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MRes Christianity and Interreligious Relations

Course length
  • 1 year full-time
  • Not available to study part-time
  • An honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent in theology or in another appropriate subject
  • PGCert Christianity & Interreligious Relations
  • PGDip Christianity & Interreligious Relations
Summary

NB: This programme is only available for full-time study in 2016/17.

Please see further details on the maximum period of study.

This degree, specifically for students who wish to continue to MPhil or PhD research, establishes critical and research skills. Faith and faith communities figure large in contemporary public discourse, but the issues are complex and interdisciplinary. London, one of the most cosmopolitan cities on earth, offers a unique setting for reflection on these issues.


The timetable for 2016-17 can be found in the Postgraduate Options Handbook at the bottom of the page.

Teaching & Assessment

The programme consists of four taught modules and a dissertation. Students will take one core module and choose three optional modules of study. Students are assessed in each module through a combination of coursework and an end of year essay. The final dissertation of 12,000 – 15,000 words is on a research topic agreed by your supervisor.

Core module

Research Skills in Theology

Analyse and critically present the main themes in contemporary theological debate and develop the broad outlines of your research proposal.

As an introduction to research methods and forms of analytic and critical theological writing, this module enables students to reflect creatively upon many of the salient aspects of life in a complex, pluralist and multi-faith society.  It is taught in two parts. The first consists of generic research skills, particularly methods and styles of theological writing in the contemporary world and the various ‘publics’ that theology can be seen as addressing.  The second part considers a number of more detailed questions, such as the relationship between theology and the social sciences, ecclesial practices and contexts, hermeneutics in pastoral situations, and the different ‘voices’ of theology.   

Optional modules

Jewish-Christian Relations

You will study themes including the ground-breaking declaration of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, Jewish and Christian accounts of the early formative period of the Church, the impact of the Qumran discoveries, post-Holocaust thought and the influence of contemporary Jewish thinkers on Christian theology.

The retrieval of the ‘Jewish matrix’ – Christianity’s origins in the religious life and thought of the Jewish people – may be counted as one of the most important developments in contemporary Christian theology.  This module begins with a schematic overview of relations between the two traditions, from the ‘parting of the ways’ to the Nazi Holocaust.  In responding to this history, a number of themes will be treated, including the significance of Nostra Aetate and subsequent moves within the churches to address the legacy of Christian anti-semitism, Jewish and Christian accounts of the early formative period, the effect on modern scripture scholarship of the Qumran discoveries, post-Holocaust thought in both Judaism and Christianity, the influence of contemporary Jewish thinkers such as Rosenzweig, Buber and Levinas on Christian theology, the emerging tradition of a Christian ‘theology of Judaism’, the significance of the Jewishness of Jesus for Christology and of the continuing vitality of the Jewish people for ecclesiology, and Jewish and Christian accounts of other religious traditions.  

Muslim-Christian Relations

Look at how Christians have responded over 14 centuries to the claim that God has abrogated Christ’s mission by sending the Qur’an and how Christians living in contemporary Britain might best approach the growing presence of Islam. You will focus largely on issues of religious thought and will also examine some of the issues involved in the complex relationship between Islam and modernity.

The existence of Islam presents Christians with a unique challenge: the claim that God has abrogated Christ’s message with a subsequent revelatory initiative, the Arabic Qur‘ān revealed to Muḥammad. This module explores the full implications of this fundamental religious datum, looking at how Christians have responded to it over fourteen centuries during which adherents of the two religions have often found themselves in conflict. It then asks how Christians living in contemporary multicultural Britain might best approach this enduringly problematic situation. The course will focus largely on issues of theology and religious thought and, presuming a basic knowledge of Islam, will examine some of the issues involved in the complex relationship between Islam and modernity.

Christian Relations with Buddhism and Hinduism

Focus on the dialogue between Christian faith and religious traditions originating on the Indian sub-continent.

This module focuses on the dialogue between Christian faith and the great religious traditions which have originated on the Indian sub-continent; topics include Hindu theology, mysticism and spirituality, the Dalit movement, Engaged Buddhism and liberation theology, the silence of the Buddha and the question of God.

Christianity in Dialogue

Discuss key themes such as Church and mission, dialogue and inculturation, salvation and the action of the Holy Spirit in a pluralist world.

This module focuses on the theology of religions as it has emerged in the last few decades.  It begins by discussing the terms of the ‘threefold paradigm’ and its origins in the ‘normative pluralism’ of John Hick.  Important issues about the Church’s relationship with other religious traditions are addressed, including salvation, mission, revelation and the uniqueness of Christ.  It then takes up a variety of more practical as well as theological questions arising from the Church’s experience of dialogue with ‘the other’ at a number of levels – common life, common action, religious experience and theological exchange.  Some recent interreligious practices are considered – including Scriptural Reasoning and Comparative Theology – and the terms of a pneumatological theology of religions are sketched out.