The Board of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen (UG) has appointed professor by special appointment Henk van den Belt Associate Professor History of Theology as from 1 September 2017. The appointment is 0.15 FTE and will last for five years. This means that the hours for his chair by special appointment funded by Reformed Association in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, will be cut by 15 percent as of the same date.
In his new role in the Chair in ‘Reformed Religion: sources, development and context’, which Dr Van den Belt has occupied for over five years on behalf of the Reformed Association in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, he will recruit international students and offer them a scholarship to carry out PhD research in Groningen. In order to recruit international students and select the best qualified candidates to work on a PhD project in a team he will head, he has set up a special PhD path in his field. ‘I want to provide opportunities for PhD students to work in a small team researching the history of reformed theology in project form,’ says Dr Van den Belt.
The Groningen professor sees countless possibilities for the content of the research. ‘There is still a lot to discover about the history of theology in reformed Protestantism. So much material has not yet been studied. The historical development of reformed theology is a subject of huge international interest. There is renewed appreciation of reformed orthodoxy or scolasticism, and increasing acknowledgement of the relevance of this period in terms of understanding current theological positions.’
Dr Van den Belt will work out the details of the new PhD path during the coming year. He will offer a path for students who already have a Master’s degree but would like extra supervision and relevant courses, and one for students who are still working on a Master’s degree. In the second case, the entire path will last at least four years.
The Board of the Reformed Association in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands is grateful for this new phase in Dr Van den Belt's academic career. ‘The appointment gives the work carried out by our professor a more solid basis in the faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen,’ says Piet Vergunst, general secretary of the Reformed Association in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. ‘We see this as recognition of our loyalty to the UG and appreciation of the teaching given by our professor and the research he has carried out in the past few years.’ Mladen Popović, Dean of the Faculty, is delighted that the Reformed Association in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands has agreed to fund the chair by special appointment in Groningen for another five years, and looks forward to continuing the partnership with Dr Van den Belt.
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