Netherlands, Amsterdam

Syriac Christianity: Past and Present

when 29 July 2017 - 5 August 2017
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 500

Recent political developments in Syria have thrust this particular branch of Christianity into the spotlight. This unique course offers students a comprehensive introduction to key aspects of Syriac Christianity, including its origins, complex relationship with Islam and other forms of Christianity, and turbulent existence in modern Syria. In the latter part of the course, still to be finalised as the situation unfolds, students address the impact of current events there. Meanwhile, interaction with the Syriac community in the Netherlands offers students the chance to experience Syriac Christianity as a living religion.

VU University Amsterdam is a leading research centre on Syriac Christianity and related topics, such as Arabic literature, Christian-Muslim relations, and ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. It also hosts the Peshitta Institute, an internationally renowned centre of expertise on Syriac Bible translations. Course excursions include a visit to the Syriac Orthodox Monastery in Glane and meeting with members of the Syriac community.

No knowledge of the Syriac language is needed for this course.

Course leader

Prof. Wido van Peursen

Target group

Students of Religious Studies, Theology, Divinity, Biblical Studies, Classics, Philosophy, History and Social Sciences.

Course aim

You gain a broad knowledge of the most significant characteristics of Syriac Christianity, its history and theology.
You understand the complex interaction between the Bible’s influence on Syriac culture and the way that culture has shaped reception of the Bible.
You understand the complex interrelationship between interpretation and identity-formation in Syriac Christianity.

Credits info

Contact hours: 25

Fee info

EUR 500: The tuition fee includes an airport pick-up service, welcome goodiebag, orientation programme, on-site support, 24/7 emergency assistance, and a transcript of records after completion of the course.

An early bird discount of €150 is available for students who apply before 15 March, and students from VU Amsterdam as well as from exchange partner universities will receive a €250 discount. You apply for the discount simply by indicating that you are currently a student at VU Amsterdam or at a partner university in the online application.

All courses include excursions. We will also organize trips and excursions as part of our social programme, which is a great way to get to know your fellow students and learn more about Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The social programme is not included in the tuition fee.

Furnished accommodation is available. Various housing options will be offered.


The Amsterdam Summer School offers ten scholarships that cover the full tuition fee of one course. Information about how to apply for the scholarship will be posted on the website.

Register for this course
on course website