thesis worth 30 ECTS. The study program is built on different courses and the independent work on the Master's thesis. Each course consists of 10 ECTS. For each course, learning outcomes and competencies are formulated emphasizing the students' insights into central academic questions. The competence aims are formulated independently for each subject. The learning outcomes are formulated on three levels; basic ability, ability, and good ability. The work to fulfill these learning outcomes will contribute to reaching the competence aims, and is the basis for evaluation. (Cf. Organisering, arbeidsformer og vurdering under, og emnebeskrivelsene samt vedlegget med Nivåspesifikke vurderingskriterier på 500-/600-nivå). The objectives of the study will be fulfilled through courses at the Master's level, 90 ECTS, including a compulsory course in historical methods (10 ECTS). The students will write a thesis worth 30 ECTS.
Each student may profile her or his study program by choosing electives and the topic of the thesis. The program allows for relevant electives at the same level from other universities or colleges in Norway or abroad. The program includes the possibility of taking part in a study trip and/or spending a semester abroad.
About the School
MF Norwegian School of Theology (1908) is an accredited Specialized University in the field of Theology, Religious Studies and Social Studies.