Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module THEO40530: Anglican Perspectives on God and the Human Condition

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO40530: Anglican Perspectives on God and the Human Condition

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To impart understanding of the development of the Anglican tradition.
  • To guide students through direct encounter with a range of Anglican writing.
  • To promote students' wider understanding of the theology of God and of theological anthropology.


  • Section One: The Reformation and Early Modern Period.
  • The intention of this section is that students should encounter the range of theological traditions that were present within the Church of England during its formative period. Too frequently there is oversimplification, whether it is in earlier notions of the church as a via media between Geneva and Rome or most recently in a Calvinist church under Elizabeth and James being succeeded by a Lititudinarian one. A more nuanced and diverse picture of Anglican theology needs to be drawn. This will be done by exploring the debate about the nature of the Church's Reformation inheritance as its accounts of God and the human condition become subject to significant modifications. Emphasis will be placed on the ongoing links between developments in the Church of England and the changing theological scene in continental Europe.
  • Although clearly the two issues overlap, the doctrine of God will be primarily reflected in approaches to the doctrine of the Trinity; anthropology in attitudes to sin (and its effect on human reason), grace, pedestrianation and justification. These doctrinal issues will be approached through sermons and polemic as well as more formal theological writing. Developments will be traced up to and including the post-Restoration church, often now regarded as crucial to Anglican theological identity.
  • Section Two: The Oxford Movements and later Anglo-Catholicism.
  • Here the main focus will be on the changes in Christology that occur over the course of nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the different attitudes to society and the church that went with them. The Alexandrian Christology of Newman gave place to the kenotic approach of Gore, the conservative account of society and the church in Keble to Thornton's developmental views, and the fear of biblical criticism in Pusey to the more positive attitudes found in Lux Mundi. The reason for these changes will be explored. Due account will also be taken of parallel movements elsewhere in England, as with the kenotic Christology of non-Anglicans such as Forsyth and Macintosh. The wider European context will also be explored, particularly in kenotic approaches in Germany (Thomasius, Gess) and Russia (e.g. Bulgakov). The course will include with some assessment of the contemporary situation with respect to kenoticism and incarnational sacramentalism, particularly in England but also as reflected in theologians as diverse as Moltmann and Balthesar.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have gained an advanced understanding of the Anglican expression of classical theism and its subsequent modifications.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will become able critically to assess the inheritance of Augustinian anthropology, and later moves towards sacramental intercarnationalism.
Key Skills:
  • Students will have enhanced their skills in the acqusition of information through reading and research, and in the structured written presentation of information and arguments.

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

  • Seminars will encourage peer-group discussion, enable students to develop critical skills in the close reading and analysis of specific sets of readings drawn from across the period studied and in a range of material (sermons and polemic as well as more formal theology).
  • Students will foster skills in effective communication and presentation and will promote awareness of diversity of interpretation and methodology. An introductory lecture element to each seminar will help equip students with the broad framework of assumptions from earlier Christian history (e.g. Augustinian anthropology) and the wider European context.
  • Formative and summative essays will help clarify the nature of the theological development of the two periods which are tackled in different terms.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 4 2MT, 2EpT 1 hour 4
Tutorials 4 1MT, 3EpT-ET 1 hour 4
Seminars 17 1 per week MT and EpT 1 hour 17
Preparation & Reading 275
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One essay of 5000 words.

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