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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Theories of Religion (DIVI10088)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhat exactly is 'religion'? Are we talking about the same 'thing' in our cross-cultural and comparative studies? This course approaches this key question through close readings of selected theories of religion by living scholars, which restore fully worked out theories of religion at the heart of Religious Studies. We examine each theory in detail and we compare and contrast their presuppositions and conclusions. We also road-test our theories on selected case studies. The aim of the course is to prepare students to identify and defend their preferred theory of religion and to put it into practice.

Course description Academic Description:
This course engages in close reading of selected recent theories of 'religion'. It aims to instill confidence and skill in handling and applying these theories. The overall aim is to compare and assess theories with sometimes very different intellectual approaches and contrasting premises. By the end of the course, students should be able to identify and defend their own preferred theoretical approach to explaining 'religion'.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
We begin with the complex debate about the modern category of religion. We then work through a series of theories, which we 'road-test' on case studies. Students are required to identify and defend their preferred theory of religion in the light of the theories surveyed. The theories are examined in the light of broader paradigms of inquiry in the humanities, social science, and natural science.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course consists of a two-hour combined lecture/seminar in which typically the first hour consists of exposition by the course teacher(s) and the second hour of seminar work by students on prepared readings. Assessment is in-course only and consists of an oral presentation and two longer essays on top of the commentaries. This form of assessment feeds the whole course learning outcome: by the end of the course, students will have come to identify and defend their own preferred theory of religion based on those examined, through a cumulative process of oral discussion and written inquiry.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Theories of Religion (REST10041)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Divinity/Religious Studies courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  28
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 40% - Essay 1 (2000 words)

50% - Final Essay (3000 words)

10% - Oral Presentation
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate understanding of different kinds of definition of religion.
  2. Critically assess a selection of modern full theories of religion.
  3. Explore simple application of theories to empirical examples of beliefs and practices.
  4. Identify and defend their own preferred theory of religion.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Independence of mind and initiative
- Capacity for reflexive learning
- Analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
- Writing skills, including clear expression and citing relevant evidence
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Steven Sutcliffe
Tel: (0131 6)50 8947
Course secretaryMr Andre Johnson Hall E Vasconcelos
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