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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, Ministry and Mission

THMN45630: Christian Doctrine in the Life of the Church

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


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable students to undertake in-depth critical study of one or more major areas of doctrine in relation to their biblical foundations, systematic connections, and historical and contemporary expressions.
  • To nurture students’ ability to read, analyse and critically evaluate primary theological, historical, and philosophical sources in a sophisticated and rigorous way.
  • To enable students to develop sophisticated awareness of theological norms and methods.
  • To enable students to develop the theological resources to respond to contemporary issues and problems.
  • To enable students to integrate critical doctrinal thinking further into their own spiritual formation and ministerial development.


  • This module will explore one or more major areas of doctrine (for example, doctrine of God, Trinity, creation, anthropology, providence, sin, Christology, pneumatology, soteriology, eschatology, ecclesiology, etc.), and will include:
  • Exploration of the doctrine’s biblical foundations;
  • Study of primary theological texts (in translation where not originally in English) and other sources (e.g. art, liturgy, hymnody or material evidence) related to the doctrine;
  • Consideration of the doctrine’s connection to the wider pattern of Christian doctrine;
  • Attention to the relationships between this doctrine and the contemporary Christian practice of discipleship, mission, and ministry.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding and depth of knowledge of one or more major areas of Christian doctrine in relation to their biblical foundations, systematic connections, and historical and contemporary expressions.
  • Understand, assimilate and evaluate critically advanced scholarship and research findings.
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the methodologies applicable to doctrinal study.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Critically evaluate and apply methods for relating doctrine to aspects of Christian practice.
Key Skills:
  • Carry out systematic and creative research into complex issues and communicate their findings with clarity, sensitivity, fairness and imagination to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Demonstrate initiative, self-direction and independence in tackling and solving problems, and in planning and implementing tasks.
  • Exercise their independent learning skills to pursue further professional development or academic study

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

  • Lectures provide content, a conceptual framework and a survey of approaches within Christian doctrine that enable students to locate their learning in a wider context, to make connections with other disciplines, and to evaluate and apply their learning to different contexts.
  • Seminars offer students an opportunity to present, evaluate and apply their knowledge to specific reading contexts, and to engage with teaching staff and peers in debate and reflection.
  • Guided reading in conjunction with lectures and seminars encourages independent learning and underpins the knowledge and understanding gained in lectures and seminars.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 block or weekly 1.5 hours 12
Seminars 8 block or weekly 1.5 hours 12
Preparation & Reading 276
Total 300

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

a) A 1,500 word written critical book review of a selected book addressing one of the focal areas of Christian doctrine. b) A 20-minute presentation, introducing the author and key themes of the set text for a seminar.

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