How did the ancient Romans view religious-political differences? How did ancient Jewish, Christian, and Muslim authorities use authoritative texts? What potential for pluralism exists in modern monotheisms and secularisms?

Tensions between group solidarity and productive relations with ' others' have been part of human history for as long as evidence exists. In Europe, it has played out most enduringly in relations among the monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Today, in the face of mass migration from Muslim regions, questions of political identity and belonging remain bound up with religious affiliation. This one-year degree programme focuses on relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the antique world and how these relations have formed our modern society. We will explore concepts as religious pluralism, politics, and their many interfaces globally in particular.

In this track within the Master's Programme in Theology & Religious Studies, you will:

* examine the literary sources of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in a historically informed way in order to bring critical perspectives to modern interpretations;
* identify continuing issues in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic self-definition, toleration of difference, and exclusionary or conversions tendencies;
* map a range of ancient possibilities for coexistence or conviviality and their opposites under changing conditions.

Student profile

You have reason to think that the origins of things, particularly of the monotheistic religions, still matter for understanding them and their place in the world. You suspect that historical-contextual study might make possible insights not obvious from traditional narratives and claims. You have a curiosity about human experience that extends beyond your own time and place to worlds truly different—but still consequential for our times.


The programme consists of compulsory course units on Politics, Religion, and Pluralism (15 ECTS) and Research Methods (5 ECTS), the course units 'Texts of Terror' and 'Reception and Re-Use of Authoritative Texts' (5ECTS each), a thesis (20 ECTS), and a placement (10 ECTS).

The first compulsory module 'Jews, Christians, and Others: Pluralism and Politics in the Greco-Roman World' explores the root belonging-categories of ethnos (notional kin-group) and polis from the classical period through the conquests of Alexander and the Romans. How diverse was this constantly changing world and what criteria permitted or constrained what we might call pluralism: tolerance or even support of difference? How did such tolerated variety manifest itself in areas connected with 'religion'?

The module 'Muslims and non-Muslims: The Emergence of the Islamic State in Late Antiquity' explores the rise of Islam in the context of late antiquity. It examines the ways in which Islam adopted, challenged, and changed pre-existing political-religious structures and discourses. Topics to be covered include the formative moments in the shaping of the nascent 'Islamic' identity, the protection (dhimma) afforded the Peoples of the Book, the nature of asabiyya (group-feeling), the discourse surrounding 'Arabness' and tribal identity, and the tension between mu'min and muslim.

Programme options

Master's Honours Programme (honors program)

The Master's Honours Programme was developed especially for students who want to get more from their studies. The programme of 15 ECTS is followed in addition to your regular Master's programme.

It is a one-year interdisciplinary programme that is designed to introduce students to various aspects of leadership.The theme of leadership is explored from various angles in the Masterclasses. Leadership skills are the focus in the Leadership Labs and Workshops. The Master's Honours Programme concludes with a Master Work – a project of your choosing that you design and implement.

Job prospects

As a graduate, you can become an adviser and policymaker on interreligious issues and multicultural society. You may work in cultural organizations and companies in the public sector. In addition, you can work in the media. You can become a teacher of religion or philosophy. If you want to pursue an academic career, you can follow this track as a specialization within the Research Master's programme.

Job examples

  • Consulting & Policy

    You are able to provide well-founded advice on interreligious issues and multicultural society. You can use this expertise in an advisory position at cultural organizations, in companies or in the public sector. Your knowledge equips you for policymaking positions in this field.

  • Media & Journalism

    The current debate often refers to perceived historical realities. Your expertise in the formative periods of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam enables you to ask critical questions concerning modern-day claims about these religious traditions. You can use your knowledge and skills as an editor at a publishing company, broadcasting company, newspaper or news and current affairs magazine. You could also work as a freelancer.

  • Education

    Once you have completed this Master's programme you will have enough knowledge of the subject to become a secondary school teacher in the subject of Religious Studies and Philosophy or Social Studies. You could also opt for a position in higher vocational education, for example teaching Theology at a university of applied sciences. As you also need didactic skills as a teacher, it is advisable to do a Master's in Education after you have completed your regular Master's programme.

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This course is Campus based
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12 months
2,060 EUR
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