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Study information

Theology, Sexuality and Gender

Module titleTheology, Sexuality and Gender
Module codeTHE1108
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Susannah Cornwall (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Module description

This module will enable you to think theologically about sexuality and gender. It addresses problems about the interpretation and use of theological sources (including the Bible). The themes may include:

  • Being theological about sex (desire, marriage and its alternatives)
  • Being theological about gender (the apparent ‘maleness’ of God, one-sex and two-sex theories, , equality, power)
  • Being theological about same-sex love and sexual and gender minorities
  • Accounts of morality and virtue within theologies of sexuality

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to introduce you to:

  • The exhilaration of thinking theologically about sexuality, sexual relationships, gender, and love;
  • A comprehensive and consistent theological understanding of sexuality and gender which is broad, contemporary, undogmatic, questioning, and inclusive
  • Problems of method in theological thinking, biblical interpretation and Christian ethics

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of key concepts and issues within the theological study of sexuality and gender
  • 2. Understand why issues of sexuality and gender are contentious in all the churches, and begin to be able to make your own judgements about these
  • 3. Begin to appreciate how and why theological understandings of the sexed body and relations between the sexes have changed over time, and are changing now
  • 4. Begin to make theological judgements about sex and gender issues inside and outside the churches

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. Demonstrate an appreciation of the contribution of basic Christian doctrine to the understanding of sexuality and gender
  • 6. Begin to appreciate the variety and complexity of the sources of theological thinking and their use
  • 7. Begin to appreciate the importance of historical and social contexts in understanding contemporary religious beliefs and practices
  • 8. Begin to appreciate the imaginative possibilities in re-reading historical texts and re-visioning basic Christian doctrines

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 9. Undertake guided work within clear guidelines
  • 10. Make use of selected written sources, with guidance
  • 11. Communicate clearly in written form
  • 12. Use/learn skills of empathy and sensitivity in discussion of contested issues

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:

  • Concepts and sources of theological knowledge
  • Desire and love
  • Sex inside and outside marriage
  • Human and divine gender
  • Celibacy and virginity
  • Contested sex (e.g. BDSM, porn, sex work, polyamory)
  • Same-sex relationships and biblical interpretation
  • Inclusive sexual theologies

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 teaching11Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching11Seminars
Guided independent study128Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay outline1 side of A41-12Written feedback

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
Essay602000 words1-12Written feedback
Examination401 x 1 hour examination1-12Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-12Referral/Deferral period
ExaminationExamination1-12Referral/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

  • Brownson, James V., Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships (Grand Rapids, Michigan / Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans, 2013)
  • Cornwall, Susannah, Theology and Sexuality (London: SCM Press, 2013)
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1994)
  • Farley, Margaret A., Just Love: A Framework for Christian Ethics (New York and London: Continuum 2006)
  • Rogers, Eugene F., Jr. (ed.), Theology and Sexuality: Classic and Contemporary Readings (Oxford, UK / Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2002)
  • Thatcher, Adrian, God, Sex, and Gender: An Introduction (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)
  • Thatcher, Adrian (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Theology, Sexuality and Gender (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

homosexuality, marriage, theology and gender, theology and sexuality

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date