|Degree:||Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (BA (Hons))|
Religion & Theology
Religion plays a significant role in diverse cultural, social and political contexts. Religious world-views, values and symbols play a critical role in shaping cultural norms, traditions and practices. This is the case both in religiously plural contexts, as well as those dominated by particular traditions. The contours of religion are evident not only in the artefacts that transmit a culture’s heritage (such as architecture, visual arts, illuminated manuscripts, literature, etc.), but also in contemporary debates about the evolving identities of societies in a world characterised by religious pluralism.
Students on this course will be engaged with contemporary debates about, for example, the nature and impact of political religion, religion and modernity, religion and gender, religion and violence, religion and human rights, and ethics in politics.
This course offers you a choice of three possible directions of study after your first year. The first is a broad-based study of Religion and Theology, the second a specialisation in the Cultural Study of Religion, and the third in Christian Theology. Within the Cultural Study of Religion, you have the opportunity to explore the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the religions of Asia and Africa, as well new atheistic and religious movements. If you choose to specialise in Theology, you can investigate the development of Christian self-understanding in a number of different modes, including denominational, multidenominational and ecumenical aspects.
In combining theological study with the study of religion, this degree is unique in Ireland. Trinity’s School of Religion is internationally recognised for its strengths in biblical studies, philosophical and theological ethics, peace studies, historical and systematic theology and religious studies. These strengths ensure that student experience combines in-depth analysis with breadth of subject matter that presents religious traditions in their historical, intellectual, cultural, aesthetic, political and ethical dimensions, as well as examining how religious traditions have interacted, and continue to interact, with the context of their origins and development.
The pathways available are Single Honors, Major with Minor and Joint Honors.
This course offers students the opportunity to develop all four of Trinity’s graduate attributes of thinking independently, communicating effectively, developing continuously and acting responsibly. Graduates from our School have entered a wide range of professions, including: law, education (primary and secondary), information technology, pastoral ministry, the civil service, creative arts, publishing, accountancy, as well as continuing on to further research in Ireland and abroad.
In your first year of study, ten modules help to immerse you in this field of scholarship. Classical religious texts – the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur’an – are introduced in their historical contexts. You will study Judaism, the religions of the ancient Mediterranean world, and the Dharmic religions of India. You will be introduced to ethics, philosophy and the study of religion, as well as theology through an engagement with some of their major thinkers, texts and methods. Before moving into your second year, you will be invited to consider the direction that you would like to pursue in your studies over the coming years in each specialism of the course.
Throughout these years, your modules offer an increasingly focused and state-of-the art engagement in your chosen field. Different genres of literature and historical reconstruction are addressed in biblical studies. Theology looks both to the emergence and reception of classical doctrines, as well as to topical issues of religion and science, and theology and social justice. The field of ethics is explored through issues of sport and media ethics, religion, gender and human rights, and concerns around bioethics, technology and sexuality. There is an opportunity to study Islamic philosophy, mysticism and education. During these years it is also possible for you to study Hebrew or Greek.
The major accomplishment of your final year is your Capstone project – an individual research project. This is an important achievement of supervised and self-directed research and writing. In addition to the Capstone research project, final year modules offer you the opportunity to engage with current issues of research activity within the School. These areas currently include: religion, war and peace; multiple modernities; theologies of church and Eucharist; the study of ritual; queer theological ethics; religion and the arts; Islamic political ethics. You may also continue to study Greek or Hebrew at an advanced level.
The range of assessment strategies reflects the goal of enhancing student education through diversity and quality of experience. Some modules are assessed by end-of-semester exams combined with summative essays; others rely exclusively on essays; others require the creation of a portfolio of short assignments; others include in-class tests.
Students in the School of Religion may avail of opportunities to study abroad in Glasgow University, U.K., or in K.U. Leuven, Belgium. As part of the Year 3 module ‘Theology and Social Justice: Community Engagement in Dublin City’, students are required to undertake a placement with a social justice agency in Dublin.
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