THL540 Public Theology (16)

This subject examines how theological perspectives may inform contemporary public contexts. It enables students to creatively develop appropriate, coherent and meaningful expressions of theologically derived insights in contexts often characterized by conflict and disagreement over such contributions. In addition, students will practice theological discussion of common public and political issues beyond the community of the Christian church, and will critically assess various modes of engagement between Christian theology and contemporary social life.

Availability

Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Canberra Campus
Online
Canberra Campus
Term 1 (75)
On Campus
Ming Hua Theological College

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL540. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System

HD/FL

Duration

One session

School

School of Theology

Enrolment Restrictions

Master of Theology and Bachelor of Theology (Honours) students only.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to outline and evaluate critically various recent accounts of public theology
  • be able to analyze critically the criteria of judgment by which a public discourse might be regarded as properly 'theological'
  • be able to analyze critically developments in public theological discourse, as compared to ancient modes of public theological discourse
  • be able to engage critically with accounts of public discourse that relegate theological discourse to a 'private' sphere
  • be able to analyze and evaluate critically expressions of public theological discourse by faith-based organizations
  • be able to create and communicate public theological discourses about various issues in public and social discussion, with arguments relevant to various 'publics' and which evidently display Christian theological derivation
  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the various domains of public theological discourse, and capacity to investigate and analyze critically these domains

Syllabus

This subject will cover the following topics:
  • What is 'public theology'? Identifying 'publics'; describing 'theologies'; evaluating proposals, developing an account.
  • The apologist's dance: Justin's, Tertullian's, and/or Augustine's 'dance' between 'proselytizing', protection of Christian community, and promotion of public good; comparisons to modern public theological discourse.
  • 'What's good for the goose': Contested notions of 'secularity'; the rise of 'public atheology'; the deployments of public theology and their various terms of engagement.
  • 'Imposing it': Analyzing and evaluating competing claims and complex negotiations over shared cultural space (often conducted under the heading 'Church and State'); understanding the liberal demand for 'public reasons'; creating a theological account of 'goods in common'; responding to the regulation(s) of forms of religious expression.
  • Political theology: Exploring distinctions between 'political theology' and 'public philosophy'; the applications of political theology for public theology.
  • 'Retrieval' and 'Cobelligerence': The political task of 'retrieval'; evaluating alliances for common good.
  • Modes of involvement: Finding and investigating domains of public theological discourse; analyzing and distinguishing various strategies of public theological activity deployed in these sources; creatively developing strategies of effective engagement.
  • After the invasion: Applications of theological concepts of grace, repentance/forgiveness and social justice, to indigenous, criminal justice and/or immigration issues.
  • Moderating the market: Critically evaluating public ideologies in economics and their overspill into domains of e.g.: care; family life; body dysmorphias; and/or human services delivery; injecting persuasive discourses in social justice into this cultural space.
  • 'Zarathustra's ape': Creative uses of media for public theology.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL540 in Term 3 2019. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Title
Value
1
Class participation
30 %
2
Exegesis paper
20 %
3
Student presentation
%
4
Final paper
50 %

Contact

For further information about courses and subjects outlined in the CSU handbook please contact:

Current students

Future students

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: October 2019. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.

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