Teaching organisationThis 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
All human beings must confront the fundamental question: what does it mean to be human? Theology seeks to understand this question in the light of the implications of Christian revelation within the diverse contexts of time and place. This requires an historical approach both to the sources of Christian theology from the past (scripture and tradition) and to examining the signs of the times in multiple contexts in the present. On this basis, this unit provides an introduction to the area of theological anthropology.
This unit begins by examining the present condition of human beings in the 21st century. In the light of these conditions, the unit interprets the witness of scripture and tradition, particularly seeking to address the meaning of human nature and sin. It explores the belief in Jesus Christ as fully human and as the exemplar of the perfect human being, as well as the belief that only salvation from God and divine grace enables human beings and creation to achieve the divine plan for creation and humanity. The aim of this unit is to evaluate and develop specific theological insights into the human condition with reference to the Catholic-Christian tradition and apply a critical understanding of the relevance and implications of Christian belief and practice to the life of contemporary humanity.
On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
LO1 - Identify the major features of contemporary human living in the 21st century, and the human need for divine salvation within contemporary experiences of being human (GA1, GA4, GA8);
LO2 - Explain and analyse the meaning of key Christian beliefs regarding the nature of the human person created in the image of God, redeemed through Christ in the Spirit (GA1, GA4, GA8);
LO3 - Develop theological insights, drawing on contemporary models of theological anthropology and grace, regarding what divine grace means for human living and freedom, and its connection to prayer and social action (GA4, GA8, GA9).
GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity
GA4 - think critically and reflectively
GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information
GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media
Topics will include:
- A description of human experiences of the human condition throughout the globe in the 21st century;
- Experiences of salvation and liberation throughout the world today and of intractable contemporary problems, and the Christian vision of the need for divine salvation and grace;
- New insights into the social nature of the human person in his or her psychological, ecological, cultural, sexual, relational, economic, political and technological life;
- The biblical vision of creation and of the human person as made in the image of God (imago Dei) and as called to freedom and dialogic responsibility with God in history;
- The biblical vision of human fulfilment and happiness according to Jesus’ vision of the “Reign of God”;
- Jesus Christ as “the perfect human being” (Gaudium et Spes, 38);
- The relationship between the human spirit and the Holy Spirit as the source of divine empowerment of the human;
- Notions of individual and structural sin, evil, human dignity, conscience, the common good, and the relationship between human beings and the natural environment;
- The relationship between human freedom and co-operation with God’s grace;
- An ecumenical approach to the scriptural notion of “justification” and salvation;
- False visions of the power of human potential, such as Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism;
- The indispensable role of spiritualities of prayer and social action for living out the call to a life of grace.
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 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 emphasised.
THCT311 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 some major features of the contemporary human condition and how divine salvation and grace relate to these features, in order to demonstrate achievement of learning outcome 1.
Task 2 asks students to demonstrate knowledge of key aspects of Christian beliefs regarding the nature of the human person created in the image of God, redeemed through Christ in the Spirit and analyse their meaning, so to address learning outcome 2.
Task 3 invites students to critically reflect on the meaning of divine grace for human living and freedom and develop theological insights regarding the contemporary human condition by drawing on models of theological anthropology and grace. This task is particularly aimed to address learning outcome 3.
Overview of assessments
|Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment Tasks||Weighting||Learning Outcomes||Graduate Attributes|
Short Reflection Paper: Requires students to identify major features of the contemporary human condition and how the need for divine salvation can be contextualised.
GA1, GA 4, GA8
Examination: Requires students to explain and analyse key aspects of Christian beliefs regarding the nature of the human person created in the image of God, redeemed through Christ in the Spirit.
GA1, GA 4, GA8
Research Essay: Students develop theological insights into the meaning of divine grace for addressing and understanding the contemporary human condition.
LO1, LO2, LO3
GA4, GA8, GA 9
Representative texts and references
Comblin, José. Retrieving the Human: A Christian Anthropology. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1990.
Daly, Gabriel. Creation and Redemption. Wilmington, Del.: M. Glazier, 1989.
Duffy, Stephen J. The Dynamics of Grace: Perspectives in Theological Anthropology. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1993.
Duffy, Stephen J. The Graced Horizon: Nature and Grace in Modern Catholic Thought, Theology and life series v. 37. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1992.
Edwards, Denis. Ecology at the Heart of Faith. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2006.
Gonzalez, Michelle A. Created in God's Image: An Introduction to Feminist Theological Anthropology. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2007.
Graff, Ann Elizabeth O'Hara. In the Embrace of God: Feminist Approaches to Theological Anthropology. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995.
McFarland, Ian A. Creation and Humanity: The Sources of Christian Theology. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009.
Ross, Susan A. Anthropology: Seeking Light and Beauty, Engaging theology, Catholic perspectives. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2012.
Saracino, Michele. Being about Borders: A Christian Anthropology of Difference. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2011.