Theology, Religion & Philosophy of Religion

  • Intake: 2
  • Typical Offer: A*AA 
  • Essential Subjects: none 
  • Desirable Subjects: Theology/Religious Studies 
  • Faculty website: www.divinity.cam.ac.uk

Students at Queens' reading Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion will find themselves members of a relatively small and friendly Faculty, containing students from many different backgrounds; most of them reading the subject out of interest as a general Arts subject, and some for vocational reasons.  (You do not have to be ‘religious’ to study for this degree: students on this course belong to various religious traditions or to none.) Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion is an inherently interdisciplinary programme which gives students the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in fields as diverse as philosophy and ethics, languages and scripture, social science, history, and literature.

Tripos

In the first year, Part I, you take five papers designed to give you a broad introduction to the basic concepts, knowledge and skills required in the main areas of study. There are two compulsory subjects:

  • One scriptural language - (Bibical Hebrew; New Testament Greek; Qur'anic Arabic or Sanskrit); and
  • A bibical paper either the Old Testament paper or the New Testament paper

Students then choose three further papers from the six remaining non-language papers, namely

  • the other biblical paper
  • Christianity and the Transformation of Culture – studying how Christianity affected and was affected by its cultural context in one or more periods of history
  • The Question of God – grappling with the implications of what Christians mean when they ‘talk about God’ (which is the meaning of ‘theology’)
  • Understanding Contemporary Religion – learning to use the methods of the social sciences to investigate the place of religion in the modern world
  • World Religions in Comparative Perspective - looking at the history, beliefs and practices of two or more major religions of the world and considering the problems in comparing them
  • Philosophy of Religion and Ethics - debating questions such as the the existence of God, metaphysics, and the nature of moral claims and values

Part IIA in the second year builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in Part I. You choose a total of four out of a wide range of papers, enabling you to develop a course suited to your own interests.

You may continue to study any of the four scriptural languages at a higher level, but you can drop the study of languages at this stage. The other papers available represent the diverse subject areas studied in the Faculty, such as:

  • Biblical Studies                            
  • Philosophy of Religion           
  • Judaism
  • History of Christianity
  • Christian Theology
  • Islam
  • Science and Religion
  • Hinduism and Buddhism

Part IIB in your final year allows you to choose four from a wide range of papers, which includes advanced papers in the Faculty’s main subject areas as well as special subjects and interdisciplinary papers. The papers offered, which are often closely related to the research specialisms of the Faculty’s teaching staff, can vary over time. Papers offered in recent years include:

  • Judaism and Hellenism
  • Topics in Christian Ethics
  • Imagination
  • New Testament Christology
  • Self and Salvation in Indian and Western Thought
  • Jews, Christians and Muslims before and after Muhammad
  • Theology and the Natural Sciences
  • Judaism and Western Philosophy

In Part II B it is also possible to offer a dissertation of 10,000 words instead of one paper. This is an excellent opportunity for students to develop research skills and to pursue their personal intellectual interests.

Admissions interview process at Queens’

  • You will be requested to provide two marked essays following your application.
  • You will be required to take an at interview written assessment. More information can be found here.
  • Candidates attend one interview at Queens’ College and a secondary interview at another College.

Professor Richard Rex (Polkinghorne Fellow in Theology) Director of Studies