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THCT100 What Christians Believe

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

In THCT100, students were introduced to the study of theology and its major branches. As a necessary next step, this unit considers the nature of theology itself, its history, sources and methods. It analyses the place of Scripture, Tradition and the teaching authority of the Church in the development of theology through a study of key moments and figures in the history of theological investigation. It introduces a range of contemporary theological methods and their relation and application to current issues.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Explain the main sources of Christian theology in relation to their origin and development over the history of theological investigation (GA4, GA8); 

LO2 - Analyse the perspectives, contexts, methods and contributions of key figures in contemporary Christian theology; (GA5, GA8) 

LO3 - Evaluate key themes of Christian theology, taking into account their historical development, relevance to current cultural contexts and ongoing questions, especially Catholic perspectives (GA4, GA5, GA8). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include: 


  • Definition of theology in the Catholic/Christian tradition; 
  • Delineation of theological method in relation to other disciplines; 
  • Overview of key stages in the history of Catholic theology; 
  • Exploration of the essential elements and sources of theological reflection: Scripture, Tradition, reason and experience; 
  • Introduction to main figures in contemporary Catholic and Christian theology; 
  • Analyse current themes, challenges and foci of theological reflection

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment. 

The unit is normally offered in attendance mode or multi-mode. Students learn through formally structured and sequenced learning activities that support the achievement of the learning outcomes. Students are asked to critically reflect, analyse, and integrate new information with existing knowledge, draw meaningful new connections, and then apply what they have learned. Collaborative and peer learning is also emphasized.  

THCT220 emphasises students as active, adult learners. Students are recognised as adult learners who engage best when what they are learning is relevant to them and gives them the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. In many ways, the student is the one who drives the learning forward, and their  active participation in this unit is essential. Learning is designed to be an engaging and supportive experience, which helps students to develop critical thinking and reflection skills.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to attempt all assessment tasks and achieve an overall grade of Pass (50% or higher).  


The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.  


Assessment task 1 enables students to display achievement of LO 1 and analyse the four key theological sources and their interconnections with each other. Building on this, Assessment Task 2 requires students to select a key theologian and analyse their sources, perspectives and methods, providing students with the opportunity to show achievement of LO 2. 


The essay (assessment task 3) enables students to bring together and apply the spectrum of learning gathered in the unit about the sources, methods and content of theology by demonstrating deep understanding of one area of theology. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written analysis: 

Requires students to analyse the four key sources of theology: Scripture, Tradition, reason and experience, indicating how the sources relate to each other. 


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Presentation with written component:  

Requires students to analyse the ideas, sources and methods of a theologian in the Catholic/Christian tradition. 


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5, GA8 


Requires students to demonstrate clear and deep understanding of an area of theology by writing an entry into a new dictionary of theology aimed at undergraduate theology students. 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Alberigo, Giuseppe, and Joseph A. Komonchak. History of Vatican II. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1995. 


Congar, Yves. A History of Theology. Edited by Hunter Guthrie. New York: Doubleday, 1968.  


Boeve, Lieven. Interrupting Tradition: An Essay on Christian Faith in a Postmodern Context. Louvain: Peeters Press, 2003.  


Brown, David. Tradition and imagination: revelation and change, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.  


Dulles, Avery. The Craft of Theology: From Symbol to System. New York: Crossroad, 1995.  


Fiorenza, Francis Schussler, and John P. Galvin ed. Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011.  


Gaillardetz, Richard R. By What Authority? A Primer on Scripture, the Magisterium, and the Sense of the Faithful. Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press Academic, 2018.  


Gallagher, Michael Paul. Clashing Symbols: An Introduction to Faith and Culture. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2003.  


Lane, Dermot A. The Experience of God: An Invitation to Do Theology. New York: Paulist Press, 2003.  


Ormerod, Neil. Introducing Contemporary Theologies: The What and the Who of Theology Today. Alexandria, N.S.W.: E.J. Dwyer, 1997.  


Rausch, Thomas P. Systematic Theology. Liturgical Press, 2016.  


Rush, Ormond. Still Interpreting Vatican II: Some Hermeneutical Principles. New York: Paulist Press, 2004.  


Tilley, Terrence W. History, theology, and faith: dissolving the modern problematic. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2004. 


Wicks, Jared. Doing Theology. New York: Paulist Press, 2009. 

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