EL 276 Major Essay

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Research Paper of 5,000 words

Module Aims


· To present students with the opportunity to research an area in theology under the guidance of a Faculty member and present their research in an essay of 3-5,000 words.

  • Essay titles:

Film as a Forum for Evangelization [Professor Conway]

Young People and the Transmission of Faith [Professor Conway]

The Sensus Fidei/Fidelium in the life of the Church (Dr Padraig Corkery)

“Faith is the human response to revelation.” Explore the relationship between faith and revelation. [Dr Noel O’Sullivan]

The spirituality of the Psalms. (Dr Jeremy Corley)\

“Faith within Reason; Faith beyond reason.” An reflection on the relationship between faith and reason, or between philosophy and theology with reference to John Paull II’s Fides et Ratio [Dr Andrew Meszaros]

Canon Law in the life of the Irish Church since 1980 [Professor Michael Mullaney]

“Just as much as people in times past, we too are in need of God and the courage and strength that God’s word can give. How can we encounter God in this world of ours today? Can the Psalms teach us pathways to prayer?” (Carmel McCarthy, The Psalms: Human Voices of Prayer and Suffering [Dublin: Dominican Publications, 2012] p. 7). Focusing on one or two psalms, explore the poetic imagery by which the psalmist expresses spiritual longing, and suggest ways the ancient text can help people on their spiritual journey today. [Dr Jeremy Corley]

The Materiality of Religious and Devotional Practice [Prof Salvador Ryan]

(eligible for the Gilmartin Prize)

This is an opportunity for a student to write a major essay on the material aspects of religious or devotional practice, and how these are influenced and shaped by our culture. There is a broad range of possible subjects that a student could choose from: the phenomenon of pilgrimages, the use of images for devotional purposes, the history of relic use, the wearing of religious objects, the role of the senses in religious practice, etc.

The Major Essay is also linked to the work of Prof. David Morgan who will deliver the Corish Lecture at Maynooth on 11 March 2020. Students should familiarise themselves with Morgan’s work in advance of completing the essay, and also engage with the journal that he edits, Material Religion (which should also provide some useful ideas).

Essays must be 5,000 words in length. This major essay qualifies for entry to the Gilmartin Prize which is worth 400 euros and will be awarded for the best completed assignment (although this can be withheld if no assignment is of sufficient quality).

For further information, contact Prof. Salvador Ryan, Ecclesiastical History.

Email: Salvador.ryan@spcm.ie

Elements and Forms of Assessment:

Essay: 100%