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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO43430: Classic Texts in Christian Theology

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22

Prerequisites

  • None

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None

Aims

  • To provide an advanced introduction to major texts from the history of Christian theology
  • To enable students’ critical understanding of the nature, goal and tasks of Christian theology
  • To foster students’ awareness of, and engagement with, appropriate research methods and approaches in the study of Christian theology

Content

  • The module will be devoted to a study of a range of major texts taken from the history of Christian theology. It is conceived on the ‘great books’ model, in which students are introduced to a series of classic texts by staff with appropriate expertise. Texts from each of the great periods of Christian theology will be explored; they will be chosen to ensure that students gain a critical understanding not only of the nature and history of Christian doctrine, but also the different genres in which Christian theology has been expressed, and the different modes in which it has been undertaken (doctrinal theology, philosophical theology, moral theology, etc.). As the core module for the Christian Theology MA, there will also be a special emphasis on methodological questions, with particular consideration of the sources, methods and approaches appropriate to Christian theology. The module convenor will be present at each seminar to ensure continuity and to ensure that the aims of the module are being met. The precise texts to be studied each year will be decided in relation to staff availability, but the content will always be structured to ensure that coverage is fully adequate and appropriate.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students should be familiar with and understand the significance of a range of major texts from the history of Christian theology.
  • to be able to analyse and critically assess some major texts from the history of Christian theology;
  • to be able to identify and evaluate different understandings of the nature, goals, tasks of Christian theology;
  • to be able to understand and evaluate a range of different sources, methods and approaches in the study of Christian theology
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should possess the following subject-specific skills:
  • to be able to analyse and critically assess some major texts from the history of Christian theology;
  • to be able to identify and evaluate different understandings of the nature, goals, tasks of Christian theology;
  • to be able to understand and evaluate a range of different sources, methods and approaches in the study of Christian theology.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should have acquired:
  • advanced research skills, including the ability to locate, summarise and evaluate key sources, both in print and online, and be able to cite them in a professional and academic manner;
  • advanced communication skills, including the ability to construct well-supported and sophisticated arguments, presented in clear, concise and convincing prose.

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

  • Reading for the seminars acquaints all students with each of the texts. The seminars will consist of an introduction by the staff leader, followed by brief student presentations by student leaders and then staff-guided discussion. Each student will be expected to make one formative seminar presentation on a particular text during the year. Seminars enable staff to provide focussed introductory material, for students to engage with and critically analyse the texts through seminar discussion, and for student leaders to develop their presentational skills and gain deeper understanding of particular texts through background research. Seminars will also provide the opportunity to attend to specific questions of sources, methods and approaches in Christian theology.
  • The formative essay will enable students to develop a critical understanding of a particular theologian through focussed analysis of an individual text or group of texts, and will also require them to reflect specifically on questions of sources, method and approach. Each student will receive an individual feedback tutorial on their essay.
  • The summative essay, which will be required to be on a different theologian than the formative essay to ensure coverage, has the same aims and contributes to the learning outcomes as the formative essay, but will benefit from the experience of researching, writing and receiving tutorial feedback on the formative essay.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 10 Fornightly in Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms 2 hours 20
Feedback tutorials 2 Once after each essay submission 30 minutes 1
Preparation and reading 279
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 5,000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

One 5,000 word essay


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