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Postgraduate course

Middle Eastern Churches in the 20th and 21th Century

  • ECTS credits5
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeRELMIN645
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester

Spring (the course is not taught every year)

Place of Instruction

Online course, and therefore not restricted to Bergen.

Objectives and Content

The purpose of the course is to examine the history of Christian Middle Eastern churches as institutionalized religious communities from the end of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century to the present. Focusing on the examples of select churches such as the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Apostolic Church of the East, the course studies how clerics and lay members of these churches deal with their status as religious minorities and interact with the majority societies they live in. Special attention is paid to the different strategies and experiences of the churches with regard to their minority status in their ancestral home regions and as diaspora churches outside of the Middle East. Moreover, the changing roles of women and youth in the churches in reaction to different minority situations receive particular consideration.

Learning Outcomes

The student shall by the end of the course have gained the following learning outcome defined in knowledge, skills, and general competence:


The student

  • has advanced knowledge of the main events in the history of select Middle Eastern churches in the period from the early 20th century to the present
  • can analyze the different ways and strategies of interaction between members of these churches and the majority societies they live in
  • has a thorough understanding of central aspects of the evolving roles of women and youth within these churches since the early 20th century


The student

  • can make comparative statements about the minority experiences of different Middle Eastern churches
  • can make critical use of relevant scholarship to communicate informed and structured analyses of Middle Eastern churches
  • can formulate reasoned reactions to written statements by other course participants

General competence:

The student

  • can communicate about complex topics of religious and social history using the professional terminology of the field
  • can apply his/her knowledge of Midde Eastern churches of the studied period as well as his/her critical skills to evaluate and use different sources of information about recent religious and historical developments
  • can evaluate and critically comment on statements about religious and historical topics made by peers

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

The course literature is in English. Students should therefore have a sound knowledge of English.

Access to the Course

Admission to the Master¿s Programme Religious Minorities or other Master¿s Programmes at the UiB.

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching and student activities in this course will entirely take place online.


  • short introductory videos.
  • Readings
  • following each video/reading there will be a short quiz, that tests the students basic understanding of the video/reading
  • individual feedback on discussion postings and essays from the instructor
  • participation in online discussions

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

In this course the following compulsory requirements have to be approved in order to sit for the examination:

  • Course quizzes following videos and/or texts. The quizzes will test the students¿ command of the prescribed course material. There will be between 1 and 5 quizzes per week, and the students must successfully complete at least 70 % of them."
  • An annotated outline (maximum 250 words) of the final essay (see below, under vurderingsformer), to be submitted ten days before delivery date
  • At least four useful comments in total on the essays of other students (peer-reviewed assignments)

Compulsory requirements are evaluated with "approved/not approved."

Forms of Assessment

Forms of assessment:

The examination consists of two papers:

  1. essay (maximum 700 words)

30% of the total grade.

  1. essay (maximum 1800 words) 70% of the total grade.

Both parts of the assessment must be passed in order to pass the examination.

The examination will be given a total grade.

Grading Scale

A graded marking scale (A to F) is used. A is the top grade and F means Failed.

Assessment Semester

The course is normally assessed in the teaching semester only.

Reading List

The reading list consists of approximately 500 pages.

The reading list is published by June 1st. for the autumn semester and by December 1st. for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course unit will be evaluated regularly.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee for The Study of Religion

Course Coordinator

The Programme Committee for The Study of Religions, Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies- and Religions (AHKR)

Course Administrator

Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies- and Religion (AHKR)


Study Advisor: studierettleiar@ahkr.uib.no

Administration of examination: eksamen@ahkr.uib.no