Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module THMN41030: Intellect and Imagination: Apologetics in the Mass Media

Department: Theology and Ministry

THMN41030: Intellect and Imagination: Apologetics in the Mass Media

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap


  • Open


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable sustained and critical theological reflection on apologetics in relation to the mass media, and to build skills and confidence in apologetic approaches in this area.


  • This module builds the skills and knowledge of the tools of apologetics to postgraduate level through both its content and educational method.
  • This module will contain case studies of apologetic approaches with special emphasis on contemporary apologetics and the mass media. Students will be also expected to develop apologetic approaches of their own to contemporary issues in the media.
  • The module emphasises the national and international media as the context. The complementary MA module, "Story and the narrative mode in Christian mission and liturgy ", which will be taught in alternate years with this module, explores communication and media literacy in greater depth.
  • Programme Outline:
  • Media literacy and consumption
  • Christian engagement with the media
  • Apologetics - theological base and outworking
  • Movies and meaning: The cinema of questions
  • Print journalism
  • Radio and the religious voice
  • Apologetics and establishment
  • Science, faith and the new atheists
  • Can you argue with image

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Candidates will gain or develop:
  • A systematic, critical and comprehensive understanding of the methods of apologetic engagement with contemporary mass media
  • A detailed examination of a number of complex contemporary issues and situations and how to defend and commend the Christian faith in the public arena
  • An in depth awareness of the subject area providing the basis for on going research and professional development.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to develop research methods appropriate to undertaking apologetics in contemporary culture
  • The capacity to reflect theologically upon a range of complex contemporary issues and situations from the perspective of defending and commending the Christian faith in the public arena
  • Transferable skills in theological reflection, communication and apologetics through special case studies with special reference to the performing arts, television, radio, cinema, music, publishing and the internet
  • Confidence and inspiration in developing their own apologetic approaches and initiatives
Key Skills:
  • Ability to reflect within complex interdisciplinary context
  • Ability to work as a team to analyse material and develop a group response
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively both orally and in written format.
  • Develop research based skills

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

  • The module will be taught online. The module would begin in the first week of term on Monday at 12noon. On that day the first session will be accessible within the Course Centre which can be accessed via the internet.
  • A new session will be accessible on the internet every Thursday during the term by 12 noon. Upon opening each session, the student will find detailed instructions pertaining to the particular focus of that week of study. These sessions will be found on DUO
  • In addition to posting each session on Thursday of each week, the course teachers will normally be online for three hours each week to answer any student questions and respond to comments
  • The module is assessed by a written, audio or visual apologetic project. Students will therefore be asked to survey the issues current in mass media and choose an apologetic issue and response. Accompanying this will be a 2000 word description of the context for which the response is designed, why the issue was chosen and the theological approach underlying the response.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Online session 8 Weekly 3 hours 24
Independent study and learning 276

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written, audio or visual apologetic project 100%

Formative Assessment:

This will comprise 2 elements: a. A team exercise comprising identifying a relevant issue in media and producing a 500 word discussion document. b. A 20 minute seminar presentation and

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