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Undergraduate Divinity And Religious Studies 2015-2016

DR1038: RISE OF CHRISTIANITY

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

The course will introduce you to the first five centuries of Christian life and belief. It traces the rise of Christianity from its origins as a Jewish sect to a position of cultural and religious dominance in the Roman Empire. It also looks at the development of central themes in early Christian theology and spirituality. The course consists of lectures on key topics, workshops on preparing and presenting written work and seminars on early Christian texts. It should also include your own reading and research.

DR1039: GREEK LANGUAGE (NEW TESTAMENT) 1

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

The course will introduce students to the form of Greek found in the New Testament and help students to begin to read the New Testament in Greek. The programme will follow the textbook by J. Duff, Elements of New Testament Greek (Cambridge University Press, 2005). This is not to be confused with the textbook with the same title by John Wenham.

DR1042: HEBREW LANGUAGE I

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

This course is an introduction to classical biblical Hebrew without presupposing any prior knowledge. It involves the study of grammar and syntax and the translation of simple Hebrew prose texts.

DR1044: THE FOUNDERS OF CHRISTIANITY: INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

What we know today as the New Testament, a single book between two covers and most often bundled with the Old Testament, is in fact a small library of twenty-seven texts produced by various followers of Jesus between the 30s and about 120 of the Common Era. The small collection has had an enormous impact not only on Christian churches but also on the whole of Western civilization until today. This course explores the origins of these texts, their authors and audiences, and the events behind them. It neither requires nor expects any prior experience with these texts.

DR1536: HEBREW LANGUAGE II

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course is the second part of an introduction to classical biblical Hebrew. It involves the study of grammar and syntax and the translation of simple Hebrew prose texts. Only students who have taken DR1042 or equivalent are eligible to take this course. For further details please see the course guide

DR1538: GREEK LANGUAGE (NEW TESTAMENT) 2

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course, which builds on the foundations laid in DR1039, introduces further study of the grammar and vocabulary of New Testament Greek. For further details please see the course guide

DR1540: RELIGION AT GROUND ZERO

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

DR1540 explores theological responses to human tragedy and cultural shock. It examines popular reactions to the terrorist attacks on the USA in 2001, and includes attention to the two European world wars and the Holocaust, the Tsunami in South-East Asia, Hurricane Katrina, and the Japanese response to disasters in its history. Attention will be given to themes such as the question of ‘theodicy’, the function of religious discourse in the face of tragedy, and the relationship between religion and politics. The discussion moves from these analyses to explore the peril of speaking of God in times of terror. Course Guide

DR1543: INTRODUCTION TO THE HEBREW BIBLE

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course will contain a survey of the biblical literature of the Hebrew Bible and of the critical methods involved in its study. The course will survey the content, theology, and history of formation of key books within the Hebrew Bible. It will also present and critically evaluate source-critical, redaction-critical, form-critical, and canonical approaches to the biblical texts. For further details see the course guide

DR1547: INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

What do Christians believe? Why do they believe it? Can it (despite everything!) possibly be true? And if so, what difference does it make? Taking an 'insider's view' of Christian belief, this course asks what it means to think and to speak Christianly--about God, Jesus, creation, religion, human community and responsibility, death, life and other little things. For further details please see the course guide

HC1501: KEY WORKS FOR EUROPEAN CIVILISATION

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course offers an introductory survey of foundational works of European culture. Lectures will introduce students to the content, occasion, and influence of texts of exemplary historical importance and contemporary interest. The texts surveyed may vary each year, but will be suggestive of the thematic and formal range of classical thought. Students normally may expect to read selections of classical literary, historical, and philosophical works from such figures as Homer, Virgil, Polybius, Josephus, Plato, and Aristotle. Special attention will be paid to the reception of these figures and their works have informed the western intellectual tradition. See the course guide

RS1007: RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD 1 - ANCIENT TRADITIONS

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

This course introduces students to the academic study of religion and develops a Religious Studies perspective on religions. Religions of the ancient world will be explored in their historical, systematic, and practical/ritual dimensions. The course deals with three major religious traditions of antiquity, i.e., Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In addition, the course introduces students to the study of religion, dealing with issues such as: defining religion; insider/outsider problem in the study of religion; belief belief; and rituals as constitutive elements of the religious phenomena across time and space.

RS1508: RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD 2

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course develops a Religious Studies perspective on religions. Religions of the past and the present (including but not limited to Celtic religion, Norse religion, Shamanism) will be explored in their historical, systematic, and practical/ritual dimensions. The main objective is the introduction to the comparative method in the study of religion. Thus, the various traditions examined in this course will be compared both to one another and to other major religions, such as Christianity. For further details see the course guide

DR2047: HISTORY AND RELIGION OF ANCIENT ISRAEL

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course discusses the issues involved in reconstructing the history and religions of ancient Israel and Judah. It provides an overview of the history and religions of Ancient Israel and Judah, as portrayed in the Hebrew Bible, as illustrated by archaeological findings, and as understood within their larger Ancient Near Eastern context. It further teaches the students how to evaluate critically these portrayals and, as a result, how to reach independent and informed interpretations of the Biblical text.

DR2057: MAJOR CHRISTIAN THINKERS

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

How did the Jesus movement turn into the church? At what point did the church decide Jesus was God? How can God be one and three? What is heresy and why did it matter? How did Christianity relate to surrounding philosophy? Did theology develop and change? What were the sources for Christian thought and doctrine? The course introduces students to these questions through the rich history of Christian thought by considering a number of representative theological thinkers, such as Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin. Assessment is through two short essays and a final essay.

DR2065: FILM AS A PUBLIC ETHICAL ARENA

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course will engage students as active citizens through the viewing and discussion of films engaging contemporary moral issues. Feature length films, most often documentaries, will be screened during the class session and will be followed by student-led classroom debates about the issues raised. Each session will end with a lecture on the topic raised by the film. Assessment will be by way of short student papers explaining how the debates have led students to change their views on the discussed topics. Possible topics may include: environmentalism, energy policy, human relations with animals and food, global geopolitics and more.

DR2066: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course investigates basic questions about the nature and rationality of religious beliefs and practices. We’ll think together about such topics as arguments for the existence of God, the concept and attributes of God, the nature of religious language, the problem of evil, the question of miracles, and the challenges of religious pluralism, etc. We’ll do this in part by reading and debating in tutorials short classic texts in the long tradition of Philosophy of Religion. The course presumes no previous philosophical knowledge, only a keen interest in thinking patiently and critically about the subject matter.

DR2549: THE PILGRIM CITY

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

DR2549 traces the history of Christianity from its establishment as the religion of the Roman Empire to the period just prior to its arrival in the Americas in the late 15th century. Lectures and seminars examine some of the main strands of Christian theology, spirituality and institutional life in this period and also consider marginal groups such as the Cathars and Waldensians, as well as mediaeval Christianity’s relationship with religions of pre-Christian Europe. The course provides useful historical and theological background for students interested in the Reformation period as well as in mediaeval art, literature and history. See course guide

DR2559: EARLIEST PORTRAITS OF JESUS

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

Early portraits of Jesus are found both inside and outside the New Testament. This course introduces the four canonical gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – and gives the opportunity for detailed study especially of the Gospel of Matthew. But it also introduces several of the later gospels, which were never included in the New Testament but which enjoyed widespread popularity within some groups. Beside detailed exegesis, the theological issues of early Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy will be treated, as well as recently raised questions of lost Christianities and Scriptures. This course is essential in understanding early Christianity. Course guide

DR2564: THE THEOLOGY AND PRACTICE OF PREACHING

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course introduces students to the discipline of ‘homiletics’, the artful verbal communication of the Christian gospel in the context of public worship and beyond. We’ll consider fundamental questions about the theology of preaching, the role of biblical exegesis in sermon preparation, the forms and aims of the sermon, the place of preaching within the context of Christian worship and the question of effective communication to diverse audiences.  We will engage these topics through a mix of directed reading, formative exercises, web-facilitated seminar discussions and summative assessments. For further details see the course guide

DR2565: VIRTUE AND FREEDOM: EXPLORING THE TRADITION OF WESTERN ETHICS

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

How do we know right from wrong? What are our responsibilities towards others? How should we engage with social and political problems and issues? What constitutes a good life? This course provides an opportunity for students to explore the rich tradition of Western ethical reflection and moral formation. It does so by surveying the various ways in which ethics and morality have been understood and approached by major figures in the Western tradition. For further details see the course guide

HC2503: ANCIENT GREECE

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course covers the ancient Greeks from the Bronze Age through to the conquest of Greece by Rome, focusing on the most distinctive aspects of Greek culture, particularly its political and intellectual history. For further details see the course guide

RS2004: ECONOMIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES OF RELIGION

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

A survey of leading theories of religion from the fields of economics and psychology. The main issues to be considered will be: what aspects of religion is each theory trying to explain; what aspects does the theory succeed in explaining; and how does the theory reflect the discipline from which it comes?

RS2007: RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD 3 - ABRAHAMIC TRADITIONS

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course develops a Religious Studies perspective on religions. Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions will be explored in their historical, systematic, and practical/ritual dimensions. This course will not seek whether one religion is more advanced, better, or prefarable over another. The  'truth' claims made by those traditions are not the subject of the course. On the contrary, issues such as: what does the term 'Abrahamic' mean? What are the main differences and similarities between those traditions and their respective founders? lie at the core of this course's aims.

RS2503: SOCIOLOGICAL AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORIES OF RELIGION

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

A survey of six leading theories of religion from the fields of sociology and anthropology. The main issues to be considered will be: what aspects of religion is each theory trying to explain; what aspects does the theory succeed in explaining; and how does the theory reflect the discipline from which it comes? For further details see course guide

RS2507: RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD 4 - EASTERN TRADITIONS

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course develops a Religious Studies perspective on religions. Major Eastern religious traditions (including but not limited to Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism) will be explored in their historical, systematic, and practical/ritual dimensions. The course will deal with major and minor religious traditions of the east employing a syncretistic methodology. The basic principles, concepts, practices, and beliefs of those traditions will be examined from a religious studies perspective. For further details see the course guide

DR301D: THE GOSPEL AND LETTERS OF JOHN

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

'I am the light', 'I am the resurrection and the life' ... Such images from the Gospel of John and its language full of symbols and metaphors have shaped people's idea of Christ for millennia and made their mark on art and literature. This course will study the Johannine Corpus - John's Gospel and the three Epistles. We investigate the origins of the community which produced these texts, examine allegations of anti-Jewishness and Christian sectarianism and study the distinctive ideas of Christ and salvation within the literature.

DR301J: REFORMATION, REASON AND REVOLT

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course examines the history of Christianity during the early modern period (c.1450-c.1700) with a particular focus on 16th century efforts to reform the church and the permanent rifts such efforts ultimately created within western Christianity. Attention is given to developments in Roman Catholic doctrine and practice ensuing from internal and external pressure to reform, and to the origins and early development of national Protestant churches (Reformed, Lutheran and Anglican) as well as more radical Christian parties which often shared uneasy relations with political states and their allied churches.

DR301N: NEW TESTAMENT THEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

The New Testament includes 27 different works, by a number of different authors, produced over a significant time-span (less than a century). To what extent are these disparate or complementary voices? This course firstly introduces the academic discipline of New Testament Theology – its history, tasks, methods and problems – and then explores a number of New Testament texts, addressing questions of similarity, difference and development within their theology/ies. This will include particular study of one or more key theological themes (e.g. christology, pneumatology, eschatology, soteriology), by means of close study of selected New Testament texts.

DR301P: JUNIOR HONOURS SPECIAL SUBJECT

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course allows a student to do in-depth study in a specific area in Divinity or Religious Studies. The specific content of the course may vary, but the focus will include work on enhancing research skills and the completion of an academic research paper. 

On Campus - this year classes will be run under the title: ‘Ecclesiology: Speaking Theologically about the Church’. This is coordinated by Professor Tom Greggs.

Flexible Delivery; further information can be obtained through the Course Guide.  This is coordinated by Dr Sam Newington

DR351P: JUNIOR HONOURS SPECIAL SUBJECT

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course allows a student to do in-depth study in a specific area in Divinity or Religious Studies. The specific content of the course may vary, but the focus will include work on enhancing research skills and the completion of a academic research paper. Students interested in pursuing such a course of study need to obtain the permission of a supervisor and of the Head of School. For further details see the course guide

DR351U: CHRISTENDOM DIVIDED: LUTHER, CALVIN AND THE COUNCIL OF TRENT

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This newly revised course examines the central theological disputes which dominated and shaped European Christianity in the 16th century. It explores the origins and development of Protestantism with particular reference to two of the most influential Reformation theologians: Martin Luther and John Calvin. Particular attention will be given to those aspects of their thought which distinguished them from late-medieval/contemporary Roman Catholic teaching and its authoritative restatement at the Council of Trent, as well as from one another. For further details see the course guide

RS3013: UNDERSTANDING NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

The focus of this year’s course will be on the development and the main doctrinal tenets of selected East Asian (i.e. Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese) ‘new’ religious movements. Theoretical approaches of defining ‘new’ religions will be examined. Major characteristics and similarities in terms of organisation structure and doctrine will be discussed.

RS3018: THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course discusses the portrayal of prophet Muḥammad in the Islamic sources.
It will examine the existing sources for this biography and the problems that they present to modern scholars. After an overview of Muhammad's traditional biography, students will have the opportunity to conduct a guided, hands-on research project, examining their choice of a specific episode in Muhammad's life. Students will thus gain tools for independent research into primary sources, as well as knowledge of the biography of the Prophet; and will become aware of various ways for discussing and understanding the Muslim narrative of the Prophet Muhammad's life. 

DR4043: SENIOR HONOURS SPECIAL SUBJECT

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course allows a student to do in-depth study in a specific area in Divinity or Religious Studies. The specific content of the course may vary, but the focus will include work on enhancing research skills and the completion of a academic research paper. Students interested in pursuing such a course of study need to obtain the permission of a supervisor and of the Head of School.

DR4044: DISSERTATION

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course involves the writing of a dissertation in one of the sub-disciplines in Divinity and Religious Studies. Independent Research work is done under the supervision of a member of staff. The dissertation is an extended essay, of no more than 10,000 words inclusive of bibliography and references.

DR4055: GOD, CHRIST AND SALVATION

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Through lectures and close readings of selected texts, this course will introduce students to major themes in a Christian account of God and his effective presence in Jesus Christ. The first half of the course will treat the doctrine of the Trinity and the divine perfections; the second half will treat the theological understanding of the enacted identity of Jesus.

DR4089: RELIGIOUS WOMEN IN THE WEST 11TH/16TH CENTURY

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

The course will give students an insight into the lives of medieval religious women in the context of their communities. We will examine the spiritual issues and practical challenges that confronted religious women in the Middle Ages. Community life and literary production differed widely according to the rules the women followed, the resources they had command of, and their daily experiences. Additionally, the seminar will look into the piety of secular women whose religious aspirations were restricted by household chores and their duties as wives and mothers. 

DR4543: SENIOR HONOURS SPECIAL SUBJECT

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course allows a student to do in-depth study in a specific area in Divinity or Religious Studies. The specific content of the course may vary, but the focus will include work on enhancing research skills and the completion of a academic research paper. Students interested in pursuing such a course of study need to obtain the permission of a supervisor and of the Head of School.

DR4544: DISSERTATION

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course involves the writing of a dissertation in one of the sub-disciplines in Divinity and Religious Studies. Independent Research work is done under the supervision of a member of staff. The dissertation is an extended essay, of no more than 10,000 words inclusive of bibliography and references. For further details se the course guide

DR4553: CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN THE STUDY OF THE HEBREW BIBLE

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course will analyse and evaluate recent work in the study of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, including Septuagint studies. The subjects covered are currently of special importance to the development of Old Testament Studies, namely the history of ancient Israel, Pentateuch Studies and exegetical methodology, anthropology and its use in Old Testament research, and the history and theology of the Septuagint. By being introduced to these areas of research, students will be enabled to acquire a substantial knowledge of key areas and will thus be in a position to participate more fully in the exploration of the Bible. Course guide

DR4581: MAJOR THINKERS IN THEOLOGICAL ETHICS

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course will introduce students to a number of major thinkers in the area of Theological Ethics. Its focus will be on reading and discussing texts by prominent figures who are of ongoing significance.  Moreover, this course will include figures from different theological and confessional backgrounds (Catholic, Reformed, Lutheran, non-Conformist, etc.), and explore whether and how their theological commitments connect with practical stances and approaches (i.e. on issues of war and peace, sexual ethics, bioethics, etc.) For further details see the course guide

RS400A: THE IMAGE OF JESUS IN THE QURAN AND MUSLIM TRADITION

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

In this course we will discuss the biography and characterisation of Jesus, a major Muslim prophet and the expected mahdi (Islamic messiah). The course will look at the existing sources for this biography and the problems that they present to modern scholars. It will examine possible Christian origins of this figure. Through a discussion of the main episodes in the life of the Muslim Jesus we will learn of the various ways for understanding his character. The course will also discuss the status of Jesus compared with other prophets in Islam, especially Muhammad, and against the Qur'an.

RS4016: SENIOR HONOURS SPECIAL SUBJECT IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course allows a student to do in-depth study in a specific area in Divinity or Religious Studies. The specific content of the course may vary, but the focus will include work on enhancing research skills and the completion of a academic research paper.

RS4502: MYTH

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

A survey of eight leading theories of myth from the fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, and religious studies. The focus will be on the differing answers the theories give to the common questions of the origin, the function, and the subject matter of myth. Each theory will be applied to a familiar myth. For further details see the course guide

RS4503: UNDERSTANDING CONFUCIANISM

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Confucianism has played a dominant role in many parts of East Asia for more than two thousand years. The focus of this course will be on the history and the main doctrinal facets of Confucianism in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam from its beginnings to modern times. For further details see the course guide

RS4525: MAKING SACRED LANDSCAPES

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The course will begin with a study of environmentality and the use of religion and sacred as categories in UN and donor discourse. We will then look at the neo-colonial creation of people-free national parks and the rise of eco-tourism. Finally we will look at ethnographic accounts of societies creating landscapes through rituals, architecture, land management or other practices in the context of globalisation. For further details see the course guide

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