MA Christian Spirituality Modules

Both core modules in the MA in Christian Spirituality run every year with optional modules running every other year in rotation.

All of our MA modules are open to all, so anyone may enrol in a module as an “auditorwithout registering for the full MA programme. An auditor participates in a module in exactly the same way as students on the MA, but does not prepare an essay at the end of it.

Calendar of forthcoming modules in the MA in Christian Spirituality

Further modules are being added during March 2021. 

Core Modules

Foundations and Forms of Christian Spirituality

The module will introduce students to the nature of Spirituality in the Christian tradition until the end of the eighteenth century. It will look at a number of spiritual traditions within Christianity and enable students to place them in their historical and philosophical contexts. Students will become aware of the problems we face in matters of interpretation when dealing with classical spiritual texts and will be encouraged to apply a range of interpretative methods to the texts they are introduced to.

Modern and Post-Modern Perspectives on Christian Spirituality 

This module will introduce students to the forms and types of Spirituality in the Christian tradition from the Reformation to the present day. Students will investigate the nature of Christian spiritualities in this period and consider the impact of modernism, postmodernism, feminism, and political theology on contemporary perceptions of Christian spirituality. Students will also investigate the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of academic engagement with Christian Spirituality. 

Optional Modules

Spirituality, Health and Wellbeing: Spiritual Development in Context

This module enables students to explore the variety of ways in which spiritual development takes place over the course of a lifetime. It includes study of various models of spiritual development and the theories that underpin them. Students will explore issues of particular concern for pastoral care in the contemporary context and engage with non-theological disciplines that provide pastoral care. Students will engage with scholarly debates on the relationship between spiritual development, suffering, and trauma. Students will examine the nature of spirituality and spiritual development for both the very young, the elderly, those who are differently abled, and those who experience trauma.

Embodied Encounters with the Divine

This module will introduce students to perspectives on Christian Spirituality that resist Neo-Platonic dualities. The module will centre the place of the body in Christian Spirituality and explore the nature of embodied experience in the Christian spiritual tradition. Students will be introduced to the concept of Christian Materialism and will analyse the contribution this can make to Christian Spirituality. This module will also draw in sacramental and ecological perspectives on the spiritual body.

Western Christian Mysticism

This module gives students an overview of the historical development of the Western Christian Mystical tradition. The module enables students to identify and analyse key historical figures and movements within that tradition, as well as contemporary scholarly debates around Christian Mysticism. Students will be expected to examine both apophatic and cataphatic strands of Western Mysticism. Aspects of the English strand of the mystical tradition will be explored as well as that of Continental mystics.

Liturgy and Spirituality in Critical Dialogue

The module engages with the relationship between spirituality and liturgy. Attention will be paid to the complexity of the ways in which they relate, both conceptually and in practice. Students will have the opportunity to study specific examples of liturgical and spiritual practice from a variety of Christian traditions, and in doing so develop a critical understanding of the dynamics at work in the relationship between liturgy and spirituality.

Monasticism, Mysticism, and Metaphysics: Key Themes in Medieval Christian Spirituality

This module will enable students to evaluate Western Medieval Schools of Christian Spirituality. It will examine the role of women in this period and evaluate their contributions to the Mysticism and politics of the period. Students will be encouraged to understand Medieval Spirituality in the broader context of medieval theological developments and explore key Christian spiritual texts from this period. 

Erotic Desires: Gender, Sexuality, and Spirituality

This module will provide students with the methodological tools to engage with a study of sexuality and gender as they relate to Christian Spirituality. Students will be enabled to understand how the Christian tradition has engaged with gender, sexuality, and spirituality and how that impacts on contemporary debates in these areas. Students will be encouraged to relate these insights to their own experience and to critically evaluate the current theological and spiritual concerns in matters of gender and sexuality.

Contemporary Christian Spirituality: Theology & Praxis

This module will enable students to critically evaluate relationships between Christian Spirituality and non-Christian and non-religious Spiritualities. Students will have opportunity to explore contemporary expressions of Christian Spirituality around the world and draw these into dialogue with traditional philosophical and theological perspectives on Christian Spirituality. The module will also allow students to reflect on the import of inter-religious dialogue for contemporary conceptions of spirituality in general and Christian Spirituality in particular.

Spirituality in Action: Vocation, Leadership and Personal Development

This module examines the nature and role of spirituality in a variety of faith-based and secular workplaces. It offers opportunity to critically analyse the nature of vocation, leadership, and personal development at the intersection of employment and spirituality alongside the place of work and organisations from spiritual and theological perspectives. It will examine the role of workplace chaplains and the integration of spiritual elements into workplaces. Students will critically evaluate the relationship between capitalism and spirituality as they reflect on the nature of the working life in a variety of forms.

Texts and the Christian Tradition

This module will focus on a deep exploration of a particular text as it relates to the Christian Tradition. The text will be either a particular biblical text(s) (e.g. The Gospel of Mark, The Sermon on the Mount, or the Genesis matriarchal narratives) and/or a classic text from the Christian spiritual tradition (e.g. The Rule of St Benedict, The Interior Castle, The Cloud of Unknowing), with a different text chosen for each iteration of the module. The module will allow students to critically engage with the text using particular lenses with enable deeper consideration of its meaning, significance, impact and longevity for the Christian spiritual tradition, its adherents, and/or the wider cultural context.

Co-validated Modules

Relocating Religion: Cultural and Spiritual Re-Alignments

This module is primarily concerned with equivocations and uncertainties that surround the concepts and practices of religion in the modern period, including contemporary and popularly expressed preferences for ‘spirituality’. As regards ‘religion’, this module will draw upon previous historiographical and philosophical discussions but will focus mainly on how religion can be conceived and understood within the fields of theological and cultural anthropology. As regards the ‘relocations’ of religion drawn attention to in the title, the module will examine the different modalities in which religious practices have migrated or relocated – wittingly or unwittingly, willingly or unwillingly – in contemporary western society.

Inspiration and Imaginations: Creative Expressions of the Spiritual Life

This module will enable students to understand the relationship between Christian Theology & Spirituality and art. This relationship will be placed in historical, cultural, and theological perspective, and the students will be encouraged to develop their own aesthetic and spiritual awareness alongside the possibilities for developing their own creative practice. This module will also enable students to critically engage with the place of art in Christian worship and the life of the Church.

Mass Culture: Theological Engagement and Spiritual Practice

The module considers the phenomena of mass consumer technological culture and new media as the backdrop to contemporary reflections on and engagements with spirituality and theology. Students will explore and analyse current habits of work, leisure, and communication, and lifestyle in distinction to traditional conceptions and explore the scale of the impact of current technologies and emerging norms on religious belief and practice. The module will examine the potential for leisure and lifestyle activities to mimic and replace religious modes of knowledge and identity production, examining the writings of sociologists, social anthropologists, social critics and theologians that address and/or interpret this phenomenon. The module will trace the emergence of the phenomena of popular culture, mass communication, and digital media—exploring how they have been conceptualised and critiqued—and students will be encouraged to develop critical responses to these technologies from the perspectives of theology and Christian spirituality. 

The Eucharist: Theological Perspectives, Spiritual Practices and Artistic Representations

This module will enable students to understand the relationship between Christian Spirituality and art. This relationship will be placed in historical, cultural and theological perspectives, and the students will be encouraged to develop their own aesthetic and spiritual awareness. The module will also enable students to appreciate the place of art in Christian worship and the life of the Church.

Research Skills in Theology & Spirituality

This module is designed to help students learn to differentiate and reflect on particular methodologies and skills relevant to disciplines present in their studies, to determine which methods and skills (including both text and empirical research) are useful for particular research purposes, to identify ethical issues related to research conduct, and to develop those skills by demonstrating how they might be applied in future research.