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Vacancies: PhD students in Old Testament and Systematic Theology

28 March 2024


PhD student in Old Testament (1 fte; TUA)


PhD student in Systematic Theology (1 fte; TUU)


Research project about ‘God’s vulnerability?’

Does God's commitment to his creation, to human beings and to his people Israel make him vulnerable, and what does it mean to talk about God's vulnerability? The theme of vulnerability plays no role in the theological tradition but is highly valued in our current context. Such a new theme resonates with various texts and topics from the Bible and the tradition, and it calls for new reflection of old questions. This research project aims to answer the question in what way it is sound from a biblical-theological perspective, meaningful from a systematic perspective, and hopeful in the present context to speak of ‘God’s vulnerability’.


This research project is part of the research unit BEST (Biblical Exegesis and Systematic Theology). In BEST, biblical scholars and systematic theologians from TUA and TUU work together. For the period 2024-2029, our research theme is ‘Crucial Commitment’. By having PhD students from both disciplines work on the same theme, we want to further strengthen the connection between biblical exegesis and systematic theology.

What do we ask?

In this project, you will be working together with the other PhD student on the same theme, which you will explore from your own discipline. The starting point for the Old Testament student is the exegesis of Biblical passages that seem to involve God’s vulnerability. The starting point for the systematic theological student is Christology. What does the suffering of Christ mean for his divine nature and for God himself? From these different disciplinary perspectives, both students will together explore the theme of God’s vulnerability.

An elaborate description of the project can be found here.


  • A master’s degree in theology, preferably with a master thesis in the relevant discipline, and research skills in this discipline;
  • A personal commitment to the Reformed tradition;
  • Good writing skills and proficiency in English; knowledge of Dutch is no requirement, but staying in the Netherlands is required;
  • A curious and open attitude;
  • Good communicative skills and a willingess to collaborate in a team of researchers;
  • Willingness to participate in the Graduate Program (TUA; for the PhD student in OT) or in the Initial Graduate School of TUU and PThU (for the PhD student in ST). For TUU (ST) a willingess to participate in meetings of the Netherlands School for Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion (Noster) is also required; for TUA (OT) this is encouraged, but not required.

What do we offer?

  • A PhD program in the framework of the BEST research program and the project plan. Within this context, there is ample room for personal choice.
  • Supervision by a supervisor: Prof. Dr A. Versluis (TUA; for OT) and Prof. Dr J.M. Burger (TUU; for ST). There will be regular consultations with both PhD-students and their supervisors.
  • As a PhD student in OT you will be employed by TUA (Apeldoorn), as a PhD student in ST you will be employed by TUU (Utrecht).
  • You will become part of BEST, a fine and stimulating environment for theological research in the Reformed tradition, in which biblical scholars and systematic theologians stimulate each other in a lively interaction of both disciplines.
  • You will receive full-time employment (1 fte). Initially, you will be appointed for a period of 12 months. If found suitable, the appointment will be extended for another 36 months. Completion of your PhD thesis at the end of the fourth year will mark the conclusion of the appointment. Salary and working conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement of Dutch Universities.
  • Education as a theological researcher in the Graduate Program (TUA) or the Initial Graduate School (TUU), and NOSTER.
  • Budget for participation in (international) conferences etc.

Looking for more information?

More information can be acquired from Prof. Dr A. (Arie) Versluis ( and from Prof. Dr J.M. (Hans) Burger (


Applications from qualified candidates must be submitted before 1 May 2024 to (for the PhD student in Old Testament) or to (for the PhD student in Systematic Theology). A curriculum vitae and a list of results of the master’s program should be attached. Candidates invited to the interview stage will be asked to send their Master thesis (or another sample of academic writing).

The the selection committee will interview candidates on Tuesday 21 May 2024 (TUA, for OT) and on Wednesday 22 May 2024 (TUU, for ST).

The Theological University Apeldoorn (TUA) originated form the Christian Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. We dedicate ourselves to the development and practice of Reformed theology, with the slogan ‘Serving knowledge.’ ‘Knowledge’ refers to education on the level of bachelor, master, and PhD, and for academic theological research with specialisations in Biblical studies and historical theology. In that way, we want to be ‘serving’ the academy, the church, and society. TUA educates people who can serve within and outside of the church.

The Theological University Utrecht (TUU) has existed since 1854 and is located in the centre of Utrecht since 2022. Our academic community is committed, inspiring, and reliable. These three words stand for our faithful activity, our relation to God, his world and each other, and the quality of our work. We offer a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, as well as several optional courses and minors. This year there are around 230 students, including foreign students. With around 75 employees, we work in a relatively small institution, with attention to each other.