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Study information

Philosophy of Religion and Christian Ethics

Module titlePhilosophy of Religion and Christian Ethics
Module codeTHE1106
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Esther Reed (Convenor)

Dr Jonathan Hill (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module you will engage with some of the key questions raised by religious belief and by Christian teachings about about ethical living.

Part A will focus on Christian moral teaching and how major texts may be read in dialogue with issues of urgent present-day concern.. 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 the sources and history of Christian ethics, and to selected questions for Christian ethics today. Major texts will be selected from George W. Forell, Ed, Christian Social Teachings: A Reader in Christian Social Ethics from the Bible to the Present (Fortress Press, 2013) E-Resource

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. 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...

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

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:

Part A

  • Reading the Bible in Christian Ethics
  • Augustine and Thomas Aquinas
  • Martin Luther and the Quakers
  • Roman Catholic Social Teaching
  • Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Feminist and Liberationist Voices

Part B

  • What is Philosophy of Religion and Why Does it Matter?
  • Faith and Reason
  • God, Religion, and Morality
  • Worship and Prayer
  • Heaven

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 essay (Pt 1)1000 words1-9Written and oral
Written essay (Pt 2)1000 words1-9Written 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
Essay451500 words1-9Written
Examination451.5 hours1-9Written
Participation102 x 100 words self-reflection statements10Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-9Referral/Deferral period
ExaminationExamination1-9Referral/Deferral period
ParticipationSelf-reflection statements10Referral/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

  • Long, D.S. (2010) Christian Ethics: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • George W. Forell, Ed, Christian Social Teachings: A Reader in Christian Social Ethics from the Bible to the Present Fortress Press E-Resource
  • Long, D. Stephen (2010) Christian Ethics: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: Oxford University Press E-Resource
  • De La Torre, Miguel A. (2014) Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis E-Resource
  • Claassens, L Juliana M, 'Towards a Feminist Public Theology: on Wounds, Scars and Healing in the Book of Jeremiah and Beyond', International Journal of Public Theology, 13 no 2 2019, p 185-202 E-Resource
  • Bayne, T. (2018) Philosophy of Religion: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Clack, B. and Clack, B. (2019) The Philosophy of Religion: A Critical Introduction Cambridge: Polity
  • Wainwright, W., ed. (2005) The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion Oxford: Oxford University Press

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