Your dissertation enables you to write an in-depth piece on a subject of your choosing, supported by a member of staff.
The rest of your year is built from optional modules based on the latest research interests of our academics.
Year three optional theology modules are also available to choose in year two.
You must pass year three which counts two thirds towards your final degree classification.
20th Century Theology
Examining the major theologians of the last century this module will ask – what is nature, and what is grace? Likewise, what is natural and what is supernatural? This module will explore how theologians (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) have articulated this division and the many profound consequences that have arisen from such attempts This module will trace the development of various heated debates that tackled the above questions and in so doing influenced the shape of twentieth century theology, the idea of secularism, the relation between philosophy and theology, and lastly, between theology and science.
Religion and Fantasy
- explore the rise and development of the fantasy genre in its historical and theological context
- investigate the contemporary critical debate about the value and function of religious fantasy.
Authors covered may include:
- George MacDonald - Christian Platonism in a short tale
- G. K. Chesterton - The Man Who Was Thursday and his essay, 'Orthodoxy'
- Charles Williams - The Descent into Hell and his theology of exchange
- J.R.R. Tolkien - Lord of the Rings and his essay 'On Fairy-Stories'
- C.S. Lewis - Out of the Silent Planet
- a collection of modern Jewish fantasy tales, Wandering Stars.
The End of the World: Apocalyptic Religion in History, Philosophy and Sociology
How is it all going to end? Global devastation or universal harmony?
All religions have their answer to the end but it may change over time or depend on who you ask.
Together we’ll analyse rival understandings of the end of the world across a range of apocalyptic groups. We’ll explore thinking in Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other religions, both historical and contemporary.
In particular we’ll consider:
- why death and the end play such a prominent role in human mythology and religion
- the capacity of religion to inspire both peace and violence
- how a vision of the future can give purpose and meaning to the present and the past
- how ideas of the end change over time
You’ll use key theories and methods from history, philosophy, theology and sociology.
We’ll also explore the ideas that visions about the end:
- arise from intellectual traditions in particular historical contexts
- play a political role in struggles for power
- are shaped by social forces and historical events.
This module is worth 20 credits.
Muslims and Others: Ethics, Theology, and History
Examine the ethical, theological, and historical aspects of Muslim interaction with non-Muslims.
- assess Qur’anic attitudes to religious others
- look at a spectrum of Muslim ethical approaches to social relations with non-Muslims
- analyse theological exchanges with Christians and Jews
- explore Muslim theologies of other religions and the eternal destiny of non-Muslims
- examine shifts in Muslim relations with Christians, Jews and Yazidis in response to modernity and the rise of western power.
Students will read the novel The Qadi and the Fortune Teller set in 19th century Lebanon as a case study in legal, political, and religious relations between Sunnis, Shi‘is, Druze, Christians, and Jews.
The Life and Teaching of Jesus
This module provides a historical introduction to the life of Jesus. It will involve a critical evaluation of the relevant sources for Jesus’ life, an overview of developments in the search for the historical Jesus, and a discussion of the perceived tensions between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith.
The Hebrew Bible and Empire: Assyria, Babylon and the New World Order
Ancient Israel and Judah existed in the shadow of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires which dominated them, influenced their culture and shaped their beliefs. We'll look at how this experience of empire shaped the Biblical texts, their conceptions of god, and their visions of the longed-for New World Order, where their god and nation would rule above all others.
- historical interactions between the empires, Israel and Judah, including vassalhood, trade, rebellion, and defeats
- cultural implications of empire, including diverse religious practices, movement of peoples and awareness of nations like the kingdom of Kush
- theological implications of the God of the Hebrew Bible being a vassal to imperial deities and later becoming God of the whole world
- development of Israel and Judah’s theology, including monotheism, the imperialization of Yhwh, changing understandings of the ‘chosen people’ of Yhwh, and visions of a new world order
- anthropological research into migration and trauma, and post-colonial studies of biblical texts
This module is worth 20 credits.
Modern Jewish Thought
This module will present modern Jewish thought from a theologicophilosophical perspective as an interesting alternative to both Christian and secular models of thinking. Modern Jewish thought emerges from 'the crisis of tradition' (Gershom Scholem) which it tries to resolve in many different ways: either intrinsic to Judaism itself (e.g. Lurianic Kabbalah) or in dialogue with Western philosophy (from Spinoza to Derrida). The module will emphasize the creative impact of Jewish thinkers on the development of modernity by showing the various ways in which these thinkers renegotiate and redefine the most crucial opposition between Athens and Jerusalem, or, in their own rendering, between Yaphet and Shem. Target students: Level 3 Single and Joint Honours Theology and Religious Studies students, exchange and subsidiary students.
Intermediate Biblical Hebrew
This module builds on Level 1 introductory Hebrew language modules in developing the ability to handle the text of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), an edition of the Hebrew Masoretic Text with its own invaluable contribution, the critical apparatus. This apparatus has a system of sigla (symbols and abbreviations) that, when learned, enable the Hebrew student to quickly compare variations of the text through the course of written history. The ability to navigate the BHS is key for examining some of the most mysterious and debated concepts in the Hebrew Bible. The basis of the module is the study and translation of individual texts (which will vary from year to year) with analysis of vocabulary, grammar, and style.