MA (ARU) modules

MA (ARU) modules2018-06-21T16:04:20+00:00

Below is the pool of optional modules for the MA (ARU) programme, together with their modes of delivery. Each module is worth 30 credits. Classroom teaching is usually conducted over 10 weeks, in either the autumn or spring trimesters. For some modules, we instead consolidate our teaching into a 1 or 2 week period, giving students the opportunity to explore a topic more richly, usually while visiting Cambridge for that period. Details of these block teaching arrangements are given in the timetable (forthcoming).

In additional to these optional modules, there will also be two compulsory modules that you need to take. Details of these compulsory modules can be found on the information page for the relevant MA.

This module starts from the questions raised by ecological awareness about our understanding of the natural world and the human place in the world. Its aim is to explore the theological resources for a response within Christian traditions, including the often neglected Christian East which has been making significant contributions on ecological questions for some time.

The foundation of the course will be the sources and practices common to East and West, including but not limited to patristic writings of the first millennium, sacramental life, lives of the saints. It will also look at ways in which these resources are used today in ecological thinking, particularly though not exclusively in Orthodox Christian writers.

Each lecture will be followed by a seminar for which the students will be given preparatory reading. In their seminar contributions, students will be encouraged to draw on resources from their own particular tradition in responding to the lecture and readings.

The assessment will comprise a 6,000 word paper on a topic chosen from a list of questions.

This module addresses the theme of the development of world Christianity by considering the historical development of the World church within a single continent. There will be a particular political focus to this history, by considering the role of the Christian church in the political development of the state, the relationships between Christian denominations and the interaction with other faiths, both indigenous and incoming. Students will be supported to critically reflect on such topics by reviewing approaches taken to such questions from anthropology, historical analysis and political theology.

A major resource for teaching and learning will be a local archive held at the Cambridge Centre for World Christianity. This includes the St Augustine collection, formerly at Canterbury Cathedral and altogether contains extensive archival material of social history, associated with world mission in diverse parts of the globe (https://www.cccw.cam.ac.uk/archives/). The module will aim to resource students to independently access such archives. Guidance will be given on the use of this material, with a critical approach. The student must engage an enquiring mind, organise material critically and be prepared to accept the challenge of others to thoughts, ideas and analysis.

The assessment will comprise a 4000 word essay that requires the student to draw on archival material and will therefore be agreed with the module leader, and some short pieces of coursework totalling 2000 words, following some formative submissions from the student.

This module aims to introduce students to the history, methodology, breadth and achievements of the movement for Christian unity. It pays particular attention to issues of ecclesiology in order to enable students to engage constructively with the challenges of division within the Christian community. The module explores ecumenism as praxis, as dynamic theological enterprise, and as permanent calling to all theology. The module also tackles the concept of unity and its theological implications. It studies the theological and ecclesiological implications of a variety of inter-church agreements and theological texts involving mostly the larger, longer-established Christian churches, placing these in historical and cultural context. The module addresses ecumenical activity between particular, local ecclesial communities, but also in global ecumenical platforms, seeking to relate national and worldwide patterns of ecumenism to local Christian experience.

The assessment will comprise one written assignment of 6,000 words.

This interactive, interdisciplinary module is designed to explore ethical concepts as they form, relate and critique a particular professional context, with a view to helping students develop their own foundations and tools for reasoning about their own professional ethics. Elements such as sources of ethical thinking and moral imagination; central concepts such as equality, common good, human dignity; the value and spirituality of work; the role of ethics in society, all contribute to the theological context in which a particular profession will be approached.

Various case studies will be introduced throughout the course in order to address these questions and discuss the possibilities of responsible professional practice. It will draw on key philosophical and religious issues and ideas about being human, discussed in the shared core module ‘Human Condition’ in relation to professional practice. Each year a different professional context will be considered and it will include: market economy, prison service, healthcare, media and education.

The assessment will comprise a 6000 word essay in which the student will be required to link the theoretical and professional aspects of the course.

In this module, students will explore the way in which the imagination has been employed in religious contexts in order that the ‘divine’ may be made known. These contexts can be broadly identified as ‘the arts’ and could include art, literature, music or film, subject to the expertise of the tutors delivering the module.

Aside from the appropriate programme co-requisites, it would be expected that students registered for the module (and programme) would have achieved biblical and theological understanding equivalent to level 6 in order to engage with the module content.

The module will concentrate primarily on the way in which contemporary ecclesial practice might engage with human imagination, and creativity – and what this might mean – in order to reflect upon Christian witness, discipleship and mission in the twenty-first century.

Students will be asked to reflect on theory and practice in their assessment, with particular assessment tasks negotiated between the students and the tutor. Assessment will take the form of one reflective writing assignment of 6000 words.

This module examines the key texts and theories related to the study of interreligious understanding and interfaith relations (e.g. Buber's I and Thou and Institutional statements such as A Common Word, Nostra Aetate and Dabru Emet). The module will also focus on the real-world applications of these texts and theories, such as the importance of sacred land and space, asking students to examine their use in fostering interfaith encounter.

This module adopts historical, theological and pastoral approaches to questions and debates around interfaith relations. The module will be divided into an introduction to the main themes, an exploration of the key texts and key moments in the interfaith encounter pertaining to the themes described above.

The assessment will comprise of an essay of 5,000 words and a book or text review of 1,000 words.

This module investigates the philosophical and theological features of love. It looks at some of the most seminal thinkers in the history of theology and philosophy, from the pre-Christian era up to the 21st century. The module has an ecumenical character and examines love from a Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant perspective. It also analyses some of the most sophisticated critiques of Christian love and explores how theology can respond to these critiques. The module revolves around key concepts such as agapē, erōs and philia and centres on the careful study of primary texts (in translations where not originally in English). Every session begins with an introductory lecture on the life and work of the author discussed in class that highlights the key ideas in the selected text. In the second half of the session there is time for guided group discussion. You are invited to critically reflect on your own understanding of love. The wide range of different texts will help you to broaden your intellectual horizon and to develop and refine your theological position.

The following questions will be addressed: What is the relationship between agapē, erōs and philia? How does Christian theology deal with the tension between preferential love (erotic love, friendship) and the demand for universal love (neighbour love)? Is reciprocity an intrinsic part of Christian love, or is the highest form of love unilateral? Does love occur spontaneously, or is it a virtue that needs to be acquired? What is the relationship between different models of love and metaphysics (esp. the relationship between nature/creation and grace)?

Aside from the appropriate programme co-requisites, it would be expected that students registered for the module (and programme) would have achieved philosophical and theological understanding equivalent to level 6 in order to engage with the module content.

The module will be assessed by a 6,000 word written assignment.

This module focuses on the shifting patterns of religious, ethnic and national identities within contemporary British society using approaches drawn from sociology and anthropology. It will introduce students to relevant scholarly and policy literatures concerning themes such as migration, citizenship, identity, integration, cohesion and discrimination. It will introduce students to a range of theoretical perspectives relevant to the study of British society but also to a range of evidence-based studies that have sought to quantify some of the changing dynamics of inter-group relations within the British context.

In this way, this module adopts a multidisciplinary approach to questions and debates around citizenship, identity, integration, cohesion, migration, and discrimination within religiously and ethnically diverse communities in the UK.

The assessment will comprise of an essay of 5,000 words and a book review of 1,000 words.

This module will address some of the essential aspects that characterise and define Orthodox spirituality – with a focus both on its liturgical life and on in its communitarian/societal understanding. Students will explore the Orthodox vision of theology as holistic, where the connection between the liturgical and sacramental life on the one hand, and social action and commitment on the other hand are seen to be so tightly interconnected that theology appears as an inseparable whole, in which societal commitment cannot be divorced from the sacramental spiritual element. This module will therefore approach Orthodox theology as an implicitly communitarian (and therefore pastoral) endeavour – founded of the model of the Holy Trinity. It will tackle the concept of theosis as ‘engine’ and ultimate goal of Orthodox theology and spirituality, while also addressing the fundamental importance of liturgical, Eucharistic and sacramental life in the life of the Orthodox Church. The module will attempt to highlight a theological vision wherein the ministry of the wider community of the Church is essentially understood as another level of sacramental participation – a Liturgy after the Liturgy – where the Eucharistic sacrament marries the complementary concept of the ‘sacrament of the brother’. This module will also address the concepts of withdrawn ‘inner life’ and monasticism. The revealed tension between the rejection of the world on the one hand and social ‘incarnational’ involvement on the other will also be explored.

This module will thus cover the following themes: What does it mean to be Orthodox?, Orthodoxy as mystical and sacramental life, Prayer, The Liturgy, Life according to the Holy Trinity, the Catholicity of the Church, Tradition as life of the Church, Orthodox pastoral theology, The sacrament of the brother, Inner life and monasticism, Theosis as the ultimate goal of Orthodox spirituality.

The assessment will comprise one written assignment of 6,000 words.

This module is primarily designed for students on the Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy pathway to give them the opportunity to work in and reflect on practical contexts and situations of pastoral care.

It will provide students the opportunity to be supervised working within a particular placement context and to develop skills suitable for pastoral and chaplaincy roles. It will engage students in developing appropriate theologically reflective approach to their own practice, and require them to critically evaluate their own pastoral development.

This module will work therefore collaboratively between classroom based learning, and a placement set up with tutor support in an appropriate pastoral context, such as a parish, or health-care setting. The setting will have a designated supervisor, and student, supervisor and tutor will establish a memorandum of understanding to guide the student’s placement based work.

Teaching will therefore focus on theological reflection and pastoral skills, as well as reflection on practice within the classroom context. This will involve critical engagement with literature on pastoral practice, and concepts and example of theological reflections. Students will also be expected to bring example experiences from their placement for small group discussion and reflection.

The module will be assessed by two forms of reflective writing, of 2000 and 4000 respectively, as well as by submission of a supervisor report on their placement.

This module is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of pastoral supervision. It will provide students opportunity to be supervised and to develop skills in supervision. It will engage students in developing an appropriate rationale for supervision for their own practice context and in critically evaluating their own skill development.

The teaching methods in this module will involve critical engagement with the pastoral supervision literature as well as reflection on practice within the classroom context. Students will be required to bring live work to reflect on in triads as part of the course, and following the taught component, to supervise at least 2 individuals for a total of 6 sessions of 1 hour’s duration. They will also be required to be in supervision for this supervisory work with a course designated supervisor.

The module will be assessed by a written paper of 5000 words as well as a process report on a supervision session that has been recorded by the student with the consent of their supervisee.

This module investigates the relationship between theology and philosophy. The precise theme that will be discussed may change from year to year. Possible foci are topics such as ‘faith and reason’, ‘evil’, ‘divine and human action’, ‘language/semiotics’, ‘religious epistemology’, etc.

The aim of the module is to familiarize you with the most important positions, movements and schools in Philosophical Theology. The question of how we are to conceive the relationship between theology and philosophy is theologically of utmost importance and has consequences for all aspects of human life: anthropology, politics, culture, etc.

You will learn how to understand, interpret and contextualize theological and philosophical texts written by leading religious thinkers. The module discusses texts from the Continental tradition, Analytic Philosophy of Religion and Russian Religious Philosophy. Prior knowledge of philosophical theology and philosophy of religion is an advantage, but no prerequisite to attend the module. To make the most of this module you should be intellectually curious and willing to meticulously analyse dense and complex texts. You are invited to critically reflect on your own presuppositions regarding the relationship between theology and philosophy. The wide range of different texts will help you to broaden your intellectual horizon and to develop and refine your own position.

Aside from the appropriate programme co-requisites, it would be expected that students registered for the module (and programme) would have achieved philosophical and theological understanding equivalent to level 6 in order to engage with the module content.

The module will be assessed by a 6,000 word written assignment.

This module examines the interactions between religion and society and between the different religious communities, with a focus on Jews and Muslims, in the Middle East, southern Europe and the Balkans from the medieval era to modern times.

This module introduces students to the study of religion in society and to different aspects of the history of Muslim-Jewish-Christian relations in the Middle East, Southern Europe and the Balkans, and aims to equip them with the required analytical tools, bibliographical background and the necessary objectivity for the study of interfaith relations. This will include introductions to the shared history of religious law, insights into medieval and early-modern everyday life in the Middle East through the sources of the Cairo Genizah (‘history from below’), examinations of interreligious relations between communities in Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Spain and Bosnia, and the importance of economic paradigms for interfaith encounters. The course will also explore communal identity and segregation policies, political practices of forced conversions, power dynamics between minorities and majorities, and the socio-political function of historical narratives and tropes.

The assessment will comprise of an essay of 5,000 words and a book review of a 1,000 words.

This module offers students the opportunity to explore a range of texts from the Tanak / Old Testament from Jewish and Christian perspectives. The module will be co-taught by a Jewish tutor and a Christian tutor, who will enable students to examine selected ancient and modern interpretations of these shared sacred texts, thus modelling the practice of biblical interpretation in the context of inter-faith dialogue.

A close reading of each text will provide the stimulus for a discussion of important hermeneutical issues regarding translation, exegesis, and canonical context in the respective traditions. Students will deepen their knowledge and understanding of particular texts, and will develop their skills in biblical exegesis and hermeneutics. This open, hospitable and reflexive space will also give students the chance to examine the potential roles played by the study of shared sacred texts in fostering inter-religious understanding and developing interfaith relations.

The assessment will comprise a 15 minute oral presentation and a 4000 word written assignment.

The Module will focus on understandings of missiology in key historical contexts, aiming to provide an understanding of missiology as a theological discipline. It will being with a particular emphasis on the scriptural interpretations that lay foundations for diverse models of understanding mission, and the way in which these understandings shifted in patristic and modern periods. The motivations behind the practice of mission will be considered from a critical philosophical approach, and particular examples will be addressed through historical analysis. Building from this inter-disciplinary understanding of missiological conceptions and activities, the module will address particular questions such as the contrast between theologies of home and overseas mission.

The module is directed primarily at developing critical and reflective thinking for those engaged in mission, or who have an interest in the topic. Students should therefore be prepared to think reflexively, as well as critically engaging with historical and theological readings of mission. The student must engage an enquiring mind, organise material critically be prepared to accept the challenge of others to thoughts, ideas and analysis, and present their own position cogently.

Students will be required to receive material (choice of face-to-face and online), to submit regular formative writing and to prepare for, and engage in, seminars (face-to-face or online).

The assessment will comprise a blend of coursework pieces and an essay, the title of which is to be agreed with the course deliverer.

Some of the main challenges to any theistic worldview arise from the sciences of our time. In the science-theology dialogue of the last half-century there have been attempts to meet these challenges in a variety of ways, and these attempts, together with their theological implications, will be explored in this module. There will be a particular focus on the concept of natural theology, the nature of scientific and theological language usage, theological anthropology, the Christian doctrine of creation, and the problem of divine action in a world characterised by obedience to laws of nature. The student will, by the end of the course, have a broad understanding of the recent history of the science-theology dialogue. The aim is to enable students to undertake an in-depth and sophisticated investigation of one or more key topics at the interface of theology and science. They will learn how to integrate theological thinking into their own spiritual formation and intellectual outlook on the world.
The Wesleyan family of churches is one of the most widely-spread Christian traditions. About 80 million people world-wide belong to Methodist and other Wesleyan churches. Many more are part of movements – such as Pentecostalism - influenced by this Wesleyan tradition. Distinctive Wesleyan approaches have developed in response to important issues of theology, spirituality and ethics. These include the ethical issues of slavery, economics and equality, a spirituality focussed on the concept of holiness and a theology that sets mission within a vision of the universality of God’s grace. This module will introduce students to a rigorous and critical study of these key aspects of the spirituality and theology of the Wesleyan tradition. In particular, it will help students connect traditional Methodist emphases with contemporary issues of faith and ethics.

It will be assessed by a single 6000 word assignment.