Chair of Church History
The Chair of Church History is dedicated to the history of Christianity – mostly in the context of Christianity in Estonia, but also in relation to the rest of the world. In teaching, both general and Estonian church history is important. The study of contemporary church history is traditionally strong, although the study of earlier Christian literature is also important.
Chair of Practical Theology
The Chair of Practical Theology mostly concentrates on religious education, sociology of religion, psychology of religion and practical church work. Practical theologies focus on the way religion influences the individual as well as society, but also how to teach school students about religion as a phenomenon and how different religious practices influence each other. It could be said that practical theology means such knowledge about religious affairs which can be applied in everyday practice.
Tõnu Lehtsaar, professor of psychology of religion (professorship suspended)
Paul Lauchlan Faux Heelas, visiting professor
Andreas Pawlas, visiting professor
Olga Schihalejev, associate professor of religious education
Kaido Soom, lecturer of practical theology
Lea Altnurme, senior research fellow of sociology of religion
Chair of the New Testament Studies
The Chair of the New Testament Studies teaches introductory courses about the New Testament and exegesis and hermeneutics. Special attention is given to the role of the Old Testament in the New Testament, to the social world of the New Testament, and contemporary hermeneutical issues. Research is focused on Historical Jesus theories and the issues of scientific methods involved in biblical studies.
Ain Riistan, lecturer of the New Testament, Programme Director
Chair of Systematic Theology
Systematic theology at the University of Tartu can be characterised as interdisciplinary, arising broadly from biocultural perspective constructive theology, situated in the reformative tradition. Students can study theologies of the 19th and 20th century, the main teachings of the Christian church, the dialogue between science and religion, and gender issues in religion, etc. Main research topics include contemporary theology; science, technology and religion; neurocognitive studies of religion, problems and issues in Christianity and other religious traditions.
Anne Kull, professor of systematic theology
Roland Karo, lecturer of systematic theology
Thomas-Andreas Põder, lecturer of philosophy of religion
Chair of Old Testament and Semitic Studies
The curriculum of the Chair of Old Testament and Semitic Studies provides courses on reading, understanding, and explaining the Old Testament/Hebrew Biblical texts, and on the current phenomenon of Judaism. The scholarly work involves literature and the history of religion in and around the Hebrew Bible, from Ancient Near Eastern texts and religion to Jewish literature. Motif history in the Levant, Syria and Mesopotamia as well as biblical poetology and the essence of Judaism are focused on.
Urmas Nõmmik, associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies
Amar Annus, associate professor of Near East studies
Anu Põldsam, lecturer of judaistics
Chair of Comparative Religious Studies
The Chair of Comparative Religious Studies focuses on the main religious traditions and their comparative study. Special emphasis is placed on ancient history, culture and religions, as well as on the major religious traditions of the contemporary world (especially Islam and Judaism). Assyriology and the Ancient Near East religions are a major part of the research at the University of Tartu.