PThU strengthens education and research with four new appointments

1 July 2022

The Protestant Theological University (PThU) has appointed two professors, an associate professor and an assistant professor. These are Dr. A. Huijgen as Professor of Dogmatics, Dr. L. Nelstrop as Professor of Church History, Dr. A. Goudriaan as Associate Professor of Church History and Dr. P.J. van Egmond as assistant professor of Church History. The synod of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands approved the appointments of the two professors on Saturday 2 July. The two other appointments had already been approved in the small synod.

Quality and diversity in education and research

With these appointments, the PThU has continued its commitment to the quality and diversity of education and research. “The basis for the appointments is the new institutional plan 'Showing our true theological colours’,” says Maarten Wisse, rector of the PThU. “In selecting the candidates, we did not only look at scientific qualities in the field of research and education. Factors such as building up and maintaining national and international networks, organisational and leadership qualities and the ability to bring theology to the fore in church, academy and society have also taken part in the choice. In addition, we looked at the balance in the academic staff in terms of gender, expertise, age, church location and the orientation towards ecumenism and the universal church. With these new appointments we believe to have succeeded doing that. We are very happy welcoming these reinforcements.”

Focus on Church History and Dogmatics

Maarten Wisse: “With the appointments for Church History and Dogmatics, a decisive factor was for future colleagues to be able to bring their subject into discussion with the whole of theology in an innovative and infectious way. Our students and thus future ministers should not only know something about church history, but they should also be able to use that knowledge in relation to today's questions. The latter is anything but self-evident in the historical sciences. In terms of the broadening of expertise, a conscious effort has been made to strike a balance between knowledge of Dutch and Reformed church history on the one hand and on the other, an enrichment from periods in church history with which our students are less familiar: the early church and the Middle Ages.”

Appointment of Dr. A. Huijgen as Professor of Dogmatics

Dr. A. (Arnold) Huijgen has been appointed professor of Dogmatics. He has a great knowledge of the Protestant tradition. Huijgen brings specific expertise in the field of twentieth-century, specifically Dutch systematic theology, in particular with regard to Dutch Reformed theologians, who also provide him with inspiration for today's theologising. He is known as a creative and prolific theologian who also develops ecumenical perspectives, as in his recent and award-winning book on Mary and in his many other publications. He is particularly capable of representing the classical Reformed tradition in education and research and of thinking it through in the present and making it resound in a new context. With his experience and vision in the field of research, he knows how to make the connection between systematic theology and Biblical studies. He is also known for various radio programmes, he is active on the podcast ‘This is the Bible' and he contributes to the 'Theologian blog' of the Nederlands Dagblad and the Friesch Dagblad. Arnold Huijgen is pleased with his new position: “I look forward to helping shape the training of pastors and other theologians for the Protestant Church in the Netherlands at the PThU. As a professor, I want to serve not only the breadth of the academic audience, but also the breadth of the church.”

Appointment of Dr. L. Nelstrop as Professor of Church History

Dr. L. (Louise) Nelstrop has been appointed professor of Church History. She previously held positions at Oxford and Cambridge. Nelstrop has a great overview of the mystical tradition and history of spirituality through the history of Christianity. She can effortlessly combine mysticism and spirituality with practical theology, art, philosophy and systematic theology. She has also published several high-level publications using empirical research methods. She has a lot of experience in education and educational management and she can effortlessly connect all kinds of disciplines. She gives lectures in an infectious and spiritually engaged way and is therefore able to enthuse students from all theological fields. Louise Nelstrop: “My career testifies to my vocation to serve the Church through theological education, by training people who pursue different forms of theological vocations. This drives me to conduct excellent research, the knowledge of which flows back into my teaching, which in turn inspires my research.”

Appointment of Dr. A. Goudriaan as associate professor of Church History

Dr. A. (Aza) Goudriaan has been appointed associate professor of Church History. He has a very broad expertise in the field of the early church, medieval times, reformation and modern times. He is an expert in the field of the history of philosophy and theology and their mutual relationship, and has published extensively in authoritative journals and collections at renowned publishers. With his long experience in academic education, he is versatile in teaching about church history. He can also make church history attractive and applicable to students. Aza Goudriaan: “The teaching and research at the PThU focuses in particular on the education and training of ministers who will be responsible for the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This also gives a focus to the work in the field of church and theological history. It is necessary that sufficient attention is paid to historical questions and skills that can be of great importance to the ministry.” Goudriaan will combine his work at the PThU with his appointment as visiting professor of historical theology at ETF Leuven.

Appointment Dr. P.J. van Egmond as assistant professor of Church History

Dr. P.J. (Peter) van Egmond has been appointed as assistant professor of Church History. His research and teaching will focus on the history of early Christianity. As a postdoc he worked in a valorising project on the relationship between theology and economics. He provides excellent and infectious teaching and brings an evangelical profile into education. He has many years of experience as a policy officer for education at the PThU. His educational vision and experience are an important addition to the PThU and he has been actively involved in the master's renewal. Peter van Egmond: “Early Christianity is the common ground of various directions and thus offers points of departure for a broad ecumenical conversation. Now that in a secularizing society the self-evidence of faith is increasingly disappearing, we as a church are forced to think about what we believe and how this relates to what is said and found in the world around us. The study of early Christianity can help us find our way there.”