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Level 6

6AAT3045 Principles of Systematic Theology


The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee this module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

Credit value: 15
Module tutor: Dr Susannah Ticciati
Assessment: One 2,500-word essay (40%); one 3,000-word essay (60%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: Two-hour classes over ten weeks
Pre-requisites: None. However, students will be helped by having taken at least one of 4AAT1014 How Christians Argue, 5AAT2006 Introduction to the Doctrine of the Person of Christ, or 5AAT2018 The Trinity in Recent Theology. Students who have taken none of these modules are advised to do some preparatory reading. Recommended introductory texts are:

  • Mike Higton, Christian Doctrine (London: SCM Press, 2008)
  • Daniel Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology (2nd edn; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004)
  • Kathryn Tanner, Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity: A Brief Systematic Theology (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2001)

See also the preliminary reading list below.

The module studies in further depth doctrinal and philosophical aspects of the Christian tradition. Specific topics of discussion change from year to year, but can include: the classical attributes of God and the problems of speech about God; the doctrines of salvation and predestination; the issue of supersessionism and the relation between the church and Israel.

Sample topics

  • Marcion and Origen
  • Augustine and Pelagius
  • Pseudo-Dionysius on speech about God
  • Aquinas on divine simplicity, analogy or election
  • Luther and the Council of Trent
  • Calvin on predestination
  • Barth on election
  • Moltmann and divine passibility
  • Postliberal theologies and supersessionism

Preliminary reading
The focal doctrinal topic will change from year to year, but the following list is geared towards doctrine generally.

  • Colin Gunton (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine (Cambridge: CUP, 1997).
  • John Webster, Kathryn Tanner and Iain Torrance (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology (Oxford: OUP, 2009). 
  • David Ford and Rachel Muers (eds.), The Modern Theologians (3rd Edn; Oxford: Blackwell, 2005).

Past syllabus

Please find syllabus document available here for academic year 2015-16. Please be aware that the content of the syllabus will differ each academic year.

Further information

Module aims
  • To understand important controversies within the Christian theological tradition.
  • To gain critical understanding of key theological positions, and how they were argued for and articulated.
  • To understand the nature of doctrine and doctrinal development.
  • To understand the relationship between doctrine and Scriptural interpretation.
Learning outcomes

Generic skills

  • Ability to engage with primary sources imaginatively and analytically
  • Ability to handle the relation between texts and concepts
  • Ability to articulate one’s own arguments in oral and written form
  • Ability to research, plan and present essays to specified deadlines

Module specific skills

  • Familiarity with key controversies in the Christian theological tradition
  • Ability to engage critically with key theological positions
  • Understanding of the nature of doctrine and doctrinal development
  • Understanding of the relationship between doctrine and Scriptural interpretation
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