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Unit information: Living Religions West in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Living Religions West
Unit code THRS10064
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Gethin
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Religious traditions represent significant expressions of cultural values: understanding the past and present states of the world is not possible without some knowledge of these traditions. This unit introduces the history, ideas and practices of the three religious traditions whose history is connected and which together have informed the religious understanding of Europe and the West, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam. With reference to matters of ethics, thought, politics and law, the unit considers how the diverse ways these religions answer questions about the world and the place of human beings within it have shaped and continue to inform the way people, both individually and collectively, live their lives and seek to find meaning and purpose.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the history, practices and ideas of Judaism, Christianity and Islam;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of how these religious traditions have informed and continue to inform cultural values and ideas about the meaning of life;
  3. analyse and explain the history, practices and ideas of some of Judaism, Christianity and Islam;
  4. identify and evaluate pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a cogent argument appropriate to level C/4.

Teaching details

2 x one-hour lecture and one-hour seminar per week.

Assessment Details

1x two-hour exam (100%) [ILOs 1–4]

Reading and References

• Hinnells, John R. (ed.), The Penguin Handbook of the World's Living Religions (2010)
• Smart, Ninian, The world's religions 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)
• Cohn-Sherbok, Dan, Judaism (London: Routledge, 1999).
• MacCulloch, Diarmaid, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years (New York: Penguin, 2011).
• Rippin, Andrew, Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, 3rd ed. (London: Routledge, 2005).