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MA Christian Theology

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  • Objectives
    -To provide an intellectual foundation in the central teachings of Christianity -To provide the conceptual tools necessary to understand the Christian teachings about God, Jesus Christ, salvation, grace, Church and Israel. -To enable students to relate Biblical and doctrinal traditions and their modern interpretations -To enable a detailed exploration of some issues of particular significance within the contemporary Christian context, especially the significance of Jesus Christ for human life and destiny, the Augustinian tradition in Western Christianity, the relations between Christians and the Jewish people.
  • Entry requirements
    The Programme is suitable for teachers of Religious Education at secondary level, those engaged in Christian ministry and priesthood and those who want to enrich their understanding of the on-going theological tradition which accompanies Christian faith and life.
  • Academic Title
    MA Christian Theology
  • Course description
    PROGRAMME STRUCTURE AND REQUIREMENTS

    To achieve an MA, students must pass four taught modules and a dissertation. Each whole module is equivalent to 30 credit points. The dissertation is equivalent to 60 credit points.

    Students who have successfully completed four taught modules including the two compulsory modules may be eligible to leave the programme with a Postgraduate Diploma.

    -Central Themes in Christian Theology
    The focus will be the Christian doctrines of God and Christ:

    Biblical, Patristic, medieval and contemporary treatments of God as a triune mystery of self-gift in Word and Spirit

    Historical and theological issues relating to how Jesus saw himself and his mission (‘the historical Jesus’) and the later Church’s interpretation of him
    How Jesus Christ is interpreted in the Church’s classical Christology (‘divine and human’) and in recent approaches in Spirit Christology
    Classical and contemporary discussions of the saving efficacy of Christ’s death, with particular attention to modern interpretations of the Trinity and the Paschal Mystery), sacrifice and atonement

    -Salvation, Grace and Human Life
    The focus will be the Christian doctrines of Salvation and Grace:

    The Biblical roots of soteriology; the root metaphors of salvation
    ‘Western’ and Eastern’ emphases in the Church Fathers: Athanasius, Irenaeus, Origen.
    Augustine’s treatment of sacrifice in The City of God
    Anselm and Abelard: the Cur Deus Homo and ‘subjectivist’ understandings of salvation
    Aquinas & the High Medieval debate about Christ’s death
    Justification in Luther and the Council of Trent
    The Death of God: Moltmann, Barth, Balthasar
    Karl Rahner’s theological anthropology (Foundations of Christian Faith)
    Atonement, martyrdom, eschatology
    Current interest in sacrifice: René Girard on religion and violence

    -Augustine and his Religious Legacy
    Augustine is the great authority for the Church in the medieval and Reformation periods and has influenced Christian thought more than any other post-Biblical writer. Through a study of his legacy, central themes in Christian history will be explored. This module will examine central writings of Augustine and the way in which they shape Western Christian teaching on a range of issues such as God, grace, the human body, history, etc).

    Augustine’s writings on the Trinity, grace and salvation, the Church in the world, marriage, the spiritual quest
    How Augustine was read in the Middle Ages: his influence on Church life and theology
    Luther and Calvin’s development of Augustine’s ideas in the Reformation
    The impact of Augustine on Catholicism through Jansenism
    Augustine in the modern age: new insights and interpretations.

    -The Church and Israel: Christian-Jewish Relations
    The relationship between the Jewish people and the Christian Church is explored in this module:

    The split between Jews and Christians in the decisive ‘parting of the ways’ in the 1st Century CE
    Currents of anti-Jewishness in Christian thought (‘the teaching of contempt’)
    Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate and Christian-Jewish relations
    The emergence of a new Christian ‘theology of Judaism’ in the modern period
    Theological issues in the developing dialogue
    Modern Jewish responses to Christianity
    Collaborators or competitors?

    -Dissertation
    The topic of the dissertation is chosen by the student, subject to approval by the supervisor

    Assessment

    Each module is assessed by a combination of coursework tasks completed shortly after the period of module teaching, and an end-of-year essay. The pass mark for each module is 50%.

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