Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


CODE MRT1001

 
TITLE Christianity and Culture

 
LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 4

 
DEPARTMENT Moral Theology

 
DESCRIPTION This study-unit will offer an analysis of the mutual influence of Christianity and culture from two perspectives: historically and theologically. From a historical perspective, we will reflect on four periods: (1) the early Christian appropriation of Greek paideia, (2) to Christendom as culture, (3) to the rise of modern secularity and the separation of Church and state (4) to the post-modern worldview emerging today. For each period of "mutual self-mediation" (Bernard Lonergan), we will reflect on representative theological opinions that capture the contentious character of understanding "rightly" the relationship between Christianity and culture.

H. Richard Niebuhr's classic five-fold theological schema--Christ against culture; Christ of culture; Christ above culture; Christ and culture in paradox; Christ transforming culture--will be used to interpret the fundamental moral tension of Christian "discipleship-as-witnessing", often summarized in the dictum, "being in the world but not of the world."

Study-unit Aims:

- To disinguish between the Christian life in its transcendental character and how it is lived in time (historicity) and culture.
- To appreciate the wide theological implcations of taking different stances on the relationship between Christianity and culture.
- To apply the understaning gained from careful scrutiny of the past to actual issues of inculturation being faced by the church today.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- apply principles of historicity and cultural mediation to different branches of theological discourse.
- critically assess the relationship between theological commitments and differing conceptions of the relationship between Christianity and culture.
- reflect on the importance of critical engagement with culture for moral and spiritual formation.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- gain interpretative skills through reading primary texts.
- understand the role of hermeneutics and critical reflection for living with integrity (Paul Ricoeur's phenomenological hermeneutics as ethics will be implied and referred to) .
- practice critical reflection skills (Bernard Lonergan's transcendental method will be implied and referred to).

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Niebuhr, H. Richard. Christ and Culture. New York: HarperOne, 2001.

Gallagher, Michael Paul. Clashing Symbols: An Introduction to Faith and Culture. Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2003. [BQT 3483.G27 1998]

Tanner, Kathryn. Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997.

[Primary resources will be accessed and made available through the CCEL and Vatican websites. Additional essays and articles will be made available to students.]

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

 
LECTURER/S Nadia Delicata

 
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.

https://www.um.edu.mt/course/studyunit