Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module THEO42530: The Theological Task: Contemporary Perspectives

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO42530: The Theological Task: Contemporary Perspectives

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap
Tied to Only available within Doctor of Theology and Ministry


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to past and current forms and approaches to thinking theologically
  • To explore contemporary theological writing and published research and introduce critical tools for evaluation
  • To develop students’ ability to engage critically with published texts in theology


  • The module focuses on the task of theology and how this is configured by different contemporary writers . Students have the opportunity to study at least one writer in considerable depth including engagement with primary texts and exposure to extant literature. Seminars will allow students to read and evaluate the author’s texts and research findings. The course will explore the interdisciplinary nature of theology and discuss the methodological implications involved in this work. Students undertake evaluation of recently published works in theology in both formative and summative assignments

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the literature of theology and the cultivation of critical reading skills
  • Detailed knowledge needed to understand and evaluate the interdisciplinary nature of Theology
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to apply appropriately a variety of advanced methods of analysis relevant to theological reflection
  • Ability to recognise apparent contradictions and ambiguities in the field and to identify areas requiring further research
  • Ability to evaluate theological literature and the advantages and disadvantages of competing approaches and contrasting conceptual frameworks
  • Ability to identify how their own research question fits into the wider discipline
Key Skills:
  • Critical reading skills
  • Communication of complex information and argument in clear and orderly way
  • Understanding of a range of complex phenomena
  • Problem posing and problem solving
  • Identification of, respect for and appropriate use of primary sources

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

  • The delivery of this module is in the context of an annual residential school.
  • Lectures and related seminars enhance subject specific knowledge and understanding both through preparation and through interaction with students and leading theologians promoting awareness of different viewpoints and approaches, as well as affording developmental opportunities for skills in theological reflection, critical research, and oral presentation.
  • Workshops enhance the development of skills in the engagement and evaluation of different kinds of theology.
  • The formative assignment develops subject-specific knowledge and understanding as well as student skills in the acquisition of information through reading, critical thinking, and in the structured presentation of information in written form.
  • The summative assignment assesses subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in research, analysis, and argumentation, including the written presentation of information.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 60 minutes 7
Tutorials 2 As required 30 - 60 minutes 2
Seminars 7 60 minutes 7
Preparation and reading time 104
Preparation and reading in association with formative summative assignments 180
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One 2,000 word assignment

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