School of Jewish Theology

“Jewish Theology is an attempt to think through consistently the implications of the Jewish religion.”
(Rabbi Louis Jacobs)

Since 2013, Jewish Theology is available as a field of study at a European institution of higher learning.  Thus, almost two hundred years after German-Jewish scholar Abraham Geiger made his public plea for equal recognition, Jewish theology is finally on an academic par with Christian theology – as well as with the new Islamic studies centers being established in Germany. For the first time ever, a state-funded university allows its students to study the Jewish religion at the academic level.

The School of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam comprises seven professorial chairs, whose teaching and research are entirely dedicated to the rich and multi-faceted history of Judaism over more than three millennia, from ancient times to the present.

The Jewish Theology curriculum comprises the following core subjects

  • History and Philosophy of the Jewish Religion
  • The Hebrew Bible and its Exegesis
  • The Talmud and Rabbinical Literature; Halakha
  • Jewish Liturgy and Religious Practice
  • Hebrew and Aramaic Philology

Bachelor of Arts / Master of Arts in Jewish Theology

The BA/MA degree program in Jewish Theology – the only one of its kind in Europe – is open to all interested applicants regardless of their religious affiliation. The scope of material covered by the degree program is extensive: from the Hebrew Bible and the great theological works of the Middle Ages to the thinkers and intellectual debates of modern times.

Thus, the BA Program in Jewish Theology not only gives students a basic intellectual grounding in Judaism, but also provides them with critical academic expertise as well as valuable insights into Jewish religious practice. The program places particular emphasis on acquiring solid proficiency in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages, so that students can work directly with the source texts as soon as possible.  Another focal point of study is Judaism’s relations with other denominations, particularly Christianity and Islam.

The MA Program in Jewish Theology, meanwhile, enables students to embark on a deeper exploration of rabbinical literature as well as selected aspects of Jewish religious history.

The chairs at the School of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam

Chair for Talmud and Rabbinics
  • Professor Admiel Kosman PhD
  • Susanne Schober M.A.
  • Yemima Hadad M.A.
  • Dr. Ronen Pinkas
Jewish Religious and Intellectual History
  • Professor Jonathan Schorsch PhD
  • Markus Krah PhD
Chair for Philosophy of Jewish Religion, Ancient and Medieval Periods
  • N.N. (in the process of appointment)
  • Dr. Yael Kupferberg
  • Rabbi Eljezer Reich M.A.
  • Hartmut Bomhoff M.A.
Chair for Modern Jewish Philosophy, focus on Denominations and Inter-Religious Dialogue
  • Rabbi Professor Walter Homolka PhD PhD DHL (Executive Director)
  • Tobias Barniske M.A.
  • Martin Kujawa M.A.
Chair for Jewish Bible Interpretation
  • Professor Dr. Shani Tzoref
  • Benno Jacob Professor: Professor Dr. Rüdiger Liwak
  • Daniel Vorpahl M.A.
  • Dipl.-Theol. Sophia Kähler
Lectorship Hebrew/Aramaic
  • Ulrike Hirschfelder M.A.
  • Rabbi Nils Ederberg M.A.
Junior Professorship for Jewish Liturgy and Comparative Ritual Studies
  • N.N.
  • Visiting Professor: Rabbi Prof. Dr. Dalia Marx
Visiting Lecturers for Halakhah
  • Rabbi Professor Walter Jacob PhD DD (Progressive)
  • Rabbi Jonah Sievers M.A. (Progressive)
  • Rabbi David Fine PhD (Masorti)
  • Rabbi Harvey Meirovitch PhD (Masorti)
  • Rabbi Joel Rembaum PhD (Masorti)
Chair for the History of Jewish Music

at the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar and at the Abraham Geiger College

  • Professor Dr. Jascha Nemtsov
Jewish Education
  • Dr. Jessica Schmidt-Weil