Newmaninstitutet. Högskola för teologi, filosofi och kultur


Teologisk högskola i Uppsala


Courses Spring 2017

MODULE 3, 16/1–24/3

Church History, I

This course delves into the history of Christianity from the birth of the first Church in Jerusalem through the spread of the Good News within the Roman Empire, and beyond to the ”edges of the world” (up to the 16th century). We are going to explore the process of the formation of the Christian tradition and Church teaching. We will also discover the challenges and changes in the internal and external life of the Church from its earliest periods up to the late medieval period. In this context, we will discuss the primary sources based on their criticism and learn to use different historical methods. We will also look at persons and events that have been important for the future development of Christianity in different regions. Special attention will be given to understanding the forces which led to divisions within the Church, especially between Eastern and Western Christianity and the attempts to restore Church unity. For the course readings, we will use mostly English translations of the source texts.
7.5 ECTS, Theology
Stockholm and partial distance
Instructor: Svitlana Hurkina

International Climate Change Negotiations

Why are there such great difficulties in negotiating comprehensive international agreements which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently? On the issue of climate change, what has happened globally? How have countries’ positions changed over time, and why? During this course we will follow the developments of climate change negotiations in real-time; we will observe and evaluate developments as they happen. Students of this course will learn the history of the UNFCCC’s work, in an attempt to understand the complexities of negotiation and implementation. Some countries and groups will be examined more specifically. The interaction between political process and scientific research will also be investigated.
7.5 ECTS
This course runs during the entire semester
Instructor: Andreas Carlgren

Philosophy of Science with Natural Philosophy

The sciences occupy a prominent place in contemporary thinking, as well as in today’s society in general. In this course we will take a closer look at the different sciences’ knowledge claims and methods. In what sense can science be said to provide knowledge? What claim do sciences make to describe reality? And what are the possibilities and limitations of the scientific method? Only through such an analysis can scientific knowledge claims be compared to knowledge claims in other areas.
Stockholm and partial distance
Instructor: Erik Åkerlund

Theology and Film

The course is directed to those who wish to study and critically analyze modern film and the significance of religious, ethical, philosophical and other ideas in these cultural expressions. The course is based on an interplay between analysis in cinema studies and theology. Popular films and artistic films are considered. Sequences from current films will be introduced and analyzed during the course. Course participants will practice their ability to report on and analyze film content, as well as to discern and discuss their religious and worldviews.
7,5 ECTS, Theology
Uppsala and partial distance
Intructor: Philip Geister

Civic Courage in Theory and Practice

Sophie Scholl left her classes to secretly distribute pamphlets against Adolf Hitler; eleven-year-old Malala Yousafzai lived amidst the Taliban while blogging about their brutality. Human history is filled with individuals who were ready to take risks for a common good. What motivated them? What were the effects of their civic courage? What can our bravest contemporaries and fallen heroes teach us about how to live? The course includes site visits and in-class interviews with socially engaged guests in Stockholm and Uppsala.
7,5 ECTS, Philosophy
Intructor: Brian Palmer

MODULE 4, 28/3–3/6

Franciscan Spirituality: From Francis, the Little Poor One, to Ecology Today

The name that the current Pope has adopted, Francis, after Francis of Assisi, illustrates how relevant Franciscan Spirituality is in our time. This course will provide historical and source-critical portraits of Francis of Assisi, Clare of Assisi and Bonaventure. It will put their lives into a wider context. The life of Francis will also be interpreted through a narrative perspective. Using recent scholarly writings, the course will articulate how Jesus Christ, creation, evolution, ecology and contemplation interrelate. The ways in which ideals of poverty (or a simple life-style), choices based on values, spirituality and environmental sustainability are connected, will be demonstrated.
7.5 ETCS, Theology
Instructor: Fredrik Heiding

Science and Religion

The relationship between religion and science will be studied from both a historic as well as a systematic perspective. Some historical cases which demonstrate both conflict and synergy between science and religion will be treated. Different ways of viewing scientific methods and their scope, such as for example Kuhn’s paradigm theory and reductionist scientism, will be related to questions about the hermeneutics of religious convictions. In particular, issues of the relevance of contemporary cosmology and biology to the religious interpretations of reality will be highlighted.
7.5 ETCS, Philosophy
Uppsala and partial distance
Coordinators: Ulf Jonsson and Erik Åkerlund

Theological Ethics

Every day headlines jar us with news about profound ethical issues. All of us face moral dilemmas. But just how do we make our moral decisions? The individualism of our culture tells us that each person must decide for himself or herself. Some religious traditions stress following the law. In our course, we will consider a third approach in the Christian tradition that attempts to combine the best of both philosophical and theological perspectives. The course treats important themes in the intersection of theology (with special attention to Scripture), philosophical reflection, and human experience. We will also consider what is called “virtue ethics.” Finally we will discuss topics chosen by the class, leading us to wrestle with this question: How can we oppose evil without creating new evils and being made evil ourselves?
7.5 ETCS, Theology
Instructor: Kenneth Overberg

What is Nature?

Nature is an ambiguous term. What it refers to is quite different in natural science, literature, philosophy or theology. This course will explore the use of the concept of “nature” in different academic fields, trying to identify what is particular to its understanding in each context. A focus of the course will be the hermeneutics of nature, i.e. how we access knowledge on nature, how we experience it and how this experience interacts with our concepts of it. The course will attempt to find a common denominator for an interdisciplinary understanding of nature as well as trying to offer an ecological outlook, re-formulating our relationship to nature.
7.5 ETCS
Instructor: Philip Geister

General information

The requirements for admission to the Institute include satisfactory completion of college-preparatory high school (gymnasium). An official transcript of high school studies should be sent to Admissions, The Newman Institute, Slottsgränd 6, 75309 Uppsala. Please include your full name, date of birth, home address, telephone number and names of courses for which you are applying.

Apply by sending an email to

For additional information that is not provided on this website, please contact Tanja Åkerblom in the International Students office, at or telephone +46-(0)18 58 00 707.