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Unit information: Christianity and Islam: Viewing the Other in 2015/16

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Unit name Christianity and Islam: Viewing the Other
Unit code THRS20203
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. D'Costa
Open unit status Open




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


This unit looks at a number of key modern Christian theologians and some Muslim thinkers examining their attitude to the religious ‘Other’. The responses within each of the religions have some similarities and there are also important differences. Students will learn to discern patterns, identify the ways these approaches are shaped by social, theological and philosophical influences, and see how differing stances are criticised from within that tradition. From Christianity key figures like Karl Barth, Karl Rahner, and John Hick will be examined, along with the official Roman Catholic Church's attitude to Islam. From Islam, three representative thinkers will be examined: Sayyid Qutb (of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt), Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and Timothy Winter.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have (1) developed a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of the major topics involved in the study of modern Christianity and Islam; (2) gained an in-depth understanding of the theoretical ideas that inform selected thinkers from each tradition regarding religious pluralism; 3) demonstrated the ability to critically analyse and evaluate a variety of perceptions of other religions and how these are shaped by the religions own configuration of its scripture and tradition and authority figures; (4) demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a cogent argument.

Teaching details

20 hours (lecture/seminar)

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 2500 words (50%) and one unseen examination of two hours comprising 2 questions out of 6 (50%).

Reading and References

Ed Paul Griffiths, Christianity through non-Christian Eyes, Orbis, 1990 Eds. John Hick & Brian Hebblethwaite, Christianity and Other Religions, Oneworld, 2001 Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, Kazi Publications, 2007 Eds. William C Chittlick & Huston Smith, The Essential Seyyed Hossein Naser, Wisdom, 2007 Gavin D’Costa, Christianity and World Religions, Blackwell, 2009