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EducationMaster's and PhD degree programmesTheology & Religious StudiesReligion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern
Header image Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern

Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern

How did the 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?

Tension between group solidarity and productive relations with ' others' has 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.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MA in Theology & Religious Studies
Course type
Master
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
60824
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Theology and Religious Studies
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • integrated approach of religious pluralism, politics, and their many global interfaces
  • focus on historical context of modern societies
  • taught by internationally recognized experts in the field
  • opportunity to pursue your own research interests
  • expertise on various religions, taught at non-denominational university
  • best MA programme in Theology and Religious Studies in the Netherlands.
Programme

The programme consists of one key module on Jews, Christians, and Others: Pluralism and Politics in the Greco-Roman World (10 ECTS), Research Methods (5 ECTS), three electives (5 ECTS each), a thesis (20 ECTS), and a placement (10 ECTS).

The core 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'?

If you would like to specialize in religious pluralism in the modern world, you can follow electives from the track Religion, Conflict and Globalization in stead of 'Texts of Terror', 'Muslims and non-Muslims' and 'Reception and Re-Use of Authoritative Texts'. For information about these electives, see: http://www.rug.nl/ocasys/rug/vak/showpos?opleiding=5319.

Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Jews, Christians, and Others: Pluralism and Politics in the Greco-Roman World (10 EC)

You will explore the root belonging-categories of ethnos and polis by studying primary sources from the classical period through the conquests of Alexander and the Romans.

Texts of Terror (5 EC)

Does monotheism necessarily have violent consequences? You will investigate this question by studying selected texts from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and contexts in which violence, power, and politics have exploited them.

Historical Methods in Early Christianity (5 EC)

You will follow the development of idealist, Romantic, positivist, historicist, and other approaches to study and interpret history and gain critical self-awareness about the methods we use in our research, and why.

Muslims and non-Muslims: The Emergence of the Islamic State in Late Antiquity (5 EC)

You will gain an understanding of the origins of Islam as religion, community and polity, particularly the interaction between "Islamic" institutions and pre-Islamic ones.

Reception and Re-Use of Authoritative Texts (5 EC)

You will explore the reception history of the Bible and other authoritative texts and examine the ways in which certain Jewish and Christian traditions deal with biblical data.

Internship (10 EC)

In stead of an internship, you have the option to do a research project.

Master's Thesis + thesis seminar (20 EC)

During the seminar meetings, you will discuss and practice specific aspects of the writing, planning and researching process involved in producing a thesis on a master level. Through peer-review, you will benefit from regular feedback. Methodologies to be discussed and practised include interviewing, observation, discourse analysis and statistical analysis.

Curriculum

You can also follow this track within the two-year Research Master's programme in Theology and Religious Studies. See: http://www.rug.nl/masters/theology-religious-studies-research/

Programme options
Master's Honours Programme (honours 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.

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • For an average of 20 weeks
  • Maximum of 30 EC

We have various exchange contracts with universities both inside and outside Europe, enabling students to follow part of their degree programme at a foreign university. Another option is to take an internship or to do part of the research work abroad. For an overview of our exchange partners, see: http://www.rug.nl/ggw/education/prosstud/exchangeprogrammes/partneruniversities

Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
grade list

A grade list of the marks of your bachelor's degree programme with an explanation of the followed courses.

language test

Sufficient proficiency in English is required. Minimum requirements: TOEFL 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet or IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part). Native speakers of the English language, as well as Dutch applicants with a VWO certificate, are exempt from this requirement.

previous education

Bachelor's degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts, Philosophy or Social Science (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology). Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature. Students with another bachelor's degree may be admitted via a bridging programme.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)No further information
written request

A letter of motivation to the admissions board, outlining your interest in the programme, including your motivation and expectations (max. 1 page), accompanied with a writing sample of an academic paper, preferably your Bachelor's (or Master's) thesis.

Registration procedure

Students with a Dutch bachelor's degree send all the documentation by mail to onderwijs.ggw rug.nl, even if a direct access is applicable.

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Liberal Arts and SciencesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

HistoryUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Classical StudiesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Middle Eastern StudiesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Religious StudiesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

TheologyUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

PhilosophyUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

ArchaeologyUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Arabic Language and CultureUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

HistoryUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

ClassicsUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Latin Language and CultureUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Arabic Language and CultureUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

ReligiewetenschappenUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Liberal Arts and Sciences (joint degree)University of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Political ScienceUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Archaeology and PrehistoryUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
HistoryVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

ArchaeologyVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

ClassicsVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Ancient CulturesVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Religie en LevensbeschouwingVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Religie en LevensbeschouwingVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Theology (joint degree)VU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

FilosofieVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Philosophy, Politics and EconomicsVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

ArchaeologyVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Political ScienceVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Arts and Culture StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Interdisciplinary Social ScienceAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Cultural Anthropology and Development SociologyAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Arts and CultureAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

European Languages and CulturesAll Research universities

No additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

European StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Liberal Arts and SciencesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

SociologyAll Research universities

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
ArchaeologyLeiden University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

HistoryLeiden University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

ClassicsLeiden University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Middle Eastern StudiesLeiden University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Ancient Near Eastern StudiesLeiden University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

ReligiewetenschappenLeiden University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

FilosofieLeiden University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global ChallengesLeiden University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Political ScienceLeiden University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Arts and CultureMaastricht University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Liberal Arts and SciencesMaastricht University

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
grade list

A grade list of the marks of your bachelor's degree programme with an explanation of the followed courses.

language test

Sufficient proficiency in English is required. Minimum requirements: TOEFL 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet or IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part). Native speakers of the English language, as well as Dutch applicants with a VWO certificate, are exempt from this requirement.

previous education

Bachelor's degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts, Philosophy or Social Science (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology). Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature. Students with another bachelor's degree can be permitted via a bridging programme.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)No further information
written request

A letter of motivation to the admissions board, outlining your interest in the programme, including your motivation and expectations (max. 1 page), accompanied with a writing sample of an academic paper, preferably your Bachelor's (or Master's) thesis.

other admission requirements
  • Students with a Dutch bachelor's degree send all the documentation by email to onderwijs.ggw rug.nl, even if a direct access is applicable.
  • Students with non-Dutch degrees send all their documentation via OAS (Online Application System): https://www.rug.nl/(...)verint_5_13889_13894

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
IELTS listening6
IELTS reading6
IELTS writing6
TOEFL paper based580
TOEFL computer based237
TOEFL internet based92

Registration procedure

International students and Dutch students with non-Dutch qualifications are not automatically admitted to a Master's degree programme at the University of Groningen. The full registration procedure will take longer than for Dutch students with regular Dutch qualifications and consists of three steps: application, admission and registration.

Check the admissions guide for more information about the admissions procedure.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 202001 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students01 April 202001 September 2020
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 12500full-time
EU/EEA2020-2021€ 2143full-time

Als je al een masterdiploma hebt behaald na 1 september 1991, moet je het hogere instellingscollegegeld II betalen. Zie: https://www.rug.nl/education/master/nederlandse-studenten/financien/collegegeld/tarieven/

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

As a graduate you can become an adviser and policymaker on interreligious issues and multicultural society. You may work in cultural organisations 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.

Check where our alumni end up after graduating on our alumni page.

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.

Research

Research

When you take part in this MA programme, you will benefit from the expertise of the scholars in the Department of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Origins. The inclusion of all three traditions exemplifies the department's comparative perspective.

Both teaching and research focus on the formative stages of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, more specifically on their dynamic interrelationship in the context of ancient Near Eastern, Graeco-Roman and late antique cultures.

Lecturers and their expertise

All staff members bring their own research into teaching in order to prepare graduates for a career at the cutting edge of their chosen specialism.

  • Susanne Luther is assistant professor of New Testament. Her expertise lies in the ethics of interpersonal verbal communication in the ancient world and early Christianity.
  • Steve Mason is Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions and Cultures. He specializes in the history and literature of the eastern Mediterranean under Roman rule, particularly of Roman Judea.
  • Mladen Popović is Professor Old Testament and Early Judaism, with special attention to Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He directs the University’s Qumran Institute, an international hub for the study of the Scrolls and Jews in the Graeco-Roman World. From 2017 he is Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies.
  • Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity. He specializes in alternative Christianities with a focus on the Nag Hammadi library and the Apocryphal Acts of Apostles.
  • Jacques van Ruiten is Professor of the Reception History of the Bible. He specializes in biblical interpretation, especially in the ancient world.
  • Clare Wilde is Assistant Professor of Islamic Origins. She specializes in the Qur’ān in its historical context – particularly the Jews and Christians known to its first auditors.

Interdisciplinary approach

All members of the Department deal with the sources of the three monotheistic religions in their historical, social, political, and literary contexts. While fully respecting the role of tradition in each case, we explore these original contexts for new insight. In this programme, we are particularly concerned with the actual relations of ancient Jews, Christians, and Muslims with others in their various environments, and when they were in positions of relative weakness or power.

The courses reflect our interdisciplinary approach: in our classes we work with literary, documentary, and epigraphic texts, alongside iconographical and archaeological sources from Near Eastern, Graeco-Roman and late antique cultural contexts.

Research Institutes

This MA programme connects with the research of:

Here you can meet like-minded students and researchers from across the university.

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact

Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern, please contact:

  • Kees van den Ende (Study Adviser)
    Email: k.van.den.ende rug.nl
  • Student Ambassadors (Our master's student ambassadors are happy to tell you more about the programme)
  • Drs. Thea de Boer (Study Adviser)
    Email: t.m.l.de.boer rug.nl
    Telephone: 363 5581
  • 
						Testimonial of Addy van der Woerd - NL

    Unique perspective on historical-political issues and social inequality

    – Addy van der Woerd - NL
    Read more

    I chose the Master's degree programme in Religion and Pluralism, Ancient and Modern because I saw it as a logical continuation of my Bachelor's programme in Theology in this Faculty, and the Philosophy of a specific discipline (Theology) in the Faculty of Philosophy. I was particularly excited by the part-historical, part-philosophical approach to substantive concepts such as 'religion'.

    Every course unit has a specific focus (historical, conceptual, thematic) and at least half your mark is based on a final essay. You are free to choose your subject and I seized the opportunity with both hands, thoroughly enjoying writing essays on a wide range of subjects. Writing essays helps you to develop your organizational skills and discipline. If you know that planning isn’t your strongest point, don’t be afraid to say so. A bit of help from other people can go a long way!

    It’s fascinating to merge various approaches and fields of interest in my Master’s thesis. That’s why I combined early Islam with my interest in philosophy and hermeneutics, and ended with the ninth-century Arabic scholar Al-Kindi. He was the one who introduced Aristotelian concepts into Islamic ideology.

    The Master’s programme helps you develop a critical attitude and analytical skills. This gives you a unique perspective when it comes to historical-political issues and social inequality. If I can combine this with my placement field (a television company), I might soon find a job making documentaries. But I also have ambitions in politics, journalism and teaching.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Prof. Steve Mason

    Exploring the possibilities of tolerance

    – Prof. Steve Mason
    Read more

    Religious pluralism has never been a more timely theme. Religious interactions, especially among Christians, Jews, and Muslims have taken a central place in western societies. Pluralism is not merely plurality or variety, which is inevitable, but implies some sort of rationale or intention to accommodate plurality and toleration, if not actual acceptance of the Other. These issues can be explored in many ways, for example from political and social-scientific perspectives.

    The unique feature of this track is that it fuses these contemporary concerns with a substantial investigation of the ancient origins of the three traditions, their early interactions, and their mechanisms or rationales for toleration of otherness. An important dimension is the study of ancient social-political discourse, and the tolerance (or not) of Jews and Christians in the Graeco-Roman world.

    I am a historian of the eastern Mediterranean under Hellenistic and Roman rule. My latest books are about inter-ethnic conflict (2016) and the categories of ancient social-political discourse or the mapping of ancient peoples (2017).

    I teach the core seminar on Jews, Christians and Others: Pluralism and Politics in the Graeco-Roman World . This is an in-depth investigation of ancient social-political categories (e.g., ethnos, ancestral traditions, laws and customs, polis, sacrificial cults, philosophical schools, and voluntary associations), in which we consider the possibilities of tolerance, protectiveness, fear of others, expulsion of foreigners, and attraction to foreign ways. The course examines the general scene and also the place of Jewish-Judaean minority populations and Christian associations in that framework. You will have the opportunity to reflect in a sustained way on factors influencing community stances toward others, from a wide variety of angles. The alienness of the ancient world along with its importance for our traditions make it an ideal canvas for exploring the possibilities of human existence. Students who complete this programme will have a solid grounding in ancient religious pluralism as a foundation and reference point for addressing related modern phenomena.

    Central questions include these. What limits did the Hellenistic kingdoms and Roman Empire impose on diversity? What sorts of considerations led people to undertake the rigours of migration and resettlement in the ancient Mediterranean? What levels and kinds of cross-cultural interaction (in business, trade, cultural events) occurred in normal times? What happened practically in times of severe crisis? Who was in charge? What was the relationship between political rhetoric and lived reality concerning minority communities?

    Close

Other degree programmes in religion

If you are interested in a master's degree programme in religion, you might also consider one of our other master's programmes:

Read more

Study associations

Gerardus van der Leeuw

Gerardus van der Leeuw is the faculty community of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen.
The community exists since April 2003 and is named after Gerardus van der Leeuw the first theologian who introduced religious studies to the UG
http://gerardusvanderleeuw.nl/
Read more
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.

Study support

Master's students are expected to show a large degree of independence. If necessary you can make use of various forms of study supervision and study support. For example, you can contact a mentor or your study advisor. While writing your thesis, you will receive personal supervision from one of the lecturers.

Immediately after arrival, students who gained their Bachelor's degree at a different faculty or university as well as international students will be allocated a mentor who will help them get to know the Faculty. You can also go to the study advisor if you have doubts about your abilities or for whatever reason run the risk of study delay. You will receive intensive supervision while writing your thesis. The Master's programme includes a thesis seminar, where attention is paid to how to tackle writing a Master's thesis, and where the progress of the process is monitored closely. You will also receive structural supervision from the lecturer who is the specialist in the field of your thesis.