Profile of the Faculty of Theology

Our faith in the future


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Read more about the Faculty of Theology in our brochure Our faith in the future.

Profile of the Faculty of Theology

The Faculty of Theology at VU University Amsterdam is an ecumenical Protestant faculty that carries out its academic activities of teaching, research and social service with regard both to Dutch society and to Christianity as it is practised worldwide, while engaging in dialogue with other religions and creeds.

The faculty is ever-mindful of its roots in the Reformed Protestant tradition as it has developed in the Netherlands and that is now embodied in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN). Since 2000 the faculty has become a centre with links to other denominations or branches of the Protestant Christian tradition (independent Dutch Reformed, Mennonites, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Evangelicals), which have affiliated themselves with the faculty while retaining their own distinctive identities. The faculty also welcomes other creeds and religions, such as Islam. The result is a faculty where different traditions of faith work together in teaching and research at an academic level.

The unifying link between the various religious groups and perspectives represented at the faculty is the assumption that members of the academic staff are personally allied to the various faith traditions. The tension between the descriptive and the normative is therefore emphatically emphasized in our teaching and research as well as in staff appointments. This is what sets our faculty apart from other faculties of theology in the Netherlands.

The profile of the faculty is clear in its organization, research activities, and curriculum. The faculty is organized into five departments: Biblical Studies (Old Testament, New Testament), Church History, Dogmatics & Ecumenics, Encounter of Traditions (World Religions, Philosophy of Religion), and Praxis (Practical Theology, Social Sciences, Ethics of Care). In addition, we have a Centre for Islamic Theology. The research carried out reflects the faculty’s organizational structure. Programmes of study at both the Bachelor’s and Master’s level consist of separate degree programmes in Christian Theology, Religion and Creeds, and (in the near future) Islamic Theology. In the Christian Theology programme the various Protestant denominations or branches all contribute courses for their own students. The majority of the curriculum, however, is the same for all students. Furthermore, an integral part of all three degree programmes is formed by interaction and dialogue among the various faith traditions that are present among both staff and students, as well as in society as a whole.

The faculty is conscious of the fact that it is part of a larger university where the academic study of the literary, historical, socio-cultural, and philosophical aspects of religious claims may take place, and also of the fact that this university is located in Amsterdam, a metropolitan environment characterized by a diversity of denominations and religious faiths from around the world. The faculty’s goal is to provide sound academic instruction and to engage in solid scholarly research in this multi-religious context and, in doing so, to make a meaningful contribution to the city, the nation, and the world.

The faculty asks every researcher, teacher, employee and student who makes part of our academic community to endorse our Principles of Community.