Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module THMN44130: Biblical Literacy in a Media Culture

Department: Theology, Ministry and Mission

THMN44130: Biblical Literacy in a Media Culture

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable theological reflection on biblical literacy in contemporary culture with special emphasis on the availability of the Bible, contemporary engagement with the Bible within the Church community and in the arts and entertainment industry; to explore appropriate ways in which biblical literacy can be fostered within these communities.


  • Lectures and seminars will offer an overview of key themes in biblical literacy within key contemporary western cultures and the perceived decrease in biblical literacy within current studies. We will explore the perceived affects of the decrease in biblical literacy in terms of social exclusion and contemporary epistemology. We will explore various ways in which biblical literacy is present within and continues to influence media culture and appropriate ways in which to analyse and reflect on this influence. In group sessions, we will focus on the importance of biblical literacy and explore appropriate strategies to promote biblical literacy in contemporary western cultures. The overall aim is to enable students to develop their own understanding of biblical literacy and it importance within the mission of the church in tomorrow’s world.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a systematic understanding of current issues, both problems and insights, relating to biblical literacy within key contemporary Western cultures
  • a critical awareness of the role of media culture in biblical literacy
  • a comprehensive analytical understanding of the contextual impact of biblical literacy on religious knowledge, social cohesion and theological understanding
  • an in depth awareness of the subject area providing the basis for ongoing research opportunities and professional development
Subject-specific Skills:
  • a focussed ability to reflect theologically upon and evaluate critically different forms of communication in a secular and a Christian context
  • an ability to critically evaluate epistemology and in particular of the place of biblical literacy within contemporary cultural identity
  • advanced ability to understand biblical literacy as it relates to opportunities and challenges for the mission and ministry of the church and for ongoing research and professional development
  • ability to reflect theologically within an interdisciplinary environment on both on the context of contemporary society and the importance of and interpretation of biblical texts within the Church and wider society.
Key Skills:
  • ability to reflect within an interdisciplinary environment
  • demonstration of self-direction and originality in tackling and solving complex issues
  • group analysis and discussion, developing communication of ideas and research outcomes to specialist and non-specialist audiences

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

  • The unit will be taught either as a residential ‘Summer School’ (Monday lunchtime to Friday lunchtime) or over two periods of residence offering 30 hours of contact time. This time will focus on developing an understanding of biblical literacy within media culture, through staff-led and student-led seminars, discussion groups, joint teaching, and within a multi-media environment. Specific attention will be given to exploration of biblical literacy through contemporary media output (films, television, theatre) and include a group opportunity to critically assess a live performance. Some individual consultation will be available during these periods and on-line.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours

Summative Assessment

Component: Presentation Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Presentation on developing a resource 20 minutes 100%
Component: Theological Reflection Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Reflection on presentation 2500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two pieces of formative assessment: 2,500 book review and Student-led seminar, which would be a theological reflection on biblical literacy within a specific aspect of contemporary media, on which there will be written feedback. 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