THE2019 - Theology: Art and Politics

This module is no longer in use. The information on this page is for reference only

2016/7 Module description

StaffTim Gorringe - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module description

Study the relationship between theology, ethics and art and examine the work of particular artists up close as you visit art galleries in the UK and Europe. Subjects include God in the flesh, images of crucifixion, and landscape and creation.

Module aims

The module aims to introduce students to the main areas and issues of the debate about theology and art. It will look at general issues, such as the relation of theology and ethics and aesthetics, but will centrally involve close readings of the work of particular painters. Each student will be required to submit a 5000 word essay offering a theological -art critical appraisal of one to three paintings by a given artist. By the end of the course students should have a good grasp of theological aesthetics, and be able to make their own informed judgements on given Western works of art.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. A good knowledge of the main areas of theological aesthetics in their relation to art criticism and ethics

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 2. Ability to reflect with discrimination about works of art, to critically compare different approaches and to offer independent readings. The ability to integrate different parts of the syllabus(eg biblical theology or systematic theology) with reflection on art.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 3. Independent study, the ability to give sustained presentations with the use of visual aids and to lead seminar discussions.

Syllabus plan

Week 1 Theology, art and politics
Wk 2 Theological aesthetics
Wk 3 Looking at Pictures
Wk 4 God in the flesh - on painting the incarnate Lord.
Wk 5 The crucifixion
Wk 6 History Painting
Wk 7 Landscape and creation
Wk 8 Still Life
Wk 9 Genre painting
Wk 10 The Human form divine
Wk 11 Theology and Abstraction

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities44Lectures/seminars
Guided independent study256Private study

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar presentation20

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssayRefer/defer period
ExamExamRefer/defer period
Seminar presentation

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


J.Berger, Ways of Seeing, Penguin 1972
U.Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas Harvard 1988
R.Harries, Art and the Beauty of God, Mowbray 1996; N.Macgregor, Seeing Salvation, BBC 2000
J.Drury, Painting the Word, Yale 1999
G. Finaldi, The Image of Christ, National Gallery 2000

Available as distance learning?


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