Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Old Testament

Old Testament uses philological, historical, literary and theological approaches to study the Old Testament scriptures. Our central concern lies in the exegesis of individual biblical books, using Hebrew and Aramaic sources. The discipline History of Ancient Israel deals with the historical background to the Old Testament with attention to Geography and Archaeology. In our Introduction to the Old Testament, students learn literary-historical analysis of the biblical texts. Theology of the Old Testament draws conclusions from exegesis, with particular attention to the religious history of Israel and the Ancient Near East, and to Hermeneutics.

New Testament

New Testament examines the philological, literary and theological dimensions of the New Testament scriptures. As a rule, study of this subject presupposes knowledge of Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written. We do, however, offer general courses for students of other disciplines, as well as introductory courses for the degree program in Religious Education. The main discipline of New Testament focuses on the exegesis of these texts, which means on interpreting and understanding them in an appropriate manner. Proseminars provide an introduction to exegetical methods. Further areas of interest include the genesis of the New Testament scriptures, their theological intent, their intellectual, religious and historical background, as well as the History of Early Christianity.

Corpus Hellenisticum

The Corpus Hellenisticum is the only research institute in the world that focuses exclusively on the interdependence of Hellenism and Christianity. Our methodology has moved away from previous paradigms of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule and their interest in genetic relations, and embraces instead an interest in communicative processes and competing constructions of meaning. Our day-to-day work consists both of individual academic studies and of collection, evaluation and presentaion of materials, and finally of an accessible publication of our results in the "Neuer Wettstein".

Church History

Church History as a theological discipline studies and describes the genesis and spread of Christian doctrine and Christian life from its beginnings to the present day. By studying Church History, one relates to these phenomena in new ways and from consistently new perspectives. Since the history of the Church remains part of larger societal developments, Church History is closely linked to the study of History, in general. For that reason, Church History cultivates ties to a wide range of other historical and philological disciplines. Interdisciplinary approaches are a centerpiece of work in Church History. Church historical studies in Halle focus especially upon: the historical development of church institutions, the history of piety and doctrine, and church-state relations.

Christian Archaeology and Church Art

Christian Archaeology and Church Art deals with works of Christian architecture, painting, sculpture and arts and crafts, particularly those found within the area of the former Holy Roman Empire and the Western Church. Our courses are designed primarily for students of Evangelical Theology and Religious Education, but are open to students in other areas, as well. They focus both on works of particular periods (e.g. churches of medieval reform orders) and on overarching topics (e.g. altars in the Western tradition), as well as on regional issues (e.g. the churches in and around Halle).


Systematics comprises the disciplines of Dogmatics, Ethics and Philosophy. Dogmatics gives intellectually account of the contents of Christian faith, relating these contents to the history of thought as well as to its present challenges. Ethics reflects how human acting is orientated in general, Theological Ethics describes and analyses forms of Christian life conduct as to be found in public and private ways of dealing with one self and with the world. Philosophy discusses the theoretical and practical use of reason by means of epistemological criticism and categorial analysis. Philosophy of Religion concerns the construction of religious consciousness. Together Dogmatics, Ethics and Philosophy aim at discerning how Christian faith and life is handed on in religious institutions (parish life, care services, schools) and their social and cultural contexts. So Sytematics helps to form a reasonable judgement about religious matters.

Practical Theology

"The story of God in the world has not yet been told to the end" (Anne M. Steinmeier: Schöpfungsräume, 16). This insight provides a point of departure for Practical Theology. This subject enables theological reflection within the context of religion and society. It is "practical" not only because of its practical applicability, but also because it analyzes "praxis" scientifically and theologically. Its methods are interdisciplinary. Practical Theology consists of Religious Paedagogy, Homiletics, Poimetics, Liturgics, and Cybernetics. In Halle, we make additional use of extra-academic institutions such as the pastoral counseling seminar of our regional church body, the Kirchenprovinz Sachsen, the university's teaching hospital St. Elizabeth and St. Barbara, and the city's cultural life, centered around the New Theater. Religious Paedagogy facilitates the education - and continuing education - of school teachers teaching Religion and Ethics, and works together with the PTI Drübeck and the University of Magdeburg. Courses in Practical Theology are open to all students regardless of major.

Ecumenical Studies and Religious Studies

Ecumenical Studies and Religious Studies deals with the plurality of Christian and non-Christian religions, as well as with inter-confessional and inter-religious dialogue. Ecumenical Studies focuses in particular upon the study of different confessions and churches, on the history of global mission, the development of ecumenism, and the essentials of ecumenical theology. Religious Studies encompasses the history, doctrine and contemporary development of the major world religions, as well as the basics of religious history. An area of special concentration focuses on sectarian movements and 'sects', new religions and spiritual communities. Research on esoteric movements is facilitated by a special library in the institute.