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Study information

Philosophy of Religion and Christian Ethics

Module titlePhilosophy of Religion and Christian Ethics
Module codeTHE1106
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Jonathan Hill (Lecturer)

Dr Esther Reed (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Module description

In this module you will engage with some of the key questions raised by religious belief and by Christian teachings about how to live one’s life. Part A will focus on Christian moral teaching and practice in relation to fundamental Christian doctrines. Part B will focus on philosophical issues such as the nature of religion and whether religious faith can be rational.

This is an introductory course that assumes no previous knowledge of the subject and is thus suitable for students from other disciplines.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Part A will introduce you to Christian ethics through engagement with questions about clothing, fashion, and trade justice. The practical aim is to prepare teamwork reports on the ethics of fashion for a local business; writing for a readership external to the university prepares you to think in an informed manner about how to acquire skills desirable to employers. The theologico-ethical aim is to do Christian ethics together in a manner that is biblically and traditionally informed, in conversation with other disciplines, and focused on matters of present-day concern.

Part B will introduce you to one of the basic methods of theology: the philosophical method and its role in thinking about religion. You will consider key questions about the nature of religion in a philosophical way, notably the nature of religion and the relation between faith and reason, as well as the relation between religion and ethics.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Offer an informed answer to the question: What is Christian ethics?, giving examples of Christian moral reasoning and practice
  • 2. Understand different philosophical approaches to the nature of religion and religious faith

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Begin, with guidance, to employ a core method of study: philosophical analysis
  • 4. Discuss the possibility and character of Christian ethics as lived today by local congregations, and learn to ‘read’ theological and ethical commitments from these practices
  • 5. Make guided use of a diversity of primary and secondary sources

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Undertake directed work within clear guidelines
  • 7. Collect and categorise information relevant to a particular project, with guidance
  • 8. Demonstrate the ability to summarise information accurately and fairly
  • 9. Make use of selected written sources, with clear guidance
  • 10. Communicate clearly in a written form
  • 11. Participate appropriately in a learning group

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Getting prepared: What is Christian ethics? How might the discipline of Christian ethics develop theological arguments about clothing, fashion, trade justice?
  • Devising the research: listening to, and questioning ‘the employer’ about what they want to find out, plus thinking and preparing methodologically to address the task(s).
  • Doing the work: working in teams to produce a joint report that addresses the questions raised and, where necessary, points to the need for further research.
  • What is philosophy of religion and why does it matter?
  • What is religion?
  • Faith and reason
  • Pluralism and non-realism
  • Life after death
  • God, religion, and morality

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching22Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching11Seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching2Two small group tutorials
Guided independent study115Private study or team work

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written essay10002-3, 5-10Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination501.5 hours1-10Written
Contribution to 6 person (approximately) teamwork report 507500 words teamwork report1-10Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination2-3, 5-10Referral/Deferral period
Teamwork reportEssay 2500 words1-10Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Lisa Sowle Cahill (2013) Global Justice, Christology and Christian Ethics Cambridge: Cambridge University Press – available electronically
  • The Church of Scotland (2011) Are We What We Wear? The Ethics of our Clothing Choices Edinburgh: Church and Society (accessed 7 August 2017)
  • Baptist World Aid Australia (2017) Ethical Fashion Guide (accessed 7 August 2017)
  • Fashion Revolution (2017) (accessed 7 August 2017)
  • Matthew Anderson (2015) ‘Christian Ethics and Economics: Voluntary Organisations and Alternative Trade’ in A History of Fair Trade in Contemporary Britain London: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Davies, B. (1993) An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Peterson, M. and VanArragon, R. (eds.) Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion Oxford: Blackwell
  • Taliaferro, C. (1998) Contemporary Philosophy of Religion Oxford: Blackwell
  • Trigg, R. (1998) Rationality and Religion Oxford: Blackwell
  • Zagzebski, L. (2007) Philosophy of Religion: An Historical Introduction Oxford: Blackwell

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Theology, religion, philosophy, fashion, Christian ethics

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date