Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module THMN40530: Issues of Authority with Anglicanism

Department: Theology and Ministry

THMN40530: Issues of Authority with Anglicanism

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • using the question of ‘authority’ as a focus, to enable students to immerse themselves in the historic content of Anglicanism and selected issues of current importance, so that they will reflect on these for themselves and so may contribute to the continuing discussions about the nature of ‘authority’ within Anglicanism.


  • The module begins with a detailed, textually based, and comparative analysis of the historical development of Anglicanism. This would normally comprise study of the following selected key texts and periods:
  • the Tudor formularies;
  • Jewel;
  • Hooker;
  • the Caroline Divines;
  • Latitudinarianism;
  • the Oxford Movement and its opponents;
  • the development of Liberalism;
  • the growth of the Anglican Communion;
  • Michael Ramsey and 20th.Century Anglo- Catholicism.
  • Questions about the conception and deployment of theological and ecclesiological ‘authority’ act as a focusing mechanism during this historical study.
  • The second half of the module comprises a series of studies of contemporary issues where questions of theological and ecclesiological ‘authority’ coincide. These topics will vary according to current issues in the life of the Anglican Communion. Recently covered topics include:
  • Anglicanism as it portrays itself in ecumenical dialogue;
  • the coherence of Anglican views of episcopacy in the light of the ‘Act of Synod’;
  • the viability of the Anglican Communion given the tensions between liberal and conservative provinces;
  • the complications involved in the increasing contributions made by Evangelicals to the life of the Church of Englan

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module the student will:
  • have a systematic knowledge of the development of Anglicanism;
  • be critically aware of the different interpretations of the development of Anglicanism and of the methodologies used to develop these interpretations;
  • have a working understanding of the issues raised by the discussion of theological and ecclesiological authority.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • be able to evaluate thoroughly and professionally current recommendations about ‘authority’ within Anglicanism;
  • be able to write constructively, with originality, in respect of issues of ‘authority’ within Anglicanism and so to undertake teaching or publication or communication at a public level within the Anglican Communion.

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

  • 30 hours of lectures and seminars comprising twenty sessions of 90mins. each spread over the first two terms of the academic year together with some tutorial support.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

Two formative assessments: a 2,500 book review and a student led seminar which could be preparatory to the summative essay. Feedback to students will comprise dialogue in seminars, and written feedback on formative work. Staff will also be available for individual consultation.

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