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Course content

Master's specialisation in Biblical Exegesis

How is meaning attributed to biblical texts? By following Radboud University’s Master’s specialisation in Biblical Exegesis you will be well-equipped with analytical instruments to discern the crucial decision points in giving meaning in a text. Core concepts in Bible texts are explored in connection to their cultural and historical context.
Students will also investigate and discuss the relation between Bible texts and ethics. How do the texts aim to change the behaviour of their readers? These texts are a crucial point of reference for theological reflection and provide direction in contemporary society and church.
Students are expected to read the Old Testament and the New Testament in their original languages and will be taught to understand these books in the original context in which they were written. They will be handed the necessary tools to study the biblical texts, focussing on such aspects as grammar, sentence structure, literary devices and plot construction. And since these texts function in distinct cognitive environments, students will get acquainted with various ancient Near Eastern and ancient Eastern Mediterranean frameworks of experiencing and thinking.
Although heavily focussed on the Old and New Testament, students will learn skills that can be used to analyse any kind of text. This programme can therefore be compared to other academic literary subjects in that students are taught the general skills of literary criticisms as well as contextualisation. Important to note is the academic approach; students will be able to critically and thoroughly analyse texts. Graduates of Biblical Exegesis will be able to provide explanations and give meaning to the foundational texts of Judaism and Christianity, whether they do that in their role as researcher, spiritual caregiver, pastoral care worker, journalist, policy maker, or educator.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/biblicalexegesis

Why study Biblical Exegesis at Radboud University?

- This Master’s specialisation offers a beautiful mix of literary criticism and theological reflection.
- A distinctive characteristic of Biblical Exegesis at Radboud University is the unique combination of cognitive linguistics with literary criticism.
- Attention is equally given to both the Old and the New Testament and the relationship between their language, cultural framework and historical context.
- 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 (History of Church and Theology, 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.

Change perspective

Students of the Master’s specialisation in Biblical Exegesis are taught critical engagement with the Bible. Engagement because students are invited to involve themselves in these texts and in their academic examination. Critical because the analyses will often open up their minds to the fact that Jewish and Christian traditions of interpretations have developed over time, sometimes in ways that distance themselves from the biblical texts’ meanings in their original contexts. Students will get an in-depth understanding of Christian traditions and values and will be encouraged to analyse them thoroughly. They will come to understand that things came to be as they are due to choices made in the past. Students will see that both Bible and tradition have been and will be formative for our present engagements.

Career prospects

In a globalising world more and more institutions require skills in theological communication and hermeneutics. Biblical Exegesis students know how to analyse important texts. Our graduates have an analytical attitude and the strong empirical skills to formulate critical theological perspectives on questions of meaning of life and a viable civil society in our contemporary situation. In addition, the programme teaches you how to think independently and critically about the way Christian doctrine can give meaning contemporary issues.

Job positions

The Master’s programme Theology has a strong emphasis on career prospects by allowing students to focus on one professional path in their third year: research, education, spiritual care or religion and policy.

Our approach to this field

The Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts that are analysed in this Master’s specialisation found their origin in cultures of the ancient Near East and the ancient Eastern Mediterranean. These cultures differ greatly from our present day cultures. It is, therefore, a challenging task to understand the meanings of these texts in their contexts of origin and their original conceptual frameworks, to acknowledge their textual composition and aims, as well as their intended social and religious functions. It requires linguistic, literary, cultural, social, ethical, historical, and hermeneutical research. That is why the development and application of research methods plays such an important role in biblical exegesis.

How is meaning is attributed?
In the Master’s specialisation in Biblical Exegesis, students learn how to apply the instruments of textual explanation at an advanced level. Both diachronic analysis (text criticism, historical linguistics) and synchronic analysis (literary criticism) are taught and applied. The central question students engage with is how meaning is attributed in a text. Students will therefore become well equipped to discern the crucial decision points in attributing meaning.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/biblicalexegesis

Visit the MA in Biblical Exegesis page on the Radboud University website for more details!

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