A Level Religious Studies

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: Miss A Moloney BA (Hons) (Surrey), PGCE (Surrey)
Email: amoloney@stedmundscollege.org

COURSE BREAKDOWN

Please find below a breakdown of the course. Further information can be found in the full specification, which is available on the EDEXCEL A Level Philosophy and Ethics webpage. Assessment for all three components are completed at the end of Rhetoric II.

Theology offers the opportunity to focus on the Christian faith in detail, through the study of Bible, the history of Christianity, its key thinkers and its influence on philosophical and ethical debates and the actions of its believers.  It offers the opportunity to think laterally and address the ‘big questions’ such as who am I? Why do I exist? If there is a God, why does He allow suffering and so forth?

 

COMPONENT 1 – Philosophy of Religion

This unit includes the following topics:

  • The Nature and influence of religious experience
  • The Problem of evil and suffering and solutions
  • Religious Language
  • Key Scholars
  • Influences and developments over the years

 

COMPONENT 2 – Religion and Ethics

This unit includes the following topics:

  • Utilitarianism
  • Situation Ethics
  • Natural Moral Law
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Gender and Equality
  • War and Peace
  • Sexual Ethics

 

COMPONENT 3 – Context of the New Testament

This unit includes the following topics:

  • Texts and interpretation of the New Testament
  • Interpreting the text, purpose and authorship of the 4th Gospel :St. John’s

Students are assessed on their knowledge and understanding and their ability to analyse and evaluate.  They should include religious language and be able to reference strengths and weaknesses to draw a conclusion and make critical judgments.

In each of these components, students will be assessed on the following objectives:

  • AO1: Knowledge and Understanding: ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religion and belief, including philosophical and ethical thought and teaching; influence of beliefs, teachings and practices of individuals, communities and societies; cause and significance of similarities and differences in belief, teaching and practice; approaches to the study of religion and belief.
  • AO2: Analysis, Evaluation and Application: ability to analyse and evaluate aspects of philosophical and ethical approaches to religion and belief, including their significance, influence and study. To apply personal understanding and to be able to address the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments, and reach an informed conclusion based on the views of specific scholars, philosophers and theologians.

 

AREAS OF STUDY

Area of study 1:  Philosophy

  • Religious Language – uses and purpose
  • The Verification and Falsification Principles
  • The Uses of Symbol, Analogy and Myth to express human understanding of God
  • Religious Experience
  • The concept of Revelation
  • The Attributes and Nature of God
  • Life after Death – The Soul: Death, Resurrection and Reincarnation
  • The views of various philosophers and theologians including St. Thomas Aquinas, Plato, Aristotle, J Hume, A J Ayer, A Flew, L Wittgenstein, P Tillich.

Area of study 2:  Ethics

  • Meta-Ethics – the use of ethical language and the ways in which different scholars understand how words like good, bad, right and wrong are used when ethical statements are made.
  • Virtue Ethics – The concepts of the Eudaimonia and the Golden Mean
  • Applied Ethics and Ethical Theories:
  • Natural Law, Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism, Religious Ethics,
  • Environmental Ethics – The Gaia Hypothesis, Resources and Species
  • Gender and Equality – rights
  • Sexual Ethics – premarital, extramarital sex, contraception, homosexuality
  • The Sanctity of life: Beginning and Ending of Life: Abortion and Euthanasia
  • The views of various philosophers and theologians including St. Thomas Aquinas. P Singer, P Vardy, J Fletcher, J S Mill, J Bentham.

Area of study 3:  New Testament Studies

  • Texts and interpretations of the New Testament, the Life of Jesus and His mission.
  • Interpreting the text and its purpose
  • The Authorship of St. John’s Gospel
  • How the 4th Gospel differs from the other three and is not considered to be Synoptic.

 

DEPARTMENT INFORMATION

Department Aims and Objectives

  1. To foster an inherent enjoyment and love of Theology; through ideas, texts, beliefs and actions.
  2. To be accessible to every individual by focusing on an aspect of human experience that has been fundamental to humanity’s understanding of itself, in all its variety.
  3. Through the fascination of big ideas, to look at the way people’s beliefs influence the way they live.
  4. To fully understand the nature and concept of Conscience, whether it is formed through nature or nurture.
  5. To fully understand why people make ethical choices and whether they are determined by upbringing, religious beliefs, the law of the land.
  6. To question whether we actually have ‘Free-Will’.
  7. To fully understand the nature of God – all loving, all powerful, all knowing.
  8. To make sense of Suffering and Evil
  9. To make sense of beliefs in Life after Death.
  10. To support the liturgical and spiritual life of the school.
  11. To encourage Theology staff and students to have respect for and interest in other opinions.
  12. To promote well-being and self-esteem in students, as well as encourage positive behaviour for learning and leadership.
  13. To give students the opportunity of having a skill for life.
  14. To develop skills in independent learning and foster curiosity, creativity and an appreciation of the world around them including religious and secular beliefs.
  15. To develop Religious Literacy and Critical Thinking skills with the potential to foster respect and tolerance based on knowledge rather than supposition.
  16. To intellectually challenge any religious and secular assumptions.

Resources and Rooming for A level Theology

 The Religious Education Department has 4 fully equipped classrooms each consisting of smart interactive boards. We are privileged to own an extensive range of Theological textbooks, some belonging to scholars who were here at St. Edmund’s as seminarians.  These can be found in the archive section of Room 46.  Various Religious Supplements can be found in the College Library.

 

A LEVEL THEOLOGY STUDENTS: TIPS FOR SUCCESS.

  • Learning methods include investigative research work, audio-video and computer based work, paired and group work, discussion sessions alongside teacher led sessions.
  • Students will receive regular set essays throughout the course. Some of these will be set for Preps. Others will be set under timed conditions.
  • Students should aim to come fully prepared to lessons, and complete tasks on time.
  • Students will be expected to read extensively and keep abreast of relevant topical issues. This will enhance their ability to develop arguments, as they will be expected to participate in oral work and often present to the class.
  • Students will be given a textbook and essay marking criteria and should refer to these on a regular basis.
  • Students will be provided with a folder, dividers, an essay log sheet and a self-assessment sheet that they should keep up to date, to help monitor their progress so they know where they are at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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