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Faculty of Divinity


The information here is for the current academic year. The papers on offer can vary from year to year.

Part I (first year)


Elementary Hebrew - Paper A1a

Paper Coordinator: Dr Kaspars Ozolins

Assessment method: Three-hour 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 Sarah Underwood Dixon

Assessment method: Three-hour 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 

Paper Coordinator: Dr Vincenzo Vergiani

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

This paper will contain questions on Sanskrit grammar and passages for translation, linguistic and exegetical comment, from a portion or portions of the Hindu and Buddhist scriptures prescribed by the Faculty Board.


Elementary Qur'anic Arabic - Paper A1d

Paper Coordinator: Dr Timothy Winter

Assessment method: Three-hour 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: Two-hour examination and 2000 word essay

This paper will provide an introduction to the critical study of the Old Testament literature, history and religion, focussing on the figure of David. Texts for special study will be prescribed by the Faculty Board.


Jesus and the Origins of the Gospels - Paper A3

Paper Coordinator: Dr James Carleton Paget

Assessment method: Two-hour examination and 2000 word essay

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 Anna Lefteratou

Assessment method: Two-hour examination and 2000 word essay

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.


The Question of God - Paper A5 

Paper Coordinator: Dr Andrew Davison

Assessment method: Two-hour examination and 2000 word essay

Theology is the discussion of God and all things as they relate to God. In this paper we will examine three topics within Christian theology: God, creation (as that which is not God, but from God) and evil (as that which neither God, nor from God). In doing so, we will cover many of the topics that underlie any discussion of theology, considering the sources upon which theology draws, for instance, how it uses them, and how human language can work in seeking to refer to one who transcends created reality. We will also consider some of the arguments proposed against religious belief, and ways in which theologians have shown a keen interest in other disciplines, such as literature and the natural sciences.


Understanding Contemporary Religion - Paper A6

Paper Coordinator: Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović

Assessment method: Two-hour examination and 2000 word essay

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.


Studying World Religions: History, Comparison, Dialogue - Paper A7

Paper Coordinator: Dr Jörg Haustein 

Assessment method: Two essays of 3,000 words each

This paper will introduce students to the comparative study of religions and guide their scholarly engagement with at least two major religious traditions of their choice.


Philosophy of Religion - Paper A8

Paper Coordinator: Dr Douglas Hedley.

Assessment method: Two-hour examination and 2000 word essay

This course aims to introduce first year undergraduates to the major interconnected problems for language, knowledge and being which arise at the intersection between philosophy and theology, through a close study of canonical sources and themes.


Ethics - Paper A9

Paper Coordinator: Dr James Orr

Assessment method: Two-hour examination and 2000 word essay

The paper will study questions concerning the nature and form of goodness and moral judgment in the Western intellectual tradition with special regard to the ways in which these topics relate to the nature and existence of God.