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The Department of Protestant Theology at Philipps-Universität Marburg continues the awakening of the Reformation in contemporary religious and cultural interpretation. The first Protestant school of theology, along with the university itself, was founded in Marburg by Philipp Landgrave of Hesse in 1527. Since 1880, Marburg has been considered a locus of modern theology (Adolf Harnack, Wilhelm Hermann, Friedrich Niebergall). These impulses were taken up and transformed into dialectical theology (Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann).

Later, theology at Marburg developed three different focuses: The connection between New Testament scholarship and hermeneutics (Rudolf Bultmann, Hans von Soden, Ernst Fuchs); the establishment of history of religion within theology (Rudolf Otto, Friedrich Heiler); the accentuation of social ethics within systematic theology (Georg Wünsch, Dietrich von Oppen). Since the 1970s, the Department of Protestant Theology has emphasized the social and cultural orientation of theology and, in continuation of its history, has developed a liberal theological profile. An interdisciplinary orientation as well as ecumenical, aesthetic and feminist questions all contribute to its current image.

  • Old Testament

    The Old Testament comprises the collected writings of the Hebrew Bible and its Greek translation, the Septuagint. It is one of the basic documents of the Christian faith. This discipline makes these texts accessible in research and teaching in several dimensions: philologically and hermeneutically, using historical criticism and literary methods, with an eye toward the history of religion, society and culture of ancient Israel in the context of the ancient Near East, as well as with respect to their relevance to the present, taking gender perspectives into account.

  • New Testament

    The research and teaching conducted in the discipline is devoted to the subject of New Testament in all the breadth of its history, philology, religious history and history of influence. The New Testament texts and the circumstances of their origin are analyzed and interpreted historically and critically, taking into account their social, political, cultural and religious environment. Special emphasis is placed on the ancient history of religion. The research is strongly networked nationally and internationally and is carried out in inter- and transdisciplinary research associations, such as the Scientific Society for Theology, the Society for New Testament Studies, the Society of Biblical Literature or the International Network for the Study of the Reception History of the Bible.

  • Church History

    The discipline of Church History focuses on the entire development of Christianity. In Marburg, special emphasis in research and teaching is placed on Christian antiquity and the Christian Orient (Prof. Dr. Karl Pinggéra) as well as European Christianity of the late Middle Ages, the Reformation, and the early modern period (Prof. Dr. Wolf-Friedrich Schäufele). 

  • Systematic theology 

    Systematic theology is divided into dogmatics, philosophy of religion, history of theology and ethics. Dogmatics includes the self-understanding of faith about its origin and structure, its contents and its communication. The philosophy of religion reflects the position of faith in relation to the phenomenon of religion, the relationship between religion and the sciences, and the significance of religion in everyday life. The history of theology shows and discusses the identity of Christianity in the historical diversity of its modes of representation. Ethics deals with the scientific perception and responsible control of the actions associated with faith; this aspect is specifically differentiated in Marburg into the discipline of Social Ethics."

  • Social Ethics

    Systematic theology unfolds as social ethics in current fields of action. In view of current social and cultural challenges, it develops the foundations of Christian judgement and teaches the expertise to act in a reflective and responsible manner. In contrast to other universities, social ethics is a separate discipline in Marburg. One focus is on bioethical issues.

  • Applied theology

    Applied theology explores and reflects Christian religious life in church and society. In research, it develops theories about religious practice and orientations for church action. One important teaching focus in this discipline is theoretical and practical requirements of the profession of pastoral ministry, for which we want to impart personality-specific expertise. In religious education studies, the task and goal is the qualification of teachers and students of pastoral ministry in the field of religious education, especially through didactic courses, including applied studies in schools.

  • History of Religions

    In the discipline of History of Religions, the diversity of religions is studied from a cultural studies perspective. Of interest are the margins and interspaces of religious plurality and modes of encounter. Central fields of work are religion and space, religious aesthetics, and Islam. Currently, the History of Religion is responsible for a subproject of the BMBF-funded project “Dynamics of Religious Objects in Museums” (link below). Historically, Marburg was one of the first places of religious studies in Germany: In 1927, Rudolf Otto appointed Friedrich Heiler to this chair. Annemarie Schimmel earned her doctorate here. Bärbel Bainhauer-Köhler serves as the head of the specialized area today, but before her, Kurt Rudolph, Hans-Jürgen Greschat and Christoph Elsas all taught here, and Ursula Spuler-Stegemann served previously as a supernumerary professor.

  • Christian Archaeology

    In the discipline of Christian Archaeology and History of Byzantine Art, deals with the material legacies of the late antiquity, early medieval, and Byzantine periods. This includes architecture, painting, sculpture, craftwork, iconography, and objects of daily use. The period begins with the advent of Christian art and ends with the first millennium (in the West) or the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 (in the Byzantine Empire).

Get more information here: Disciplines