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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

THEO44930: Faith and Reason

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2021/22

Prerequisites

  • None

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None

Aims

  • To engage students in an informed and critical manner with the question of the relationship between faith and reason, and concomitantly the relationship between theology and philosophy, in the Christian tradition.
  • To familiarise students with the thought of a range of major thinkers in the tradition on this issue.
  • To enable students to assess the way in which different understandings of the relationship between faith and reason affect the conception of the tasks, goals and methods of Christian theology as a whole.
  • To build on students’ prior knowledge of the history and major themes of Christian theology.
  • To equip students to write concisely, effectively and pointedly in analysing primary sources and in debating contentious issues.

Content

  • This module examines the ways in which Christian tradition has conceived the relationship between ‘faith’ and ‘reason’, and concomitantly ‘theology’ and ‘philosophy’.
  • Diverse ways of framing the question of the relationship between reason and faith, philosophy and theology, will be presented chronologically through engagement with a series of primary texts taken from key thinkers in the Christian tradition.
  • While exact content will vary from year to year depending on availability of staff, the course will typically include texts from antique, mediaeval, early modern and modern periods in Christian thought, and will be framed by contemporary approaches.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge and critical understanding of the ways in which the relationship between ‘faith’ and ‘reason’, ‘theology’ and ‘philosophy’, has been differently construed by diverse thinkers in Christian tradition.
  • An appreciation of the significance of such construals for the tasks and methods of Christian theology as a whole.
  • In-depth knowledge of a series of selected key primary texts.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Skills in the handling of primary texts and secondary sources, with an appreciation of the associated problems.
  • Skills in competent handling of key philosophical and theological concepts.
Key Skills:
  • Skills in structuring and presenting evidence-based arguments in concise form.
  • Skills in analysis and concise, contextualised comment on selected texts.
  • Skills in independent researching, thinking and working within a guided framework.

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

  • The course will be taught in ten 2hr seminars.
  • Each seminar will begin with an introductory presentation by students in which an initial response to the text is made, and its content and context explored. This task will improve oral presentation skills and habits of independent learning.
  • The remainder of each session will be composed of a balance of lecture-style delivery and seminar-style discussion, at the discretion of the staff leading, promoting skills in group discussion and debate.
  • In two long essays, one formative and one summative, students will acquire advanced written communication skills, including the ability to construct well-supported and sophisticated arguments, presented in clear, concise and convincing prose.
  • Formative assessment: students will a) Offer one presentation on a selected text during a seminar session, as assigned by the module convenor; b) Select one text on which to write a 5,000 word essay for submission at the end of the Christmas break. Material for each unit will include a suggested question, but students may explore other titles with the module convenor or leader of the relevant unit.
  • Summative assessment: students to select one text on which they wish to write a 5,000 word essay. Material for each unit will include a suggested question, but students may explore other titles with the module convenor or leader of the relevant unit.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture-seminars 10 1 per fortnight 2 hours 20
Preparation and Reading 280
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One presentation on a selected text during a seminar session, as assigned by the module convenor; plus 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