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Single Honours ImageSingle Honors World Religions and Theology

In the Single Honors programme students take all their courses in the Department of Religions and Theology.

The Bachelor’s Degree is typically four years long.  In Trinity College, during the four years students are designated as follows:

Year 1 – Junior Freshman (JF)
Year 2 – Senior Freshman (SF)
Year 3 – Junior Sophister (JS)
Year 4 – Senior Sophister (SS)

In the first year (JF), you follow courses that introduce you to the various fields of study, while after the first year you are free to choose courses that fit your own particular areas of interest.

Course Content

In taking this 4-year arts degree, you will engage in broad introductions as well as in depth analyses of religious traditions and of the approaches used to examine them. You will get to know the contributions of different disciplines, such as history, archaeology, art, philology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, literary and cultural studies, to examine the diversity of religions and the changing understanding of religion in their cultural and historical contexts. You will be able to trace major transformations in Western culture from its roots in biblical monotheism and antique philosophy to the present day, and discuss contemporary issues such as science and religion, ethics and technology. You will explore perspectives from other ancient and contemporary religions and get to know their literary, ethical and artistic resources.

The Freshman Years

In the Junior Freshman (first) year you will engage in overviews and textual studies of world religions, of the Bible in its historical contexts, of theology and of the history of religions. In your Senior Freshman (second) year you will be able to take up a language - Hebrew, Greek or Arabic, and choose from a range of courses depending on the individual interests you have discovered in your first year. Courses are taught by lectures, class presentations and small-group discussions. There are twelve to fourteen contact hours per week. In your first year you will study a range of introductory courses on topics such as:

  • Introduction to World Religions and the History of Religions
  • Introduction to Biblical Studies
  • Introduction to Theology
  • Introduction to Religious Studies and to Philosophy
  • The Abrahamic faiths and their reception in histories of thought and art
  • Religions from the first to the twenty-first century

From the Senior Freshman (second) year on, students may choose modules on subjects such as:

  • Origins and sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • Ancient languages, especially Greek and Hebrew
  • The philosophical and theological debates between Jewish, Christian and Islamic thinkers in the Middle Ages
  • Popular religion, alternative forms of religiosity and new religious movements
  • Key controversies in Western religious and philosophical thought
  • Asian religious traditions and their histories
  • Religion, media, and the public sphere
  • Philosophical and theological approaches to God
  • Biomedical ethics, including issues such as genetic enhancement and transhumanism

Students in the second year may substitute a Broad Curriculum course for one of these half-year courses.

The Sophister Years

In the Sophister (third and fourth) years you will learn to analyse and assess texts for their starting-points, steps of argumentation and practical conclusions, and develop the critical thinking skills, interpretive and comparative competences typical for arts and humanities graduates. You will deepen your understanding of 3000 years of religious and cultural self-understandings and become adept at distinguishing the contribution of different disciplines and methodologies. Topics include:

  • Historical and literary approaches to biblical texts
  • Hermeneutics (the theory and practice of interpretation)
  • Classical thinkers and contemporary theories of religion
  • Current expressions and movements in Christianity and Islam
  • Reformation and Enlightenment
  • Ethics in modernity
  • World Christianities
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Theological ethics and ecology
  • Meals in Early Christianity
  • Religion and art.

In the Senior Sophister (fourth) year you will write a thesis of 15,000 words with a supervisor chosen from an area that you want to specialise in. You will learn to work out careful argumentations and critical discussions of research literature on the topic of your choice.

Students not only encounter religious cultures in the lecture theatre and libraries, but also enjoy excursions to local museums and libraries (e.g. the Chester Beatty Library, Marsh's Library), visits to local religious centres and other cultural destinations central to the history of religious traditions. A range of extracurricular activities is available, such as participation in lively College societies (e.g. the Theological society “Theo”) to lectures by internationally acclaimed speakers.

Assessment

Students write between five to six essays per semester depending on whether they choose a language module. In addition they sit end of the year examinations for six courses (three for TSM students).

 


Last updated 27 February 2013 cathriona.russell@tcd.ie (Email).