Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module THEO41930: The Anglican Theological Vision

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO41930: The Anglican Theological Vision

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To deepen the skills of theological interpretation and analysis required for advanced research in the study of theology.
  • To research and analyze key points of development in Anglican theological reflection, particularly enhancing students’ capacity for interdisciplinary research projects across a wide range of theological categories as they find expression in texts, practices, and modes of awareness from many periods and cultures.


  • The Anglican theological vision is classically understood to flow from the life of common prayer, with its yearly immersion of believers in the divine economy of salvation, encountered in word and sacrament. Perhaps for this reason, Anglican theology has always been uneasy with the modern academic division of theology into isolated categories. This module investigates the inherently multidisciplinary nature of the Anglican vision, researching the intersection of a biblical and liturgical milieu, a literary and historical imagination, systematic and moral theology, philosophy, prayer, social witness, poetry and music – all in service to a theological vision of ‘Heaven in ordinarie’ (in George Herbert’s phrase). The module aims to give students an intensive introduction to classical texts and figures, as well as central doctrinal interests, in the Anglican theological tradition, its roots, and its conversation partners. The variable focus of the module from year to year will include one or perhaps two of such topics as: Bede, Aelred, and Julian; Hooker and the Caroline Divines; Shakespeare, Donne, and the Metaphysical Poets; theology and philosophy in early modern Britain and America; the Cambridge and Oxford Platonists; Butler, Berkeley and the theology of creation; Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson and the moral imagination; Newman and the Oxford Movement; Farrer, Mascall, Preller and theological metaphysics; 20th century developments in the theology of the Trinity and Incarnation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A detailed and systematic understanding of the interaction of Anglican theology, philosophy, spirituality, literary imagination, and moral thought in several of their key expositors and practitioners. In particular, a critical grasp, informed to a large degree by recent research and methods in the field, of the mutual interplay between central Christian doctrines and the life of prayer and worship.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • An ability to analyse religious texts and practices with intellectual rigour and historical depth. A capacity to perceive and interpret relationships between key theological beliefs and spiritual worldviews, such that their mutual influence becomes perspicuous and available for academic study. Skills in reading, researching, and writing about complex texts that, as spiritual artifacts, require careful attention to genre and perfomative or formative functions in religious communities.
Key Skills:
  • Skills in the analysis of the interaction between theory and practice in a wide range of disciplinary expressions. An ability to read sophisticated and multivalent texts with intellectual nuance. Research, presentation, and writing skills. A capacity to discern the deep range of meanings suggested in metaphorical or imaginative language, and the ability to apply this discernment when investigating both logical arguments and non-discursive discourse.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Seminars enhance subject-specific knowledge and understanding both through preparation and through interaction with students and staff, promoting awareness of different viewpoints and approaches, as well as affording developmental opportunities for skills in theological reflection, critical research, and oral presentation.
  • Formative essays develop subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in the acquisition of information through reading and research, and in the structured presentation of information in written form.
  • Summative essays assess subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in research, analysis, and argumentation, including the written presentation of information in the written form of an argument for a field-advancing thesis.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 12 7 in MT; 5 in EpT 2 hours 24
Preparation and Reading 276
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Written seminar presentation Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written seminar presentation 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 word 100%

Formative Assessment:

Preparation for seminars and one 5000 word essay

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University