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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2014-15. The current handbook year is 2019-20

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO3381: THE CROSS IN THE SHADOW OF THE CRESCENT: CHURCH AND SOCIETY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN WORLD, 600-900

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2014/15 Module Cap None. Location Durham

Prerequisites

  • None.

Corequisites

  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.

Aims

  • To introduce students to the history and theology of the sixth to ninth centuries, and in particular to consider the issues - political, ecclesiastical, theological - raised by the conflict of different cultures.
  • To enable them to form critical historical and theological judgments on the basis of a wide variety of sources.

Content

  • The rise of Islam changed the situation of Christianity in the Eastern Mediterranean world for ever: a new, and more powerful, religion challenged the very credibility of Christianity, and the divisions of the Church in non-Muslim lands were exposed, leaving Christians the task of justifying their faith. The Byzantine Empire itself was thrown into political and administrative turmoil. Out of this emerged the theological vision of Maximos the Confessor, which was finally determinative of Byzantine theology, and the Iconoclast controversy, that tore Byzantine society apart for more than a century, and hardened already existing divisions between Rome and Constantinople. The course will begin by covering essential theological and historical background to this period from the Council of Chalcedon to the Seventh century (including especially the Christological controversies, the fortunes of the Roman world in the fifth and sixth centuries).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A systematic understanding of key aspects, and a coherent and detailed knowledge of the topics covered, at least some of which is informed by the most recent research and methodologies.
Subject-specific Skills:
    Key Skills:
    • Skills in the acquisition of information through reading and research, and in the structured presentation of information in written form.

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • Lectures convey information and exemplify an approach to the subject-matter, enabling students to develop a clear understanding of the subject and to improve their skills in listening and in evaluating information.
    • Seminars enhance subject-specific knowledge and understanding both through preparation and through interaction with students and staff, promoting awareness of different viewpoints and approaches.
    • Formative essays develop subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in the acquisition of information through reading and research, and in the structured presentation of information in written form.
    • Examinations assess subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in the structured presentation of information in written form under time constraints.
    • Summative essays assess subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in the acquisition of information through reading and research, and in the structured presentation of information in written form.
    • Summative seminar presentations enhance the ability to select relevant academic information and develop skills of oral communication and presentation, including the employment of relevant media.

    Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Lectures 16 8 in Term 1 and 8 in Term 2. 1 hour 16
    Seminars 8 4 per term. 1.5 hours 12
    Preparation and Reading 172
    Total 200

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    examination 2 hours 100%
    Component: Essay Component Weighting: 25%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    essay 3000 words 100%
    Component: Seminar Presentation Component Weighting: 15%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    seminar presentation 100%

    Formative Assessment:

    Two 2000 word essays (or one essay and one seminar paper).


    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University