The Nordic Master's Degree Programme in Theology:

The Religious Roots of Europe (RRE)

General Description Contact Information

Faculty of Theology
Vuorikatu 3 (P.O. Box 4)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

e-mail: theol-studies(at)helsinki.fi


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Thematic Focus

Masterprogrammes

How were Judaism, Christianity and Islam formed? How did these three religions and their interaction shape the emerging European culture and society? - These are pivotal questions addressed in this international Master Programme.

Thematic focus: Judaism, Christianity and Islam

The aim of the RRE is to expose students to the traditions, formative processes and mutual interactions of the three most influential religions at the root of European culture and history, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Christianity, Judaism and Islam interacting with each other have had a profound influence on 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.

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

Doctrines, rituals, canonical texts, myths, religious institutions

Doctrines, rituals, canonical texts, myths, religious institutions - phenomena central to each religion - are studied along with their relationship to society, politics, law, gender issues, and ethics. Specific topics may include ideas of martyrdom, justification or condemnation of war, asceticism, religious authorities, the position of women, and different strategies for interpreting authoritative religious texts. These and similar issues are studied using different approaches, including those drawn from history, anthropology, the social sciences, literature, and philology.

The programme offers more than historical relevance. It will also enhance one’s general understanding of contemporary Nordic, European and Western identity, since the three religions interacting with each other have had and continue to have a profound influence on the development of European culture and society.

For centuries Christianity has been the dominant majority religion, while Judaism and Islam as minority religions have been seen as the ‘other,’ against which Christian European identity has been shaped.