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.