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Comparative Analytic Theology - PHI00080M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Worsley
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

This module uses the concepts, views, and arguments in analytic philosophy to clarify philosophical problems raised by Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theology, to offer solutions to those problems, and to evaluate those solutions

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

Subject content

  • to apply contemporary, analytic philosophy to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theology in order (i) to explicate theological doctrines, (ii) to identify the philosophical problems those doctrines give rise to, (iii) to identify solutions to those problems, and (iv) to evaluate those solutions; in so doing, students will open up new lines of enquiry in systematic analytic theology.

  • to compare and contrast the results of these evaluations in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theology; in so doing, students will open up new lines of enquiry in comparative analytic theology

Academic and graduate skills

  • to develop students' abilities to apply philosophical tools and techniques in order to advance understanding of intellectual problems;

  • to provide a grounding for independent research in the philosophy of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, individually and collectively.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module: students should be able to:

  • display an in-depth and systematic understanding of some key topics in the philosophy of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with a grasp of the forefront of current research in the area, providing a solid grounding for further independent research on related topics;
  • analyse complex areas of knowledge, displaying critical awareness;
  • synthesise information and ideas from a variety of sources at the forefront of the discipline;
  • evaluate research critically;
  • show originality in the discussion and application of ideas from the philosophical literature in developing their own arguments.
  • Students should show the ability to work autonomously and self critically on an extended essay that goes beyond the core framework that is provided in lectures and seminars.

Module content

This module will examine key claims in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theology that raise philosophical problems, such as the truth and authority of Scripture, the nature of God, creation, providence, sin, redemption, and the afterlife. Students will use the concepts, views, and arguments of analytic philosophy to clarify these theological claims and the philosophical problems they raise, to give solutions to these problems, to evaluate these solutions, and to argue for their preferred solution, or that there is no satisfactory solution. In addition to this, students will identify conceptual similarities and dissimilarities between particular philosophical problems facing each of these Abrahamic faiths, and will evaluate scope for sharing specific solutions between traditions. 


In addition to contemporary work in analytic theology, students will engage with Maimonides’ A Guide for the Perplexed, Saadia Gaon’s The Book of Belief and Opinions, Ibn Rushd’s Exposition of Religious Arguments, Al-Ghazali’s Moderation in Belief, and Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 4000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

The formative essay is due on Friday, Week 7 of the Autumn Term.

The formative essay plan is due on Monday, Week 10 of the Autumn Term.

The summative essay is due on Monday, Week 1 of the Spring Term. 

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 4000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback on formative work before the end of the term in which the module is taught.

Students will receive feedback on summative work 4 weeks after submission.

Indicative reading

Jewish Analytic Theology:

  • Shalom Carmy and David Shatz, ‘The Bible as a Source for Philosophical Reflection’, in Daniel H. Frank and Oliver Leaman, eds., History of Jewish Philosophy (Routledge, 1997), pp. 13-37.

  • Yoram Hazony, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge, 2012).

  • Sam Lebens, The Principals of Judaism (Oxford, 2020)

Christian Analytic Theology:

  • Oliver Crisp (ed), A Reader in Contemporary Philosophical Theology (Continuum, 2009).

  • Michael Rea (ed), Oxford Readings in Philosophical Theology, Volume I: Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement (Oxford University Press, 2009).

  • Michael Rea (ed), Oxford Readings in Philosophical Theology, Volume II: Providence, Scripture, and Resurrection (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Islamic Analytic Theology:

  • Oliver Leaman, Controversies in Contemporary Islam (Routledge, 2013).

  • Oliver Leaman, Islamic Philosophy: An Introduction (Polity, 2009).

Anthony Robert Booth, Analytic Islamic Philosophy (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017).



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.