BA Philosophy and Religion

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Making Sense of Christ

Course unit fact file
Unit code RELT31142
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 6
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course is concerned with Christology, the subdiscipline of Christian theology devoted to understanding Jesus of Nazareth. Christians claim that in Jesus God has acted in a unique and decisive way to bring about the salvation of humankind. This course examines the reasons for this claim before considering how modern theologians have rethought the meaning of Jesus to meet the challenges of modern thought. After discussing the nature of Christology, the Christological titles of the New Testament, and the formation of classical Christology in the early Church, the course focuses on the innovative ways thinkers from the 18th to 21st centuries have rethought Jesus’ significance. Particular attention will be paid, on the one hand, to the efforts theologians have made to retrieve classical Christology in a modernized form and, on the other hand, to replace classical Christology with ethical, philosophical, political, and postmodern reinterpretations of Jesus of Nazareth.


Available on which programme(s)?

BA Religions, Theology and Ethics

BA Philosophy and Religion

BA Theological Studies in Philosophy and Ethics

BA Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology


  • To engage with the Christological debates of the late eighteenth to early twenty-first centuries
  • To foster a critical understanding of Christology
  • To engage with primary and secondary sources in modern Christology.

Teaching and learning methods

1 x 2 hour lecture + 1 x 1 hour seminar each week

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of the course students should normally have acquired: 

  • an understanding of the thought of leading modern writers on Christology 
  • an awareness of the controversies that underlie and give rise to Christological debate
  • an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of leading theories concerning the person and work of Christ.

Intellectual skills

By the end of the course students should normally have consolidated their ability to: 

  • engage with primary theological texts
  • identify the principles that gave rise to Christian theories concerning the meaning of Jesus of Nazareth 
  • evaluate critically the rival theories concerning Christ’s significance.

Practical skills

  • Independent research skills 
  • Essay writing skills 
  • Seminar presentation skills

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Critical analysis 
  • The interpretation of primary and secondary texts 
  • An ability to engage empathetically with different beliefs

Assessment methods

Assessment Task

Formative or Summative 



Essay PlanFormative 500 words0%
Essay Summative 2000 words50%
Examination Summative 2 hr exam50%

Feedback methods


Essay plan tutorials Formative 
Written and oral feedback via tutorials on assessed essayFormative and Summative 
Examination- written feedback Formative and Summative 


Recommended reading

  • David R. Law, ‘Incarnation’, in Nicholas Adams, George Pattison and Graham Ward (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Theology and Modern European Thought (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • John Macquarrie, Jesus Christ in Modern Thought (London: SCM, 1990).
  • Francesca Murphy, The Oxford Handbook of Christology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).
  • Gerald O'Collins, Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Don Schweitzer, Contemporary Christologies: A Fortress Introduction (Minneapolis, MN : Fortress Press, 2010).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Eve Parker Unit coordinator

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