University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE The Act of Faith: Credibility and Experience

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Fundamental and Dogmatic Theology, including Ecumenism

DESCRIPTION Theology is built upon (intelligent) faith. This course wrestles with the important, yet sometimes neglected topic of faith, a fundamental Christian virtue and certainly the human response to Revelation. The course adopts a threefold approach: historical (faith in the Old/New Testaments and in the Church throughout the centuries), theological (esp. Dei Filius/Dei Verbum), and experiential (faith as mystery and as a way of life). Having studied the theology of faith, the course will then explore the act and problems of faith. Theological perspectives of Newman, Rousselot, Balthasar, Rahner, Ratzinger, and Sequeri amongst others will be taken in consideration. This course engages the believer to give the reason for the hope that s/he has (1 Pt 3, 15).

Study-unit Aims:

1. To arrive at a reflective and systematic synthesis of the nature, object, and attributes of faith;
2. To seek to understand faith in the light of reason and of the Church as a community of faith;
3. To scrutinize the believer’s openness, capacity and assent (‘yes’) to God in the light of the four classic ingredients: gift (to receive), intellect (to recognise), will (to respond [to Revelation]), and caritas (to remain).

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- acquire a deeper understanding of the complementarity of Revelation and Faith;
- learn and think about the rich theology of faith along the centuries;
- appreciate recent theological contributions in the field of Faith.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- grasp and participate in contemporary discussions on the historical, theological and experiential dimensions of faith
- engage in critical reflections on the nature of faith in today's world.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- ALFARO Juan, “The Dual Aspect of Faith: Entrusting Oneself to God and Acceptance of the Christian Message”, in Concilium 21 (1967) 53-66.
- AUBERT Roger, Le problème de l’acte de foi, E. Warny, Louvain 1950.
- DULLES Avery, The Assurance of Things hoped for, Oxford University Press, New York – Oxford 1994.
- LANGEVIN Gilles, “Faith”, in Dictionary of Fundamental Theology, edited by R. Latourelle – R. Fisichella, St. Pauls, Slough 1994, 309-315.
- RAHNER Karl – ALFARO Juan, “Faith”, in Sacramentum Mundi, vol. 2, Burns & Oates, London 1968, 310-326.

Classics on Faith:

- AQUINAS Thomas, Summa Theologica 2-2ae, qq. 1-7;
- NEWMAN John Henry, Grammar of Assent (1955);
- ROUSSELOT Pierre, The Eyes of Faith (1990);
- TILLICH Paul, Dynamics of Faith, (1957).

An extensive bibliography will be provided during the lectures.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Qualifications: Basic knowledge of Theology

Pre-requisite Study-unit: FDT1010 (or equivalent)


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 30%
Examination (1 Hour) Yes 70%


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 study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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