Thursday, 4 December 2014

Information meeting for those interested in RRE

Have you been considering joining the RRE program or are you simply interested in knowing more about the contents of the program? Then come to the information meeting in Lund on December 18th! Between 15.15 and 17 hrs the coordinator and teachers of the program will tell about its content and I'm certain that there will also be some students to talk with.

Is Lund a bit far away for you? Don't worry, you can also watch the meeting on the web: :-)

Monday, 3 November 2014

And it's Lund again

Today it’s time for this term’s second compact seminar and – hipp hipp hurra! – this time it’s my ‘academic home town’ to host it. The seminar will start with the Emergence course (for the 6th cycle) this Monday afternoon, which will run until Wednesday morning. From Wednesday afternoon until Friday morning, several courses are planned, a.o. a text course in Arabic and a course on Augustine.

As we’re waiting for the students to arrive, I’ll upload some old Pictures that I made of Lund for anyone who unfortunately cannot make it here. As you can see, they were made during different seasons as we – fortunately – don’t have snow here yet, but an astonishing 14 degrees Celsius. But: beautiful city, eller hur?

NB. Today is also the day that I’ll take the opportunity to convince some new students to take over this blog…wish me luck!


Compact seminar in Oslo

At the end of September, the 5th cycle was on a seminar in Norway’s capital, Oslo. Heikki sent me some pictures of the seminar, which I – shamefully – only manage to post now. (Sssh, don’t tell him.) From what I have heard, they have had a great time, visiting a synagogue service, a Friday prayer in a mosque and a short Christian service. They also had a Shabbat dinner at home of teacher Gunnar Haaland –is this becoming a tradition?

Heikki, thanks for the Pictures!


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Open Lectures Lund

It has taken some time, but they're coming up again - Lund's Open Lectures! Every term ther RRE program in Lund organises three lectures about an RRE-related theme. They are open to everyone, RRE-affiliated or not and are often continued with a drink in the pub. Feel welcome! The best news: it will be able to follow the lectures on distance as well. Read below on how to do that.

 The Religious Roots of Europe Open Lectures, Autumn 2014
Parting of the Ways between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

From a contemporary perspective we perceive Judaism, Christianity and Islam as three world religions. Even if they share historical and ideological roots, they are still separate entities, with different legacies and groups of believers. Sometimes the difference is emphasized to the point of making us see them as contrasting cultures, or even civilizations. But when did these religions part ways? And how did they part? And are there ideas or practices where they still have not parted, or where they could meet again? In a series of open lectures, the "parting of the ways" will be discussed from a historical perspective. In the first lecture, Dr. Magnus Zetterholm will speak about disagreements within the early Jesus movement as the first stage in the parting of the ways between Judaism and Christianity. Zetterholm - who has been awarded for his study - belongs to an increasing number of scholars who argue for a much later "separation" than previous scholars did. Later, Dr. Holger Zellentin from the University of Nottingham, will bring us to another debated issue: the impact of Christianity and Judaism on early Islam. He will read the Holy Qur'an as a crossroads between the three religions. And finally, the well-known former Professor of Islamology at Lund, Jan Hjärpe, will help us disentangle the parting of the ways between Shia and Sunni Islam - a matter of utmost relevance for understanding the present Middle East. Welcome!

Oct 9, 16.15 LUX C126
 Dr. Magnus Zetterholm
The Politics of Separation: How the Jewish Jesus Movement became an Anti-Jewish Religion

Nov 4, 17.15 LUX C121
Dr. Holger Zellentin, University of Nottingham
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: The Qur'an as a Crossroads

Dec 4, 16.15 LUX C121
Prof. Jan Hjärpe
The many Islams: What about Sunnism and Shiism and the role of religious affiliation?

All lectures take place at LUX, Helgonavägen 3, Lund.
For more information, email

If you go to the following page: you will be able to log in to the room that is stated in the schedule. It should be possible to attend without logging in, but to ask questions you need your STIL-identity. 


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Everyone's gone - Rome and Oslo

What a week it is for RRE! The fifth cycle is currently in Oslo, studying for the Contemporary course. If that means what it meant last year, they will visit several religious congregations and possibly also be offered a great shabbat-meal at the home of one of our teachers! We hope for a report with pictures by next week.

The sixth cycle has left around this weekend to Rome for the traditional twee-week opening excursion of the program. Something not so traditional is that they will be the first students to study in the new 'The Study of Ancient Religion'-course, which has replaced the previous courses Method & Theory and Religion and Society. We are curious to hear about their experiences!
For the rest, I don't think the Rome trip will have changed too much, which means that I dare to link to an older blogpost: Must Dos in Rome. In general, the sixth cycle has made the better choice for a travel destination, as the weather forecast predicts 24 degrees for Rome. (And only 13 for Oslo. Well, one should after all be reminded of the Scandinavian program...)

Btw, wondering what the fourth cycle is doing? Well, those lazy ones that aren't done yet (including the undersigned) are at home, working on their theses... ;-)


Monday, 25 August 2014

Welcome, sixth cycle!

I don't know how it is in other places, but in Lund the new term will start next week, on September 1st. That means that this week is the last week of the holidays or - for the new students of many programs, including RRE - Introduction Week!!

Right now there are many students walking around town with maps, looking slightly puzzled and seeming to be somewhat disappointed with the very autumnish weather. But I am certain that they will soon feel at home, especially whenever they have found out about the Swedish tradition of fika.
A few among these students might actually be prospective RREs - Lund's sixth cycle will have seven students! Their RRE introduction and welcome will be on Wednesday, more news by then. I obviously don't know about the other cities but I assume that they as well will have their introductions sometime this week.

For now: sixth cycle students, welcome to the world of RRE!

We wish you a great time in our program. Thinking about my experiences in the last two years, I could come up with a short list of warnings/predictions to the new students. Whether you take them completely seriously is obviously up to you...

1. If you're not Scandinavian, you might not be able to pronounce the last name of your teacher. The good news that you can always address him/her with the first name.

2. Your coffee consumption will increase. In case you don't drink coffee, you will soon start to. (I speak from experience.) See here the average coffee consumption according to a *very* reliable source and look for the Scandinavian countries.

3. Your understanding of the word 'Europe' will become a lot broader. As may be your understanding of what 'religion' is. Or 'roots'. (Ask Samuel Rubenson for the last one.)

4. You'll come to love Rome.

5. You'll sleep on the floor of your fellow students many a time (and/or host them) during the compact seminars.

6. You will develop a love-hate relationship with AULA.

7. If someone says that they know Latin or Greek, you might yawn. Hebrew, Syriac or Arabic, that's the real thing.

8. ....

Open for any more suggestions from current and former students!


Friday, 22 August 2014

Denmark calling with course information

Hej alle, har i haft en god sommer?

Soon we'll upload a welcoming message for the new student, but right now we have some good news coming from the theological faculty in København, which could be interesting for both new and old student!

Firstly, Martin Ehrensvärd, coordinator in Denmark, would like to pass on the following message:

"You see, I’m giving a course in Classical Syriac this fall. Syriac is an Aramaic dialect and thus relatively closely related to Hebrew and Arabic. A vast amount of early Christian literature is written in Syriac. The course will start from scratch but will proceed quickly as it presupposes that students have earlier experience with one or more Semitic languages. There will be one Skype-based lesson pr week."

An AULA-page for the course should by now have been created and I assume that the course will head off in the week of September 1st. Who's up for the challenge?`

Moreover, Martin also asked Thomas Hoffmann, professor in Copenhagen, about his upcoming course "The Qur'an and the Bible", which is an interaction course. See here the nice Youtube clip that they made!


Monday, 7 July 2014

Fin(n)ish(ed) - another graduation!

Is there only good news from Lund? Of course not - this message is somewhat delayed, but on June 16th, two students from Helsinki received their degrees! Their names are Zejian Zeng (from China) and Tanya Milova, who is from Russia. Big congratulations to both of you; you can be proud!  We wish you all luck with whatever future plans you have.


Thursday, 12 June 2014

BREAKING NEWS - Theses being defended!

Is anything happening here in RRE? The blog might give the impression that there's not, but of course there is. Actually, we have BREAKING NEWS.

Right now, two students from Lund are defending their thesis. This morning we discussed the work of Avram Ginju with the title "Beyond the sacred text: the role of emotions in the Rabbinic and Patristic exegesis on Genesis 22". Right now we are to resume with Rasuole Baleisaite-Sabakoniene's thesis "Differences in the ascetic behaviour in the Sahih al-Bukhari and the Synoptic Gospels through the stories related to Muhammad and Jesus."

Very impressive and an inspiration to all of us who will also write our thesis in the coming months or year!

Fltr: Rasuole, professor Samuel Rubenson, and Avram. Introduction before the defense began.

Communal lunch during the break between the two defenses at Govindas.

/PD. Pictures: Ann Jeanette Søndbø Ekberg

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Lund blog

Two blogs a month - wasn't that what I promised? I'll have to hurry up... *Badconscience*

As I am still living and studying in Lund, this blog unavoidably gets focused a lot on this little town that tries to belong to Sweden, while the rest of the country thinks that it's almost Danish. Sorry for that. ;-)

On Wednesday, we here in Lund had a thesis seminar, where we and our supervisors talked about the status quo of our dear master theses. Funnily enough it seems that our supervisors have more faith in our chances of finishing in time (i.e. beginning of June) than we have ourselves. Let's wait and see who will be right.

The afternoon was also an excellent opportunity to take some pictures with the entire fourth cycle in Lund. As one of us normally studies on distance, we don't get to gather too often in front of Theologicum with the four of us. We also took some pictures with the supervisors and with Avram, a student from a previous cycle who also finishes his thesis right now.

The day ended with a dinner at an Italian restaurant together with some 5th cycle students (also one from Copenhagen, hooray!) and with other people who for some inunderstandable reason know what the abbreviation RRE stands for. Härligt! As quite some people said: "we should do this more often."


Fourth cycle in Lund. Fltr: Anna, Thomas, Rasuole & Paula

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Open Lectures - more info

It has been mentioned before, but now there is an official invitation for RRE's open lectures at the Lund Faculty, coming from our coordinator Andreas Westergren. Read!

Visualizing Holiness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
The Religious Roots of Europe Open Lectures, Spring 2014

In spite of cautions against the use of images of the holy, depictions of saintly figures have played a profound role in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In a series of open lectures, this tension will be examined. Three concrete examples of visualization of holiness will be given in history (Krueger) and in the present (Lund and Markussen). The first lecturer, Derek Krueger, is a well-renowned scholar in the study of Late Antiquity and early Byzantium, with a particular interest in saints' stories and gender issues. He is the author of Writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian East. In the second lecture, we turn to the present, and to Jewish superheroes, with the help of Martin Lund. Last year he defended a thesis, Rethinking the Jewish-Comics Connection, at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies. Finally, Hege Irene Markussen will display how the Imam Ali has been depicted on posters. She is an expert on the Alevites in Turkey, and has published Teaching History, Learning Piety: an Alevi Foundation in Contemporary Turkey


Thursday MARCH 13, 18.15, room 118
Visual Celebrations of the Biblical Drama in Early Byzantium 
Prof. Derek Krueger, University of North Carolina at Greenboro

Wednesday MARCH 26,16.15, room 118
A Graphic Chain of Tradition: Jewish Memory, Appropriation, Edification, and Polemics in Superhero Comic Books
Dr. Martin Lund, Lund University

Tuesday MAY 20, 16.15, room 118
Visualization of the Imam Ali in Popular Prints
Dr. Hege Irene Markussen, Lund University
10 September, 16.15, room 118

All lectures take place at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Allhelgona Kyrkogata 8, Lund. For more information, email

Another nice thing: below blog about the lighter side of RRE was written by our newest blogger, Thomas Hermansson. He's a fourth-cycle student at Lund University. Thomas, thanks for helping out - we hope to read more from your hand.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The lighter side of RRE

On the lighter side of RRE, I bring you: The Simplified Map of Traditional Religious Affiliation in the European Civilization at the Present Time. *Drumroll*

Red - Eastern Orthodoxy
Blue - Roman Catholicism
Purple: Classic Protestantism
Brown: Islam


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Three hoorays

Today, the paper told me that January 2014 has been the darkest month since 1983, the year that they started counting the sun hours. We had 8 (!!!) hours of sun here in our University town. Hooray for February and for the at least three hours of sun that we had today!

Another hooray for the fact that vårterminen (Spring Term) has started here, because that means: Open Lectures. As every term, we'll have three lectures here at CTR, often followed by an informal get-together in a pub or restaurant. The theme of this term: 'Visualizing Holiness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.'
Thursday March 13th, 18.15, room 118
Visual Celebrations of the Biblical Drama in Early Byzantium Prof. Derek Krueger, University of North Carolina at Greenboro and author of Writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian East
Wednesday March 26th,16.15, room 118
A Graphic Chain of Tradition: Jewish Memory, Appropriation, Edification, and Polemics in Superhero Comic Books
Dr. Martin Lund, Lund University
Tuesday MAY 20, 16.15, room 118
Visualization of the Imam Ali in Popular Prints Dr. Hege Irene Markussen
If you want more information, you can ask our coordinator Andreas Westergren.

A small though audible hooray at last, for the fact that two fellow students have shown interest in also contributing to the blog - it will be good if my dictatorship here on the blog comes to an end. ;-) More follows soon!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Looking back on Oslo

Happy new year and a sincere apology from the writer of this blog - it's almost two months since the last update. The only apologiy that I can bring in is a Thesis Colloquium that had to be written and some travelling all over Europe. Oh yeah, and Christmas, maybe. Stupid apologies. Hereby I give the New Year Intention to write at least two blogs every month. (Some help of other students would be much appreciated in this, hinthint.)

So, what to start with? It turned out that my camera still had quite some pictures left from the time in Oslo, the last days of November. After our visit to Minhaj Ul Qumran our week was far from over.

Thursday we were 'off' - except from 6 hours of classes. Eric and me made a little tour through Oslo.

Oslo Harbour. Time: 15.05 CET.

Friday afternoon brought a visit to another mosque: the Bosnian mosque. We were present at the the Friday prayer. Here 5 of the 7 women in the 4th cycle prior to the prayer. Photo: Zejian Zeng.

After the prayer we talked with Imam Faruk Terzic. We felt very welcome and learned a lot! 

From Islam to Judaism - Friday night we were invited at the house of our teacher Gunnar and his family for a sabbath meal! A very special experience to witness 'theoretical knowledge' in practice, a chance to pick up the Hebrew that I had all forgotton and, not in the least, a night with great food and good conversations. 

On Saturday morning, we also visited a synagogue, but we couldn't make pictures there. Instead a few from the trip that Eric, me and Rasuole made in the afternoon. We took the the subway up for 20 minutes and suddenly we had left Oslo behind and were in the middle of nature. A great end to a great seminar.