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Unit information: Religion: Practices and Ideas in 2020/21

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Unit name Religion: Practices and Ideas
Unit code THRS20215
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Gethin
Open unit status Not open




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


Building on the general foundations of the first-year units, this unit examines specific and prominent ideas and practices found in different religious traditions, past and present, with an emphasis on at least two different methodologies. Students will take two parallel sets of weekly lectures and seminars taught by two different members of staff. The tutor of each seminar will guide students through the examination and discussion of key religious practices, critical concepts, methodologies, or even specific time periods. Each seminar will have its unique content and set of questions, aimed at providing students with a strong thematic understanding of religion and its lived dimensions. The joint examination of two different religious contexts and body of ideas aims at stimulating students to think beyond received notions of what it means to be religious.

Students will work in groups on a formative, collaborative presentation and will receive feedback on their work.

Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate knowledge of a body of religious material through critical reading and engaged discussion;
  2. demonstrate methodological rigour in the study of religion and theology appropriate to level I/5;
  3. identify and critically evaluate pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a coherent argument in both oral and written form appropriate to level I/5.
  4. critically discuss the relationship between different religious practices and religious ideas.

Teaching details

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Details

1 x timed assessment (100%) [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

  • A Companion to Philosophy of Religion. Edited by Charles Taliaferro, Paul Draper and Philip L. Quinn. Oxford: Blackwell, 2010.
  • The Routledge companion to philosophy of religion. Edited by Chad Meister and Paul Copan. London: Routledge, 2013.
  • Lisa Jardine, Worldly Goods: A New History of the Renaissance (New York: Doubleday,1996).
  • Mark Peterson, Galileo’s Muse; Renaissance Mathematics and the Arts (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).