The studies in Theology in the University of Eastern Finland offer diverse study and research opportunities in the field of western theology. In addition to studying the shared background of the church, i.e. the Bible and patristics, in Joensuu we focus on questions related to encounters between eastern and western religious traditions, themes concerning people’s mental and spiritual well-being, and religion as a social and cultural issue.
In Biblical Studies, we conduct international-level and innovative research. The main area of interest is the Bible texts. We study the message they contain, the translations and early interpretations. Central methods include rhetorical and narrative research and argumentative analysis. Patristic exegesis provides an orthodox viewpoint to the analysis.
Church History examines the phenomena of ecclesiastical history with a wide perspective: from the viewpoint of institutions and politics as well as that of individuals, gender, and the history of everyday life. The history of churches, culture and societies are examined especially from the viewpoints of continuity and change. The focus areas of research are, by and large, the late medieval and reformation history, the history of Finnish religious movements, and the relations between the church and society in the twentieth-century-Finland.
The focus areas of Systematic Theology are: research on ecumenical relationships and dialogues, theology of reformation and its modern interpretations, questions between theology and natural sciences, theology of diakonia, and research on the theological understanding of human beings. The content of Christianity is also examined in relation to other world views. Our research covers themes from late antique thinking to postmodern theology.
The focus areas of Practical Theology are pastoral theology and pastoral psychology. Central research themes focus on questions related to the well-being, pastoral counselling, feeling of shame, relationships and survival of people. Other important research interests lie in people’s spiritual life and the concept of God. We conduct both quantitative and qualitative research.
Studies in Religious Education focus on the religious upbringing provided by the church and religious communities, by society and at home. The focus areas of our research are dialogue, relevance and the role of educator in religious education. These themes are approached by examining authentic educational situations and by conducting multi-method research.
The research in Comparative Religion explores with anthropological methods the meaning religion has on the world of today: why is religion still visible in public and private life, how can religions respond to global challenges, how do religions encounter one another and how do multiculturality, tolerance and religion fit together.