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Undergraduate Divinity 2021-2022

DR101B: RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT GREECE AND BEYOND

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

This course will explore religions of Ancient Greece and Rome.

DR102G: UTOPIA & APOCALYPSE: DREAMING THE PERFECT WORLD IN SCIENCE & RELIGION

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

What would the Perfect World look like? How is to be achieved? The history of science and religion shows us an interesting mix of answers to these questions, often in the form of actions, habits, and practices that give witness to a distinct vision of the future. We will investigate how different cultural groups have produced images of a perfect world as way of understanding the many contrasts, controversies, and conjunctions that have developed between science and religion historically.

 

DR102H: WHY BELIEVE? THINKING ABOUT GOD AND THE GOOD

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

The Philosophy of Religion investigates fundamental and longstanding questions about the nature and rationality of religious beliefs and practices. Key topics include 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. In this course we will explore such questions through close attention to classic texts within the mainstream 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.

DR1038: THE 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 a series of lectures on key topics, and tutorial seminars on researching and presenting your work, and on various early Christian texts. The course also requires 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 1

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. 

DR151Q: ATHEISM AND ATHEISMS

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

In our lifetime, Western nations are becoming increasingly detached from religion and religious practice. Now, it’s more important than ever to understand the place and function of atheism (and atheisms) in modern thought. This course will explore the historical development of atheism from ancient times, as well as more current trends in thinking. Starting with an overview of atheism in Ancient Greece and Rome, students will learn about the “death of God” and “religionless Christianity.” We will explore atheism from various angles, from theories of secularisation to New Atheism, to what happens when atheists set up a church. There will be opportunities to discuss atheism in relation to race and gender, and to think about those it includes and excludes. We’ll also consider what it means to be “spiritual but not religious.” Finally, the course will explore the future of atheism and theological engagements with it.

DR152C: MAGIC, MYSTERY, SPELLS AND POTIONS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course will look at magic in the ancient Greek, Roman and Ancient Near Eastern World. The course will explore the concept of magic and key themes associated with magical rituals and practitioners. 

DR152F: THE BIBLE IN ART, LITERATURE AND MUSIC

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

The aim of this course is to facilitate a rediscovery of the generative influence of the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity in the arts. The stories, characters, visions, prophecies, imagery, and sayings of these texts have stimulated the imagination for millennia. Indeed, the appropriation and reconfiguration of biblical and para-biblical material in art forms such as literature, music, visual art, and film is so pervasive that such influence has become commonplace to the point of being undiscernible. But this course will open new vistas on the Bible in the arts.

DR152M: SAINTS, DEMONS AND THE DESERT: CHRISTIANITY ON THE EDGE

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course explores the experience of Christians living on the edge, in the desert, from the fourth century onwards. Drawing upon the imagery of the desert in the Old Testament, Christians in the early centuries lived in the world ‘as in a desert,’ with the spiritual athletes, the martyrs, fighting the beasts in the arena. With the rise of the Christian empire in the fourth century, many withdrew to the desert, where warfare continued, this time against the demons often visualized as beasts.

DR152N: LITERATURE AND SOCIETY IN ANCIENT ISRAEL

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course contains a survey of the biblical literature of the Hebrew Bible and of the critical methods involved in its study. The course surveys the content, theology, and history of formation of key books within the Hebrew Bible. It also presents and critically evaluates source-critical, redaction-critical, form-critical, and canonical approaches to the biblical texts.

DR1536: HEBREW LANGUAGE 2

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. 

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. 

DR153F: ANCIENT WORLD AND MODERN RECEPTION: LIVING IN THE PAST

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course will explore how the ancient Greek, Roman and Ancient Near Eastern world has influenced and shaped the world in which we live.

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.

DR1573: EXPLORING THE NEW TESTAMENT

15 credits

Level 1

Second 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. Download course guide.

DR201B: RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT GREECE AND BEYOND

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course will explore religions of Ancient Greece and Rome.

DR201L: THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY

15 credits

Level 2

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 a series of lectures on key topics, and tutorial seminars on researching and presenting your work, and on various early Christian texts. The course also requires your own reading and research.

DR202G: UTOPIA & APOCALYPSE: DREAMING THE PERFECT WORLD IN SCIENCE & RELIGION

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

What would the Perfect World look like? How is to be achieved? The history of science and religion shows us an interesting mix of answers to these questions, often in the form of actions, habits, and practices that give witness to particular vision of the future. We will investigate how different cultural groups have produced images of a perfect world as way of understanding the many contrasts, controversies, and conjunctions that have developed between science and religion historically.

DR202H: WHY BELIEVE? THINKING ABOUT GOD AND THE GOOD

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

The Philosophy of Religion investigates fundamental and longstanding questions about the nature and rationality of religious beliefs and practices. Key topics include 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. In this course we will explore such questions through close attention to classic texts within the mainstream 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.

DR251N: INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: THINKING THE FAITH

15 credits

Level 2

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.

DR251Q: EXPLORING THE NEW TESTAMENT

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course will provide a level 2 (SCQF 8) version of DR1073/1573, “Exploring the New Testament,” differentiated from this by an assessment format appropriate to the SCQF Level. The courses will be delivered together, allowing efficient delivery of content. The character and contribution of the course is that of a survey-type module, of the kind that is standard in the early years of a biblical studies curriculum, and that contributes foundational knowledge for the Divinity (Theology and Religious Studies) programme, as well as being of broader interest to students outside this programme.  

DR251Y: ATHEISM AND ATHEISMS

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course will offer an overview of philosophical and theological approaches of atheism, from ancient times to the present day. It will trace the historical development of atheistic thought, beginning with ancient atheisms and pin-pointing key historical texts and developments in this area of thought. The course will explore divergent modern approaches to unbelief, including New Atheism, ‘temperate’ or ‘soft’ atheisms, and Humanism, as well as the more recent phenomenon of ‘godless religion’ and secular churches. The latter part of the course will trace theological engagement with atheism, examining religious responses to unbelief. The module will end with some discussion of how the discipline of theology might engage with atheism in both contemporary and future discourse.

DR252C: MAGIC, MYSTERY, SPELLS AND POTIONS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course will look at magic in the ancient Greek, Roman and Ancient Near Eastern World. The course will explore the concept of magic and key themes associated with magical rituals and practitioners. 

DR252F: THE BIBLE IN ART, LITERATURE AND MUSIC

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

The aim of this course is to facilitate a rediscovery of the generative influence of the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity in the arts. The stories, characters, visions, prophecies, imagery, and sayings of these texts have stimulated the imagination for millennia. Indeed, the appropriation and reconfiguration of biblical and para-biblical material in art forms such as literature, music, visual art, and film is so pervasive that such influence has become commonplace to the point of being undiscernible. But this course will open new vistas on the Bible in the arts.

DR252M: SAINTS, DEMONS AND THE DESERT: CHRISTIANITY ON THE EDGE

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course explores the experience of Christians living on the edge, in the desert, from the fourth century onwards. Drawing upon the imagery of the desert in the Old Testament, Christians in the early centuries lived in the world ‘as in a desert,’ with the spiritual athletes, the martyrs, fighting the beasts in the arena. With the rise of the Christian empire in the fourth century, many withdrew to the desert, where warfare continued, this time against the demons often visualized as beasts.

DR252N: LITERATURE AND SOCIETY IN ANCIENT ISRAEL

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course contains a survey of the biblical literature of the Hebrew Bible and of the critical methods involved in its study. The course surveys the content, theology, and history of formation of key books within the Hebrew Bible. It also presents and critically evaluates source-critical, redaction-critical, form-critical, and canonical approaches to the biblical texts.

DR302C: ENCOUNTERS WITH GREAT THEOLOGIANS

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Across two millenia, Christian theology has been advanced by contributions of leading theologians who have reflected upon substantive claims of the Christian faith, developed accounts of their interconnections and meaning, and engaged with the intellectual challenges raised in their era.  This course invites students to detailed engagement with the work of John Calvin, one of the most significant and influential theologians from the history of the Christian tradition by way of sustained study of primary texts in the context of lively seminar discussion and debate. 

DR302D: REFORMATION, REASON & REVOLT: CHURCH, POLITICS & THEOLOGY

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

The European Reformation was a time of immense ecclesiastical, social, intellectual and political transformation that changed the religious and cultural landscape of the West forever. By way of regular seminars, this course draws students into detailed exploration of critical events, developments, ideas and debates of this tumultuous period in history to consider the nature of the transformations which it bequeathed to subsequent centuries up to and including our own.

DR303G: THEOLOGY IN A DIVIDED WORLD: CONFLICT, PEACE, AND TRANSFORMATION

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course explores the nature of various forms of division and conflict in the contemporary world, and the contribution of theology to community enhancement, peace-building and transformation. Grounded in case studies of issues that divide societies (e.g. Brexit, refugees, political radicalisation, race and ethnicity), the course analyses causes of division as well as (theological) models of protest, forgiveness and transformation, with the question whether reconciliation is possibly or even desirable.  

DR352X: ANIMALS AND MONSTERS IN THE GREEK WORLD AND BEYOND

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course will explore the role of animals and monsters in the Ancient Near East, ancient Greek, Roman Worlds.

 

DR353B: GOD AND SALVATION IN THE GOSPELS AND ACTS

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

The four canonical gospels and the book of Acts are generally recognized to be our most reliable sources for historical information about Jesus and the movement that he began. Yet, they are clearly also works shaped by the beliefs of their writers or editors and the needs of the communities for which they were composed. Reading such works requires us to reflect upon the character and significance of their theology and on how this is to be related to the historical dimension of the literature, including to the figure of the historical Jesus. This course will engage in detail with the range of approaches that are taken to the historical and theological interpretation of the gospels and Acts and particularly with the ways by which beliefs about the nature of God and salvation are transformed by ‘the Christ event’.      

DR353F: WISDOM AND THE GOOD LIFE IN THE HEBREW BIBLE AND BEYOND

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Wisdom – both everyday reasoning about the good life and theological speculation about the figure of Wisdom – inspired the imagination and the faith of many religious men and women in ancient Israel and Judah. This course is dedicated to understanding the lives of these people, the texts which they produced (most of which we find in the Old Testament), and the effects they had on contemporaries and on later generations.

RS3521: MYTH

30 credits

Level 3

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. 

DR402C: ENCOUNTERS WITH GREAT THEOLOGIANS

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Across two millenia, Christian theology has been advanced by contributions of leading theologians who have reflected upon substantive claims of the Christian faith, developed accounts of their interconnections and meaning, and engaged with the intellectual challenges raised in their era.  This course invites students to detailed engagement with the work of John Calvin, one of the most significant and influential theologians from the history of the Christian tradition by way of sustained study of primary texts in the context of lively seminar discussion and debate. 

DR402D: REFORMATION, REASON & REVOLT: CHURCH, POLITICS & THEOLOGY

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

The European Reformation was a time of immense ecclesiastical, social, intellectual and political transformation that changed the religious and cultural landscape of the West forever. By way of regular seminars, this course draws students into detailed exploration of critical events, developments, ideas and debates of this tumultous period in history to consider the nature of the transformations which it bequethed to subsequent centuries up to and including our own.

DR403G: THEOLOGY IN A DIVIDED WORLD: CONFLICT, PEACE, AND TRANSFORMATION

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course explores the nature of various forms of division and conflict in the contemporary world, and the contribution of theology to community enhancement, peace-building and transformation. Grounded in case studies of issues that divide societies (e.g. Brexit, refugees, political radicalisation, race and ethnicity), the course analyses causes of division as well as (theological) models of protest, forgiveness and transformation, with the question whether reconciliation is possibly or even desirable.  

DR4043: SPECIAL SUBJECT

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

‘Secularism’ is a widely discussed phenomenon; it appears often in headlines, on the news and in public debate. As the UK and other Western countries appear to be increasingly detached from religion, it is important to understand the nuances of this thesis, what it looks like, and what impact it might have. This course will offer students an opportunity to explore the key issues and debates associated with Western secularisation. Students will begin by learning about history and development of secularism and classical secularisation theories, before examining the more recent idea of a ‘return to the sacred’ (in the form of civil religion and new forms of spirituality, such as ‘godless churches’). Students will be encouraged to consider various perspectives on secularisation, as well as the future implications of these.

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 references. Please note the 10,000 words does not include the bibliography

DR452X: ANIMALS AND MONSTERS IN THE GREEK WORLD AND BEYOND

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course will explore the role of animals and monsters in the Ancient Near East, ancient Greek, Roman Worlds.

DR453B: GOD AND SALVATION IN THE GOSPELS AND ACTS

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The four canonical gospels and the book of Acts are generally recognized to be our most reliable sources for historical information about Jesus and the movement that he began. Yet, they are clearly also works shaped by the beliefs of their writers or editors and the needs of the communities for which they were composed. Reading such works requires us to reflect upon the character and significance of their theology and on how this is to be related to the historical dimension of the literature, including to the figure of the historical Jesus. This course will engage in detail with the range of approaches that are taken to the historical and theological interpretation of the gospels and Acts and particularly with the ways by which beliefs about the nature of God and salvation are transformed by ‘the Christ event’.      

DR453F: WISDOM AND THE GOOD LIFE IN THE HEBREW BIBLE AND BEYOND

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Wisdom – both everyday reasoning about the good life and theological speculation about the figure of Wisdom – inspired the imagination and the faith of many religious men and women in ancient Israel and Judah. This course is dedicated to understanding the lives of these people, the texts which they produced (most of which we find in the Old Testament), and the effects they had on contemporaries and on later generations.

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 references. Please note the 10,000 words does not include the bibliography

DR4554: 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 questions of the origin, the function, and the subject matter of myth. Each theory will be applied to a familiar myth. 

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