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Part I (first year)

Part I (first year)

Elementary Hebrew - Paper A1a

Paper Coordinator: Dr Peter Williams.

Assessment method: Examination

The Elementary Hebrew course falls into two parts, which together are intended to familiarise students with the basic grammatical forms (especially nouns and verbs) and vocabulary of Hebrew and to enable them to read and understand a straightforward prose narrative text from the Bible, with and without vocalisation. To improve their grasp of the language students are given exercises in translation from English into Hebrew, but the main emphasis falls on reading Hebrew text and translating it into English. During the Michaelmas and most of the Lent Term students study Hebrew grammar using the textbook by Thomas O. Lambdin, supplemented with material provided by the class teacher. In the last week or so of the Lent Term work is begun on the Genesis set text and this continues for the first four weeks of the Easter Term. In the Easter term supervision work is needed to practise the exercises that will be tested in the examination.


Elementary New Testament Greek - Paper A1b

Paper Coordinator: Dr Jane McLarty.

Assessment method: Examination

This course aims to equip students with a working knowledge of New Testament Greek. The Michaelmas term and part of the Lent term are spent studying basic grammar and vocabulary using Jeremy Duff’s Elements of New Testament Greek, through a combination of classwork and independent study. The focus of the classes then moves to reading the set text, presently a portion of the Gospel of John, and getting to grips with the grammar issues arising from real Greek (rather than textbook exercises). By the end of the course students will be capable of translating simple unseen passages and assessing the merits of different English versions of the set text.


Elementary Sanskrit - Paper A1c 

Please contact Dr Eivind Kahrs for more information about this paper.

Assessment method: Examination


Elementary Qur'anic Arabic - Paper A1d

Paper Coordinator: Dr Tim Winter.

Assessment method: Examination

This paper aims to test knowledge of the Arabic grammatical features and vocabulary most commonly encountered in the Qur'an and other early Islamic religious literature. The paper contains passages for pointing, for translation, and for linguistic and exegetical comment from portions of the Qur'an, the Hadith, and an Ash'ari theological text. Candidates are also required to translate passages from English into Arabic.


David: Israel's Greatest Hero? - Paper A2

Paper Coordinator: Dr Katharine Dell.

Assessment method: Examination

This paper will provide an introduction to the critical study of the Old Testament literature, history and religion, focusing on the figure of David. Students will learn how to read the narratives and poetry of the Old Testament, encounter some of the issues in interpreting the Old Testament's historiographical texts, and understand some of the different ways in which the Old Testament may be analysed. Some of the major religious and theological ideas in the book of Samuel will be explored, as well as the way the figure of David developed in later biblical books.


Jesus and the Origins of the Gospels - Paper A3

Paper Coordinator: Dr James Carleton Paget.

The paper will involve detailed investigation of main themes and issues involved in the study of the Gospels and the Historical Jesus. The main topics that will be dealt with are: Evidence for the Historical Jesus: Gospels and Other Sources, with Assessment of their Nature and Value and methods of study; the Context of First-Century Palestine; Jesus and John the Baptist; Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom; Miracles and Exorcism; Parables; Ethical Teaching; Jesus and the Jewish Law; Jesus and the Authorities; Jesus' Self-Understanding; Trial and Crucifixion; Resurrection.


Christianity and the Transformation of Culture - Paper A4 

Paper Coordinator: Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe.

Assessment method: Examination

This paper aims to introduce students to the study of the history of Christianity and to the methods of historical study through a relatively detailed investigation of processes of conversion and Christianization in the late Roman world in the fourth and early fifth centuries AD, and to explore the interaction of Christianity with the culture in which it is set. This was a period in which Christians were frequently ‘made’ - converting from other religious communities and identities – rather than ‘born’ into Christian families. But what kinds of people, and how many, converted to Christianity? Who or what converted them? Was conversion conceived as a process or an event? How were individuals and communities instructed in Christian doctrine and practice, and what marked their admission to the church? What factors influenced whether Christianization was peaceful and consensual or violent and forced? How visible and how fluid were the boundaries between individual pagans, Christians, and Jews, and between communities of same, in this period? And underpinning all these questions, what are the chief problems with the literary, material, epigraphic and documentary evidence for conversion? 


The Question of God - Paper A5 

Paper Coordinator: Professor Ian McFarland.

Assessment method: Examination

As theology means ‘talk about God’, an introduction to the discipline will naturally introduce students to the basic parameters of Christian God-talk.  The course accomplishes this end by examining the topic of God from three different perspectives, corresponding to the three sections into which the course is organised.  Each section seeks to give clarity to what Christians mean by ‘God’ by juxtaposing God with that which is not God, as follows: 1) the meaning of the claim that there is a God, in dialogue with various objections to this claim (i.e., the defense of talk about God over against the assertion that there is not a God); 2) God’s relationship with the world (i.e., everything that is not God, but is nevertheless from God); and 3) God’s relationship with evil (i.e., everything that is not God and is not from God).


Understanding Contemporary Religion - Paper A6

Paper Coordinator: Chris Moses.

Assessment method: Examination

This paper will introduce students to the ways in which social scientists analyse and account for religion as a social force in the contemporary world, including the interactions of religious life with social, political, familial, national and global structures.


World Religions in Comparative Perspective - Paper A7

Paper Coordinator: Dr Ankur Barua.

Assessment method: Two essays of 3,000 words each

This paper will approach at least two religions through the study of a topic or topics specified annually by the Faculty Board, in the context of the history, beliefs and practices of the main religions of the world.


Philosophy of Religion and Ethics - Paper A8

Paper Coordinator: Dr Douglas Hedley.

Assessment method: Examination

This paper is designed to introduce students to basic questions in the philosophy of religion and religion and ethics. There are a number of paradigmatic texts and these are used as a starting point for the analysis and discussion of key topics in the philosophy of religion, ranging from antiquity to contemporary controversies.


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