Today the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven opens its academic year 2021-2022 with a jubilee: the academic theological program celebrates its 40th anniversary. During the festive opening, Old Testament scholar Koert van Bekkum will deliver his inaugural address on Joshua 24: “But I and my house, we will serve the LORD!”
ETF Leuven currently counts 29 new enrollments for the Bachelor’s degree program, 24 for a Master’s degree program and 2 for the PhD program. Not all (re)enrollments have been completed yet. The student total for 2021-2022 has increased slightly and is estimated at 230. Striking is the slight growth in the number of new residential students in the Bachelor’s degree program. Education may once again take place entirely on campus.
The solemn opening night of the academic year is marked by remembrance. In his remarks, Dean Prof. Dr. Andreas Beck outlines an overview of the history and prehistory of ETF Leuven. Forty years ago, in 1981, the Evangelical Theological Faculty was founded at the heart of the then Bijbelinstituut België in Leuven. This Dutch-speaking branch of the Institut Biblique de Belgique was founded 100 years ago and began courses in January 1922.
On the occasion of the anniversary, ETF Leuven also published an anniversary magazine ‘Beste Theofilus‘ (in Dutch). During the academic year the jubilee will be commemorated on various occasions.
Rector Prof. Dr. Jos de Kock: “ETF Leuven wants to make a sustainable contribution to theology and religious studies. When something is sustainable, it is often associated with renewal. But that is only one aspect of being sustainable. Walking through an old forest you also see another aspect: being deeply rooted, being true to who or what you are. For ETF Leuven, that is captured in four essential characteristics: our Protestant-Evangelical identity, our interdenominational character, our international community, and the pursuit of academic excellence that goes hand in hand with attention to personal and communal spirituality.”
Joshua 24 and Christian theology in a context of religious plurality
In his inaugural lecture, Prof. Dr. Koert van Bekkum will discuss the relevance of Joshua 24 for Christian theology in the current Western context of religious plurality. “Joshua 24 invites people to be open about their deepest convictions, and presents a criterion for open interreligious dialogue that is an increasing part of modern Western society.”
Academic Dean Prof. Dr. Andreas Beck on Koert van Bekkum: “Colleague Van Bekkum is an excellent researcher who enjoys international recognition as an authority in his field. At the same time, he knows how to relate his research results to Christian tradition and Western society. As chair of the Old Testament Department and policy officer in the dean’s office, he occupies an important place at our faculty.”
Koert van Bekkum (1970) studied at the Theological University Kampen, the University of Groningen and the University of Leiden and worked for ten years as deputy editor of the Nederlands Dagblad. He received his PhD from TU Kampen in 2010 and has been associated with this university since 2012, currently as associate professor (0.2 fte).
In 2018, Van Bekkum was appointed to ETF Leuven as university senior lecturer and in October 2020 as professor of Old Testament. Koert van Bekkum is married to Alied. Together they have two children.
Photo: Koert van Bekkum gives his inaugural lecture at the opening of academic year 2021-2022.