Whether you describe yourself as agnostic, atheist or a firm believer, if you have a passionate interest in the ethical, political, philosophical and religious issues of our time, this course is perfect for you. Here at BGU we can look back on many years of experience in teaching Religious Studies, Philosophy and Theology. We designed this undergraduate degree to bring the oldest of academic subjects into the present day – combining the richness of ancient tradition with the relevance and freshness of a 21st century subject.
Mode of study
Bishop Grosseteste University
About this course
This course offers a different type of Theology and Ethics – we like to think of it as Theology ‘with its sleeves rolled up’. Our hands-on undergraduate degree will take you beyond the classroom and will open doors that have the potential to change your life and empower you to make a difference to the world you inhabit.
Get ready to look at recent trends in theology alongside the implications of scientific discovery, exploring religious debate together with arguments for atheism and for the existence of God. You won’t stop studying world religions, however. You’ll also explore other key events and issues related to terrorism, race, gender and sexuality. Here at BGU in Lincoln, we have many years’ experience in teaching Religious Studies, Philosophy and Theology. We designed this degree to bring the oldest of academic subjects firmly into the present day – combining the richness of ancient tradition with the relevance and freshness of a 21st-century subject.
Throughout the course you’ll develop your curiosity and fascination about different religious cultures, learning from hands-on experience and developing research skills and critical evaluation skills.
What you will study
As a student on this course, you may study some or all of the modules listed below.
The module explores the range of perspectives within an ethical discourse in post modernity. It critically evaluates the Bible as an ethical resource and the Church as an ethical community as well as a broad range of philosophical commentators both Ancient and Modern, such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Mill and MacIntyre. It specifically explores issues in economics and social justice, work and money, sexual ethics, medical ethics, warfare, and the environment.
This module introduces the historical manifestations, key writings and Scripture, as well as the principal beliefs and practices of the three main religions of the west: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, although reference is also made to other faith traditions.
This module provides an introduction to the historical manifestations, key writings and Scripture, as well as the principal beliefs and practices of the three main religions of the East: Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism, although reference is also made to other faith traditions.
This module covers a broad sweep of Christian history starting with the development of an early Church through major theological developments such as the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon. It covers important foundation stages, personalities and concepts attached to the historical and theological development of Christianity from the Early Church to the middles-ages. It will look at the contributions to theology of some of outstanding thinkers such as St Paul, Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas.
This module covers a broad sweep of Christian history starting with the development of the Reformation through major theological development to the modern era. It covers important foundation stages, personalities, and concepts attached to the historical and theological development of Christianity from the Reformations to the modern age. It will look at the contributions to theology of some of the outstanding thinkers such as Luther, Calvin and Loyal as well as modern theologians such as Barth and Rahner. It will examine historical developments such as the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, modernity, secularisation, and fundamentalism.
This module covers the broad sweep of the Western Philosophical tradition from Socrates to the Middle Ages through the mediums of ethics, epistemology, religious thought, and scientific and technological discovery. It provides a review of the ancient European tradition through the medium of philosophy as it examines the contributions of key thinkers to important areas of thought such as ethics, the existence of God, reason, government, and education.
This module covers the broad sweep of the Western Philosophical tradition from the early modern period to the present, through the mediums of Ethics, epistemology, religious thought, and scientific and technological discovery. It provides a review of the modern European tradition through the medium of philosophy as it examines the contributions of key thinkers to important areas of thought such as Ethics, the existence of God, reason, government, and education.
Liberation Theology was born out of the decision by the Catholic Church leaders to make an option for the poor in late 1960s Latin America. Combining theology with a Marxist ideology this new movement sought to ground concepts of salvation in contemporary struggles for liberation. This module will provide you with a knowledge, understanding and awareness of the context in which liberation theology exists. It will give you opportunities to gain academic and personal knowledge of liberation theology through reading, learning and through visits and meetings. Religion has not always had a positive encounter with either sexuality or racial minorities and these encounters continue to be an area that is attached with great importance. By examining political theologies from core thinkers such as Gutierrez, Loades and Cone, this module will offer you an opportunity to encounter issues of poverty, sexuality powerlessness and liberative theologies. It will explore the implications these global issues have for religions to provide insights into crucial areas of theology, ethics and society.
This module will explore the historical relationship between the World’s main religions and the environment. It will place the issues that surround our environment in an historical context in order to ask whether these religious organisations contributed to the problems facing our planet since the advent of industrialisation and whether they can now contribute to a solution. It will explore sacred text from the Jewish Torah, the Bible, the Koran as well as the Eastern texts from Hinduism and Judaism in order to determine their significance in terms of Green issues. It will also explore the modern contributions from historians, such as Lynn White, through to theologians such as Sean McDonagh, as it assesses the contribution of the eco-theology movement to the wider disciplines of Theology and Ethics.
This module covers both critical approaches to understanding holocaust education and the ways in which it is delivered in contemporary society. It explores major concepts including: the relationship between perpetrators, rescuers, bystanders and victims; anti-Semitism at key points in British and European history; filmographic perspectives on Judaism, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; the socio-political context surrounding various holocausts; wider aspects of the conflagration; and critical and pedagogic approaches to exploring holocausts in contemporary learning settings, including through the school curriculum and Holocaust Memorial Day. It considers why and how holocausts can be used as a vehicle for teaching issues relating to social justice and whether this is appropriate.
The module begins with a study of the nature of explanation in science. Key Philosophers of Science will be engaged, including Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerdabend, Bas van Frassen and Imre Lakatos. Comparisons will be made with the rationality of theology. Models of the relationship between science and religion are explored and the possibility of a genuine dialogue between theology and science is raised. The module further explores the consequences of this work for key Christian concepts such as creation, providence, and miracle, freewill, time and eternity, the nature of human beings, natural and revealed theology. The relationship between these two disciplines, with their questions of compatibility or exclusivity, form a pivotal issue not just with regard to theology and society, but with regard to our contemporary society in general. This module is specifically designed to complement THP60122 Cogito ergo Sum: Questions and Answers module, which will explore the contemporary debate between scientists such as Richard Dawkins and modern theologians. Throughout the module, the contribution of Christian theology to the development of science will be studied as well as alternative religious perspectives e.g. Islamic, Eastern.
This module builds on the introductory themes studied at Level 4. The module content offers you the opportunity to explore selected accounts of psychic and paranormal activity in the UK and elsewhere, considering popular, scientific, and theological explanations for these phenomena. Historical mainstream and alternative religious teachings about angels, spirits, miracles, mystical experiences etc are explored, and a study is made of established mystery cults and sects, and the conspiracy theories which have often surrounded them.
This module builds on the introductory themes studied in Religion at the Fringes 1: New Religions and Cults. The module content offers you the opportunity to explore selected accounts of psychic and paranormal activity in the UK and elsewhere, considering popular, scientific and theological explanations for these phenomena. Historical mainstream and alternative religious teachings about angels, spirits, miracles, mystical experiences etc are explored, and a study is made of established mystery cults and sects, and the conspiracy theories which have often surrounded them.
This module covers a broad sweep of the of three major world religion’s attitudes towards and treatment of women particularly that of Christianity, Judasim and Islam. It looks at the contributions to theology and spirituality of some of outstanding women; scriptural women such as Esther, Deborah, Mary mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, historical women such as Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila and the more modern contributions made by feminist theologians such as Mary Daly and Rosemary Radford Ruether. This module provides you with an arena in which to apply previously acquired knowledge and skills in order to engage with the study of women thinkers and writers of theology and spirituality.
This module covers a broad sweep of the last 2,000 years of major world religion’s attitudes towards and treatment of women and in particular that of Eastern Religions and new religious movements. It looks at the contributions to theology and spirituality of some of outstanding women as well as the experiences of women who belong to these faiths. This module provides you with an arena in which to apply previously acquired knowledge and skills in order to engage with the study of women thinkers and writers of theology and spirituality.
After preliminary consideration of what is meant by 'modernity', 'religion' and 'atheism', this module examines the thought of some central thinkers, theistic, agnostic and atheistic, and the implications of their thought for religious questions. Some of the most central themes in Enlightenment and post Enlightenment Western religious and atheistic philosophical debates will be examined and evaluated in order to engage students with both the history and the latest developments in core religious, philosophical and ethical issues.
During this module you will undertake a project, drawing on tutors’ advice as well as your own interests and instincts. You will conduct your researches through self-formulated questions, supported by the gathering of relevant information and opinion along organized lines of enquiry. The relatively modest guiding role of the supervisor means that you will be empowered to develop your skills of initiative and responsibility. You will more fully understand the opportunities in, and vicissitudes of, advanced independent study, further defining and drawing upon your particular styles of learning. You will proactively manage the development of your conceptual ideas and related arguments, using the challenge of the abstract and working bibliography to summarize both quantitatively and qualitatively the research you have undertaken; and that of the dissertation itself to construct an advanced piece of literary scholarship that is both conceptually and structurally strong.
The module explores the history and beliefs of major Indo-Chinese religions, and some of the ways in which their beliefs and assumptions are expressed in everyday life and practice. In exploring a range of expressions within the different religions, the module will seek to offer a balance between classical and subsequent articulations, and studies of the religions within their traditional environments, and expressions of the same religion within contemporary Britain. A list of journals and websites appropriate to this subject will be made available in the module handbook. In addition to readings from scholarly literature, as far as possible, you will be offered first-hand experience of the various faiths through visits to places of worship, meetings with faith-adherents, guest speakers and the use of various sources produced from within those faith traditions.
The module takes as its theme "Crisis and Change" and responds to it in such a manner as to historically narrativise the development and dissemination of knowledge and responses to the theme. It is broken into four segments, with a coherent link provided to what came before and what will come next. The four are: Crisis of Modernity; The Challenge of Nihilism; Lemons to Lemonade; and Post-Modernity taking students from the end of the 19th century through to today. It engages with topics of what is real and how can we know? Making moral choices, race, humour, gender and non-gender, marginalization, migration and belonging (or not). The four sections are infused by the question of where religion sits within these topics - consciously and unconsciously -for the creators and the readers / consumers, and what do we mean by 'religion'? You will be exploring thinkers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Adorno, Beauvoir, and Hooks. You will also be reading works by sociologists of religion, specifically Tricia Rose, Rachel Wagner and Francis Stewart, and popular writers such as Reni Eddo-Lodge. In addition you will be working on the following films: "Black Swan", "Calvary", "Trainspotting", "In Time", and "Pulp Fiction". You will be examining television shows, specifically "Gone Too Far" and "Best of Times, Worst of Times" and will engage with two documentaries, Dave Chappelle's "Black Party" and "The Taqwacores". You will also be taught how to analyse and critically respond to music, not necessarily in the genre you would choose to listen to. This will focus on "Big A, Little A" by Crass, "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone, "All Along the WatchTower" by Bob Marley, "Lust for Life" by Iggy Pop, and a selection of Krishacore and Taqwacore bands. Finally, you will engage with video games, specifically "Far Cry 5" and "Bioshock" as a new medium with a very powerful message.
This module looks at the historical relationship between Religion and acts of political violence. It will examine Christian, Islamic, Judaic, Buddhist and Hindu responses to politics, violence, and the world. It will explore the issues raised by modern conflict, war and terrorism in order to discuss their implications for theology. In particular it will offer insights into how and why religions might regard acts of violence as an appropriate expression. It will provide opportunities to encounter issues of war, terrorism, and liberative theological thinking. It will offer an in-depth exploration of the implications these global issues have for Religions, and will critically engage you in the responses of World Religions to these challenges. This module will look at the role of Islam, Hinduism and other religions in confronting issues of terrorism, war and globalisation. Various responses of religious individuals will be discussed, such as Martin Luther King, Ghandi and Malcolm X, to political and social problems. Finally it will discuss the future for World religions in the 21st Century.
You will undertake a project, drawing on tutors’ advice as well as your own interests and instincts. You will conduct your researches through self-formulated questions, supported by the gathering of relevant information and opinion along organised lines of enquiry. The relatively modest guiding role of the supervisor means that students will be empowered to develop their skills of initiative and responsibility. You will more fully understand the opportunities in, and vicissitudes of, advanced independent study, further defining and drawing upon your styles of learning. You will proactively manage the development of your conceptual ideas and related arguments, using the challenge of the abstract and working bibliography to summarize both quantitatively and qualitatively the research you have undertaken; and that of the dissertation itself to construct an advanced piece of literary scholarship that is both conceptually and structurally strong.
How you will be taught
There is no one-size-fits-all method of teaching at BGU – we shape our methods to suit each subject and each group, combining the best aspects of traditional university teaching with innovative techniques to promote student participation and interactivity.
You will be taught in a variety of ways, from lectures, tutorials and seminars, to practical workshops, coursework and work-based placements. Small group seminars and workshops will provide you with an opportunity to review issues raised in lectures, and you will be expected to carry out independent study.
Placements are a key part of degree study within many courses at BGU. They provide an enriching learning experience for you to apply the skills and knowledge you will gain from your course and, in doing so, give valuable real-world experience to boost your career.
On our Theology courses, we believe that we have an imaginative approach to assessment that allows us to utilise your strengths. We assess our students using a wide range of methods which include written assignments, paired and single presentations, research-based dissertations, files of work and exams. A good deal of continual assessment and easy access to our course tutors means that we are in a strong position to get the best possible results from our students.
Careers & Further study
Many Theology students will pursue careers directly related to the disciplines of Theology, Ethics and Religious Studies, in education and schools. However, graduates of this course are highly skilled individuals fully prepared to pursue a wide variety of careers in other fields, such as community work, counselling, policing, librarianship, social work, work in the third sector, politics, museum work, education officers attached to religious buildings or organisations and media work. Specialised modules and the ability to choose individual routes through our programme will prepare you for whatever career might best suit your interests. As well as an in-depth understanding of ethical and theological issues, you will gain a wide range of transferable skills which will prepare you for further study or employment. Possible future careers for Theology, Philosophy & Ethics graduates may include work as an RE teacher/primary specialist, theology lecturer, social or youth work, politics and policy planning or museum work.
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