Teaching organisationThe 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
Each human person must grapple with the meaning of their lives and the nature of their existence. For Christianity, the God who creates and redeems is the central point of reference. Christianity accounts for the belief system and practice of more people than any other religion or movement, with the largest number of Christians identifying with the Catholic Church. Christianity, particularly through the 2000 year tradition of Catholicism, has deeply influenced the structures, systems, laws, values and behavioural norms of numerous societies, including Australia. It is imperative that Christians, those involved in Christian organisations, and those seeking to understand Christianity and its influence, are able to explain the key beliefs and practices of the Christian faith.
THCT100 explores the nature and meaning of Christian faith in Jesus Christ as articulated in the Christian creeds and celebrated through the centuries, with a particular emphasis on the Catholic tradition. It introduces students to the contextual and critical examination of beliefs central to the Catholic tradition. The aim of this unit is for students to acquire broad and coherent knowledge of the Christian faith and explain historic and contemporary theological perspectives to key beliefs, especially Catholic approaches.
On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
LO1 - Describe the beliefs central to Christian faith (GA7, GA9);
LO2 - Analyse the meaning of key Christian beliefs using a range of different critical perspectives from contemporary theology, especially with reference to Catholic approaches (GA4, GA9);
LO3 - Apply theological perspectives and language to interpret the relevance and significance of key Christian, especially Catholic, beliefs for contemporary society and the student’s own context (GA4, GA5, GA9).
GA4 - think critically and reflectively
GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession
GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively
GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media
Topics will include:
- The nature, sources and terms of theological study
- The Creeds, as outlining key Christian beliefs
- Belief in and knowledge of God
- The person of Jesus Christ, and the significance of his life, death, and resurrection
- Sin and Evil
- The Church
- Eschatology, including Heaven, Hell and Resurrection of the Body
- Relevance and significance of Christian beliefs in today’s context.
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. 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 emphasised.
These face-to-face activities enable students to acquire and assimilate knowledge of Christian faith and identify the importance of Christian faith to the life of believers, particularly through the presence and articulation of the lecturer and tutors. Students will be guided in beginning to develop the academic skills needed for theological study. Students will be provided with opportunities for the development of practical skills, technologies and strategies needed for successful academic theological study, including in one or more of the following: flexible learning, academic writing, and academic honesty.
THCT100 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.
Task 1 asks students to identify the key beliefs of the Christian faith, as outlined in the Creed, and reflect briefly on their meaning. This task is designed to give the opportunity for students to display achievement of Learning Outcome 1. This task allows students a low risk piece of assessment to test their critical theological skills, as well as academic writing techniques. Advice for essay writing in theology will be provided. Feedback provided from Task 1 will help students with the other two assessment tasks.
Task 2 asks students to critically analyse the meaning of some of the key beliefs of the Christian faith using a range of different theological perspectives, especially Catholic approaches, in order to allow them to display achievement of Learning Outcome 2.
Task 3 invites students to consider the relevance of Christian beliefs today, in order for them to display achievement of Learning Outcome 3. Students are asked to demonstrate a clear understanding of a range of key Christian beliefs and how they impact on people’s lives, as well as address questions and misunderstandings about these beliefs, with a particular emphasis on the Catholic community.
Overview of assessments
|Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment Tasks||Weighting||Learning Outcomes||Graduate Attributes|
Short introductory written task: Require students to demonstrate their ability to write a brief description of key Christian beliefs.
Analytical task: Require students to demonstrate critical thinking by analysing key Christian beliefs, engaging with a range of different theological perspectives.
Critical reflection and application task: Require students to demonstrate ability to apply key learnings to specific contexts by addressing a range of key Christian beliefs, articulating what these beliefs mean in contemporary context (both broadly and with a specific focus on student’s own present or future context), and addressing questions people may have about them.
LO1, LO2, LO3
GA4, GA5, GA9
Representative texts and references
Australian Catholic University. Academic Skills Unit. ACU Study Guide: Skills for Success. 3rd rev. ed. North Sydney: Australian Catholic University, 2012.
Cunningham, Lawrence S. An Introduction to Catholicism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
González, Justo L. and Zaida Maldonado Pérez. An Introduction to Christian Theology. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002.
Ford, David. Theology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Johnson, L. T. The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters. New York: Doubleday, 2003.
Kelly, A. God is Love: The Heart of the Christian Faith. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2012.
Markham, Ian. Understanding Christian Doctrine. Malden: Blackwell, 2008.
McGrath, Alister. Christian Theology: An Introduction. 6th ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2017.
Migliore, Daniel. Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2014.
O'Collins, G. and E. G. Farrugia. Catholicism: The Story of Catholic Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Rausch, Thomas. Systematic Theology: A Roman Catholic Approach. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2016.