Theology and Religion

Courses offered

BA (Hons) Theology and Religion BA (Hons) Philosophy and Theology 6 students per year.

Lecturers

Mary Marshall, MA, DPhil (New Testament)

Course overview

As a challenging all-round degree which tests competence in literary, linguistic, historical and conceptual skills, Theology & Religion has a strong tradition at Worcester. Its former members include well-known contemporary theologians and church leaders, although graduates now usually pursue careers as various as teaching, social work, banking, law, personnel management, the media and the civil service. The membership of a significant number of research students gives weight to Theology & Religion as a serious academic discipline in the College, which, at our regular Theology Dinner, numbers over thirty in all.

Usually 6 undergraduates per year are admitted to read Theology and Religion or Philosophy and Theology. Depending on the choice of papers, over half the teaching is provided by the College. 2016 has seen the start of a new syllabus. First year students in Theology and Religion now study four compulsory papers to be examined at the end of the summer term; these papers prepare them for their second and third years by showcasing the disciplines, methods, sources and debates of three core subject areas: Introduction to the Study of the Bible; The Figure of Jesus through the Centuries; Religion and Religions. In addition to this students study one language paper (Greek, Hebrew, Church Latin, Qu'anic Arabic, Pali, or Sanskrit). First year students in Philosophy and Theology take Jesus through the Centuries and another Theology paper, alongside two Philosophy papers introducing Philosophy Logic and Moral Philosophy. All students are prepared for a maximum choice in their second and third years by introductory papers which showcase the disciplines, methods, sources and debates of three core subject areas: Introduction to the Study of the Bible; The Figure of Jesus through the Centuries; Religion and Religions. In addition to this, Theology and Religion students will study one language paper (Greek, Hebrew, Vulgate Latin, Qur'anic Arabic, Pali, or Sanskrit), while first year students in Philosophy and Theology take an Introduction to Philosophy with Logical and Moral Philosophy.

For undergraduates in Theology and Religion, the second and third years run according to student choice from a wide variety of papers in the following major subject areas: Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology and Ethics, History of Religions, and Religion and Religions. Students take four papers in their second year and a further three papers of their choice in their third year, as well as writing a 12,000 word thesis on an individually chosen subject, working under the guidance of a tutor who will advise in the preparation and presentation of a particular research project.

All undergraduates in Philosophy and Theology take eight papers (between three and five in each of Theology and Philosophy) over the course of their second and third years, including a compulsory paper in the Philosophy of Religion. As one of these eight, students may choose to offer a thesis in either discipline. Most paper options are assessed by written examination at the end of the third year although some papers, including the thesis, are examined through submission of written work. A wide variety of teaching methods is used, ranging from tutorials (usually in pairs) to classes and lectures.

The colleges offers specialist teaching through the following tutors. Dr Mary Marshall is our Lecturer in New Testament and also teaches for the Faculty of Theology and Religion. She specialises in study of the Gospels, particularly within their Jewish contexts. She has recently published a book on portrayals of the Pharisees in the Gospels and Acts and is now beginning work on a non-canonical text, the Gospel of Peter. Dr Peter Groves is our Lecturer in Early and Modern Christian Doctrine. He is also an Anglican parish priest in central Oxford. He has recently written a book on the Christian concept of grace and has a particular interest in theology and poetry, having published a number of papers on the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, as well as on topics in contemporary theology. Dr Afifi al-Akiti is our lecturer in Islam and teaches all aspects of Islamic theology, philosophy and science and Muslim law. Professor Sue Gillingham organises the overall teaching of Theology and Religion and teaches all aspects of Old Testament literature, language, history, archaeology and theology.

For Philosophy & Theology, specialist teaching is provided, mainly within College, for the various philosophical elements of the course (see the entry on Philosophy).

Applying

We strongly advise coming to a College Open Day if possible, which offers the opportunity to meet tutors and students and learn more about the course.  Candidates are welcome to apply before or after A-level (or equivalent). It is not necessary to have studied the subject previously. Literature and history are useful, but candidates come from a wide variety of additional disciplines. Because the language component is still compulsory for the first three terms, it is an advantage to have demonstrated a real ability in languages, whether at GCSE or A-level (or equivalent).

Further information is available on the university website at www.ox.ac.uk/courses and the department website at www.theology.ox.ac.uk.

Further advice on A-levels and equivalent qualifications for students interested in applying to Oxford is available at www.ox.ac.uk/courses

For information about international qualifications please go to www.ox.ac.uk/intquals