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CHTH231 Christianity, War and Violence

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A systematic examination of the meaning of morality and the foundations of ethics in Scripture; an analysis of Christian conceptions of morality from various perspectives; an examination and analysis of particular ethical issues surrounding Christian involvement in and responses to war and violence.

In this paper, particular attention is given to the pacifist and 'just war' traditions, to theological responses to state tyranny, and to acts of terrorism in the modern world. The paper concludes with an extended study of the Christian imperative to forgive one's enemies and a consideration of its applicability in national and international conflict, including historical conflicts in New Zealand between M´?¢ori and the Crown.

Paper title Christianity, War and Violence
Paper code CHTH231
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2021 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,073.40

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36 100-level points
CHTH 331, CHTX 231, CHTX 331
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.

Dr Andrew Shepherd –

Teaching staff

Lecturer: Dr Andrew Shepherd

Paper Structure
The paper is comprised of three modules:
  • Ethics and the Bible
  • Ethics in a Violent World
  • Violence and the Christian Tradition
Assessment comprises three essays:
  • Essay 1 (25%)
  • Essay 2 (35%)
  • Essay 3 (40%)
There is no examination.
Teaching Arrangements

13 two-hour videoconferences throughout the semester


Recommended textbook: Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics (New York: Harper and Row, 1996).

Course outline
View the course outline for CHTH 231
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to
  • Understand the theological framework within which Christian ethics has its place
  • Recognise and understand the distinctive features of a Christian approach to ethics
  • Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of this approach as it pertains to contemporary challenges in the global community

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Not offered in 2021

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system