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.
Total Contact Hours: 40
Method of assessment
Essay 1 (Level 5 – 1,500 words; Level 6 – 2,000 words) – 20%
Essay 2 (Level 5 – 2,000 words; Level 6 – 2,500 words) – 30%
Examination (3 hours) – 50%
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)
On successfully completing the module, Level 6 students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an in-depth and systematic engagement with the writings, both primary and secondary, of a number of leading theologians since the nineteenth century from a variety of denominational backgrounds and to exhibit a highly focused and rigorous appreciation of the limitations as well as the strengths of each of the theologians studied;
- Apply a critical and systematic engagement with the changes that can be evinced in the course of the last two hundred years and, specifically, to demonstrate to a critical degree how the different figures and movements examined in the module differ and/or relate to each other;
- Critically recognise and evaluate the key theological developments as particularly evinced throughout the twentieth century, including the emergence of liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, liberation theology, black theology and feminist theology. Students are expected to be able to critique these key theological developments with reference to specialised sources and to situate them within appropriate historical, philosophical and theological contexts;
- Scrutinise and critique, with reference to appropriate specialist and critical sources, the interrelationship between Christian theology and the beliefs and values of wider social and philosophical schools of thought.
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