Cultural Hermeneutics

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 371

UNIT DESCRIPTION

By engaging with specific texts this unit explores contemporary thinking on a range of cultural trends and phenomena.  This includes, for example, engagement with the work of John Gray, Zygmunt Bauman and Gordon Lynch alongside studying broader themes like affluence and consumerism, the influence of the media, TV and film.  The selected texts and themes are explored from a Christian perspective and critically evaluated with a view to establishing the insights they bring to an understanding of Christian mission.

Aims

To deepen the students’ understanding of their contemporary context by examining the interpretation of various cultural trends and phenomena and to enable them to offer a critique from a Christian perspective.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES:

Category of outcome

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

Knowledge and understanding

·      Summarise classic Christian responses to engaging with culture

Intellectual skills

·      Critically engage a ‘cultural text’ by interrogating its illocution, locution and perlocution

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·      Identify missiological implications and opportunities presented by the work of a variety of contemporary cultural interpreters

·      Work together in groups

Assessment:

Assessment task

Length

Weighting within unit

Formative:

·         An interactive group task

 

 

n/a

Summative:

·         An essay

 

3000 words

 

100%

FURTHER INFORMATION

Semester

 

Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology

Content

1.    H. Richard Niebuhr and the relationship between Christ and culture

2.    Desecularisation and detraditionalisation (Peter Berger and Lieven Boeve)

3.    Reading cultural texts

4.    Religion and popular culture (Neil Postman)

5.    ‘Mediated’: the media

6.    ‘D’oh!’: The Simpsons

7.    ‘Jesus is Dread’ and the ‘God of the Rahtid’ (Robert Beckford)

8.    Consumerism

9.    The thought of John Gray: apocalyptic, straw dogs and Al Qaeda

10.  ‘To boldly go …’: Star Trek

Zygmunt Bauman’s liquid world

Teaching method

Interactive lectures

Additional eLearning content

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

Feedback

Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)

 

Information updated on

December 2015

 

Indicative reading

Bauman Zygmunt, Liquid Modernity (London: Polity, 2000)

Berger, Peter L., The Desecularization of the World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999)

Gray, Jonathan, Watching with the Simpsons (New York: Routledge, 2005)

Hoelzl, Michael, and Graham Ward, The New Visibility of Religion: Studies in Religion and Cultural Hermeneutics (London: Continuum, 2008)

Lynch, Gordon, Understanding Theology and Popular Culture (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005)

Niebuhr, H. Richard, Christ and Culture (New York: Harper, 1951)

Postman, Neil, Amusing Ourselves to Death (New York: Penguin, 2005)

Turnau, Ted, Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective (Phillipsburg: P&R Pub, 2012)

Vanhoozer, Kevin J., et al (eds.), Everyday Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007)

Warner, Rob, Secularization and its Discontents (London: Continuum, 2010)

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Cultural Hermeneutics

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 371

Credits:

10

Level:

4

Hours of Learning:

100

Tutor:

Dr Roger Standing

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