Ethics 1

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 134 - 8134


The unit focuses on the historical development of ethics, specifically in relation to contrasting philosophical traditions.  Focus then shifts to the way in which the Christian Church has understood the Scriptures in relation to the construction of ethics; in particular, attention is paid to various ways in which the Christian narrative can be understood as a foundation for ethics.  The relationship between doctrine and ethics is explored through engaging with particular issues of contemporary moral debate, including social justice, respect for life, and sexuality.


To critically engage with contrasting perspectives on the nature of the ethical task by exploring the historical development of the subject.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·         Demonstrate knowledge of major philosophical traditions as they relate to the construction of ethics

Intellectual skills

·         Explain the distinctive contribution of key theologians to ethics

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·         Reflect on current affairs in the light of the material studied

·         Write an essay, using footnotes and bibliographies in an appropriate way


Assessment task


Weighting within unit



1000 words

1000 words




·         134:

·         8134:

A draft essay

A draft essay



2000 words

2000 words





pass / fail*

·         134:

·         8134:

An essay

An essay

and a learning journal*


* Distance learning students are required to pass this element. So long as this element has been passed, they will be eligible for compensation if the overall unit mark is within the compensation zone (30-39%), and the compensatable credit allowance as set out in the Degree Regulations has not been exceeded.





Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology


The historical development of ethics

Ethics, philosophy and faith

The Bible and Ethics

Love and Justice

Man and Woman

Respect for Life

The story of Jesus

Doctrine and ethics

Some key theologians and ethicists

Teaching method

Interactive lectures

Additional eLearning content

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning


Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)


Information updated on

December 2015

Indicative reading

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (London: Penguin, 1976)

Colwell, John E., Living the Christian Story (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2001)

Cook, D., The Moral Maze (London: SPCK, 1983)

Foster, Richard, Money, Sex and Power (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1985)

Gill, R. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Christian Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001)

Grenz, Stanley, The Moral Quest (Leicester: Apollos, 1997)

Hauerwas, Stanley, The Peaceable Kingdom (Notre Dame: Univ. of Notre Dame, 1983)

Hays, Richard, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996)

MacIntyre, Alasdair, A Short History of Ethics: a History of Moral Philosophy from the Homeric Age to the Twentieth Century. 2nd edn (London: Routledge, 1998)

McClendon, James, Systematic Theology: Volume 1: Ethics (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2012)

Stassen, Glen and Gushee, David, Kingdom Ethics (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003)

Stassen, Glen, A Thicker Jesus: Incarnational Discipleship in a Secular Age (Louisville: WJK, 2009)

Vardy, P., The Puzzle of Ethics. 2nd edn (London: Harper Collins, 1999)

Wells, S., and B. Quash, Introducing Christian Ethics (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)

Wells, S., Christian Ethics: An Introductory Reader (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)

Willard, Dallas, The Divine Conspiracy (San Francisco: Harper, 2003)

Wright, Tom, Virtue Reborn (London: SPCK, 2010)

Back to courses >

Ethics 1

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 134 - 8134





Hours of Learning:



Dr Graham J. Watts and Dr Joshua T. Searle

Know where you want to go? Use these quick links below to get you there.

Undergraduate Postgraduate Research Mission & Ministry Online Learning Counselling