I:Death of God ? :Christianity and the Modern World - TH571

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring 5 30 (15) checkmark-circle


This module will enable students to analyse and understand the development of Christian theology over the last two hundred years. We will be critically evaluating the significance and contribution of a number of leading twentieth century theologians from a variety of denominational backgrounds and endeavouring to understand to a sophisticated degree the changes in Christian thought and practice in a variety of situations in the twentieth century.

The module will begin by surveying the main strands of post-Enlightenment Christian theology, including the contributions of Kant, Schleiermacher and Feuerbach. There will be a detailed focus of two of the 'Death of God' theologians from the twentieth century, Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton. We will then critically evaluate the significance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his influence (with particular reference to Harvey Cox and John A.T. Robinson); Liberal Protestantism and the rise of Neo-Orthodoxy, with particular reference to Paul Tillich and Karl Barth; Rudolf Bultmann and his programme of demythologisation; and an interrogation of the Christian understanding of 'hope' with specific reference to Jürgen Moltmann. The module also involves a study of key theological movements, in particular Liberation Theology, Black Theology and Feminist Theology.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40

Method of assessment

Essay 1 (1,500 words) – 20%
Essay 2 (2,000 words) – 30%
Examination (2 hours) – 50%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Davies, D. (2007). The Theology of Death, London: T&T Clark
Ford, D. (2005). The Modern Theologians: An Introduction to Christian Theology Since 1918, Oxford: Blackwell
Gill, R. (ed.). (1995). Readings in Modern Theology, London: SPCK
Jones, G. (ed.). (2007). The Blackwell Companion to Modern Theology, Oxford: Blackwell
McGrath, A. (2004). Theology: The Basics, Oxford: Blackwell

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:

Evaluate the significance and contribution of a number of leading theologians since the nineteenth century from a variety of denominational backgrounds;
Demonstrate understanding of the changes in Christian thought and practice in a variety of situations in the last two centuries;
Recognise and evaluate key theological developments as particularly evinced throughout the twentieth century, including the emergence of liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, liberation theology, black theology and feminist theology;
Analyse the interrelations of Christian theology and contemporary society.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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