Primary Text Seminar I (Intro)

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Module Level


Module Aims

Though a core module for the BTh programme, this module is open to all undergraduate students at SPPU as an elective.

The aim of the module is to (1) deepen learners’ understanding of theology by engaging directly with primary theological texts, (2) develop learners' critical reading, analysis, and interpretation skills, and (3) foster a sensitivity for the varying historical-cultural contexts in which Christians express their convictions and priorities. It achieves these through engagement with a selection of texts that are slightly more accessible, and thereby suitable for first-year learners.

As a part of the BTh programme, this module is preparatory for subsequent Primary Text Seminars (II) in the second and third years of study. This module aims to develop in students the preliminary skills of reading texts closely through the exposure to, and engagement with, texts from an entirely different historical era.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the major points, arguments, and priorities of the authors and texts studied.
  • Describe the influence the historical or cultural context might have on a piece of writing.
  • Evaluate the relevance and significance of primary theological texts in shaping contemporary religious thought and practice.
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, the insights gained from the study of primary theological texts, including particular arguments or themes garnered from the texts.
  • Engage in respectful and constructive discussions with peers, demonstrating an understanding of diverse theological perspectives found in primary texts.
  • Reflect on personal beliefs and values in light of the ideas and perspectives encountered in primary theological texts.


  • Matthew 6 and Tertullian and Origen’s Commentary on the ‘Our Father’
  • Augustine, Confessions, Bk X.
  • Anselm, Prosologion
  • Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, a. 1.
  • Dante, Purgatorio (excerpts)
  • Pascal, Pensées (excerpts)
  • Newman, Idea of a University, II-III.
  • Pieper, Leisure the Basis of Culture