Charles University Protestant Theological Faculty

Introduction

The Protestant Theological Faculty (originally known as the Hus Czechoslovak Protestant Theological Faculty) was founded in Prague on 28 April 1919. Before the First World War, there had been many restrictions on Protestants in the Czech lands (which were part of Catholic Austria at the time) and candidates for the ministry had to go to Vienna to study. With the establishment of the new Czechoslovak state after the War came full religious freedom.

Reformed and Lutheran Protestants united to form the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, and one of its first actions was to establish a Faculty of Protestant Theology to train its theology students and those from other churches. In the first year of its existence the Faculty had 14 students, but this soon grew to 78 in 1923 and 160 in 1929. Women started studying at the Faculty in 1922; their number increased considerably after the Synod of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren decided to ordain women to the ministry in 1953. During the German occupation the Faculty was closed down, along with most other institutes of higher education, but it resumed its activities when the Second World War was over. In 1949-50 there were 230 students.

In 1950 the Communist state decided that the Faculty should be divided into two schools: the Hus Theological Faculty for students from the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, and the Comenius Protestant Theological Faculty for students from the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren and the smaller churches. Under the Communists the Comenius Faculty experienced many difficulties and the number of students dropped to below 100. For most of the 1950s and 1960s the Dean was the leading Czech Protestant theologian Josef Lukl Hromádka. After the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, new opportunities opened up for the Comenius Faculty. There was a tremendous increase in the number of students. In 1990 the Comenius Faculty was incorporated into Charles University and renamed the Protestant Theological Faculty. In 1995 it moved to larger premises on its present site. In 2007-2008 the Faculty had around 500 students and some 25 teaching staff.

Faculty Seal and its Symbol

Think – Act – Speak: Theology as Salt

Some reflections on the emblem of the Faculty

Pavel Filipi

When the Prague Protestant Theological Faculty was established in 1919, its founders were faced with one small task, in addition to many more major ones: how to represent symbolically the traditions they were building on and the goals they were aiming at. They therefore designed a new emblem, which is still used today as the seal of the Faculty.

How is its symbolism to be understood?

In the centre of a circular design we see a chalice. This symbolises clearly enough the link with the heritage of the Czech Reformation, espe­cially with the Hussite Reformation, which reintroduced reception of the chalice by laypeople at celebrations of the Lord’s Supper. In 1417 the entire Theological Faculty of Prague University called for communion un­der both kinds, taking the side of the revolution and thus risking its very existence: within a year the Council of Constance had withdrawn its license to teach. In choosing this symbol, the new Faculty demonstrated that it was committed to the chalice (with all this might entail) just as the Hussites had been, and that it rejected any kind of clericalism, including theological clericalism.

In the top half of the round design we can read the Latin words: SAPERE, AGERE, LOQUI, which means in English: think, act, speak. The his­torical origin of this motto goes back to Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius), the last bishop of the old Unity of Brethren. The choice of these terms and the way they are linked together can be understood without any further explanation. The theology the new Faculty wants to cultivate should be scholarly, requiring a rigorous intellectual discipline; it should be practi­cal, leading on to action; and finally, it should be based on dialogue, reje­cting all other means of putting across the truth apart from the Word. The order in which the terms are placed is perhaps surprising, with “speak” in third place, forming the climax of the motto. But this surprise disappears when we remember the tremendous importance the Czech Reformation attached to the freedom of God’s word. Freely proclaiming the liberating Word is in itself “the freest of actions” (actus liberimus omnium) and is capable of freeing Christianity from its Babylonian captivity. Again and again, even in times of the greatest oppression, Czech Protestant Chris­tians have experienced the fact that “God’s Word is not chained” (2 Tim. 2:9), and that on the contrary it creates a space for free speech around itself. Following on from this experience and tradition, the Faculty foun­ders committed themselves to establishing the Faculty as a refuge of free speech, rooted in the freedom of God’s word.

In the central part of the emblem, to the left and right of the chalice, is a conundrum in the form of two references to Scripture – Leviticus 2:13 and Mark 9:49. In both passages the word “salt” (Latin sal) is to be found. The connection between the motto and the Scripture quotations becomes clear when we realize that the initial letters of the three words in the motto (Sapere, Agere, Loqui) together form the Latin word SAL.

But what have theology and a theological faculty to do with salt? What led our predecessors who chose the design of the emblem to select these two passages from among the many places in the Bible where salt is mentioned? Today we can only guess at the exegesis they had in mind. We can however be reasonably certain that the version of the quotation from Mark that they had in front of them was one that is not perhaps borne out by the original manuscripts, but is often found in Reformed translations of the Bible. According to this version, Jesus' words were: “Every sacrifice will be salted with salt.” We are struck by the fact that in both passages the word “salt” is closely linked with the concept of sacri­ficial offering. Leviticus 2:13 enjoins: “You shall season all your grain offe­rings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings. Add salt to all your offerings.”

Theology as a reference to sacrifice? Did the founders of the Faculty want to emphasize that the Faculty should continue to direct its atten­tion to the core of the Christian message – Christ’s sacrifice on the cross? Maybe. But perhaps they had something else in mind when they de­signed the emblem. For in both quotations salt is referred to as an addi­tional ingredient that becomes dissolved and dispersed throughout the sacrificial offering. And this self-dissolution and self-dispersal is one of the basic functions of theology. By calling into question its own instincts of self-preservation it commits the whole of its thinking, acting and speaking to the service of both Christian and civic communities, warns and pro­tects them against the corruption of egoism, and encourages them to serve selflessly those who are considered to be of least importance in this world. In this way theology can make its contribution towards ensu­ring that the human family does not lose the dimension of self-denial and voluntary renunciation, without which neither a life of human dignity nor peaceful coexistence are possible.

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PhD in Biblical Studies

Campus Full time Part time 4 years September 2017 Czech Republic Prague + 1 more

The purpose of doctoral studies in the field of Biblical Theology is for students to cultivate, in the usual way for advanced studies, their ability to think theologically and to deepen their knowledge in the relevant biblical theology disciplines on an expert level. [+]

The purpose of doctoral studies in the field of Biblical Theology is for students to cultivate, in the usual way for advanced studies, their ability to think theologically and to deepen their knowledge in the relevant biblical theology disciplines on an expert level. The field covers all aspects of specialist study of the Bible, such as theological, literary, and historical factors. Studies focus on either the Old Testament or the New Testament field. They include the examination of biblical texts in their relevance for religious and cultural traditions. Depending on the specific dissertation project, studies may deal with textual, linguistic, literary, literary-historical, historiographical, religious, or cultural issues. Normally, they must also raise questions about the theological profile or overall testimony of Scripture in relation to relevant theological questions, and also deal with issues of understanding, communication, and interpretation. The working field of biblical studies also includes the related specialist disciplines – for example, the philology of the ancient and classical languages, the literature of the ancient Near East and the principal cultures of Antiquity, the phenomenology of religions and the study of the religions of antiquity, the archaeology and historiography of the relevant regions – and also a reflection on methodologies in the biblical field, hermeneutical issues, and the history of biblical research and its current trends. Studies are linked to an appropriate degree with other theological fields, and, like other branches of theology, have an interdisciplinary dimension. Description of the entrance examination and evaluation criteria On the basis of their fully completely and properly submitted application form, applicants are invited to an entrance interview, where they must defend the proposal for their research project before the branch council and gain approval for their individual study plan. On the basis of the recommendation of the branch council the Dean of the Faculty decides on whether they will be admitted to study. Conditions for admission Completion of studies at Master’s level, successful defence of proposal for the research project before the branch council and approval of the individual study plan by the branch council. Recommended literature, sample questions Individual, depending on the nature of the dissertation project. [-]

PhD in Historical and Systematic Theology

Campus Full time 4 years September 2017 Czech Republic Prague

The purpose of doctoral studies in the field of Historical and Systematic Theology is for students to cultivate, in the usual way for advanced studies, their ability to think theologically and to deepen their knowledge of the theological tradition in its historical and systematic dimensions on an expert level. [+]

The purpose of doctoral studies in the field of Historical and Systematic Theology is for students to cultivate, in the usual way for advanced studies, their ability to think theologically and to deepen their knowledge of the theological tradition in its historical and systematic dimensions on an expert level. Students learn to critically analyse and reflect on the knowledge acquired and methods used in their field, and to interpret them both in their own specific contexts and in the interdisciplinary settings of contemporary scholarly knowledge. Depending on the subject of their dissertation project, their studies are focused on a specific specialised field of historical or systematic theology (for example, church history, the history of dogma, systematic theology, or dogmatics), but at the same time they retain the appropriate breadth of vision and interdisciplinary orientation that pertains to all branches of theology. Description of the entrance examination and evaluation criteria On the basis of their fully completely and properly submitted application form, applicants are invited to an entrance interview, where they must defend the proposal for their research project before the branch council and gain approval for their individual study plan. On the basis of the recommendation of the branch council the Dean of the Faculty decides on whether they will be admitted to study. Conditions for admission Completion of studies at Master’s level, successful defence of proposal for the research project before the branch council and approval of the individual study plan by the branch council. Recommended literature, sample questions Individual, depending on the nature of the dissertation project. Preparatory course Will not be opened. Information on the exercise of graduates Graduates have a knowledge of the theoretical bases of historiography and the systematic theology, and are familiar with current research trends (specializing in historical studies or the study of systematics). They are linguistically equipped for research work with sources, are proficient in the relevant research methodology, and are familiar with the rules for interpreting specialist findings. They are capable of making critical use of their theoretical knowledge and specialist skills and applying them contextually. They are capable of presenting the results of their academic work in the context of a discussion among specialists. They are qualified to carry out research work independently and to be active in their field in an academic teaching capacity. [-]

PhD in Philosophy of Religion

Campus Full time 4 years September 2017 Czech Republic Prague

The purpose of doctoral studies in the field of Philosophy of Religion is for students to cultivate, in the usual way for advanced studies, their ability to examine, using philosophical tools and approaches, religious phenomena and issues relating to the religious dimension of human culture, including theological thought and its traditions. [+]

The purpose of doctoral studies in the field of Philosophy of Religion is for students to cultivate, in the usual way for advanced studies, their ability to examine, using philosophical tools and approaches, religious phenomena and issues relating to the religious dimension of human culture, including theological thought and its traditions. Students learn to reflect critically on these approaches and their results and to interpret them both in their specific context and within the framework of current academic knowledge. In direct connection with its multidisciplinary nature, this study programme develops the skills necessary for analysing complex issues, and students learn to combine various specialist perspectives and discourses in evaluating specific findings and testing hypotheses, while at the same time ensuring that the methods used are appropriate, the thinking is precise, and complex or controversial problems are expressed clearly. The study programme not only leads to the acquisition of expert knowledge and skills, but also develops the ability to understand views, concepts, teachings and theories that are non-traditional or differ from one’s own, cultivates argumentative approaches to critical debate, and refines the ability to evaluate oneself and to formulate one’s own opinion or position. Description of the entrance examination and evaluation criteria shrink On the basis of their fully completely and properly submitted application form, applicants are invited to an entrance interview, where they must defend the proposal for their research project before the branch council and gain approval for their individual study plan. On the basis of the recommendation of the branch council the Dean of the Faculty decides on whether they will be admitted to study. Conditions for admission Completion of studies at Master’s level, successful defence of proposal for the research project before the branch council and approval of the individual study plan by the branch council. Recommended literature, sample questions Individual, depending on the nature of the dissertation project. Preparatory course Will not be opened. Information on the exercise of graduates Graduates have knowledge of the theoretical bases of critical thinking particularly with respect to the Christian philosophical tradition and the theological context of philosophy, are well informed about the details of the history of philosophy and philosophical study of religion, and are familiar with current trends in scholarly research. They are linguistically equipped for research work with sources. They are proficient in the methodology of specialist work, and are familiar with the rules for critical analysis and interpretation. They are capable of presenting the results of their academic work in the context of a discussion among specialists. They are qualified to carry out research work independently and to be active in their field in an academic teaching capacity. [-]

PhD in Practical and Ecumenical Theology and Theological Ethics

Campus Full time 4 years September 2017 Czech Republic Prague

The purpose of doctoral studies in the field of Practical and Ecumenical Theology and Theological Ethics is for students to cultivate, in the usual way for advanced studies, their ability to think theologically and to deepen their knowledge of the theological tradition in its ecumenical, practical, and ethical dimensions on an expert level. [+]

The purpose of doctoral studies in the field of Practical and Ecumenical Theology and Theological Ethics is for students to cultivate, in the usual way for advanced studies, their ability to think theologically and to deepen their knowledge of the theological tradition in its ecumenical, practical, and ethical dimensions on an expert level. Students learn to critically analyse and reflect on the knowledge acquired and methods used in their field, and to interpret them both in their own specific contexts and in the interdisciplinary settings of contemporary scholarly knowledge. Depending on the subject of their dissertation project, their studies are focused on the relevant specialisation in the field of ecumenical or practical theology (for example, homiletics, catechetics, poimenics, practical ecclesiology, hymnology, or missiology), or on theological ethics or Christian social work (diaconia). At the same time, however, they retain the appropriate breadth of vision and interdisciplinary orientation that pertains to all branches of theology. Description of the entrance examination and evaluation criteria On the basis of their fully completely and properly submitted application form, applicants are invited to an entrance interview, where they must defend the proposal for their research project before the branch council and gain approval for their individual study plan. On the basis of the recommendation of the branch council the Dean of the Faculty decides on whether they will be admitted to study. Conditions for admission Completion of studies at Master’s level, successful defence of proposal for the research project before the branch council and approval of the individual study plan by the branch council. Recommended literature, sample questions Individual, depending on the nature of the dissertation project. Preparatory course Will not be opened. Information on the exercise of graduates Graduates have a knowledge of the theoretical and methodological bases of oecumenical and practical theology and ethics and are familiar with current research trends. They are linguistically equipped for research work with sources, are proficient in the relevant research methodology, and are familiar with the rules for interpreting specialist findings. They are capable of making critical use of their theoretical knowledge and specialist skills and applying them contextually. They are capable of presenting the results of their academic work in the context of a discussion among specialists. They are qualified to carry out research work independently and to be active in their field in an academic teaching capacity. [-]

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Charles University in Prague

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Protestant Theological Faculty
Charles University in Prague

Černá 9,
P.O.Box 529
CZ-115 55 Praha 1
Czech Republic

Prague, CZ