Course Descriptions for the Final Honour Schools and Postgraduate Diploma

Course Options for the Final Honour Schools and Postgraduate Diploma

On this page you may view official descriptions for individual papers (course options) which may be studied by students enrolled on the following programmes:
BA students study these papers in the last two years of their course for the final Honour School examination.  The paper descriptions below are relevant to students commencing study of the Honour School in or after 2023 for examination from 2025 or commencing study of the Postgraduate Diploma in or after 2023, for examination from 2024.
 
The regulations for each Honour School and the Postgraduate Diploma prescribe both the number of papers to be studied and any papers that are compulsory for examination. The relevant syllabus and its requirements are outlined in the relevant BA course information page (linked above) or the Handbook for the Postgraduate Diploma. In all cases, the Examination Regulations are authoritative.
 
The individual paper descriptions also specify requirements and restrictions which are binding on students for any or all of the Honour Schools and Postgraduate Diploma. A brief indication of this information is also given in the  Recommended Pattern of Teaching table (access via link on this page) but the full description should be consulted for details.
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The individual paper descriptions also include a summary of the following details.
  • Aims and objectives – defining the skills, knowledge and competencies that students will gain in study and demonstrate in assessment.
  • Delivery – summarising how the paper is taught. The lecture, class and tutorial descriptions are indicative rather than definitive, and may vary from what is listed, in terms of timing, number and content. Please consult the Recommended Pattern of Teaching table (access via link on this page) for information on how Faculty Teaching is currently distributed.
  • Assessment – how and when the paper will be assessed, subject to Examination Regulations.
Current students are able to access supplementary information, including specimen examination papers, notices, forms, lecture materials and other useful resources on Canvas. Bibliographies are available on ORLO and past examination papers on OXAM.
 
The details for some papers may alter from year to year.  Where information supplied relates to a particular year this will be clearly indicated, please make sure that you consult the information relevant to the year in which you will be examined. You can view a complete log of changes in the Version Log (access via link on this page). 
 
Certain papers may not be delivered every year. The Faculty forecasts the availability of papers in future years and that forecast is displayed the Recommended Pattern of Teaching table (access via link on the right of this page). The individual paper descriptions are also divided into two categories to aid navigation: (i) those papers expected to be available every year and (ii) those papers that may not be available every year. Regrettably, it is sometimes necessary to withdraw a paper at short notice. Prospective students and applicants are advised that the course undertaken by students in future years may vary in its detail. Please see the University’s information on potential course changes.
Papers the Faculty expects to run every year

The papers listed below are normally available for study every year.

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Description

This paper explores the rich and diverse world of biblical narrative, particularly in light of various methods of approaching narrative, coping with divergent sources behind narratives, investigating the often loaded way in which language and quotations are used in narratives, exploring aspects of cultural borrowing within narratives, and look at multiple narratives in multiple genres within the exilic and post-exilic periods.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper.

Set Texts

For Honour School and PGDip Examination in 2024, these focus on the stories of primeval times that were seen as shaping the world (Genesis 1–11) and on the accounts of the last days of the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 24–25; 2 Chronicles 36) and there will also be an opportunity to comment on the Hebrew text of Genesis 6-8.


For Honour School and PGDip Examination from 2025:

Genesis 1-3
2 Kings 24-25
2 Chr 36
Ezra 1-6, 9-10
Nehemiah 9
Jeremiah 29:1-23
And from Porten, Bezalel, and Ada Yardeni. Textbook of Aramaic Documents from Ancient Egypt. 4 vols. Hebrew University, Department of the History of the Jewish People, Texts and Studies for Students. Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1986–1999:

Volume 1 (letters), pp. 69-75 - Request (and draft) for Letter of Recommendation 407 BCE
Volume 2 (contracts), pp. 15-39 - Mibtahiah Archive 471-410 BCE.

There will also be an opportunity to comment on the Hebrew text of Genesis 1-3.


According to the year of examination, examiners will set gobbets selected from only those chapters/sections indicated in the above lists. The English translation of the Bible used in examinations will be the New Revised Standard Version. The Hebrew text used will be from the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 1967/77.

Aims

To develop and refine students understanding of the various ways in which narratives operate in terms of sources, editing, and cultural borrowing and to equip students with a range of heuristic lenses through which to understand and contextualise biblical texts.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Have developed a refined, critical awareness of the numerous ways in which biblical narrative can be contextualised.
  • Have developed a deep knowledge of the history of the exilic and post-exilic periods through examining primary biblical and non-biblical material.
  • Understand the pertinent critical issues currently debated among scholars concerning each of the texts and periods specified.
  • Be able to write intelligently on the selected texts and topics in dialogue with both primary material and scholars.

Delivery

8 Lectures; 4 Classes; 8 Tutorials

Students should attend 8 lectures on Narrative World of the Hebrew Bible in Michaelmas Term.  Students are also expected to attend 4 classes in Hilary Term. Each of these classes will require no more than one hour of preparation and will focus on the set texts in English (for example, comparing the set chapters from Kings and Chronicles with two commentaries; comparing the flood accounts in Genesis with other comparative flood narratives), prominent secondary material, and wider metacritical issues relating to scholarship in the area.

Students who have not taken paper 1101 Introduction to the Study of the Bible for the Preliminary Examination are encouraged to attend the Introduction to the Hebrew Bible lectures in Michaelmas Term.

Students intending to study the set text Genesis 6-8 in Hebrew are encouraged to attend the Intermediate Hebrew classes offered by the Faculty, which will cover the Hebrew set texts for papers Narrative World of the Hebrew Bible and Poetic World of the Hebrew Bible.

Assessment

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma

Candidates should answer three questions, one of which requires comment on extracts from the set texts. Candidates may choose to comment only on extracts set by the examiner in English, only on extracts set in Hebrew or a combination of extracts, each set in either English or Hebrew.

Description

This paper investigates the poetic traditions of the Old Testament, including prophetic, liturgical, and wisdom literature. Consideration is given to such topics as the nature of Hebrew poetry, prophecy and particular prophets, psalmody and the Psalms, wisdom and the wise, laments and love poetry, and the relation of these writings to ancient Near Eastern culture.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper.

Set Texts

For Honour School and PGDip Examination in 2024, the textual focus is on the Book Four of the Psalter (Psalms 90-106) and the poems/songs of ‘Second Isaiah’ (Isaiah 40–55) and there will also be an opportunity to comment on the Hebrew text of Psalms 93-99.


For Honour School and PGDip Examination in 2025, the textual focus is on the Book Four of the Psalter (Psalms 90-106), Proverbs 1 and 8, and the poems/songs of ‘Second Isaiah’ (Isaiah 40–55) and there will also be an opportunity to comment on the Hebrew text of Psalms 93-99.


According to the year of examination, examiners will set gobbets selected from these chapters only. The English translation of the Bible used in examinations will be the New Revised Standard Version. The Hebrew text used will be from the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 1967/77.

Aims

To enable students to acquire a knowledge of the poetic traditions in the Old Testament, and to develop critical understanding by introducing them to basic issues of method, with particular reference to the study of two major Old Testament texts.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Have gained knowledge about and understanding of the poetic traditions within the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament;
  • Have gained a close knowledge of two particular poetic texts set for special study in English, with the option of having studied a section of one of these in Hebrew;
  • Have explored the possible historical, literary and theological backgrounds to these writings and the trajectories of interpretation to which they gave rise.

Delivery

8 Lectures; 4 Classes; 8 Tutorials

Students should attend 8 lectures on Poetic World of the Hebrew Bible in Hilary Term. Students are also expected to attend 4 classes in Trinity Term. Each of these classes will require no more than one hour of preparation.

Students who have not taken paper 1101 Introduction to the Study of the Bible for the Preliminary Examination are encouraged to attend the Introduction to the Hebrew Bible lectures in Michaelmas Term.

Students intending to study the set text Pss 93-99 in Hebrew are encouraged to attend the Intermediate Hebrew classes offered by the Faculty, which will cover the Hebrew set texts for papers Narrative World of the Hebrew Bible and Poetic World of the Hebrew Bible.

Assessment

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School.

Candidates should answer three questions, one of which requires comment on extracts from the set texts. Candidates may choose to comment only on extracts set by the examiner in English, only on extracts set in Hebrew or a combination of extracts, each set in either English or Hebrew.

Description 

This paper consolidates and broadens the candidates’ knowledge of biblical Hebrew. They will gain further competence in the language and an ability to independently read, translate, and grammatically understand biblical Hebrew prose and verse texts, thereby furthering their reading skills and gaining an in-depth understanding of the texts’ morphological, syntactical and textual issues. 

Pre-requisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available for study by students in the final year of the Honour School. 

This paper is not suitable for students without some proficiency in Biblical Hebrew. 

Students who take this paper should normally have taken 1002 Biblical Hebrew for the Preliminary Examination or have attended Beginners’ Hebrew classes offered by the Faculty. Students intending to take this paper are encouraged to attend the Intermediate Hebrew classes offered by the Faculty. 

Students should also have taken or intend to take at least one of Narrative World of the Hebrew Bible or Poetic World of the Hebrew Bible.  

Postgraduate Diploma students intending to take this paper must have studied Hebrew previously and should consult the class tutor and their Director of Studies about whether or not this paper is an appropriate choice for them. 

Set Texts 

The list of set texts may vary from year to year. The texts selected for examination from 2025 are: 

Exodus 12 

1 Kings 12 

Ezekiel 37 

Psalms 136, 137 

Ecclesiastes 3 

The Hebrew text used will be from the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 1967/77. 

Aims 

To increase the students’ competence in the language and ability to read the Hebrew Bible, through the study of prose and verse texts from different biblical genres. 

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will: 

  • Have a good grasp of biblical Hebrew grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. 
  • Be able to read most of the prose sections of the Hebrew Bible, as well as some verse sections. 
  • Be able to translate and point the set texts from the Hebrew Bible, and to comment intelligently on points of linguistic and textual interest. 
  • Be able to answer questions on biblical Hebrew grammar and syntax. 
  • Be able to translate English prose into vocalized, biblical Hebrew. 

Delivery  

40 classes; 4 tutorials 

Two classes per week in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms and in weeks 1-4 of Trinity Term.  Tutorials offer more individualised support for learning grammar and reviewing the set texts.  

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School (or Postgraduate Diploma).

Description

The Gospels paper will introduce students to foundational understanding of the Gospels of Matthew and John as exemplifying early Christianity’s two most influential normative expressions of the Jesus tradition. While offering an introduction to the backgrounds and origins of the gospels, and to leading scholarly theories about literary relationships between them, the primary aim will be to develop familiarity with the historical, critical, theological and interpretative issues raised by the Gospels of Matthew and John in their canonical form. Teaching for this paper will also aim at least selectively to illustrate the gospels’ place within the wider biblical context, and to show how their exegesis and/or reception bears on issues of Christian history, doctrine, and relations with other religious traditions.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper.

Set Texts

(in English and/or Greek):

Matthew 2-3, 5-9, 17, 26-28

John 1, 5-6, 8, 11, 17, 19-20

Examiners will set gobbets selected from these chapters only. The English translation of the Bible used in examinations will be the New Revised Standard Version. The Greek text used will be from the Novum Testamentum Graece (Nestle-Aland), 28th Edition; Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 2012.

Aims

The paper aims to provide foundational understanding of the Gospels of Matthew and John as exemplifying early Christianity’s two most influential normative expressions of the Jesus tradition. The primary aim will be to develop familiarity with the Gospels of Matthew and John in their canonical form and setting.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Have gained a close familiarity with the text and meaning of the Gospels of Matthew and John;
  • Be able to give an account of their historical origin and setting;
  • Have a thorough grasp of the main historical, critical and theological issues raised by these texts;
  • Be able to exegete and comment on particular texts assigned for special study, and to illustrate how selected passages bear on matters of ancient and/or contemporary interpretation.

Delivery

16 lectures; 8 tutorials.

The 8 lectures on each of Matthew and John provide a general framework for understanding. Each series of 8 lectures will include two lectures focussing on the set chapters for each Gospel. Lectures will assume study of the text in English, although some reference may be made to the Greek text.

Assessment

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer four questions, two of which require comment on extracts from the set texts. Candidates may choose to comment only on extracts set by the examiner in English, only on extracts set in Greek or a combination of extracts, each set in either English or Greek.

Description 

This final year paper is intended to offer students the opportunity to engage in advanced undergraduate work in Pauline studies and to apply and refine the historical, literary and theological interpretive skills they have begun to learn. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Set texts 

The set texts for this paper, taught as part of the lectures and tutorials, are: 

In Greek: Romans 5-8; 1 Corinthians 5-7; Ephesians 1-3. 

In English: Romans 5-11; 1 Corinthians 1-7, 15 and Ephesians. 

Examiners will set gobbets selected from these chapters only. The English translation of the Bible used in examinations will be the New Revised Standard Version. The Greek text used will be from the Novum Testamentum Graece (Nestle-Aland), 28th Edition; Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 2012. 

Aims 

To enable students to obtain a sound grasp of Paul’s life and letters, a detailed knowledge of Pauline theology with special reference to Romans, 1 Corinthians and Ephesians, and to have a broader understanding of the theological, ethical, literary and historical problems raised by studying the Pauline corpus in the New Testament. 

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will have: 

  • An awareness of the distinctive features of selected Pauline epistles. 
  • An ability to comment on selected texts in translation and also, optionally, in the original Greek 
  • Acquired knowledge about the relation of the set texts with other biblical texts, particularly the other writings of the Pauline corpus (including Hebrews) and Acts, as well as some understanding of Pauline theology and of the theology of the other writings in the Pauline corpus. 
  • A basic knowledge of the historical contexts of the set texts in Judaism and early Christianity, and of the social setting, organisation and ethical practices of the Pauline communities 
  • A basic knowledge of their contribution to later Christian theology. 

Delivery 

8 lectures (each of 90 minutes); 8 tutorials 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma

Candidates should answer four questions, two of which require comment on extracts from the set texts. Candidates may choose to comment only on extracts set by the examiner in English, only on extracts set in Greek or a combination of extracts, each set in either English or Greek.

Description 

This paper is designed to introduce students to Christian ethics—its concepts, its variety, its history, its major figures, some of its classic texts and its practical significance. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates for the Honour School of Philosophy and Theology may NOT combine this paper with MORE THAN THREE of the following papers: 

Theology and Religion paper, Ethics II: Religious Ethics 

Philosophy paper 103 Ethics 

Philosophy paper 116 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 

Philosophy paper 128 Practical Ethics 

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

The aim of the Christian Moral Reasoning paper is to develop a capacity for moral reasoning, specifically in terms of the Christian moral tradition. Candidates are invited to criticize what they find in this tradition, but they are advised to do so only after they have first acquired a sound understanding of it. Candidates are, of course, always free to advance their own convictions. 

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to demonstrate understanding of: 

  • Principal concepts and methodological issues in Christian moral thought 
  • Concrete issues in the light of Christian moral concepts and in relation to Christian moral sources 
  • How to marshal material from the Hebrew bible, the New Testament, classic texts and other relevant sources in support of an argument  
  • In the course of demonstrating the above, the course also aims to enable candidates, secondarily, to demonstrate some understanding of:  
  • The moral thought of relevant major figures in the history of Christian ethics—e.g., Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, Barth   
  • The variety of Christian traditions of ethics—e.g., Thomist, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, Catholic, Anabaptist 
  • The relation of Christian moral thinking to major schools of moral philosophy (e.g., those of Aristotle, Kant, and Utilitarianism) and to current intellectual trends (e.g., political liberalism, feminism, postmodernism, human rights discourse) 
  • The practical significance of Christian moral thinking to present-day debates, controversies and issues around the world 

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 classes; 8 tutorials. 

The course aims to cover a large amount of theoretical, practical, and historical territory. Candidates will be prepared for the examination paper by 4 tutorials on methodological issues and concepts such as love, natural and revealed law, the supreme good, divine command, freedom, conscience, virtues, justification, faith and grace; and 4 tutorials on concrete moral issues in sexual ethics, healthcare ethics and political ethics.  

These tutorials will be supported by a series of 8 introductory lectures on “A Christian Vision of Moral Life”, and by 8 classes on concrete moral issues concerning sexual ethics, healthcare ethics and political ethics the following term. 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

The examination paper will consist of four sections: 1. Christian Moral Concepts and Methods; 2. Sexual ethics; 3. Healthcare ethics; 4. Political Ethics. Candidates should answer three questions, of which at least one question must be answered from section 1, and at least one from another section.  

In answering questions, candidates are encouraged to show an intelligent and critical grasp of relevant classic texts, including papal encyclicals and those by such authors as Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Kant, Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer and Barth.

Description 

The paper addresses key themes in theological thinking and the study of religion in Europe and North America during the long nineteenth century. These include Biblical interpretation, the nature of authority, faith and reason, ecclesiology, Christology, romanticism, literature and imagination, spirit and history, secularization, reductionism, religious experience, and the encounter with world religions and the natural sciences. The topics will be addressed through seminal or representative texts. Four main topics with prescribed texts will be published for each year. Students are not expected to become familiar with all of these texts, but, in consultation with tutors, will focus on two or three of the prescribed texts as well as preparing one or more essays on more general issues.  

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Themes and Set Texts 

The themes and texts specified for examination are as follows. 

1. Spirit and History 

G.W.F. Hegel, “The Consummate Religion,” Part III in Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, One-Volume Edition: The Lectures of 1827, ed. By Peter C. Hodgson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988). 

Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments, ed. By Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985). 

Charles Gore, “The Holy Spirit and Inspiration,” Chapter 7 in Lux Mundi: A Series of Studies in the Religion of the Incarnation (London: John Murray, 1889). 

2. Reductionism 

Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity [1841], trans. By George Eliot (New York: Harper & Row, 1957).  

Karl Marx, Marx on Religion, ed. By John Raines (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002): “On the Jewish Question” [1843]; “Critique of Hegel’s Dialectic and General Philosophy” [1844]; “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” [1844]; “Concerning Feuerbach” [1845]; “Social Principles of Christianity” [1847].   

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality [1887], ed. By Keith Ansell-Pearson and trans. By Carol Diethe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

3. Religious Experience  

Friedrich Schleiermacher, On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers [1799], trans. By Richard Crouter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). 

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience [1902] (London: Penguin Classics, 1985). 

Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-Rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and its Relation to the Rational [1917], trans. By John W. Harvey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1958). 

4. Literature and Religion 

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Selected Tales and Sketches, ed. By Michael J. Colacurcio (London: Penguin Books, 1987): “Young Goodman Brown” [1835]; “The Minister’s Black Veil” [1836]; “Sunday at Home” [1837]; “The Celestial Railroad” [1843]; “Ethan Brand” [1850]. 

George Eliot, “Janet’s Repentance,” in Scenes of Clerical Life [1857], ed. By Jennifer Gribble (London: Penguin Books, 1998). 

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [1881], trans. By Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (New York: Vintage, 1992): “Rebellion” (Book V, chapter 4); “The Grand Inquisitor” (Book V, chapter 5); and “The Russian Monk” (Book 6). 

Aims 

  • To build on the student’s knowledge of theology and the history of religion 
  • To understand some of the key intellectual developments in the long nineteenth century that have proved significant for the history of Christianity, the emergence of the academic study of religion, and for modern society more generally 
  • To analyse and evaluate the relative merits and deficiencies of arguments concerning theology and religion as considered under various thematic rubrics 
  • To become familiar with the reception history of such arguments through engagement with substantive secondary resources 

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:  

  • A good knowledge of some of the most influential and representative texts and thinkers of the period 
  • The ability to contextualize representative texts and thinkers with respect to the larger religious, social, and political movements of the period 
  • Skills important for the historical study of religion generally, and for the history of Christianity and historical theology specifically, by assessing different sorts of historical materials, and by analysing the broader context of the period 
  • The capacity to think theologically, holding in view classic texts from the tradition 

Delivery 

16 lectures; 8 tutorials 

The lectures offer thematic coverage and historical contextualization of the complex intellectual developments in theology and religion across the period; the tutorials enable students to explore and interrogate these themes in greater depth through supervised personal engagement with primary and secondary literature. 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma. 

The examination paper is split into two sections. Section I focuses on the set texts and the section II contains more general questions. Candidates should answer three questions, at least one from each section.

Description 

It will develop the student’s knowledge in and understanding of, four key areas of Christian doctrine introducing sources, fundamental ideas, methods, controversies and major historical as well as contemporary positions:  

1. The Triune God 

2. Creation and Anthropology 

3. Christology and Soteriology 

4. Pneumatology and the Church. 

The paper will also explore their interrelatedness and thereby introduce students to the ordering and arrangement of the key doctrines in theological systems or summae, the reason for such an ordering, and its theological implications. In this way, students will learn the craft of theological thinking.  

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

  • To deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of main elements of Christian doctrine. 
  • To develop the engage students’ awareness of the systematic interrelationship between the key doctrines. 
  • To engage students with classic as well as contemporary expositions of key doctrines. 
  • To develop the student’s awareness of doctrinal debate and controversy including disagreements between the historic churches. 
  • To develop the student’s ability to think theologically and critically about doctrine. 

 Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will have: 

  • A good knowledge and understanding of systematic theology. 
  • Developed an ability to think theologically with an awareness of the theological implications across a system for a particular emphasis and interpretation of one key doctrine. 
  • An awareness of different theological traditions, their commonalities and disagreements.  
  • Knowledge of and ability to engage with, important theological texts regarding the four doctrinal loci.  

Delivery and Prescribed Texts 

16 lectures; 8 classes; 8 tutorials. 

The 16 lectures introduce students to each of the four doctrinal loci within their historical, confessional, and systematic contexts. They will map out for the candidates how these doctrines have been articulated, what their conceptual potential and challenges are and how they relate systematically to one another. Attention will be drawn to where theological incoherencies can occur. The broad sweep of the lecture course will enable students to contextualise the in-depth analyses of specific texts to be covered in classes.  

In the eight classes a number of prescribed texts will be examined in more depth. Through their study, students will gain an understanding of how modern theologians have approached the various doctrinal topics, how they have worked with their traditions and how they have incorporated contemporary insights and concerns. 

The written exam will be based both on the broader issues introduced in the lectures and the more specific approaches encountered in the prescribed texts. 

While candidates will not be expected to refer to all or to any particular one of the prescribed texts in their examination essays, they should show familiarity with one or more of them. The best examination scripts will display secure knowledge and critical engagement with a select range of these texts. In each year, the examination will provide scope and opportunity for a range of these prescribed texts to be engaged but it may not be possible to refer to every text, every year. Students are therefore advised to prepare multiple texts from across the doctrinal loci. Please note that as distinct from so-called ‘set texts’ in other papers, the examination will not include gobbets and candidates will not be required to offer explicit commentary on selected portions of text.  

The following texts will be prescribed for examination: 

1. Trinity

Week One: Walter Kasper, The God of Jesus Christ (London: T & T Clark, 2012), 264-314. 

Week Two: John Zizioulas, Being as Communion (New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1997), 27-65. 

2. Creation and Anthropology 

Week Three: Rosemary Radford Ruether: ‘Ecofeminism: First and Third World Women’ in American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 18/1 (1997), 33-45. 

Week Four: James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation (40th Anniversary Edition; Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2010), 87-115. 

3. Christ and Salvation 

Week Five: Graham Ward, Christ and Culture (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), 29-59. 

Week Six: Kathryn Tanner: Christ the Key (Cambridge: CUP, 2010), 247-73. 

4. Pneumatology and Church 

Week Seven: Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes. Available online at: 

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html and 

 http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html

Week Eight: Stanley Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 1983), 96-115. 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

The exam paper will be divided into four parts according to the four doctrinal loci. Candidates should answer three questions from at least two different parts

Description 

Does it make sense to say that God is both three and one? Or that Christ is both fully human and fully divine? How can God speak to human beings through scripture? And what’s going on in the eucharist? In the history of Christian thought, questions like these are perennial, but the intellectual resources with which we try to address them constantly evolve. For this paper, students will draw on the methods of contemporary philosophy to assess the meaning, coherence, and truth of key Christian doctrines and practices. No background in any specific method of philosophy is required, though successful student work should display careful, structured, logical reasoning and transparent arguments, as well as careful attention to the development of doctrine and the resources of the Christian tradition. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

There are no specified prerequisites for this paper, although to have studied any of Philosophy of Religion; Key Themes in Systematic Theology: God, Creation, Christ and Church; and From Nicaea to Chalcedon: Trinity, Christology and Grace can be helpful.

Aims 

To enable students, many of whom will not have had prior exposure to Christian philosophical theology, to reflect critically on main areas of Christian theology using some concepts and techniques of contemporary philosophy. 

Objectives 

Students who have studied for this paper will have: 

  • Have some detailed knowledge of main Christian doctrines. 
  • Have some detailed knowledge of some of the specified texts. 
  • Be able to reflect philosophically on the coherence and plausibility (or not) of major Christian doctrines. 

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 tutorials.  

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma. 

Candidates should answer three questions.

Until 2023, past papers on OXAM are titled ‘Analytic Philosophy and Christian Theology’.

Description

Each year the Faculty will offer more than one paper focused on a ‘Special Theologian’. Every Hilary Term, the Faculty will announce below on this webpage which ‘Specific Theologians’ will be offered for study and examination in the following academic year, providing a brief description of the paper’s content and set texts in relation to each ‘Special Theologian’. Registration for these classes will be made on behalf of students by College Tutors and Directors of Studies (for the Postgraduate Diploma) in advance of Michaelmas Term. Students in the first year of the Honour School and Postgraduate Diploma students in the first year of part-time study are required to discuss paper options with their College Tutor or Director of Studies and indicate their preference to study one or more of these papers before the end of Trinity Term in the year preceding their final year of study.

Please note that classes will run only if a sufficient number of students register for the option. The Faculty reserves the right to withdraw a Special Theologian option before Michaelmas Term, if it has not attracted enough students to render a class viable.

In 2024-25 (examination in 2025) the following Special Theologians are offered for study:

Augustine

Luther

Kierkegaard

Cone

Scroll down this webpage for further details on each Special Theologian.

Pre-requisites and Restrictions

These papers will be delivered in Faculty-run classes and available to students in the final year of the Honour School or the Postgraduate Diploma. 
If possible, part-time Postgraduate Diploma students should normally attend classes in the second year of their programme, i.e. the same year in which they will be examined. Part-time Postgraduate Diploma students, who may wish to study a ‘Special Theologian’ paper in the first year of their programme, are requested to consult the Coordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma, who will determine with the relevant tutor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, whether or not it will be feasible to postpone examination.

Occasionally and in certain circumstances, students in the first year of the Honour School may be permitted attend classes for examination in the following year. This will be permitted only at the discretion of the class tutor and in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Candidates for the Final Honour Schools (single or joint) or the Postgraduate Diploma may NOT offer more than TWO ‘Special Theologians’ papers.

These papers do not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims

To develop skills in detailed study of the texts of a major religious thinker in that thinker’s historical and intellectual context.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Have acquired understanding of selected texts by the ‘Special Theologian’ and, where appropriate, the relation of those texts to their historical and cultural circumstances.
  • Have developed skills in detailed analysis of theological texts, and in articulating their doctrinal and methodological features.
  • Be aware of the inter-relation of theological, doctrinal, philosophical and historical study, as appropriate to the ‘Special Theologian’ studied.

Delivery

8 x 90-minute classes.

Students will produce a minimum of three pieces of written work on which they receive formal feedback.

Assessment

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions, of which one will require comment on extracts from the set texts.

Description 

Students taking this paper will be able to observe the evolution of Christianity from a community of disciples to an organized Church which spanned the whole of the Mediterranean world. For convenience, the term “Church” in the present rubric embraces all professing Christians in the period from 64 to 337 A.D. though it is expected that students will become aware of the difficulties which attend the use of this term.   

Part A consists of the history of the Church as an institution, and of its relations to the Roman Empire, from the death of St Paul (c. 64 A.D.) to the death of Constantine in 337 A.D. Questions will be set on some but not necessarily all of the following: the growth of the church and the meaning of conversion; the relation of Christianity to Judaism; the diversity of early Christian communities; the causes, scope and effects of persecution; patterns of Christian ministry (including the origins of the threefold hierarchy and of  the title Papa or Pope); ecclesiastical discipline and the beginnings of monasticism; schisms caused by Judaizers, Gnostics, Montanists, Novatianists and Donatists; the development of orthodoxy and synodical government; the evolution of the biblical canon; the role of Christianity in the Constantinian Empire.  

Part B consists of the speculative and dogmatic theologies of this period. Questions will be set on some, but not necessarily all, of the following: Ignatius of Antioch; the Gnostic understanding of creation and redemption; Justin Martyr; Athenagoras; Theophilus of Antioch; Irenaeus of Lyons; Tertullian of Carthage; Clement of Alexandria; Hippolytus of Rome; Origen; Cyprian of Carthage; Novatian; Dionysius of Alexandria; Eusebius of Caesarea; Lactantius; Arius; the Nicene Creed; Athanasius of Alexandria. Candidates will be expected to show some knowledge of a theologian’s intellectual background and the historical conditions which prompted and shaped his activity as a theologian.  

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

  • To communicate knowledge of the formative period of Christian history; 
  • To impart to students an understanding of historiographic method; 
  • To promote reflection on the relation between history and doctrine. 

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will have: 

  • A clear outline narrative of events in the history of the church up to the death of Constantine; 
  • Pertinent knowledge of the history of the Roman empire during this period; 
  • Mastered principles of causal explanation in both political and intellectual history; 
  • Reflected on the teaching of at least one major theologian and on the genesis of his opinions.  

Delivery 

8 Lectures; 8 Classes; 8 tutorials.  

Assessment  

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

Christianity is regarded as one of the three great monotheistic faiths. In contrast, however, both to Judaism and to Islam, it teaches (in its traditional form) not only that there is a single God, but that this God is identical with three subjects – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – and that one of these subjects, the Son, became identical with the man Jesus of Nazareth. which cannot be understood without some study of the theological reflection and teaching which led to the expression of Christian faith in two of most important oecumenical documents of Christendom, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 and the Chalcedonian Definition of 451. The first is the foundation of all subsequent Trinitarian thinking, the second of all subsequent Christological reflection. 

The period stretching from the council of Nicaea (325) to the council of Chalcedon (451) was also a decisive one for reflection on questions surrounding the nature and working of Divine Grace, which proved to be the focus of debates on human nature, the Fall and free will in the context of the Pelagian controversy in the West. 

As well as looking at the development of conciliar theology, this paper will enable students to get to grips with the works of those theologians - Orthodox, as well as those judged heretical - who were most instrumental in debating these fundamental aspects of the Christian faith:  Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers, Cyril and Augustine of Hippo, will therefore be studied along with Arius, Eunomius, Apollinaris, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Nestorius and Pelagius. The paper will also introduce students to the historical, philosophical, social and cultural contexts which influenced these writers. In particular, early Christian reflection on the Trinity, Christology and Grace will be examined against the background of fourth/fifth century Christian life and devotion, with attention being given to Christian asceticism (including female religious life); Christian worship, devotion and art; Christian exegesis and preaching.  

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

 Aims 

  • To furnish students with an outline history of the chief developments in Christian thinking in the age of the first Christian Emperors; 
  • To promote reflection on the contexts in which Christian thinking, debate and creedal formulations emerged 
  • To promote knowledge and understanding of the presuppositions and practices which continue to inform much theological debate and speculation.  

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will:  

  • Have acquired a familiarity with the conciliar formulations of the period and the writings of the major theologians; 
  • Have acquired an understanding of the grounds for theological reflection and the methods of debate in late antiquity; 
  • Be able to reflect on the relation of theological reflection on the Trinity, Christology and Grace to Christian life and hope, both in antiquity and in the modern era.  

Delivery 

16 lectures; 8 tutorials 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

This paper aims to introduce students to a number of major topics concerning the institutions, thought and practice of medieval Christianity as it interacted with Judaism and Islam.  The course will study Christianity (including its confrontation with Paganism) in the framework of its encounters with Judaism and Islam in the medieval West.  Students will be encouraged to explore areas of similarity in the thought of the three Abrahamic religions, while recognising the distinctiveness of each. They will study key medieval Christian, Jewish, and Muslim thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas, Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon), and Averrroes (Ibn Rushd). In considering how the adherents of different religions identified themselves, they will address the extent to which religious intolerance and persecution related in medieval societies to fear of ‘the other’.  Treatment of the religions will interlock in order to demonstrate the many facets of the various interactions between Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

  • To make students aware of the fact that Christianity was not the sole religion of medieval Western Europe and to introduce students to the many facets of interactions between Christianity, Judaism and Islam. 
  • To introduce students to important topics in a formative period in the development of the Western Church  
  • To teach students to distinguish between the institutions of the medieval Church and its teachings, as well as to distinguish between learned theology of the elite and religious expression of the laity. 
  • To introduce students to an exciting period of intellectual growth and to study its impact on the doctrinal and institutional developments of the Church. 
  • To be introduced to the work of a number of major Christian, Jewish, and Muslim medieval thinkers. 

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will: 

  • Have a sound overview of the major developments of the medieval western Church 
  • Understand the importance of the Middle Ages for the development of the doctrines and institutions of the Western Church 
  • Understand the importance of studying the interactions between Christians, Jews and Muslims to gain an understanding of the history of medieval Europe, and the attitudes of Christians towards those they described as Pagans  
  • Understand the importance of the medieval encounter between Christians, Jews and Muslims for subsequent attitudes in Christianity, Judaism and Islam concerning the religious self in relationship to the religious other. 

Delivery 

12 lectures; 4 classes; 8 tutorials. 

  Week

MT 1 Reform I: the papacy (Gregorian reforms, peace of God/truce of God, investiture controversy)
MT 2 Reform II: monasticism (10th-century Benedictines, 11th-century hermits, Cistercians)
MT 3 Anselm of Canterbury
MT 4 Twelfth Century Renaissance (schools, universities, 'humanism', old and new masters)
MT 5 Abelard
MT 6 Jews in medieval society
MT7 Crusades CLASS
MT8 Study of the Bible (trip to Bodleian to visit manuscripts - CLASS)
HT 1 Christians, Jews and Muslims in Iberia
HT 2 Averroes and Maimonides
HT 3 Friars
HT 4 Heresy
HT 5 Popular religion CLASS
HT 6 Aquinas
HT 7 Scotus and Ockham
HT 8 Mysticism CLASS

  

Assessment  

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

The paper requires an understanding of the late-medieval Church, the work and thought of the leading reformers – particularly Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin – together with the radicals, and the impact of the Reformation on European society in areas ranging from visual culture to gender relations to humanist scholarship. Students will also be introduced to varieties of renewal and reaction in the Roman Catholic Church, and to the religious changes in England from the Henrician reforms to the reign of Charles I and the civil wars in his kingdoms. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

  • To gain an integrated view of the historical and doctrinal developments which led to ruptures in the Western Latin Church. 
  • To sample the full range of the period which extended from the last decades of the undivided Western Church through to the wars in Europe in the early seventeenth century, 
  • To appreciate the extent to which these wars were related to religious conflict. 

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will have: 

  • Have a clear understanding of why the Western Latin Church proved vulnerable to calls for reform 
  • Be familiar with the work and thought of the leading magisterial Protestant reformers, and be able to identify what constituted radical theological alternatives
  • Have been introduced to the impact of the Reformation on European society 
  • Be aware of the reforming movements within and responses to the Protestant separation from the Roman Catholic Church 
  • Have gained a sense of the slow and untidy evolution of confessional identities up to the end of the Thirty Years' War (1648). They will be able to explain how confessional tensions interacted with political interests 
  • Have been introduced to the course of religious change in England from the reforms and legislative acts of Henry VIII up to the downfall of Charles I, and to see how religious disputes shaped the conflicts which (temporarily) destroyed the monarchy in the Stuarts’ three kingdoms. They may choose to study the English Reformation in greater or lesser depth, in balance with the wider European picture. 

Delivery 

16 lectures; 8 tutorials 

Two lecture series spanning two terms are core to this paper: The Reformation in Europe and The English Reformation

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

This paper aims to acquaint students with some of the self-understandings of Judaism that have emerged during its critical passage into the Modern world and beyond. A selection of the different theological responses that have developed in Modern Judaism will be studied focusing on the theological and practical implications for Jews and Judaism of such topics as: individual autonomy, religious authority, revelation, gender, the Holy Land, and the Shoah. By the end of the course, students should have developed the skills critically to assess the theological development of contemporary Judaism.  While the tutorials require students to undertake independent research and provide an opportunity for a focused examination of the various topics under consideration, the lectures offer more of an historical overview and a chance for the study of selected primary texts, including the writings of certain prominent Jewish thinkers from the late eighteenth century onwards 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

This paper aims to give students some insight into the development of Modern Judaism. It aims to demonstrate how Judaism adapted to relate to the surrounding cultures with which it came to experience increasing contact and especially how it has responded to the challenges associated with ideas linked to modernity and postmodernism. It seeks to help students to develop a conceptual understanding of the thought and practice that underpin the Jewish worldview and acquire an understanding of Judaism as the historic and evolving religious expression of the Jewish people. 

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will: 

  • Acquire an understanding of Judaism as a living religion, in a constant state of development as it responds to changing social and intellectual perspectives. Students should have become aware of the complexities of contemporary Judaism encompassing a broad range of affiliations, beliefs, and practices. 
  • Be aware of the theological development of Judaism from around the time of the French Revolution onwards and have attained an understanding of the different religious movements that have emerged in Modern Judaism.  
  • Attain an understanding of the differing theological viewpoints of some of the major religious leaders associated with the modern religious movements of Judaism, including the work of key contemporary scholars. They should also have become acquainted with and analysed the contents of major historical documents such as the Answers to Napoleon of the Jewish Assembly of Notables (1806), the rabbinic critique of nascent Reform These are the Words of the Covenant (1819), and the various Platforms of the Central Conference of American (Reform) Rabbis. 
  • Have considered the impact of the Shoah (Holocaust), Zionism and the creation of the State of Israel, and issues such as feminism and environmentalism  on contemporary Jewish thought. 

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 tutorials.  

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

The paper covers the historical origins and development of the theology, law and mysticism of Islam, from the seventh to the fifteenth centuries. It will consist of questions on the Prophethood of Muhammad; the Qur’an; the Hadith; Shi`ism; Islamic theology (kalam); Islamic law (shari`a); Sufism (tasawwuf); and classical Muslim authorities. Candidates should be aware of the various interpretative methods relating to Muslim Scripture, the main debates and historical controversies of the Islamic tradition, and of contemporary methodologies in philosophy of religion. References to other religious traditions may be included. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

The paper aims to cover the historical origins and development of the theology, law and mysticism of Islam, from the seventh to the fifteenth centuries. 

Objectives  

Students who successfully complete this paper will have: 

  • Studied questions on the prophethood of Muhammad; the Qur’an; the Hadith; the nature of Shi‘ism; Islamic theology (kalam); Islamic law (shari‘a); Sufism (tasawwuf); and the relationship of Islam with other religions, in particular, Christianity. 
  • Had the opportunity to learn about the theologies of the Mu‘tazilas, Ash‘aris and Hanbalis; the Sunni law schools of the Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis; and the major Sufi orders. 
  • Had the occasion to learn about the various classical Muslim authorities from among the theologians (mutakallimun), jurists (fuqaha’), Sufi masters (mutasawwuf) and Peripatetic philosophers (falasifa). 
  • Had an awareness of the various interpretative methods relating to Muslim Scripture, the main debates and historical controversies of the Islamic tradition, and of contemporary methodologies in philosophy of religion and comparative theology as applied to Islam. 

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 tutorials.  

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

The paper examines Islam against the background of recent history, including such topics as: Islamic reformism in the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries; various Islamic movements including the anti-Hadith faction and Wahhabism; women and Islam; democracy and Islam; violence and war in Islam; and various modern Muslim thinkers. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

The paper aims to examine Islam against the background of recent history and contemporary society, from the nineteenth century to the present day, with a particular focus on how Muslims have responded to the challenges of the modern world. 

Objectives  

Students who successfully complete this paper will have: 

  • Studied the impact of colonization on Muslim religious discourse and Islamic reformism in the nineteenth century and beyond. 
  • Had the opportunity to be acquainted with various modern Muslim thinkers and a range of topical debates, including the anti-Hadith controversy; the nature of Wahhabism; the ethics of war and/or jihad; the Muslim discourse on feminism; the Islamic discourse on politics, state and democracy; and the anti-Sufi trend.  
  • Had an awareness of the various Islamic movements in the modern world and their respective counterparts in the classical period, and the diversity of religious developments in contemporary Muslim societies. 

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 tutorials. 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

The paper deals with the main historical, religious, and philosophical aspects of early Buddhism, covering the period from the time from the historical Buddha up to the up to the development of the Abhidhamma/Abhidharma. Tutorials will enable students to further discuss and analyse the main topics dealt with during the course, thus representing an ideal complement to the lectures. It is hoped that in this way the students will be able to develop a critical perspective on the subject of the paper and the relevant scholarship. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

To introduce students to the main historical, religious, and philosophical aspects of early Buddhism in a way which stimulates thought and contextualises Buddhism within the intellectual world of ancient India.

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will: 

  • Have a basic knowledge of the main historical, religious, and philosophical aspects of early Buddhism.
  • Have a basic knowledge of the major trends in modern scholarship on the subject. 
  • Have written a series of coherent essays on topics central to the subject. 

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 tutorials.  

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

This paper deals with historical, religious, and philosophical aspects of Mahāyāna Buddhism as it developed from the beginning of the common era, with a focus on the first millennium C.E. The paper will address the genesis and development of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India, its interaction with the larger intellectual context of the Indian subcontinent, and aspects of the subsequent dissemination of Mahāyāna to other parts of Asia. The tutorials will enable students to further discuss and analyse the main topics dealt with during the course, thus representing an ideal complement to the lectures. It is hoped that in this way students will be able to develop a critical perspective on the subject of the paper and the relevant scholarship. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

To acquaint the students with the main historical, religious, and philosophical aspects of Mahāyāna Buddhism, its intellectual context, and its dissemination throughout Asia. 

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will: 

  • Have a basic knowledge of the main historical, religious, and philosophical aspects of Mahāyāna Buddhism, its intellectual context, and its dissemination throughout Asia. 
  • Have a basic knowledge of the major trends in modern scholarship on the subject. 
  • Have written a series of coherent essays on topics central to the subject. 

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 tutorials. 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School and Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

This paper offers a thematic and historical introduction to the sources and development of Hindu traditions from their early formation to the medieval period. We will explore the formation of Hindu traditions through textual sources, such as the Vedas, Upaniṣads and Bhagavad Gītā, along with the practices and social institutions that formed classical Hindu traditions. The lectures will include an introduction to Hindu philosophy. Lectures describe the history of the development of Hinduism, while tutorials follow the general historical trajectory of the lectures, focussing in more depth on specific topics. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

To present the history of Classical Hinduism.  

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will have: 

  • Knowledge of the sources and development of Hinduism 
  • Knowledge about key classical texts  
  • Be able critically to assess scholarly debates about the origins and development of Hinduism.  

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 tutorials. 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

Taking up from where the paper Hinduism: Sources and Formations left off, this paper traces the development of Hinduism from the medieval period through to modernity. The course will examine Hindu scholasticism, devotional and tantric traditions, and modern Hindu thought. The lectures will explore themes of liberation, the soul and the divine, Tantra and meditation, devotional literature and the formation of modern Hindu identity. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

To develop the history of Hinduism from the medieval period through to modernity.  

Objectives  

Students who successfully complete this paper will have: 

  • Knowledge of how Hinduism developed after the classical period.  
  • Be able critically to assess the development of religious, philosophical and social ideas. 
  • Familiarity with key texts, schools of thought, and traditions of practice. 

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 tutorials. 

The lectures describe the development of scholastic, devotional and tantric Hinduism into the modern period and follow on from the paper Hinduism: Sources and Formations. The tutorials follow the general historical trajectory of the lectures, focusing in more depth on specific topics. 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Until 2024, past papers on OXAM are titled 'Modern Hinduism'.

Description 

There is presently considerable interest in the relation of science and religion in the academy, church, and wider culture. These lectures deal with both the historical interaction of Christian theology and the natural sciences, as well as more recent debates, including some arising from the New Atheism – such as the role of evidence in determining beliefs in science and religion, and the place of science in contemporary culture, as well as issues raised for theology by cosmology, evolutionary theory, and the cognitive science of religion. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

The course aims to develop a rigorous and critically informed understanding of historical debates in the field, as well as of contemporary discussions of issues of major importance, including models and narratives for relating science and religion.  

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will: 

  • Have acquired a critical understanding of the different models routinely used to relate scientific knowledge and practice to religious understandings of the world.  
  • Be able to discuss the rise of scientific naturalism and offer a balanced account of the problems it has raised for religious belief.  
  • Have an understanding of major scientific developments such as Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and contemporary cosmology and the questions they have raised for religious belief, as well as the impact of religion on the shaping of a scientific culture.  
  • Have an appreciation of the impact of philosophical issues and of historical contexts on the way in which the relationship between science and religion has been understood. 

Delivery 

16 lectures; 8 tutorials.   

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description 

This paper examines the main classical and contemporary approaches to the study of religion, and the emergence of Religious Studies as an academic discipline. Candidates will be introduced to major theorists from the field, and are required to engage critically in examining the comparative study of religions, the relations between religious belief and religious practice, and the central roles of phenomena myth, symbol, and ritual in theoretical discussions of religion over the course of the 20th century. Tutorials aim to enable students to engage with theories covered in lectures. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions 

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

The aim of this course is to enable students to take an informed view of the place of religion in the modern world, through engaging with primary theoretical texts.  

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will: 

  • Have acquired a good knowledge of the main classical studies in the field of the Study of Religions in the 20th century. 
  • Be aware in a general and accurate way of both the main attempts to define religion and the problems of defining it. They should also understand the difference between defining religion as a universal phenomenon and locating religions in particular cultural contexts.  
  • Be aware of a number of major debates in the field of religious studies, e.g. the outsider/insider problem, religious pluralism, the construction of identity, gender issues, religious violence, phenomenology, post-colonialism, and the benefits and limits of comparison.  
  • Be enabled to make critical use of these theoretical discussions in their study of different religions. 

Delivery 

8 lectures; 8 tutorials. 

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description

Students may offer a thesis on a subject in the field of Theology and Religion. The subject of the thesis is determined by the student (in consultation with a supervisor and pending approval on behalf of the Faculty Board). It need not fall within the areas covered by the papers offered Honour School of Theology and Religion. It may overlap any subject or period on which the candidate offers papers, but the candidate should not reproduce the content of his or her thesis in any answer to a question in the examination.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

Candidates for the Final Honour School in Theology and Religion are required to submit a thesis as one of their eight papers.

Candidates for the Final Honour School in Philosophy and Theology may choose to submit a thesis as a fourth or fifth Theology/Religion paper.

Candidates for the Final Honour School in Religion and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies may submit a thesis as a third, fourth or fifth Theology/Religion paper. Candidates for the Final Honour School in Religion and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies may NOT combine a Theology and Religion thesis with an Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Dissertation, however candidates are required to submit EITHER a Theology and Religion Thesis OR an Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Dissertation.

Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma in Theology and Religion may NOT offer a thesis.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete their thesis will have (under the guidance of their supervisor):

  • formulated an appropriate research question and planned the work necessary for the thesis to be undertaken over several months.
  • undertaken significant research (involving primary sources, secondary sources and/or field work) necessary to answering their research question. 
  • produced a written thesis of no more than 12,000 words (including footnotes and any appendices - if included - but excluding bibliography) in response to their research questions.

Delivery

Students receive up to 5 hours of supervision to be distributed across the period of the thesis’ preparation, at the supervisor’s discretion and in consultation with the student and college.

Assessment

All candidates submitting a thesis must satisfy the following requirements.

  1. The thesis should not exceed 12,000 words, including notes and appendices but excluding bibliography. 
  2. Students will decide on the subject of their thesis individually, in consultation with their supervisors. Prior approval of the title of the thesis must be sought from the Board of the Faculty of Theology and Religion not later than 4 p.m. on Friday of Week 3 of Michaelmas Term in the final year of the Honour School. The request for approval should be made according to instructions issued by the Faculty Office. Titles will be reviewed and must be approved on behalf of the Faculty Board before the submission deadline.
  3. The thesis should be submitted via upload to the University-approved online assessment platform by noon on Monday of week 9 of Hilary term in the final year of the Honour School. Candidates will be required to make a ‘Declaration of Authorship.’ See University Guidance and Information here and here for further details.

For comprehensive guidance relating to the Thesis, current students should consult the Canvas Module, Written Work submitted for Examination in the Theology and Religion Undergraduate Information Container.

Description

Students may offer an extended essay on a topic falling within one of the following subject areas:

Judaism

Islam

Buddhism

Hinduism

Science and Religion

This paper is intended to enable students to explore further a subject area which has already been studied in another paper. The precise topic of the essay will be decided by the individual student in consultation with the tutor and a proposed title must be approved on behalf of the Faculty Board.

This paper is a taught-paper (and not a research paper), which allows for guided focused learning. Nevertheless, it has some things in common with the undergraduate thesis. In both cases, a student is required to select a research question, conduct research over an extended period of time and to articulate the findings, argument and conclusion in extended writing which conforms to appropriate scholarly conventions, e.g. in terms of referencing. Much of the advice pertaining to preparation of the undergraduate thesis is equally applicable to the extended essay. Both require submission of a long piece of written work; the thesis may be up to 20% longer than the extended essay and requires reading and other work commensurate with its longer length. Both are specific to an individual student, determined by the student’s interest and are pursued over an extended period. The extended essay, however, anticipates work usually over a shorter period than for the thesis and may involve closer and more frequent direction by a tutor, with 8 hours of tutorials, rather than 5 hours of supervision for the thesis.

Pre-requisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all Honour School and Postgraduate Diploma students.

Students offering an extended essay should also offer another paper related to the same subject area, and would normally have completed this paper before commencing work on their extended essay. The relevance of other papers to the Further Studies in a Special Topic extended essay is a matter of discretion and normally determined by the College Tutor and subject tutor.

Candidates for the Final Honour Schools (single or joint) or the Postgraduate Diploma may NOT offer more than TWO Further Studies in a Special Topic extended essays and may NOT offer more than ONE extended essay in any one of the subject areas listed above.

Candidates for the final Honour Schools (single and joint) and PGDip students may NOT combine this paper with MORE THAN ONE of the following papers:

Mysticism

Faith, Reason and Religion from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Age

Candidates for the Final Honour Schools (single or joint), or the Postgraduate Diploma, who offer TWO Further Studies in a Special Topic extended essays, may NOT combine these with either of the following papers:

Mysticism

Faith, Reason and Religion from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Age 

or, in the case of Postgraduate Diploma students, an essay or essays in place of a written examination.

Aims

Students will be undertake guided and focused learning on a topic falling within one of the subject areas listed above, thereby gaining greater expertise in that subject area.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

  • Acquired a good understanding of the specific topic on which they have chosen to write their dissertation. 
  • Acquired transferrable skills for the collation, analysis and presentation of evidence and arguments in an extended piece of scholarly writing.

Delivery

8 tutorials.

Study of this paper is not restricted to the final year but it is advantageous for students to have gained experience working and writing at Honour School level before commencing work on the Further Studies extended essay. It is, therefore, advised that Honour School Students should not commence tutorials for this paper before Trinity Term of the first year of the Honour School.

Assessment

Assessment is by an extended essay of no more than 10,000 words, including notes and appendices but excluding bibliography.

Students will decide on the subject of their extended essay individually, in consultation with their subject tutors. Prior approval of the title of that essay must be sought from the Board of the Faculty of Theology and Religion not later than 4 p.m. on Friday of Week 7 of Michaelmas Term in the final year of the Honour School or the Postgraduate Diploma. The request for approval should be made according to instructions issued by the Faculty Office. Titles will be reviewed and must be approved on behalf of the Faculty Board before the submission deadline. 

The extended essay should be submitted via upload to the University-approved online assessment platform by noon on Monday of week 1 of Trinity term in the final year of the Honour School or the Postgraduate Diploma. Candidates will be required to make a ‘Declaration of Authorship.’ See University Guidance and Information here and here for further details.

Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma may NOT replace assessment for this paper with either two short essays or a long essay.

Paper 107, Philosophy of Religion is available to students of Theology and Religion – please check your Examination Regulations.  It is delivered by the Philosophy Faculty and details are available here on the Philosophy Faculty website.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is compulsory for all students for the Honour School of Philosophy and Theology.

It is also available to all students for the Honour School of Theology and Religion, the Honour School of Religion and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and the Postgraduate Diploma in Theology and Religion.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper.

Assessment
 

For all students, assessment of this paper follows the Special Regulations governing ‘Philosophy in all Honour Schools including Philosophy’.
Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma may NOT replace assessment for this paper with either two short essays or a long essay.
 

Special Theologian Options:

Listed below are current and forthcoming options for the paper Studies in a Special Theologian. The full paper description is provided above including an indication of which theologians will be taught in which year (normally for examination in the same year) . The supplementary information below provides brief information about each theologian and an official record of the set texts available for that option.

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Description 

The life and thought of the African bishop, St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), stand at a watershed in the history of Western culture, between the world of the Roman empire and the world of Christian Europe, and have been a significant influence on the latter ever since. It is almost impossible to get away from Augustine in Western tradition, whether one wants to or not! He is one of the giants on whose shoulders we all, as theologians, sit. 

Augustine’s long life, prolific output and endless longing for the truth mean that his works are encyclopaedic. Focussing closely on selected texts this paper will examine the main features of Augustine’s theological reflection in historical, philosophical, social, cultural and religious context, through the lens of his own account of his conversion and his exegetical, homiletic, pastoral teaching and practice.  

Set Texts 

Confessions, Book 10, trans. M. Boulding, in Works of Saint Augustine I/1 (New City Press, 2012) 

City of God, Book 14, trans. H. Bettenson (Penguin Classics, 2003) 

On Christian Doctrine, Book 1, trans. D.W. Robertson (Library of Liberal Arts/Bobbs-Merrill, 1958) 

Sermon 341 (Dolbeau 22), trans. E. Hill, in Works of Saint Augustine III/11 (New City Press, 1997) 

Description 

To understand the life and thought of Martin Luther (1483-1546), is to understand how theology can change history. This paper offers the opportunity to sample some of the most significant writings and controversies of this scholar-monk turned reformer, whose protest against teachings, practices and structures in the medieval Western Church sparked movements of dissent and renewal across sixteenth-century Europe. Its reverberations are felt today, as the widespread commemorations of the Luther event in 2017 have illustrated. This paper introduces the rich intellectual heritage which shaped Luther’s thinking, and considers the nature and timing of his conversion. Students will examine Luther’s “theology of the cross”, his doctrine of the sacraments, his teachings on secular authority and ecclesiology, and his anthropology; as well as considering the theological framework for his practical reforms, among them the tremendous task of Bible translation, and the repudiation of the celibacy rule. 

Set Texts 

E. Gordon Rupp and B. Drewery, Martin Luther: Documents of Modern History (Edward Arnold, series, 1970), pp. 1–10, 15–41, 54–82, 100–2, 107–19, 121–42, 145-49, 166-69, 173-79). 

Three Treatises, second revised edition (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1970).

Description 

Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) has been variously characterized as ‘the melancholy Dane’, ‘father of existentialism’, ‘the great anti-Hegelian’, ‘precursor to the theology of crisis’, and ‘prophet of postmodernism’, among many other things. He preferred to characterize himself as ‘a Christian poet and thinker’. Such catchphrases, however, merely gesture to dimensions of a searching philosophical and theological legacy that addresses an entire range of important topics, many of which remain salient in our own time. Kierkegaard’s sustained reflections on the deeper implications of Christianity’s central doctrinal claims stand today as some of the most penetrating in the theological tradition, and his thinking surfaces regularly in discussions concerning the relationship between faith and reason. Yet beyond such considerations, Kierkegaard also insisted that Christianity cannot be fully understood through its creeds and doctrines, but that faith is a response to an ‘existence communication’ enacted more in a way of life than in institutional affiliation, and this too remains relevant in an increasingly secular age. This paper addresses these matters and more, situating Kierkegaard’s writings both in their own context and in their history of reception, to enable a critical understanding of their potential significance for the contemporary era. 

Set Texts 

Page references refer to the Princeton University Press (Kierkegaard Writings) editions: 

Fear and Trembling – 27–53 

The Concept of Anxiety – 155–162 

Concluding Unscientific Postscript – 189–224 

Two Ages – 68–96 

Works of Love – 5–16 

The Sickness Unto Death – 15–21 

Practice in Christianity – 23–66 

Description 

James Hal Cone (1938-2018) was the ‘Grand Patriarch’ of Black Liberation theology. While there has been a form of Black theology in existence since the era of transatlantic, chattel slavery of Africans, James H Cone is credited with creating the modern, systematic dimension of the discipline. From the outset, James Cone created an epistemological break in how Black theology should be conceived when compared with hitherto, established forms of theological inquiry. In establishing Black theology as a ‘Theology of Liberation’, Cone creates alternative ways of understanding the doctrine of God, Christology, soteriology, biblical hermeneutics, theological norms, and ecclesiology. In this regard, Cone’s theological output might be considered to be strident and lacking in scholarly objectivity. In this paper, students will be exposed to the radicalism of James Cone’s conception of Black theology and will engage with the intellectual challenges and controversies proposed by his work. To what extent is his version of Black theology consistent with the central tenets of Christianity and the mission of Church since its earliest inception?  

Set Texts 

James H. Cone, Black Theology and Black Power (Maryknoll: Orbis, 50th anniversary edition, 2019) pp. 62-90. 

James H. Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation (Maryknoll, Orbis, 40th anniversary edition, 2010), pp. 55-81. 

James H. Cone, Martin and Malcolm and America: a dream or a nightmare (Maryknoll, Orbis, 1991), pp. 244-271. 

James H. Cone, God of the Oppressed (Maryknoll, Maryknoll Orbis, 1997), pp. 16-38; 138-162. 

James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Maryknoll, Orbis, 2011), pp. 65-92. 

James H. Cone, Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody: The Making of a Black Theologian (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2018), pp. 144-174. 

Papers which may not be available every year

The Faculty teaches a number of  papers that are frequently available but which may not be available every year. The availability of a paper depends on a range of factors, including teaching capacity and student demand (in order to be viable, it is sometimes necessary for a minimum number of students to select the paper). These papers are listed below and any new papers may be added to this list in due course.

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Description

This paper will treat issues of gender and power in the text and world of the Hebrew Bible, using a variety of tools including historical, literary, theological, and ideological approaches. Drawing on concepts from gender studies, and engaging in close readings of various biblical and other broadly contemporary texts, we will consider how gender and sexuality are constructed in these texts, as well as how the texts might have related to the underlying historical reality at the time of their composition. We will also explore the interface between gender, power, sexuality, ethnicity, and social class in the texts and in their ancient cultural context, as well as considering and developing the conceptual tools to engage in debates concerning these issues in present-day contexts.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.
This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 
There are no formal prerequisites for this paper, although students who take paper may benefit from taking Narrative World of the Hebrew Bible, and/or Poetic World of the Hebrew Bible.

Aims

  • To explore the conceptualization of gender and sexuality in texts of the Hebrew Bible and in other relevant comparative texts from the ancient world;
  • To consider the relationships in these texts and in their cultural contexts between gender, sexuality, power, ethnicity, and class;
  • To bring ancient and present-day conceptions of gender and power into dialogue with each other for the fuller understanding of both the ancient and the modern ideas.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the cultural milieux from which biblical and other ancient texts emerged;
  • Understand and critically evaluate the constructions of gender and power in biblical and other relevant ancient texts;
  • Identify and interrogate issues of gender and power which occur in present-day contexts;
  • Use both primary and secondary sources to write intelligently and critically on the texts and topics studied.

Delivery

8 lectures; 8 tutorials.

Assessment

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Description

Biblical scholar Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza writes that biblical texts should be marked with, ‘Caution, could be dangerous to your health and survival’ (Rhetoric and Ethic, 14). Scholar Krister Stendahl offered the stark warning that ‘the last racists in this country, if there ever be an end to such, will be the ones with Bible in hand. There never has been an evil cause in the world that has not become more evil if it has been possible to argue it on biblical grounds’ (‘Ancient Scripture in the Modern World’, 205). The New Testament is not simply an historical text, containing arguments for someone else in a different and ancient culture and context. Certainly it is written for particular communities at particular times and can tell us much about these places and times, but it is also true that one’s starting point or perspective has an impact on how one understands the texts of the New Testament. Whether we think it to be legitimate or not, New Testament arguments and images continue to be used to reinforce a variety of practices and standards, including those that have dominating, destructive or dehumanizing effects. This paper will invite students to reflect on interpretations of the New Testament and to think critically and carefully about how perspectives and approaches can determine our exegesis of Scripture. 

This paper will introduce at least seven contemporary approaches and perspectives for interpreting the text of the New Testament: Black, womanist, feminist, postcolonial, ecological, queer, and disability studies. There are many more perspectives one could engage and the paper does not claim to be comprehensive, covering all contemporary perspectives. These seven methods, however, will offer a solid introduction to contemporary interpretation so that those who engage with this paper will become more critically reflective about what it is we do when we interpret New Testament texts. Through these methods, students will be encouraged to embrace critical and creative approaches to Scripture along with a deeper understanding of how people negotiate their contexts when reading the New Testament. By engaging these perspectives and approaches, students will develop their own critical abilities to evaluate different approaches and to examine their utility for a variety of situations. How does a difference in perspective, approach, and method affect the use and interpretation of the New Testament?

Across the 8 weeks of this paper, we will learn about particular critical approaches for New Testament interpretation - what they are, why they matter, and how they work - and then apply this approach to selected texts from the New Testament. Each week, students will be asked to read New Testament texts (ranging from the Gospels to Revelation), a set of chapters and/or articles on a particular approach to New Testament interpretation, and then apply that approach to the New Testament. Students will prepare up to three pieces of written work, one of which could develop into their submitted essay (see Assessment below).

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper will be delivered in Faculty-run classes and available to students in the final year of the Honour School and Postgraduate Diploma. 

If possible, part-time Postgraduate Diploma students should normally attend classes in the second year of their programme, i.e. the same year in which they will be examined. Part-time Postgraduate Diploma students, who may wish to study this paper in the first year of their programme, are requested to consult the Coordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma, who will determine with the relevant tutor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, whether or not it will be feasible to postpone examination.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper.

There are no specified prerequisites for this course, although also taking The Gospels and/or Paul and the Pauline Tradition would be advantageous.

Aims

  • To achieve a rounded understanding of contemporary methods used to interpret the New Testament, with particular focus on methods emerging from marginalised populations;
  • To explore how ways of reading the New Testament have emerged from contemporary political, social, and cultural contexts;
  • To engage with some of the literature produced and key New Testament texts used by scholars immersed these various approaches to New Testament interpretation;
  • To develop skills in engaging critically with these methods of reading the New Testament and applying the method to their own exegesis of the New Testament.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

  • A good knowledge of some contemporary approaches to the text of the New Testament and an awareness of key features of different methodological approaches;
  • A developed awareness of the interpretative contexts in which these approaches are situated;
  • Engaged with contemporary approaches in their own exegesis of New Testament texts;
  • Acquired skills important for the study of Scripture generally, and for the New Testament specifically;
  • Demonstrate their ability to analyse a New Testament text through one or more of these interpretative lenses.

Delivery

8 x 90-minute classes.; 2 tutorials.

The tutorials will focus on preparation of the 2,500-word essay for submission (see Assessment, below).

Assessment

All candidates will be assessed by both:

1.

An essay of no more than 2,500 words, including notes and appendices but excluding bibliography.

The essay will involve selecting a text from within the New Testament and examining it using one of the methods introduced in this paper, evaluating what this hermeneutical approach offers that another approach might not. Students will decide on the specific approach of their essay individually, in consultation with their subject tutors.

The essay should be submitted via uploaded to the University-approved online assessment platform by noon on Monday of week 9 of Hilary Term of the final year of the Honour School or the Postgraduate Diploma. Candidates will be required to make a ‘Declaration of Authorship.’ See University Guidance and Information here and here for further details. 

2.

A two-hour written examination in Trinity Term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer two questions.

 

Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma may NOT replace assessment for this paper with either two short essays or a long essay.

 

Until 2023, past papers on OXAM are titled ‘The Afterlife of the New Testament’.

Description

John’s Jesus claims to have been present to Abraham (John 8.56, 58), and Paul asserts that Jesus accompanied Israel through the wilderness (1 Cor 10.4). Since the earliest years of their movement, Jesus’ followers consistently turned to the Jewish Scriptures to find them confirming that the Messiah’s death and resurrection happened ‘according to the Scriptures’ (1 Cor 15.3-4). But what might it possibly mean to locate the gospel of Jesus in the Scriptures of Israel? This third-year paper offers students the opportunity to turn a familiar question on its head, by exploring the widespread early Christian conviction that the New Testament gospel speaks in the ‘Old Testament’. Students will study New Testament and other early Christian writers who claim to find ‘the gospel’ in Jewish Scripture – among them the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of John, the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, the apostle Paul, Ignatius of Antioch, the Epistle of Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, and Hippolytus of Rome. In tracing nascent readings of the Old Testament as Christian Scripture, students will have an opportunity to consider these reading strategies in relation to issues such as the earliest Christian-Jewish dialogues, emerging Christian strategies for apologetics and identity formation, and debates within Christ-following communities about the importance of Law observance for Jesus’ followers.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper.

There are no specified prerequisites for this course, although also taking The Gospels and/or Paul and the Pauline Tradition would be advantageous.

Aims

To enable students to acquire knowledge of early Christian readings of the Bible, and to analyse and evaluate how these Jewish texts and traditions functioned as normative Scripture for early Christian readers.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

  • knowledge of the contents and contexts of select early Christian writings from the first, second, and third centuries;
  • the capacity to produce a close reading of an early Christian text’s engagement with Jewish Scripture;
  • critical reflection on the reception and function of Jewish Scriptures in early Christian literature.

Delivery

8 x 90-minute classes.; 2 tutorials.

The tutorials will focus on preparation of the 2,500-word essay for submission (see Assessment, below).

Assessment

All candidates will be assessed by both:

1.

An essay of no more than 2,500 words, including notes and appendices but excluding bibliography.

Students will decide on the subject of their essay individually, in consultation with their subject tutors.

The essay should be submitted via uploaded to the University-approved online assessment platform by noon on Monday of week 9 of Hilary Term of the final year of the Honour School or the Postgraduate Diploma. Candidates will be required to make a ‘Declaration of Authorship.’ See University Guidance and Information here and here for further details. 

2.

A two-hour written examination in Trinity Term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer two questions.

 

Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma may NOT replace assessment for this paper with either two short essays or a long essay.

 

Until 2023, past papers on OXAM are titled ‘The Old Testament in Early Christianity’.

Description

Christianity is a practical religion, but most Christians hold that it cannot be practised alone. Christian life is grounded in the faith and worship of distinct communities, or churches, and, since faith and worship both presuppose belief, these churches (or denominations) are typically distinguished by their doctrines. Some of these are held in common with other Christians, while others are peculiar to one or a few denominations; in either case they are usually presented as deductions from texts which are universally recognised as scriptures. The language in which they are formulated, however, is often technical, and it is not uncommon for particular creeds or articles to be expressed with a minuteness and complexity that puzzles even insiders. Historical study is generally the best way of ascertaining what believers have understood, and why they differ, regarding such terms as revelation, creatio ex nihilo, Trinitarianism, incarnation, atonement, sacrament, ecclesiology and eschatology. 

This paper is designed to introduce students to the history of such terms, and thus to explain the genesis of the doctrines to which they refer.  Candidates will be expected to know the biblical evidence which has supported and informed the promulgation of these doctrines; they will also be expected to show an appreciation of contingent factors, both intellectual and historical, which have shaped the oecumenical formulations of Christian doctrine and have led to the emergence of distinct communities, churches or traditions. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims

Candidates who have attended 16 lectures on this subject, and prepared thoroughly for tutorials, may be expected to have a good understanding:

  • Of the role of doctrine in Christian life and in the ministry of the churches;
  • Of the relation between exegesis and doctrine, and of the endemic causes of dispute about the meaning of the scriptures;
  • Of the history which lies behind the formulation of particular doctrines, and the historical circumstances which have promoted either consensus or division. 

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will be familiar with:

  • the scriptural passages which have served as recognised touchstones of debate and speculation among theologians;
  • the oecumenical creeds and the distinctive tenets of major denominations;
  • the principal controversies that have shaped the development or diversification of Christian thought on particular doctrines;
  • the teachings of the major theologians where these are relevant to the study and discussion of particular doctrines.

Delivery

16 lectures; 8 tutorials. 

Asessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description

Both on the Continent and in Britain, European Christianity at the dawning of the eighteenth century inherited a history of long and bitter theological controversy that had not infrequently spilled over into ‘wars of religion’. Against this backdrop, the advent of the Enlightenment is often recounted as a story of ‘science and secularism’, without attending to the fuller historical dynamics in which many of the leading intellectual figures wrestled mightily with questions about how best to understand the relationship between faith, reason, and social identity in the context of a plurality of traditions within Christianity. From thinkers such as Locke, we inherit the proposal that the requirements of biblical Christianity are simple and few, and that a reasonable understanding of faith promises tolerant agreement among all Christians, and therefore a basis for peace and social stability. Although popular in some circles, such proposals were far from universally persuasive, and by the end of the eighteenth century successive critiques of the supernaturalist doctrines of Christianity – by both ‘cultured despisers’ and earnest Christians alike – had so undermined the reasonableness of Christianity that some such as Schleiermacher maintained Christian faith was to be defended through appeals neither to special revelation nor to rationality, but rather to a distinctive form of religious self-consciousness. The questions arising from these various alternatives continue to animate critical discourse on religion and society even today, and this paper enables an understanding of a number of the key intellectual transformations that have proved pivotal not solely for Christianity, but for modern history generally. Candidates will approach the topic through primary texts of historically significant thinkers.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper will be delivered in Faculty-run classes and available to students in the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma. 

If possible, part-time Postgraduate Diploma students should normally attend classes in the second year of their programme, i.e. the same year in which they will be examined. Part-time Postgraduate Diploma students, who may wish to study this paper in the first year of their programme, are requested to consult the Coordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma, who will determine with the relevant tutor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, whether or not it will be feasible to postpone examination.

Candidates for the final Honour School (single and joint) and Postgraduate Diploma students may NOT combine this paper with MORE THAN ONE of EITHER one of the options under Further Studies in a Special Topic: Extended Essay OR with the paper Mysticism.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper.

Aims

  • To enable an understanding of the key intellectual developments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that have proved significant both for the history of Christianity and more generally for modern society;
  • To analyse and evaluate the relative merits and deficiencies of arguments regarding the relationship between faith, reason, and religious self-consciousness of the representative authors;
  • To become familiar with the reception history of such arguments through engagement with substantive secondary resources;
  • To build on the student’s knowledge of theology and the history of Christianity.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

  • A good knowledge of some of the most influential and representative texts and thinkers of the period
  • The ability to contextualize representative texts and thinkers with respect to the larger religious, social, and political movements of the period;
  • Skills important for the historical study of religion generally, and for the history of Christianity and historical theology specifically, by assessing different sorts of historical materials and by analysing the broader context of the period;
  • The capacity to think theologically, holding in view classic texts from the tradition.

Delivery

8 classes x 90 minutes; 4 tutorials

Tutorials for supervision of the submitted essays should be completed by the end of Hilary Term.

Assessment

Assessment is by two long essays, each of no more than 5,000 words including notes and appendices but excluding bibliography.

The first of these essays is chosen from a list of prescribed titles, which will be published at no later than the beginning of Michaelmas Term in the year of the examination.

Students will decide on the subject of their second essay individually, in consultation with their subject tutors. Prior approval of the title of that essay must be sought from the Board of the Faculty of Theology and Religion not later than 4 p.m. on Friday of Week 4 of Hilary Term of the final year of the Honour School or the Postgraduate Diploma. The request for approval should be made according to instructions issued by the Faculty Office. Titles will be reviewed and must be approved on behalf of the Faculty Board before the submission deadline. 

Both essays should be submitted via uploaded to the University-approved online assessment platform by noon on Monday of week 1 of Trinity Term in the final year of the Honour School or the Postgraduate Diploma. Candidates will be required to make a ‘Declaration of Authorship.’ See University Guidance and Information here and here for further details.

Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma may NOT replace assessment for this paper with either two short essays or a long essay.

 

Description

In the wake of Guttierez's ground-breaking work not only have there been other Latin American liberation theologies and theological responses to the political and economic circumstances in other parts of the globe (such as South Africa), the concept of 'liberation' has been extended to cover issues such as gender, race, sexual orientation and physical impairment theologically. Liberation theology has then fostered a number of other radical theologies while some of its fundamental and structuring concepts have received much critical attention. This paper critically examines early liberation theology, the radical theologies it inspired and the critique and response to critique that arisen subsequently.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper will be delivered in Faculty-run classes and available to students in the final year of the Honour School and Postgraduate Diploma. 

If possible, part-time Postgraduate Diploma students should normally attend classes in the second year of their programme, i.e. the same year in which they will be examined. Part-time Postgraduate Diploma students, who may wish to study this paper in the first year of their programme, are requested to consult the Coordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma, who will determine with the relevant tutor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, whether or not it will be feasible to postpone examination.

Occasionally and in certain circumstances, students in the first year of the Honour School may be permitted attend classes for examination in the following year. This will be permitted only at the discretion of the class tutor and in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

There are no specified prerequisites for this course, although to have taken 2204 Key Themes in Systematic Theology: God, Creation, Christ and Church would be advantageous.
Aims

  • To enable students to specialise in a key theological developments or debates
  • To extend student’s theological knowledge in a particular area of theological study
  • To develop a student’s textual knowledge of a specific theologian, theological movement or doctrinal debate
  • To develop a student’s skills in identifying and critically assessing a particular theological  position

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

  • An in-depth critical appreciation of a particular theologian, theological movement or doctrinal debate
  • A detailed knowledge of the key texts in the study of a particular theologian, theological movement or doctrinal debate
  • A detailed appreciation of the cultural, historical and doctrinal context of a particular theologian, theological movement or doctrinal debate

Delivery

8 x 90-minute classes.

Assessment

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma. 

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description

In the centuries from 450-900, the political and ecclesiastical landscape of the Near and Middle East underwent a dramatic transformation. Here the period began with a single Greek-speaking church, for the most part contained within the Eastern Roman Empire ruled from Constantinople; but it ended with a proliferation of rival churches each with their own distinct theologies, sacred languages, and traditions, and all living under, or within the shadow of, the Islamic caliphate ruled from Baghdad. This paper investigates this transition. It explores the gradual fragmentation of eastern Christendom following the divisive Council of Chalcedon (451), and the subsequent efflorescence of distinct Christian churches and theological cultures in Egypt, Syria, Armenia, and Mesopotamia. It then considers the changing theologies, narratives, and situations of these various Christianities in the transition from Roman to Islamic rule, focusing both on those Christians still outside the nascent caliphate (in the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire) and those within it. It looks at the contribution which Christianity made to earliest Islamic thought and culture (and vice versa), and explores the emergence of Arabophone Christianity in the eighth and ninth centuries. Students will be introduced to the most prominent post-Chalcedonian theologians within the imperial Church (e.g. Maximus Confessor, John of Damascus), but also to some leading lights of the various anti-Chalcedonian churches (e.g. Severus of Antioch, Babai the Great), and the first Christian thinkers writing in Arabic (e.g. Theodore Abū Qurrah). At the same time students will be encouraged to situate such persons within the liturgical, exegetical, and material cultures within which they operated, and to understand how their theologies related both to Christian culture more broadly, and to the shifting social and political contexts in which it was produced.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims

  • To move beyond the traditional Latin-Greek and Eurocentric focuses of medieval Christian History.
  • To provide an understanding of the proliferation of eastern Christianities in the period after the Council of Chalcedon, and their shifting preoccupations in the transition from Roman to Islamic rule.
  • To explore the central theological developments of the period, and to situate such developments within their wider contexts (cultural, political, social).
  • To introduce diverse Christian texts first written in Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and Arabic, and to analyse their distinctive inflections of the faith.
  • To understand the current situation of eastern Christianities within the Middle East, and the origins of their historical dialogue with Islam.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

  • A thorough knowledge of the arc of Christian history within the Near and Middle East between the fifth and ninth centuries.
  • An understanding of the institutional, intellectual, and cultural mechanisms through which new churches were formed and flourished.
  • An appreciation of the most important features of post-Chalcedonian Christian theological debate within the Roman, Sasanian, and Islamic empires.
  • A grasp of a range of Christian texts and genres, written across the Near and Middle East and in various original languages.
  • A better comprehension of the modern ecclesiastical landscape, and of the dialogues both between different eastern churches and between Christians and Muslims.

Delivery

8 lectures; 8 tutorials. 

The lectures provide the general framework for the course, following a chronological progression. Tutorials will then allow students to pursue individual topics of interest in more depth, in preparation for the final exam.

Assessment

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description

This course examines the earliest centuries of the formation of Judaism in the Graeco-Roman Period.

The course considers the creative and innovative expressions of Judaism across a variety of linguistic and cultural registers. Attention is paid to precursors of rabbinic Judaism during the Hellenistic period as well as subsequent developments in Late Antiquity. Focus is paid to primary texts in translation from the Land of Israel (Jerusalem, Qumran and sites such as Masada and Wadi Murabba‘at) as well as texts from diaspora centres such as Alexandria and Rome. The goal of the course is to understand the broad, integrated and variegated forms of Judaism that preceded the emergence of the rabbinic movement. Set texts will be drawn from English translations of significant writings in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

There are no formal prerequisites for this paper, although students who take paper may benefit from having taken Preliminary Examination paper Introduction to the Study of the Bible.

Set Texts

These texts will form a central basis for questions in the exam and will be studied in English translation taken from the edition indicated.

1 Enoch 91-108 (Loren T Stuckenbruck. 1 Enoch 91-108. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2007)

Jubilees, Chapters 1-6, 32, and 50 (James C. Vanderkam. Jubilees: A Commentary on the Book of Jubilees. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2018) 

The following Dead Sea Scrolls (Florentino García Martínez and Eibert Tigchelaar. The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition. 2 Vols. Leiden: Brill/Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000):

Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, 4Q403

The Community Rule, 1QS, Column 10

Hodayot, Columns 9-12

Instruction, 4Q417 and 4Q418

Josephus:

Jewish War Book 2.117–2.166 (Steve Mason. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, Volume 1B: Judean War 2. Leiden: Brill, 2008)

Against Apion 2, 145-296 (John Barclay. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, Volume 10: Against Apion. Leiden: Brill, 2006)

Antiquities 18: 1-119 (Louis H. Feldman. Jewish Antiquities, Volume VIII: Books 18-19. Loeb Classical Library 433. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965)

4 Ezra chs. 3–14 (Michael Stone, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013)

Wisdom of Solomon, Chs. 7-9 (Michael A. Knibb. “Wisdom of Solomon,” in A New English Translation of the Septuagint. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) 

Ben Sira, Prologue and Chs. 1-24 (Benjamin G. Wright. “Sirach,” in A New English Translation of the Septuagint. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

1 Maccabees chs. 1–8 (Daniel R. Schwartz, 1 Maccabees: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries; Yale University Press, 2022))  

2 Maccabees chs. 1–10 (D.R. Schwartz, 2 Maccabees (Berlin: Walter DeGruyter, 2008).) 

4 Maccabees chs. 1-3 and 18 (Stephen Westerholm. “4 Maccabees” in A New English Translation of the Septuagint. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 

Letter of Aristeas §§1-46, 120-186, 301-322 (Benjamin G. Wright. The Letter of Aristeas: ‘Aristeas to Philocrates’ or ‘On the Translation of the Law of the Jews’. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015) 

Philo of Alexandria:

On the Creation of the World (David T. Runia. Philo of Alexandria: On the Creation of the Cosmos According to Moses. Leiden: Brill, 2001)

On Abraham (Ellen Birnbaum and John M Dillon. Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham. Leiden: Brill, 2021)

On the Decalogue (tr. Sarah J. Pearce, ‘On the Decalogue’ in L.H. Feldman, J.L. Kugel, and L.H. Schiffman (eds), Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture Vol. 1 (3 vols) (Jewish Publication Society, 2013), pp. 989-1032)

Mishnah:

Berakoth, Pesachim and Shabbat (Shaye J. D. Cohen, Robert Goldenberg, and Hayim Lapin (eds.). The Oxford Annotated Mishnah: A New Translation of the Mishnah with Introduction and Notes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022)

Sefer Yetzirah (A. Peter Hayman. Sefer Yeṣira. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004.)

Aims

  • To acquaint students with the primary evidence for the transformative, creative and innovative dimensions of Judaism in the Graeco-Roman period
  • To develop a broad knowledge of the textual and material evidence for Jewish religion and culture in this period. 
  • To foster a hermeneutic, historical, and literary understanding of the various expressions of Judaism in this period.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

  • A good knowledge of the development of Judaism in the Graeco-Roman period, and the textual and material evidence for this.
  • Critical skills to analyse the primary texts in English translation and the history of secondary scholarship on this period. 

Delivery

8 lectures; 8 tutorials.

Assessment

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three essay questions.

Description

An analysis of the origins and development of rabbinic Judaism from the first century CE to the early modern period. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims

The course aims to acquaint students with the main evidence for the development of rabbinic Judaism in this period and the main factors which influenced that development.

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Be aware of the nature and origin of key rabbinic texts from this period
  • Be able to relate the ideas and attitudes expressed in these texts to the religious lives of Jews in these centuries.

Delivery

8 lectures; 8 tutorials. 

Lectures provide an overview of the issues and evidence; tutorials require students to come to grips with key texts and problems of interpretation.

Students taking this course are strongly encouraged to have attended the lectures on ‘Formation of Rabbinic Judaism’ before commencing tutorials for this paper.

Assessment

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates should answer three essay questions. 

Description
 

This course is designed to introduce students to some of the ethical traditions of religions other than Christianity, with a particular focus on the ethical teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, covering their key concepts, histories, major figures and classic texts, and to the comparison of these traditions amongst each other, as well as with other traditions of religious ethics.
The course aims to cover a great deal of systematic and historical material, as well as to introduce candidates to the comparative analysis of distinct ethical traditions. 

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to available to students in the final year of the Honour School  or Postgraduate Diploma..

Candidates for the Honour School of Philosophy and Theology may NOT combine this paper with MORE THAN THREE of the following papers: 

Theology and Religion paper, Ethics I: Christian Moral Reasoning 

Philosophy paper 103 Ethics 

Philosophy paper 116 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 

Philosophy paper 128 Practical Ethics 

This paper does not require the study of any other paper. 

Aims 

The aim of the Comparative Religious Ethics paper is to introduce students to the ethical traditions of religions other than Christianity, with a particular focus on the ethical teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, to the comparison of these traditions amongst each other, and to their comparison with other traditions of religious ethics.

Objectives 

Students who successfully complete this paper will demonstrate understanding of: 

  • Principal concepts, major thinkers of the ethical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism
  • How to situate and analyse key source texts of the ethical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism in their historical context
  • The internal variety of the ethical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, how to relate concepts and theories of these traditions to each other and to other ethical traditions
  • The relation of the ethical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism to major schools of Western moral philosophy

Delivery

8 lectures; 4 classes; 4 tutorials.

Assessment 

Is by one three-hour written examination in Trinity term of the final year of the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma. 

Candidates should answer three questions.

Description

Candidates will study theoretical issues relating to the definition and interpretation of mysticism as well as important examples of mystical literature and traditions.  The paper will be examined by two extended essays. One essay, chosen from a list of prescribed titles, will address theoretical issues; the other will relate to a special topic.

Prerequisites and Restrictions

This paper is available to all students for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma.

Candidates for the final Honour School (single and joint) and Postgraduate Diploma students may NOT combine this paper with MORE THAN ONE of EITHER one of the options under Further Studies in a Special Topic: Extended Essay OR with the paper Faith, Reason and Religion from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Age.

This paper does not require the study of any other paper.

Aims

  • To encourage reflection on the concepts of mysticism, spirituality and religious experience
  • To acquaint students with cardinal texts in one or more mystical traditions
  • To promote inquiry into the relation between mystical thought and historical context

Objectives

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • be able to offer a reasonable working definition of mysticism and to explain why such definitions are contested
  • be acquainted with the writings of significant figures on one or two mystical traditions
  • be well informed regarding the evolution of at least one such tradition and of the historical circumstances which conditioned or accompanied the production of major texts in the tradition(s).

Delivery

8 lectures; 8 tutorials

Some of the tutorials will focus on supervision of the essays to be submitted for assessment (see below).

Assessment

Assessment is by two long essays, each of no more than 5,000 words including notes and appendices but excluding bibliography.

The first of these essays is chosen from a list of prescribed titles, which will be published at no later than the beginning of Michaelmas Term in the year of the examination.

Students will decide on the subject of their second essay individually, in consultation with their subject tutors. Prior approval of the title of that essay must be sought from the Board of the Faculty of Theology and Religion not later than 4 p.m. on Friday of Week 4 of Hilary Term of the final year of the Honour School or the Postgraduate Diploma. The request for approval should be made according to instructions issued by the Faculty Office. Titles will be reviewed and must be approved on behalf of the Faculty Board before the submission deadline. 

Both essays should be submitted via uploaded to the University-approved online assessment platform by noon on Monday of week 1 of Trinity Term in the final year of the Honour School or the Postgraduate Diploma. Candidates will be required to make a ‘Declaration of Authorship.’ See University Guidance and Information here and here for further details.

Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma may NOT replace assessment for this paper with either two short essays or a long essay.

 

Recommended Patterns of Teaching


Version log


Current students who commenced the Final Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma in Michaelmas Term 2022 should continue to consult the Paper Descriptions and summary of recommended patterns of teaching already issued in the Schedule of Papers for the Final Honour School and PGDip for examination in 2024.

If you commenced study for the Honour School or Postgraduate Diploma before Michaelmas Term 2022, please contact the Faculty Office to obtain relevant information.