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Theology and Religion (inc. Philosophy and Theology)

The study of theology and of the major faiths is a subject that concerns itself with humanity’s deepest questions of truth and meaning, of wisdom and worship, of justice and reconciliation. These questions, and the answers they evoke, guide the lives of well over two thirds of the world’s inhabitants, including more than two billion Christians and well over a billion Muslims. They have profoundly shaped the culture of virtually every country around the globe. In studying the history, scriptures, beliefs, practices, institutions and communities of Christianity and other faiths, theology at Oxford draws on an exciting and diverse range of academic disciplines with a truly world-wide reach and relevance. Our students choose to read Theology and Religion, or Philosophy and Theology, as a way to engage with many of these questions. In the process they find themselves acquiring the sorts of skills of critical thought and reflection that equip them for a remarkably rich diversity of future pursuits in the service of teaching or research, of business or government, of the arts or international development, of religious ministry or the charitable sector.

Advantages of Keble

There are four major reasons for choosing Keble for Theology.

  1. Keble has had a special interest in Theology since its foundation;
  2. It offers some of the best library resources and facilities of any college in this subject;
  3. There are two Tutorial Fellows in Theology at Keble;
  4. There is a significant ‘critical mass’ of theologians, both undergraduates and graduates, with a wide range of interests.  This provides support and ensures that there is always a lively exchange of ideas.

Course structure

The syllabus for the Theology and Religion course offers a very wide range of options so that students can create a course which appeals to their own particular abilities and interests.  There are certain ‘core’ papers in biblical studies and in Christian doctrine, and beyond this you may pursue a biblical, a historical-doctrinal or a multi-faith “track” through the degree. In addition to Oxford’s traditional strengths in textual and historical studies, you can also range as widely as the psychology of religion, the sociology of religion, and a host of contemporary issues - feminism, postmodernism, secularisation.  It is a demanding course, but the rewards match the demands.  People do seem energised by the questions raised.

Undergraduates reading for the Honour School of Theology and Religion study New Testament Greek or Hebrew up to ‘Prelims’, a series of exams sat at the end of the second term.

The joint School of Philosophy and Theology has less textual and historical work; but the need to grapple with two rather different disciplines, and to explore their inter-relationship, is both exciting and challenging.  The course includes papers on the Philosophy of Religion, Ethics, Christian Doctrine and Interpretation and Christian Moral Reasoning.  The syllabus also allows study of ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy and continental philosophy after Kant, together with a broad range of options in Theology.

Typical pattern of teaching

Lectures, tutorials and some class work. Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and other scriptural languages are taught by University classes and there are special University classes on individual theologians, on doctrine and interpretation, and on the psychology of religion.

Qualities sought for entry

Up-to-date details of how to apply for these courses and the entrance requirements can be found on the Theology and Religion and Philosophy and Theology pages of the University Prospectus.

Qualities which we look for in applicants are an appreciation of the importance of historical, literary and theological questions and a general empathy with the subject. Many will combine this with a desire to explore further and to ask constructive and critical questions about their own religious faith; but no particular religious affiliation is a pre-condition for reading Theology at Keble.

Entry

You are likely to be asked for grades A A A if you are taking GCE A2 levels, unless there are unusual educational circumstances.  Other equivalent non A-level qualifications are welcome. We do not require an A-level in Religious Studies.

Theology

Written Work: Candidates are required to submit one essay that has been submitted and marked in the normal course of preparation for A-level.  In place of this essay you may send an examination or test answer to an unseen question, which has been supervised and marked by your school or college. All work must be written in English.

Please send work in Religious Studies if you are studying this to A-level (or equivalent). If you cannot submit a sample of work in Religious Studies, please submit work in a related area. If you do not have suitable work available, please contact us for suggested essay topics.

Interview: At present there is no written test during the interview period, although this is expected to change in future years.

Philosophy and Theology

Written Work: Candidates are required to submit one essay.  This should have been submitted and marked in the normal course of preparation for A-level (see Theology above).

Interview: For Philosophy, candidates will sit a one-hour written test designed to offer an opportunity to demonstrate the capacity to reason analytically and to use language accurately.

For further information, see the Theology and Philosophy and Theology pages of the Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus.

theology

Approximate yearly intake Keble: 5 +2 for PhilTheol
Faculty: 65
Faculty Website Faculty of Theology and Religion

Enquiries

Via the College Office.

Tutors

Dr Sarah Apetrei Fellow in Ecclesiastical History

Dr Nathan Eubank Tutorial Fellow in Theology

Prof Markus Bockmuehl Professorial Fellow in Theology

Dr Edward Harcourt Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy

Dr Sophie Archer Robin Geffen Research Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy