Why study History of Church and Theology in Nijmegen?

How has Christianity gained stability and continuity as a religion? How has it sustained itself in changing social and cultural contexts? The answers can be found in the history of twenty centuries of Christianity – in all its diversity. Not only the ‘official’ developments are investigated in this Master’s specialisation. Special attention is also given to ‘suspicious’ Christians. Dissenting ideas and practices and how the Church authorities dealt with them are part of history. The interplay between authority and practices teaches us about how we got to where we are today.


A complex conjunction of events

The historical analysis students are taught is not limited to a unidirectional causal reconstruction of events. No one factor determines the course of history. It is often a complex conjunction of events. Students are encouraged to situate historical texts and developments in their cultural context – an issue often forgotten in public debates. Methodologically, students are encouraged to conjoin discourse analysis and a historically sound hermeneutic source criticism. To this effect, students are trained in systematic historical research, by using both diachronic and synchronic research methods.

“History is a tricky subject. You need to take the time to study resources from the past. To look beyond contemporary values and views and interpret them in the spirit in which they were written. That is the only way to avoid getting tied up in hypes and making easy judgements.”
—Dr. Gian Ackermans, lecturer and researcher at Radboud University

Master’s students are encouraged to elaborate their own ideas and proposals within our research programme. The number of possible research topics is endless. Students may look at any historical religious conflict or a political conflict and its effect on religion. Topics that have been researched in the past include forced baptisms of Jews, Augustine and infant education or the development of the sacrament of confession and the role of women in Cathar communities.

  • Radboud University’s specialisation in History of Church and Theology distinguishes itself by combining the study of the history of Christianity with Canon Law. Thereby creating a unique outlook on the interrelatedness of the development of Canon Law and both formal and informal practices.
  • This study programme is ranked top 100 worldwide in its field 
  • This programme is not just geared towards Europe but also places developments in a global perspective.
  • Thanks to electives, students have plenty of room to choose a direction that meets their professional and academic interests. Taking a few seminars from the other theology disciplines of choice (Biblical Exegesis, Practical or Systematic Theology) is mandatory to broaden students general knowledge on Theology.
  • The third year is aimed at training students for a specific profession. Students can choose research (English), education (Dutch), religion and policy (Dutch) or spiritual care (Dutch).
  • Teaching takes place in a stimulating, collegial setting with small groups, allowing for ample opportunity for questions and discussion.
  • Radboud University and its Theology department are Roman Catholic in origin, but its Master’s programme in Theology is open to all students. Our students have very diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.

Do you want to know more about what Radboud University has to offer?

Why Radboud University

Studievereniging Awaz

Faculteitsvereniging Awaz

Awaz is sinds 2005 de faculteitsvereniging van de opleidingen Theologie en Religiewetenschappen. De vereniging heeft als doel: "Door middel van studiegerelateerde en niet-studiegerelateerde activiteiten fungeren als bindende factor tussen studenten en medewerkers zowel binnen de Faculteit der Filosofie, Theologie en Religiewetenschappen als daarbuiten." Voorbeelden van activiteiten zijn maandelijkse borrels, filmavonden, lezingen, een familiesymposium, kloosterweekend, bezoeken aan geloofsgemeenschappen en studiereizen.

Bekijk de website, breng een bezoek aan de Awaz-kamer in E14.18 (Erasmus) of bekijk de Facebookpagina.