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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

THEO3220 Sin

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Alistair McFadyen

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

20 credits of modules that include the study of theology, theological ethics or biblical studies at L2 or above prior to enrolment on the module.

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Students should only register for this module if they really think they can cope with what their housemates will say when they ask where you're going, what you're doing or what you have on today, and the answer is 'sin'. What is sin? Is it only concerned with sex? And is even that concern trivial? Does calling something 'sin' add anything to the ways in which the pathology might be described in secular terms? What is the proper use of the language of sin, and how might and has it been misused? Why do Christian and post-Christian feminists have such a problem with the doctrine of sin? Is the doctrine of original sin offensive to moral reason or undermined by modern science? Does it say anything meaningful that helps us understand pathology in human affairs in any case? Students on this module will seek answers to these questions (and those of their housemates) by engaging with a range of theologies of sin, from Augustine to contemporary feminist reconstructions and critique. This is an advanced module and students should take an appropriate prerequisite Level 2 module in TRS beforehand.


On completion of this module, students will have gained an appreciation of the historical diversity of Christian views of sin, and of their significance in practical as well as theoretical terms. They will be able to analyse primary theological texts, construct conversations between divergent views and make judgments with sensitivity and subtlety. They will have developed their own criteria for making theological judgments in this field, relating the various positions taken on the doctrine of sin to other doctrines and theological themes (such as grace, salvation, humanity, creation, christology, church), to biblical material, secular intellectual disciplines, and questions of practice.


The syllabus will include consideration of such topics and questions as: sin as act and fact; freedom and sin; sin as a specifically theological language; sin in the Bible; original sin; Augustine; Pelagius; Liberation Theologies; Feminist Theologies; individual and social sin; basic models of sin; the explanatory power of sin in relation to concrete situations; is sin a useable language?

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group Project51.005.00
Private study hours179.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

20 hours reading for lectures
15 hours reading and preparation for group meetings
8 hours preparing for seminars
80 hours essay preparation

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are required to work in groups and to present the results of such work mid-semester. All students are required to discuss detailed plans or drafts of assessed essays with the tutor, showing evidence at that time of some reading and understanding of their topic in the context of the module as a whole. Lectures will also afford explicit opportunities for raising questions and checking progress. Contributions to seminars will also provide some means for checking understanding.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PresentationGroupwork (leading to presentation)20.00
Essay3,000 words80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 14:25:35


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