School of Divinity

Undergraduate Courses 2017/18

Undergraduate courses

Biblical Studies

BIST08013 Introducing Biblical Hebrew (Semester 1)
An introduction to Biblical Hebrew for beginners.

BIST08014 Introducing New Testament Greek (Semester 2)
An introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, with selected readings.

BIST08017 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew (Full Year)
Consolidation of structured grammar learning; plus a study of the following Biblical Hebrew texts: 1 Samuel 1; Jonah; Deuteronomy 5-6; Amos 3-5.

BIST08018 Intermediate New Testament Greek (Full Year)
Consolidation of grammar and vocabulary of the Greek New Testament and readings in selected passages.

BIST08020 Moses and the Torah (Semester 1)
This course is the partner to Prophets and their Oracles (level 8), and is aimed at students beginning their academic study of biblical literature. It is an introduction to the first five books of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, and aimed at students beginning study of the content of the Torah or Pentateuch by a survey of important themes.

BIST08021 Jesus and the Gospels (Semester 2)
This course is the partner to Paul and his Letters (level 8). It is an introduction to the study of Jesus and the Gospels within their Jewish and Graeco-Roman contexts and is aimed at students beginning their study of the New Testament. We will pay particular attention to recent work on the historical Jesus and Mark's Gospel (the earliest extant 'life of Jesus'), besides surveying a range of other gospels, both canonical and apocryphal. Finally, we will ask why some Gospels were included in the Christian canon while others were not.

BIST10001 Biblical Hebrew Texts A (Semester 1)
An extended portion of Hebrew Bible: introduction, translation, and textual and exegetical commentary.

BIST10012 New Testament Texts (Semester 1)
Detailed study of selected passages from the New Testament writings.

BIST10031 Early Christian Greek Texts (Semester 2)
A selection of readings from the Greek Old Testament, Greek New Testament, and other Greek writings of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, along with some elements of advanced grammar and vocabulary.

BIST10036 Old Testament Texts (Semester 2)
Detailed study of selected passages from the Old Testament in English translation.

BIST10040 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew (Honours) (Full Year)
This honours course aims to consolidate reading of classical Hebrew, to enrich experience of textual criticism and exegesis of the Hebrew Bible, and to apply these skills into the wider activities of the study of biblical texts.

BIST10041 Intermediate New Testament Greek (Honours) (Full Year)
This honours course aims to consolidate reading of New Testament Greek, to enrich experience of textual criticism and exegesis of the Greek New Testament, and to apply these skills into the wider activities of the study of biblical texts.

BIST10042 Historical Jesus (Semester 1)
An analysis of modern efforts to portray Jesus in historical terms, with focus on particular scholarly studies and issues (e.g. trial of Jesus).

BIST10049 Jesus in Film (Semester 2)
This course explores the cultural and theological questions raised by diverse cinematic interpretations of Jesus' life, relating them to social, historical, and theological developments of the 20th/21st century, while also addressing the methodological issues involved in studying religion and film.


DIVI08001 Religion, Violence and Peacebuilding (Semester 1)
In this course students investigate the relations between religion, violence and building peace. Through consideration of a range of texts and international case studies participants analyse different kinds of theological reflection and practice, which seek to engage with the realities of violence and the practicalities of building peace.

DIVI10001 Theology and Religious Studies: Final Dissertation (Full Year)
A supervised study of an approved topic agreed with a member of academic staff and approved by the Head of the School of Divinity as a requirement of the final year in all Honours degree programmes in Divinity (MA Religious Studies, MA Divinity, BD Hons, MA(H) - Philosophy and Systematic Theology), the required and assessed written work a 10,000 word (max) dissertation. The dissertation counts for 40 credits of the required 120 credits in the final year of Honours programmes, and also can count in fulfilment of required credits for the degree 'major' or for the 'tradition' focus on the degree programme. Students are to register an agreed dissertation topic and supervisor with the Divinity Office at the end of the academic year before their final year of study, on the form developed for this purpose. (The course code depends on the School in which the supervisor serves, eg a 'DV' code for all staff members in Divinity, an 'AS' code for staff members in Asian Studies, an 'IM' code for staff members in Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies).

History of Christianity

ECHS08002 Popular Religion, Women and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Semester 2)
An examination of key aspects of popular religion, culture and elite control during the early modern period in Europe.

ECHS08004 History of Christianity as a World Religion 1B (Semester 2)
The course aims to provide students with a comprehensive view of the global Christian movement in time and space. It considers the period from the Reformation to the present. (1500 CE to present), including mission and ministry in Africa, Latin America, Asia and North America, as well as following changes in Europe

ECHS08005 History of Christianity as a World Religion 1A (Semester 1)
The course aims to provide students with a comprehensive view of the global Christian movement in time and space.

ECHS08010 Christianity in Formation 100-313 (Semester 1)
This course studies the forging of Christian identity, tradition and diversity in the violent but culturally stimulating period between the New Testament and Constantine, against the background of Judaism and the Classical Roman world.

ECHS10004 Church, Conflict and Community in Britain and Ireland 1850-1914 3/4 (Semester 2)
A study of Church, state and society from the first Christian Socialist movement to the First World War. Topics include the growth of religious pluralism, the "Victorian Crisis of Faith", religion and nationalism in Ireland, liberal "Broad Church" theology revivalism and the "social gospel".

ECHS10011 Augustine in his Age 3/4 (Semester 2)
The thought of Augustine in the context of the Christian and educational culture of his day and the decline of the Roman Empire in the West. The course will concentrate on four works: the Confessions, the City of God, On Christian Teaching (De Doctrina Christiana) and On the Trinity.

ECHS10015 Byzantine Church and Society 451-1672 3/4 (Semester 1)
An examination of the major historical events and theological movements affecting the world of Byzantine Orthodoxy from the Council of Chalcedon to the early Ottoman empire.

ECHS10016 Evangelism and Empire: Christianity in Africa, 1800 to the present (Semester 2)
This course introduces some of the most important themes in the Christian history of Africa from the early nineteenth century to the present day. It pays attention to the interaction of European and indigenous traditions through a series of case studies of conversion and religious innovation. It raises issues which remain of crucial relevance today, such as the connections between religious change and structures of political and economic power, or the two-way relationship between religious and ethnic identity.

ECHS10021 Children and the Church: Popular Education and Child Welfare in England and Scotland, 1800-1900 (Semester 1)
This course examines the relationship between the church and poor children in the nineteenth century, focusing particularly on education and care. It investigates the role Christians played in directing and influencing both popular opinion and legislation. The problems historians face when investigating the historical child are explored and students are encouraged to question the accessibility of children's voices in a variety of primary sources. Wherever possible this course seeks to uncover the voices of historical children and thereby provide a child-centred understanding of the church's role in shaping schooling and welfare.

Religious Studies

REST08015 Global Religions A: Judaism, Buddhism, Islam (Semester 1)
An overview of three significant and globally present religions. It begins with a foundational introduction to the study of religions and then moves to a study of Judaism, Buddhism and Islam. The relationships between the historical and contemporary studies of these religions are noted in the lectures. A special feature of this course is fieldwork visits to sites of Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist worship in Edinburgh.

REST08016 Studying Religions (Semester 1)
This course introduces students to contemporary Religious Studies and invites them to rethink their preconceptions about studying the complex topic of 'religion'.

REST08017 Global Religions B: Indigenous African Religions and Religions of Asia (Semester 2)
An overview of Indigenous African Religions and religions of Asia with attention to the connections between them historically and thematically. The course is contemporary in focus and aims to highlight how practitioners live in their local contexts. It will involve, for example, looking at what modern Indian religion is, for real people, who may mix indigenous religion with Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or other traditions. As such the course will contribute to de-constructing the 'world religions paradigm' by seeking to understand the lived reality of peoples lives.

REST10034 Jewish Christian Relations in Modern Times (Semester 1)
To chart the developments of Jewish-Christian relations since the French Revolution in order to enable a better understanding of the different levels of mutual interpretation. Attention will be paid to the social, political, literary and theological interpretations of Jews by Christians and of Christians by Jews. Concepts such as 'dialogue' and 'pluralism' will be problematised and examined in their historical and theological contexts. The geographical focus of this course will be Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries, broadening to the United States after World War II.

REST10035 Religion and Nationalism in the Contemporary World (Semester 1)
Nations have been called imagined communities (Anderson 1991) that speak to the profound need for both legitimacy and belonging, characteristic of our times. This course will address this idea by focusing on the relationships between religion, geo-politics and the emergence of nationalism. The course will investigate the following questions:

REST10041 Theories of Religion (Semester 1)
What exactly is 'religion'? Are we talking about the same 'thing' in our cross-cultural and comparative studies? This course approaches this key question through close readings of selected theories of religion by living scholars, which restore fully worked out theories of religion at the heart of Religious Studies. We examine each theory in detail and we compare and contrast their presuppositions and conclusions. We also road-test our theories on selected case studies. The aim of the course is to prepare students to identify and defend their preferred theory of religion and to put it into practice.

REST10044 Islam Past and Present: Issues of Gender and Ethics (Semester 2)
This course will explore how scripture, theology and social realities reflect the complex and competing claims around issues of gender and ethics in Islamic thought and society. Through a variety of primary and secondary sources (in English), the course will look at select ethical themes including medical ethics and criminal law as well as the feminist and human rights debates which continue to challenge and shape Muslim societies and their understanding of spiritual and legal equality.

REST10046 Hindu Traditions: History, Power and Agency (Semester 2)
This course will explore popular Hindu traditions, and will investigate its diversity through history, power and agency. It will challenge the homogenised 'world religions' model using anthropological methods in understanding religions, and highlight the significance of perspectives using ethnographic, textual, theoretical, and visual sources.

REST10048 Theravada Buddhism (Semester 1)
This course explores a major branch of Buddhism from its origins in 5th century BCE North India to its present-day manifestations in South and South-east Asia.

REST10049 Modern Religious and Ethical Debates in Contemporary Literature (Semester 2)
This course will explore the influence of contemporary religious and ethical debates on literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It will consider the differences between Scottish, English and American fiction in religious and theological terms. Writers from Christian, Jewish, and atheist perspectives will be contrasted.

REST10051 The Hindu Epics: Mahabharata and Ramayana (Semester 2)
This course explores the two great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Using English translations and secondary scholarship it will examine the key characters and plots, and relate them to wider Hindu debates about the nature of gods, the obligations of humans, and the cosmic battle between good and evil. It will also pose questions about the reception of the epics, and their role in Hindu and Indian religious history.

REST10052 New Spiritualities: from New Age to Holistic (Semester 2)
This course investigates the content and structure of selected new spiritualities in Europe and North America, with an emphasis on new age and holistic examples. It combines empirical study with insights from a range of social theorists. The course identifies a fluid field of 'spiritual' beliefs and practices which it locates within the modern history of religion.

Theology and Ethics

THET08014 Christian Theology: Approaches and Themes (Semester 1)
This course will provide an introduction to the study of theology, which covers key approaches and themes in philosophical theology, Christian doctrine, and practical theology, in some cases, through fieldwork. The topics to be covered include the nature of theology, the doctrine of God, the existence of God, the sources of the knowledge of God, the nature of Christian worship and witness, the relationship of Christianity to other religions, and to science, the challenge of secularism, and the status of women and minorities. The course will also consider the problems posed to Christian belief by evil, suffering, and death.

THET08015 Ethics and Society (Semester 2)
Students will be introduced to philosophical, biblical and theological approaches to Christian ethics. They will discover the distinctive resources of Christian theological ethics for describing human flourishing and sustaining Christian worshipping communities. They will explore the distinctiveness of the moral life of the Church, and its significance for contemporary moral dilemmas.

THET10001 Church, Sacraments and Ministry 3/4 (Semester 2)
The theology of the church and its ministry particularly in the context of the relationship of word and sacrament, relating these to contemporary issues facing the church and its ministry.

THET10005 Modern Christology 3/4 (Semester 2)
An advanced course in Christology, investigating key trends, authors and texts from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in this field of systematic theology.

THET10007 Christian Ethics 3/4 (Semester 2)
The course is designed to enable students to acquire skills in Christian moral reasoning, and successfully to mobilise such skills in relation to contemporary moral controversies such as the patenting of life or the moral status of animals.

THET10008 Homiletics 3/4 (Semester 2)
An advanced course in preaching with special attention to hermeneutical, theological, practical and contextual issues.

THET10011 Theology and Contemporary Science 3/4 (Semester 2)
This course examines a series of twentieth century developments both in the philosophy of science and in natural science itself which broaden possibilities for dialogue between modern theology and modern science.

THET10041 Economy, Ethics and Theology (Semester 1)
This course explores the moral and theological critique of capitalism, engaging critically with classic political economy, with key moral and theological critiques of political economy, and with alternative approaches to economic and political organisation.

THET10042 The Theology of Karl Barth (Semester 2)
This course explores key themes in the theology of Karl Barth, engaging critically with his work and reflecting carefully on aspects of its scholarly reception and contemporary adequacy.

THET10049 Theology and Spirituality of Reconciliation (Semester 1)
Work towards reconciliation is one of the key factors in bringing an end to conflict and helping individuals and communities to co-exist peacefully. This course introduces the theology and spirituality of reconciliation, examining the dynamics of reconciliation and exploring some practical aspects of how to live in a reconciling way.

THET10050 Christian-Muslim Relations: diatribe, discourse and dialogue (Semester 2)
This course explores a variety of polemical and irenic writings by both Christians and Muslims throughout history. Through a close reading of select theological texts, ranging from the 8th century to the present day, the course examines the doctrinal issues which engaged the most brilliant minds in both religions. The course covers (in translation) Greek, Latin and Arabic texts covering themes such as christology, Mariology and Sufism.

THET10052 Consuming Practice: Food in Christian Religion (Semester 1)
This course explores fascinating and sometimes bizarre Christian traditions of food and eating in order to understand consumption, addiction and abstinence today.

THET10058 Theologies in Global Contexts (Semester 1)
This course offers critical engagement with Christian theologies developed in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with particular focus on their approaches to cultural and sociopolitical concerns.

THET10062 Islamic Law: From Prayer to Politics (Semester 1)
This course offers students an introduction to classical Islamic Law - its theories, methods, modes of argumentation and sources. After building this foundational knowledge, the course critically examines the place and purpose of Islamic Law today with reference to issues such as debates on the nation-state, human rights, gender, liberal democracy and religious minorities.

THET10064 Theatre, Religion and the Search for Peace (Semester 2)
In Theatre, Religion and the Search for Peace students are encouraged to analyse in detail a range of set plays, productions and theatrical revivals, alongside pertinent secondary literature. Through this detailed analysis, and by focusing upon how individual productions portray the search for different kinds of peace, the complex relationship between theatre and religion will be investigated.

THET10065 Theology that Liberates: From Latin American to Queer Theology (Semester 2)
This is a level 10 course for students interested in exploring liberation theology in a variety of contexts. There will be discussions of theology in Latin America in the 1950/60s and the consequent theological movements that have a similar focus on liberation. These movements include but are not limited to: Feminist, Black, Womanist, LGBTQ, Mujerista, Palestinian, Minjung and Dalit theology. Within these contexts, topics explored will include post colonialism, economics, gender, sexuality, culture, politics, and nationality. Issues of power in relation to how theology is seen as being ?orthodox? will also be discussed.

THET10066 Scottish Literature and the Religious Imagination (Semester 1)
Scottish Literature and the Religious Imagination introduces students to the work of some of the key writers dealing with faith and fiction in Scotland from the Romantic period to the late twentieth century. Students are encouraged to explore the connections between a varied range of Scottish poets, authors, and dramatists in their evolving national, historical, social and theological contexts.