skip to content

Faculty of Divinity


The information here is for the 2022-23 academic year. The papers on offer can vary from year to year.


Part IIB (third year)


Paper Choices 

Currently, students can offer the following combinations of papers:

two papers from group C, an option from paper D1, and another option from D2, or

three papers from groups C, and one option from a D paper.

They may also offer a dissertation in the place of a Group D paper.

There is also the possibility of offering an additional language paper.

Please consult the University Ordinances to check the combination of papers which can be offered. 




Paper C1a - Advanced Hebrew

Paper coordinator: Dr James Aitken

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

This paper is intended for students ordinarily in their third year of Hebrew, with a focus on linguistic and textual exegesis of prescribed texts in Hebrew. The choice of set texts is designed (apart from their intrinsic interest) to introduce students to the special features of poetic Hebrew (parallelism, grammatical features, imagery) and to nonbiblical sources. Advanced text-critical and lexicographical problems of Hebrew will also be introduced, and students will be expected to comment on the various witnesses (manuscripts and versions) to the texts and the textual evidence for the history of the Hebrew language. Throughout the course lectures and private study are expected to be supplemented by fortnightly supervision practising translation into Hebrew and commenting on Hebrew texts. The lectures will focus mainly on linguistic aspects of the texts, but their theological and literary aspects should also be explored.


Paper C1b - Advanced New Testament Greek

Paper coordinator: (to be confirmed)

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

[Content to be confirmed] This paper will allow students to extend their understanding of Hellenistic Greek and also to study in detail particular texts that extend students’ familiarity with the New Testament. Students will develop skills in questions of textual criticism, language, historical background, exegesis, and theology, particularly as these are encountered through the exercise of translation. In addition to working with prescribed texts students will also develop skills in translating unseen passages which may be taken from the New Testament, other early Christian literature of similar date, or the Greek Bible.

In addition to the translation classes, four lectures on New Testament Textual Criticism will normally be offered.

The Part IIA set texts paper will normally be a pre‐requisite, but students who have taken our Part I Greek paper (or its equivalent) to a high standard will be considered.

Paper C1d - Advanced Qur'anic Arabic

Paper Coordinator: Dr Timothy Winter

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

This paper will contain passages for translation and comment from a number of texts which the Faculty Board shall from time to time prescribe, together with questions on the language and content of those texts.


Paper C2 - Creation and Covenant

Paper coordinator: Dr Katharine Dell

Assessment method: Two-hour examination & 2500 word essay

Creation and covenant are two major theological themes of the Hebrew Bible, found in texts either individually or in close interaction with each other. It has been recognised in recent years that while covenant remains such a key issue in the biblical narratives, an equally important place is given to creation, and the relationship between the two has been productive in discussions of ‘Biblical theology’, both from a Jewish and a Christian perspective. This course seeks to examine these themes, and to chart changing ideas across differing social and historical contexts as represented in the Israelite material, including interaction with the creation myths of the ancient Near East. From this the paper will examine the development in scholarly perceptions of these themes, how they have evolved over time, and how far it is possible, or desirable, to explore biblical theology from either a Jewish or a Christian perspective.


Paper C3 - New Testament Christology

Paper coordinator: Dr James Carleton Paget

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

The paper will involve detailed investigation of main themes and issues involved in the study of Christology within the New Testament. The main topics that will be dealt with are: Problems and Issues involved in New Testament Christology; Questions concerning Jesus as Prophet, Son of Man, and Messiah; Messianic Hope in relation to Christology; Resurrection and the Beginnings of Christology; The Scope and Significance of Christological Titles; Wisdom, Logos and Pre-existence; Angelology and Angelomorphic Christology; Visionary Traditions and Christology; The Use of Scripture in relation to Christ; The Worship of Christ; Christology and Jewish Monotheism; Christology in John, Hebrews and Revelation; Political Significance of Christology.


Paper C5 - Topic in Christian Theology (Subject: Charity)

Paper coordinator: Dr Stephen Plant

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

This paper explores the central role of love in the Christian tradition. In particular, love is considered in relation to its practice in response to need and poverty. The paper moves from the historical development of theologies of love (charity) to their contemporary expression in institutional Charities/Faith-Based Non Governmental Organisations. In the second half of the course a range of issues facing Charities/NGOs are explored. This course may be of particular interest to students considering careers in the Charity sector.


Paper C6 - Disputed Questions from Medieval and Early Modern Theology

Paper coordinator: Dr Stephen Hampton

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

The paper will examine theological problems arising within 'classical' Christian theology, in the context of the doctrines of God and the Trinity, Christology, soteriology and sanctification, and faith and rationality.  In each section of the paper, we will examine primary texts discussing aspects of the doctrines in question, comparing and assessing their various forms, alongside modern critiques of those doctrines. 


Paper C9 - Islam II

Paper coordinator: Dr Tony Street

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

The course introduces two topics important for the advanced study of Islam. In the first, Islamic philosophy and philosophical theology, we consider notions of canon, authority and unbelief in the Islamic world prior to 1300 with special reference to the intellectual traditions of falsafa and kalām. We then explore disputes about the corpus of works translated from Greek, and whether the methods in these works led to conflict with Islamic texts of authority and their implicit conceptions of God’s nature, the created world and the human agent. The second, on aspects of medieval sufism, presents a series of reflections on themes in medieval Sufism, from theories of knowledge, renunciation and metaphysical systems, working especially from the texts of al-Ghazali and Ibn Arabi.


Paper C10 - Hinduism and Buddhism II

Paper coordinator: Dr Christopher Jones

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

This course inquires with some detail into specified topics in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is not necessary to have done the Introductory course earlier, but, of course, this would be of help. As religio-cultural traditions of great antiquity and richness (over two and a half millennia in each case) which, on the one hand, have interacted in important ways, but on the other, have developed for most of their history more or less independently of the Abrahamic traditions, Hinduism and Buddhism have a great deal to offer in the exploration of what it is to be human in all the fundamental areas of human living. They have basic religious, philosophical and ethical insights and presuppositions which are not only mutually challenging, but which also interrogate many of the basic presuppositions of the Abrahamic faiths. As such, they are richly rewarding of careful study, especially on such topics as the scope and use of language in constructing and understanding our systems of reality, the nature of human suffering, compassion and fulfilment, and the goal of the ethics of the individual and community.


Paper C11 – Truth, God and Metaphysics

Paper coordinator: Dr Blake Allen

Assessment method: Two essays of 5,000 words each

This paper is designed to provide third year undergraduates with an in-depth understanding of the contemporary problems of theological metaphysics, especially insofar as they relate to developments within contemporary philosophy and theory; and to enable them to distinguish, and argue rationally and convincingly between alternative positions, whether religious, non- or anti-religious, and to evaluate key sources from different historical periods and philosophico-theological idioms.


Paper C12 - Theology and the Natural Sciences

Paper coordinator: Dr Mari van Emmerik

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

This paper covers a focused range of topics in the overlap of theology and natural sciences, with an emphasis on the nature of creaturely existence. It will consider accounts of ‘creaturehood’ from the perspectives of the biological sciences and from theological traditions, with attention to areas of agreement and disagreement, and the shape of potential dialogue. The emphasis will be on Christian theology, although consideration will also be given to the debate between theology and natural sciences in other theological traditions.


Paper D1a - Empire, Religion and Identity: Judaism in the Persian Period

Paper coordinator: Professor Nathan MacDonald

Assessment method: Three-hour examination

This paper will be concerned with the literature, history and religious life of Judeans and related communities outside Judah in the Persian period (539–333 BCE). The Faculty Board will prescribe a text for special study


Paper D1b - Christianity, Hellenism, and Empire

Paper coordinator: Professor George van Kooten

Assessment method: Two essays of 5,000 words each

This paper focuses on the ‘manifestation’ of early Christianity in the Roman empire. The earliest Christian texts, the so-called ‘New Testament’ writings, are entirely written in Greek. Indeed, the body of Christian literature surviving from the Roman empire vastly surpasses the size of the classical canon. Yet somehow this body of texts and the culture that generated them is perceived as if belonged to a different world than that was inhabited by their non-Christian contemporaries. This paper examines the place of Christianity in the Graeco-Roman world in all its historical, religious, and philosophical complexities. How did it fit into a Greek world under Rome? How did Christianity relate to the Roman Empire in which it became more and more disseminated, also adopting the use of Latin? What are the historical connections, and which (joint) discourses and narratives did they engage? Was it, did it remain, or did it become, something alien to the classical world? Or was it always an ‘integral’ part of the Empire? Do we think of the constellation of practices that we call ‘Christianity' as something separate from the society in which it originated, or as a Roman religion? In what ways and to what effects did the complex, multifaceted Roman Empire set and determine the context for Christianity?


Paper D1c - Contemporary Christian Theology

Paper coordinator: Professor David Fergusson

Assessment method: Two essays of 5,000 words each

This course enables students to engage in close study of recent work in systematic theology. Covering a broad range of doctrines, it will explore the output of some of the most influential thinkers over the last twenty years. Consideration will be given to different methodologies, perspectives and styles and also to the agenda of problems with which recent theologians have worked. The ecumenical, religious, academic and socio-political contexts that shape recent systematic theologies will be registered, while the usefulness of the discipline for church and society will also be considered.


Paper D1e - Philosophy in the Long Middle Ages

Paper coordinator: Professor John Marenbon

Assessment method: Two essays of 5,000 words each

This paper is borrowed from the Philosophy Tripos (Part II, Paper 5). Please contact the Faculty of Philosophy for the full paper description and assessment details.


Paper D2a - A Topic in the History of Christianity: Slavery and Early Christianity

Paper coordinator: Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe

Assessment method: Two essays of 5,000 words each

This paper explores the practices, justifications and critiques of enslavement and slave-holding among early Christian communities of the second to fifth centuries CE, and sets these phenomena against the longer and wider historical context of Greek and Roman treatments of and ideas about slaves. 


Paper D2d - Judaism and Hellenism

Paper coordinator: Dr Marieke Dhont

Assessment method: Two essays of 5,000 words each

The issue of how Jewish identity was formed in contact with Hellenistic tradition will be studied in relation to the literature, history and religion of the period. Attention will be given to the development of biblical tradition in the setting of Greek and Roman culture, utilising where appropriate pagan and Christian sources as well as Jewish. There will also be consideration of historical sources and archaeological evidence for the interaction of Jews with their surrounding cultures, and the problems of defining and delineating identity will be discussed.

The period begins with the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek and continues beyond the composition and compilation of the Mishnah in Hebrew, a time in which Jews negotiated with, adopted or reacted against Hellenism. The paper takes up some texts and themes encountered in other papers on the Old Testament, New Testament, ancient history, the early church, and Judaism; but it draws special attention to the interaction of Judaism and Hellenism. Some basic knowledge of Hebrew or Greek is helpful, but not required.


Paper D2e - World Christianities - Decolonising Christendom: The Complex Legacies of Global Christianity

Paper coordinator: Dr Jörg Haustein

Assessment method: Two essays of 5,000 words each

This paper provides an opportunity to study in depth a set of controversial themes in contemporary World Christianity, all of which centre on how Christians in various parts of the world engage with the power structures, inequalities and inherited legacies of the post-colonial world. Each theme will be unpacked by connecting historical genealogies with contemporary debates about Christian institutions, practices, and ideas. Lectures will serve to draw out the historical background and main contours of debate for each theme, which will then be studied further in seminar discussions of primary and secondary sources.


Paper D2g - The Play of Imagination

Paper coordinator: Dr Douglas Hedley.

Assessment method: Two essays of 5,000 words each

The aim of this paper is to explore the links between aesthetics, imagination and religion. The term ‘play’ in English is richly polyvalent: make believe, sport, dalliance, theatre, etc. The concept can be most fertile when considering the phenomenon of religion philosophically. Wittgenstein employs the language of ‘games’ to explain meaning. Robert Bellah has used ‘play’ to explain the emergence of religion