Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

CHTH324 Theology and the Environment (Advanced)

Engaging with biblical, historical and contemporary theologies of nature, this paper explores the resources available within the Christian tradition for shaping a contemporary ecological ethic.

In an era of climate change, sea-level rise, species extinction, and the widespread destruction of natural habitats, environmental ethics is an urgent global concern. This paper explores the contribution of the Christian tradition to the understanding of our environment and to responsible human habitation of the world.

Paper title Theology and the Environment (Advanced)
Paper code CHTH324
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2020
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

^ Top of page

18 points at 200-level
CHTH 224
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology

Students undertaking this course must have completed at least 18 points at 200 level in any subject.


Professor Murray Rae

Teaching staff

The course will be taught by Dr Andrew Shepherd, Lecturer in Theology and Public Issues. Dr Shepherd is a former co-Director of the New Zealand branch of A Rocha, an International Christian Environmental Agency.

Paper Structure

Module 1 – Theology in an Ecological Age

  • Definitions & Challenges
  • How do we see the world?
  • God & the World (Trinity, Christology & Pneumatology)
  • Anthropology & Human Vocation
  • Eschatology & Ecological Hope

Module 2 – Christian Ecological Ethics

  • An overview of Ecological Ethics
  • Ecological Virtues
  • Ecological Practices – The importance of place
  • Ecological Practices – The art of contemplation
  • Patterns of Consumption – Limits & Attachment

Module 3 – Applied Ethics

  • Food Production & Dietary Choices
  • The Politics of Water
  • International Travel & Carbon Offsetting
  • Species Extinction & Conservation
  • Digital Technology: Ecological Benefits and Costs
Teaching Arrangements

The paper will be taught on campus in Dunedin but will also be available through Zoom Videoconferencing, thus enabling Distance students to participate fully in the paper.


There will be a course reader for this paper that includes a Study Guide and compulsory readings.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key elements of ecological theologies.
  • Outline and critically evaluate a range of ethical approaches to human relationships within nature.
  • Describe the significance of virtues and practices within the development of a contemporary Christian ecological ethic.
  • Offer critical theological/ethical reflection upon the ecological impact of human patterns of consumption.
  • Offer a critical evaluation of the ecological merit of one ecological theologian/ethicist.
  • Apply the theoretical issues discussed in this paper to a particular environmental concern in contemporary New Zealand society.

^ Top of page


Not offered in 2020

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