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Religious studies

Students of religious studies concern themselves with the inter-religious and intra-religious diversity among the cultures of the Middle East, both past and present. They examine the religions in question – especially the Islam, Judaism, and Christianity – in terms of their function as systems of faith, society, and everyday life.

The master's programme Cultural Studies of the Middle East combines instruction in the methods of cultural, literary, and religious studies with more introspective theological, philosophical, and legal considerations.

Intensive study of primary sources – religious and philosophical texts, archaeological records, pieces of art, and modern media – ideally in their original languages, forms the basis of instruction.

Students practise the hermeneutical and scholarly methods characteristic of religious studies and learn to interpret and put into context the theological, philosophical, and legal ramifications of religiosity in the Middle East.

They chart philosophical and religious developments across history, examine the forms and consequences of inter-religious and intra-religious contact, and evaluate the interaction of religious forms of expression with other aspects of society.

The academic perspective on religiosity in its historical and contemporary guises enables students to understand and critically analyze past and (allegedly religiously motivated) current events in terms of their religious and social histories.

Courses in religious studies are taught in German and English.