M.A. Jewish Civilizations 100%

Degree awarded: M.A. Jewish Civilizations, consecutive program of study
Application necessary: Yes
Application Deadline for Heidelberg: 1st of June each year to enroll for the following summer semester
Program Start Term in Stockholm: Winter semester (August-March)
Program Start Term in Heidelberg: Summer semester (from April)
Duration of Program: 4 semesters
Language of Instruction: English


Jewish Civilizations is a Master of Arts degree partnership program between the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg and  Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden. The first phase of the program takes place in Stockholm with the One-Year Program, for which the annual application deadline is 15th of March to matriculate for the following winter semester in Stockholm.

Should you be interested in the M.A. in Jewish Civilizations, please contact Professor Dr. Frederek Musall (frederek.musall@hfjs.eu).

 >> To program materials (Examination Regulations, Course Outline etc.)
The historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1889 – 1975) identified 23 different civilizations in his multi-volume work "A Study of History". Among these, Toynbee listed classic examples such as the Egyptian, Hellenistic and Iranian civilizations, as well as more unusual examples such as the biblically entrenched Byzantine civilization or Russian Orthodoxy.  He recorded, however, that the Jews were the perfect example of an “extinct society, which only survives as a fossil”.  This comment was subject to strong criticism among Jews: for example by theologian of the Holocaust R, Eliezer Berkovits (1908 – 1992) in his response entitled "Judaism: Fossil or Ferment?" It is undeniable that, in many urban civilizations, Jews have played and continue to play the role of a “creative minority” (A. Toynbee).  "Judaism as a Civilization", the magnus opus of the American Rabbi Mordechai Menachem Kaplan, was published in 1934.  In it he defined Judaism as a civilization, which is more than just a religion and which has developed in the bosom of other civilizations.  The sociological study of Shmuel N. Eisenstadt (1923 – 2010) "Jewish Civilization: the Jewish Historical Experience in a Comparative Perspective" (1922) also suggested Jewish civilizations should be spoken of in the plural.  Apart from an invariable core, Jewish civilizations have appeared in a wide variety of forms.  The study of Jewish civilizations requires a corresponding variety of linguistic and cultural competencies and, for this reason, it is well suited to an international program with a partner such as Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden.

Aim of the Program:

The consecutive master’s program in “Jewish Civilizations” should foster the student’s ability to develop the cultural-academic study of Jewish civilizations in their different forms, through intensive language and source study to which competency in Hebrew language and expertise in the source material are central.  In addition to this, throughout the course of study in Stockholm and Heidelberg, students should acquire the necessary theoretical knowledge and as well as that of relevant methods, in order to be able to devote themselves to the study of complex events in Jewish culture in the past, present and future.

Admissions Requirements:

Please see the Admission Regulations M.A. Jewish Civilizations

Qualifications and Course Content:

Jewish life is not limited to religious rituals, but includes all aspects of human life. This subject is interdisciplinary and is also linked to all areas of the humanities. Correspondingly, the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg offers multiple subjects: from the history and art of the Jewish people, biblical studies and rabbinic literature to philosophy, literature and the study of language.  In this way, Jewish Studies at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg makes it possible to obtain a comprehensive knowledge of Jewish life in Germany, Europe and the world in the past and present.

The academic degree of Master of Arts, obtained upon completion of the program, qualifies the holder either to continue in the pursuit of a PhD or to begin a career within other academic areas and services, such as museums, memorial organizations, print, online or broadcasting media, as well as in other areas that require corresponding competencies.

Examinations Regulations – effective as of Summer Semester 2020

The examination regulations and the stipulations contained within them form the legal basis of the programme.

Registration for Final Master's Examination:


Old versions:


Responsable: E-Mail
Latest Revision: 2022-09-13