Monday, 30 April 2012

a useful tip for fans of our blog

if you have a google,yahoo or twitter-account, you can "follow" our blog, getting a notice whenever something new is posted.
Also I would like to remind you that on the sidebar of the blog you can find keywords from the posts, like "thesis", "students interviewing professors" "Lund". This is meant as a help if there is something special you want to look for in the blog.

If not before properly explained: If I say that I am in the the second cycle, it means that I belong to the second class doing this program. The program started in 2009, making those starting that autumn the students of RRE 1.Cycle. So I (Hilde) am in the 2.cycle, and Annie, who started in the autumn of 2011, is in the 3.cycle. The newcomers in 2012 will be called 4.cycle.

Hope this made you wiser :)

one of lifes big questions: what should you do for your master thesis?

As most Nordic students, we are on facebook, and my cycle has its own facebookgroup aswell, which is great for sharing ideas and asking questions. Often the questions would be something like this: "Did anyone understand what to do for this weeks assignment?" "When is the deadline for chosing free or fixed exam?" "How many assignments might we miss?" "Where are people planning to stay for the Oslo seminar?"
This semester most of us are writing our thesis, and the facebookgroup is not so actively used anymore. But about a month ago (or maybe more, my memory is bad) I asked people to tell me what their thesis project is about, cause I was thinking it might be of interest to other people then supervisors and your computers document folder.

Here are some projects (copypasted directly from facebookgroup) :

-  My thesis working title is at the moment "The Angel of the Lord as a destructive and menacing angel in the Hebrew Bible". The main point is to view the ambiguous figure of "malak Yahweh" as a distinctive being from God concentrating on the passages where this figure functions as a "angel of destruction"

-  working title: Islamophobia Online?Study Case of a YouTube Video
and the outline (copypaste from the TC): In this thesis paper I examine a contemporary YouTube video, which presents an anti-Islam stance. In my opinion, this video can be seen as a part of a phenomenon of an "intellectual" anti-Islamic notion. While criticism is an important part of modern society , this video and similar Online videos and texts can be seen as crossing a border line between legitimate criticism and promoting Islamophobia.

-the Image of Eve in Judaism, Christianity and Islam". I will look at texts from Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, New Testament and Quran and analyze them with the regard of two main topics connected with Eve: her creation and the fall

-the title is "Saint Ephrem the Syrian on Eschatology in the Hymns on Paradise". i just focus on 15 poems of ST. Ephrem, and explore his thoughts of Eschatology. the Fall of Adam and Eve, the salvation of Christ, the finial judgement, Ephrem's ascetic thought, ect. would be considered.

-I'm focusing on Book 11 of Augustine's Confessions, where he expounds his theory of time, and I'll be looking at whether or not he can be said to be writing as a mystic there. I might take up parts of Book 9 as well where he has a famous mystical experience in Ostia.

In addition to this, I know that we have people working with Atonement in the Dead Sea Scrolls/ community, Eco-theology, The Attitude Towards Armed Warfare in the Early Christian Church,
how martyrdom and persecution influenced the Christian self-understanding, Christian theologians of Arab background, topics related to gender and religion...

well, you get the picture. people are working with a lot of different and cool stuff. If you are reading this blog, working at a Nordic or other university and thinking: this person sounds perfect for our newly planned project about..., then dont hesitate! Contact us and we will put you in contact with the person working with the project you are interested in (if the person agrees to of course). Or maybe you just think it interesting to read one or more of the thesis, again, please tell us. is where to find us :)


Monday, 23 April 2012

5 Questions to the Professor

After some riveting and insightful question and answers from the Professors, I am sad to say that this will be the last instalment.  This last entry comes, very appropriately, Antii Marjanen, who recently held seminars for the second cycle in Helsinki... Enjoy!

Before you read in haste, I would like to extend our thanks to all the Professors who took part in these five questions.  Hopefully it will pose help for those new students perusing what the course offers and for us oldies who may use these to scout for the most suitable candidate to answer any tricky questions!

1. Please state your name,age, university and connection to the RREprogram
Antti Marjanen, University of Helsinki, Local Coordinator and Teacher of the RRE Program in Helsinki

2. What is your area of expertise? and which courses do you teach in the
My area of expertise: New Testament, Early Christianity (especially Gnosticism and Montanism), Women in the New Testament and Early Christian Communities and Texts

I teach in the RRE Program:

Interaction between the religions: The role of women in religious communities and texts: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Greek, Coptic and Hebrew

I also supervise Master's theses (incl. Thesis colloquium, methodology and theory) of the RRE students in Helsinki

3. How do you find the this way of teaching, which is not regular
university courses but also not distance learning?
Stimulating and challenging but also pretty demanding. To give feedback in a written form on AULA demands more time and thought than to do it orally in a Compact Seminar when I am face to face with students. So I must confess that I always look forward to meeting the students in a compact seminar after having discussed with them only through AULA.

4. What do you expect from your students?
Clarity of expression, readiness to work and courage to look for and test new questions, ideas, and perspectives.

5. If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be and why?
It would be actually sufficient for me to get some additional human powers which would enable me to increase tolerance and understanding between human beings.

Thank you Antti!

Here are a couple of pictures from the newly held RREcompact seminar for the 3.cycle, in Helsinki, Finland (Will upload some more picture later)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

five questions to the professor

This week we moved ourselves to Oslo. In Oslo there is currently two students in the third cycle, and unfortunatly no students in the second cycle.  We hope they will have many applicants for semesterstart 2012. Look at the pictures below and see how nice Oslo is :)


1. Please state your name,age, university and connection to the

Stig Fr√łyshov, 50, University of Oslo, RRE coordinator and teacher

2. What is your area of expertise? and which courses do you teach in
the RREprogram?

My area of expertise is Christian liturgy and ritual, especially in Palestinian, Byzantine and other Eastern traditions. I work with sources in Greek, Georgian, Slavonic and to some degree Syriac and Armenian. In my doctoral thesis I edited, translated and commented upon the oldest Horologion (Book of daily offices, originated at the Resurrection cathedral in Jerusalem), preserved in Georgian only and for its content datable to about 600 CE.

3. How do you find the this way of teaching, which is not regular
university courses but also not distance learning?

I think it is the best we can do within the program model that have we. Regular university classes are not always totally relevant and useful, either. It seems to me that the hardest part is on the students, because the contact with the teacher is not immediate and there is more individual and independent study. All in all, the student learning in RRE is not inferior to that of "regular" students. If there is a vital student group locally this weighs up for a lot. Finally, the method of frequent papers and task is beneficial for student learning and helps keeping focused.

4. What do you expect from your students?

I expect serious and regular study, to the best of each student's ability.

5. If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be and why?

I very much would have liked to go back in history and actually be present at the liturgies I study! Then all my questions as to how and what and perhaps why would be answered...

Some pics from Second cycles compact seminar in Oslo, April 2011

 while some people were studying hard...
 ....others enjoyed the sunshine outside the faculty :)
 we went to a nice restaurant to eat....            (Clement, Stig and Jakob)
.... and was even invited home to Professor Halvor Moxnes

...and of course we went out in town :)                 (Magnus and Saara)

All Pictures: Tanya Mylova.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

What do RRE`s do, besides drinking coffee and doing e-learning?

Sometimes, we RRE`s are invited to lectures where the topic is related to our masters program. When in Lund, the third cycle was invited to an open lecture, where in fact our own professor Troels was speaking. With the permission of Troels we posted the lecture here (scroll down the page). At the same time I would like to remind you that CTR (center for teologi och religionsvetenskap) at Lund University has three open lectures every semester, the next one I believe is the 15.of May, and the speaker is Thomas Hoffmann, who happens to be an RRE-related professor too. The lectures are always in English, and there are refreshments and a chance for a discussion afterwards.

In addition to posting Troels lecture, we of course also have an interview with him, in our series of "5 questions to the professor". To repeat, the questions we asked the professors, in addition to their name, age and association with the program, is:
2. What is your area of expertise? and which courses do you teach in the RREprogram?
3. How do you find the this way of teaching, which is not regular university courses but also not distance learning?
4. What do you expect from your students?
5. If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be and why?

Lets see what Troels replied:

1. Troels Engberg-Pedersen, age 63 (which is in many ways a holy figure: 3 x 3 x 7!), Copenhagen University, academic coordinator ofthe RRE programme in Copenhagen,teacher at the Emergence course.

2. My area of expertise is rather broad: classics, early Christianity, philosophy old and new. Within those areas I have particularly focused on ancient ethics (my first dissertation was on Aristotle’s Ethics, Oxford UP 1983; then I wrote a book on Stoic Ethics, Aarhus UP 1990; then another one in Danish on The Ethical Tradition of Antiquity, Copenhagen 1997) – and then on the relationship between ancient philosophy and the apostle Paul, viewed as a main figure in early Christianity. Here I first focused on the relationship between Paul and Stoic ethics (Paul and the Stoics,Edinburgh/Louisville 2000) and more recently on the relationship between Paul and Stoic physics and cosmology (Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul: The Material Spirit, Oxfords UP 2010).My basic scientific interest is to understand the various ancient philosophies I have studied and a figure like Paul too as ‘wholes’ – so that one may then compare them with modern ideas.

3. I find the RRE way of teaching both quite taxing and also very stimulating. It’s wonderfulto work with a group of *very* different students from all over the world. Ifind it extremely important that we actually *meet* live, both at the compactseminars and also at the tutorials and thesis colloquium. I am generally amazedby the interest and dedication of the students.

4. I expect what I mostly get: solid, dedicated work + interest in the fundamental issues of religion asa whole. I also expect (and usually get) an interest in the *comparative*aspect of the study of the ancient religions.

5. This is, of course,an impossible question. I would *not* suddenly make people ‘good’since the fact that human beings are not just good is what gives thefundamental shape to our lives and struggle. Perhaps, however, I *would* instil one more drop of realization in human beings that *greed* is bad for everyone, not least the greedy person him-or herself. (I just finished reading a recent, Swedish ‘thriller’by Arne Dahl called ‘Viskleken’, which means ‘whispering game’.It’s overall theme is the devastating global results of unchecked greed.And Dahl writes very well.)

Troels Lecture

Monday, 2 April 2012

Info of interest, from Lund

While we are in the Swedish mood, here is something that might interest you:

Open Lecture at CTR, Lund:

Tueday , 3 April, at 18.15 in Room 118 at Centre for Theology and Religious Studies,

Ingmar Karlsson, former diplomat (e.g. consul general in Istanbul 2001-2008), research fellow and honorary doctor of divinity at Lund University, will give the second lecture in the series of lectures on Border Crossing between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The lecture is entitled "Alhambra - A Model for 'the European House?", and will be about the coexistence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in Spain in the Middle Ages, but also about the fascinating and less known Arabic heritage in European culture. A lecture you cannot miss!

The lecture is followed be free refreshments sponsored by Centre for Theology and Religious Studies.

Did you get April-fooled yesterday?

I simply had to post this link. Unfortuantly it is only in Swedish, I am not sure If they also have a version is English. Lund and Uppsala tried to trick people into believing that the two universities will become one. and it should happen already in December this year.

Somehow, big news that are posted on the 1.of April, about stuff which is suppose to happen very soon, always makes me suspicious. My hometown newspaper reported that Sir Alex Ferguson  from Man.United would visit Haugesund to see the match between Haugesund and Molde, and that he had been seen at the airport of Haugesund saturday evening. The chief/boss of the fotballteam did not get a peaceful moment during the day, cause newspapers and media from all over Norway called him to ask if this was in fact true!

How would you trick a student of religious studies/theology? any ideas (to use for next year)  :)