Exploring Christian Spiritualities

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1


The unit builds on the introductory unit 162 Spirituality by considering some of the streams of spirituality that have shaped the history of the Christian church in depth.  The spiritualities considered include the Puritan and Evangelical traditions, Celtic Christianity, the English Medieval tradition, Eastern Orthodox and Black African traditions.  The different streams are critically evaluated and their contribution to the development of the Christian faith is analysed. Students are encouraged to consider the relevance of the different streams to the practice of spirituality today.  Themes, issues and practices which are discussed include retreat leading, spiritual direction, imaginative approaches to scripture, and the intersection between personality and spirituality.


To consider in depth different traditions of Christianity spirituality and their relevance to discipleship, ministry and mission in the twenty-first century.


Category of outcome

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

Knowledge and understanding

·         Understand how streams of spirituality have shaped the history of the Christian church

Intellectual skills

·         Identify, analyse and critically evaluate central issues in the practice of Christian spirituality

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·         Identify and implement approaches to spirituality that will assist in their own spiritual growth and in the growth of others


Assessment task


Weighting within unit


·         Exegesis of an extract from a classic text of Christian spirituality, in groups in class         


Notional 750-1000 words




·         An essay


3000-3500 words





Semester 2, 2015-16

Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology


1.    Introduction to Module / Approaches to Spirituality / Themes and issues in Christian Spirituality

2.    Evangelical Spirituality, themes and issues

3.    Evangelical Spirituality, Some Case Studies

4.    Sermon on the Mouth / Monastic Spirituality

5.    Celtic Spirituality, themes and issues,

6.    Medieval Spirituality, themes and issue / A case study (Julian of Norwich)

7.    ‘Beacons of Europe’: Catherine of Sienna, Theresa of Avila, Brigitte of Sweden

8.    Black Spirituality

9.    Quiet Day and Retreat Leading

10.  Eastern Orthodox Spirituality

11.  Dallas Willard and Richard Foster

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

Anderson, Allen, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Battle, Michael, The Black Church in America: African American Christian Spirituality (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006)

Chryssavgis, John, Light through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition (London: Darton Longman and Todd, 2004)

Julian of Norwich and A. C. Spearing, Revelations of Divine Love: (Short Text and Long Text); Transl. by Elizabeth Spearing, with an Introduction and Notes by A.C. Spearing (London: Penguin Books, 1998)

Morden, Peter J., ‘Communion with Christ and his People’: The Spirituality of C.H. Spurgeon (1834-92) (Oxford: Regent’s Park College, 2010 / Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2014)

Morden, Peter J., The Life and Thought of Andrew Fuller (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2015)

Mursell, Gordon, English Spirituality. [Vol.1]: From Earliest Times to 1700 (London: SPCK, 2001)

Mursell, Gordon, English Spirituality. [Vol.2]: From 1700 to the Present Day (London: SPCK, 2001)

Peterson, Eugene H., Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2005)

O'Donohue, John, Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom From the Celtic World (London: Bantam, 1997).

Randall, Ian M., What a Friend we Have in Jesus (London: Darton Longman and Todd, 2005)

Ranft, Patricia, Women and Spiritual Equality in Christian Tradition (Basingstoke: MacMillan, 2000)

Sheldrake, Philip, ed., The New SCM Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (London: SCM P., 2005)

Willard, Dallas, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (London: HarperCollins, 2000)

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Exploring Christian Spiritualities

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 365





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Dr Peter J. Morden

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