Distance learning

What is the distance study program Theology of the People of God?

Since fall 2016, the Chair for the Theology of the People of God at the Pontifical Lateran University offers a two-year postgraduate distance study program, inititially in German. Since fall 2018, this program is also available in English.

Some seventy students have since then participated in this program, coming from all continents.

This course addresses people who wish to understand better the biblical faith in the light of the critical issues of our times after the age of Enlightenment.

Considering the theological disciplines, this study program links biblical-theological-exegetical to systematic-dogmatic knowledge and, furthermore, includes aspects of Church history. This interdisciplinary approach opens up new prospects for pastoral care and new evangelization. Understanding the biblical-theological foundations of Catholic faith allows for a deepened commitment to the Church.

“The advanced distance learning program of the ‘Chair for the Theology of the People of God‘, established at the Pontifical Lateran University, truly contains a small ‘Summa of theology‘ in ecumenical openness. Under the guideline ‘People of God‘ this theology unites the various theological disciplines to a whole – coming from the root Israel. Questions about Faith and Church posed by the modern human being in the post-Enlightenment era are taken up consistently. This advanced distance learning program is also interesting for non-theologians as its highly academic contents are presented in a comprehensible manner. Studying a field of theology online – combined with short attendance periods in Rome – is new and attractive for people following their careers.“

Kurt Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity and of the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism

What are the contents of this distance study program?

This distance study’s guiding principles are the unity of the Old and New Testament, the differentiation from religious pluralism, the profiling of the Judeo-Christian and the synthesis of faith and reason.

The study program consists of 24 lessons, each of them focusing on a central theological topic. The following overview provides a selection of relevant issues:

  • Why Christianity isn’t a “religion”
  • Why Judaism is indispensible to the Church
  • How faith and history are connected.
  • Why Church means “sacrament of the world”
  • How God can act in the world – On understanding miracles
  • How the dogma of Trinity updates the belief in the one God
  • What is special about the ethics of the people of God?
  • What does ecumenism mean in the people of God?
  • What the theology of the People of God can say about the matter of theodicy

After completing the study program, the student earns an attestation in “Theology of the People of God.”

Listen here to a recent interview on Vatican News about this program.

This postgraduate study program requires an academic degree in any field of study. At the same time it is possible to participate as a “guest student” which means being entitled to receive all the lessons. The monthly assignment will be corrected but not graded. Participating in this way means that there are no exams and that no final thesis is required, but a participation in the attendance seminars is most welcome. At the end, these students will receive a certificate of participation in the distance study program.

If you would like to receive more detailed information on the distance study program, please request the introductory lesson via the contact form.

Go to „Structure and schedule“ »