The word theology comes from the Greek and means something like “the teaching of God”. In our part of the world, belief in God is inextricably linked with Catholic and Protestant Christianity.
Catholic and Protestant theology as a subject
The study of Catholic or Protestant theology deals scientifically with one of the two denominations. The existence of a god is assumed to be irrefutable. The course primarily trains priests and pastors as well as religion teachers . They base their studies primarily on the Bible. But other sciences are also used, for example philosophy , sociology , psychology or religious studies .
Even if the two denominations differ from one another, the courses in Catholic and Protestant theology are structured quite similarly. The students deal primarily with the Old and New Testament . They ask about the meaning of the scriptures and also read the texts in the original language. You must acquire the necessary knowledge of ancient Greek and Hebrew in the first semesters of your studies at the latest.
In addition, the students deal with the history of the individual denominations and the church as an institution. They also deal with philosophical and ethical issues , for example the relationship between faith and science. Practical theology prepares students for employment as a priest, pastor or religion teacher. The students learn, for example, how to organize a sermon, provide pastoral care or bring children and young people closer to the Christian faith.
Study opportunities for Catholic and Protestant theology
The subject of Catholic theology is offered at universities and philosophical-theological colleges. Prospective priests and pastoral officers must complete a five-year course that ends with the academic degree Magister Theologiae .
The Department of Protestant Theology can study at universities and church colleges. The study programs vary from university to university and end with either a theological exam or a diploma. But there are already Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees .
The study regulations for prospective religious education teachers of both denominations have mostly already been changed over to the new bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, whereby only the master’s degree entitles them to begin the legal clerkship.
Personal requirements for studying theology
If you want to study theology, you should meet the following requirements:
- Since the subject of theology assumes the existence of a Christian God as irrefutable, belief in God should also be present in the students.
- The students should be able to identify with the Catholic or Protestant church .
- A great ability to speak languages is helpful for the course itself , as Hebrew and Ancient Greek are at least two ancient languages. Many universities also require a Latinum .
Professions for theologians
Most theology students aspire to church professions . For example, you will become a priest or pastor, pastoral officer, deacon or community officer. Those who on teachers have studied, close to the study usually 18 to 24-month traineeship at at a school. In what is known as a legal clerkship, they sit in on the lessons of colleagues and give lessons independently, which are regularly checked and assessed. Most of them then go to school as civil servants or employees.
Further fields of work for theologians can be found in the following areas:
- in the educational and public relations work of the churches
- in journalism
- in publishing
- in adult education
- in the PR and advertising industry
Advantages of studying theology abroad
Theology students should take the opportunity to study abroad. One or more semesters abroad or a full degree abroad offer the chance to experience how Christianity is lived in other cultures . The insight into other cultures and the contact with people from all over the world also contribute to the development of one’s own personality. Foreign language skills and soft skills such as communication skills, openness and flexibility acquired during a stay abroad are also helpful for later professional life.