Seminars

If you are entered into a master's programme at the PThU, you can choose to follow one of our seminars. If you are a master's student at another recognised university, you can attend seminars at the PThU as a 'secondary student'. Alumni, pastors and other interested parties can also follow one or more courses from the regular master's education of the PThU as a 'contractor'.

Seminars 2022-2023

All seminars are offered in semester 1. You can take seminars in period 1 (September to November) or period 2 (November to January). To register for one of the seminars, please contact our admissions office.

Seminars period 1 (Sep-Nov)

  • Liberal theology in Modernity and Postmodernity

    Practical information

    Level: master
    Size: 7,5 ECTS
    Language: Engels
    Lecture day: Friday 
    Location: Groningen

    Description

    Liberal theology has its roots in the beginning of the nineteenth century. It criticized orthodox supernaturalism and Biblicism but underlined the importance of religion. At the beginning of the twentieth century it was sharply criticized by dialectical theologians, who forced it to redefine itself. In the course of the twentieth century liberal theology was criticized for being bourgeois by liberation theology, and fell victim to sharp critique from the postmodern side. Yet, a liberal theological tradition developed that tries to mediate Christianity and (post)modern culture.

    In this course we will ask, what is liberal theology. We will pay attention to its great scholars, Schleiermacher, Troeltsch and Tillich. Next, we will focus on liberal theology – a modern way of doing theology – in a postmodern context. We will draw our attention to the work of Richard Kearney, John Caputo and Catherine Keller, whose theology presupposes a liberal theology, yet incorporates a postmodern point of view, and still upholds a religious perspective. They developed a theology of ‘God after God’ from various backgrounds and in different ways, yet seem to accord in several respects.

    Teaching staff

  • Thinking theology ‘out of the box’ – Lutheran theology and postmodern challenges

    Practical information

    Level: master
    Size: 7,5 ECTS
    Language: Engels
    Lecture day: Wednesday 
    Location: Groningen

    Description

    This course will provide an overview of central concepts of Lutheran theology and will address their relevance for our present-days theology and society. It comprises close reading of Luther, thematic lectures, and group discussion. Among the subjects will be the early Luther and freedom, the understanding of faith (as a gift that creates freedom), the doctrine of justification, the Lutheran catechisms, the problem of authority, etc. Lutheran theology will be analysed as a game-changer against the background of medieval thinking. Attention will also be paid to later developments in Lutheran theology and the possibility to  create new theological concepts in our burnout society stripped of grace.

    Teaching staff

Seminars period 2 (Nov-Jan)

  • Christian Social Service in Europe

    Practical information

    Level: master
    Size: 7,5 ECTS
    Language: Engels
    Lecture day: Friday
    Location: Groningen

    Description

    The seminar is about diaconal work in Europe, or faith based work for social justice, social care and inclusion for all people, especially for people in the most vulnerable situations in society. All Christian diakonia is meant to create a space for new breathing, for liberation, for dignity and for comfort which allows for the regenerating of life.

    Diaconal work, often referred to as Christian Social Work, used to have in Europe a close relationship with churches and ecclesiastical practices. In recent decades most of these Christian inspired activities and organisations developed themselves as (semi-)independent NGO’s, still working by the same mission of enhancing human dignity, initiating and supporting actions that contribute to social justice and inclusion. Diaconal services in diverse European countries show remarkable differences in shape, expression, financial sources, and in their relation to church, state and other NGO’s.

    This seminar has a focus on the identity of Diakonia as a contextual practice. It includes the following topics:

    1. theological foundations and outlooks on Diakonia in Europe
    2. the position of diaconal work in society 
    3. the ethics of the diaconal practice with an emphasis on the dynamics of power within relations of care
  • Ethics of dignity

    Practical information

    Level: master
    Size: 7,5 ECTS
    Language: English
    Lecture day: Wednesday
    Location: Groningen

    Description

    In this course we will start with an historical, conceptual and theological exploration of the concept of human dignity. We analyse different meanings and uses, such as:

    • dignity as merit
    • dignity as an inalienable right
    • dignity as the capacity for self-determination and autonomy
    • dignity as human flourishing

    We will relate these views to theological views on human dignity. Along two lines we will elaborate on this theoretical exploration:

    • along the line of the relationship between dignity and human rights including the debate on the historical and systematic foundation of both concepts in the Christian tradition
    • along the line of the role human dignity plays within end-of life decisions and debates, starting from the debates on euthanasia in the Netherlands, again including theological positions within this debate

    In a third step we bring the different elements of this course together and make an effort to formulate a ‘politics of care’. All students can contribute from their own contexts to a theologically valid justification of care for the dignity of vulnerable people and to the ways these can be shaped in various, religiously plural, political contexts.

    Teaching staff

  • Saved, but not Safe: Gender and Christian Religion in Context

    Practical information

    Level: master
    Size: 7,5 ECTS
    Language: English
    Lecture day: To be announced
    Location: Groningen, the Netherlands

    Description

    In this course, taught by lecturers from the Netherlands and Kenya, we will discuss a number of key issues in feminist theology, their rootedness in and their implications for the ordinary (faith) lives of Christian individuals and communities. Starting with one of the central discussions in feminist theological anthropology, notably the conceptualisation of the body, we will look into the discussions about (human) existence as relational and dependent upon others, and about human dignity. Alternative conceptualisations of wo/man from Western and African perspectives will be studied, such as the fundamental relationality of human existence, and wo/man in the image of God, and discussed for their implications for the (faith) lives of individuals and collectives. These questions will be explored and related to social realities of domestic violence and poverty in various cultural contexts.

    Teachers

  • Theology of Interreligious Encounter and Witness

    Practical information

    Level: master
    Size: 7,5 ECTS
    Language: English
    Lecture day: Friday
    Location: Groningen

    Description

    In this course, we will explore recent theological developments in the theology of religions in so far as they as they have a bearing on the possibilities and praxis of intercultural encounter, learning and witness and life together. Specific attention will be given to the question of the finality of the revelation of God in Christ, the role of the Spirit and a spirituality that allows for confidence and openness and ‘prophetic dialogue’. We will study some of the challenges of interreligious encounter with specific examples in view, particularly, but not exclusively with Islam. We will also discuss the implications of new phenomena such as dual religious belonging and so-called insider movements for interreligious encounter and witness. A final area of attention will relate to the political and social challenges of living together in religiously pluralist societies.

    Teaching staff

Costs and conditions

Do you want to attend a seminar? This is free of charge in the following cases:

  1. You are a master's student at the PThU and you meet the entry requirements for the seminar.
  2. You are an exchange student of a partner institution of the PThU (Erasmus+ or bilateral partner) at master’s level. You pay tuition fees at your home institution and you meet the entry requirements for the seminar. You should be nominated by the Erasmus+ coordinator or international office of your home institution first, before applying for admisión as an exchange student (link). The application deadline is 1 July for the forthcoming sesmester. 

If you do not meet these conditions, you can participate in the seminar as a 'contract student'. For a contract fee of € 100 per ECTS you can participate in the course. Of course, you must still meet the entry requirements for the seminar.

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