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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, attention is given to the way violence is understood within the Biblical narrative and broader Christian history. The paper explores the ethical traditions of 'just war' and non-violence/pacifism and focuses on how theological responses to the issue of violence are outworked in practices of martyrdom, holy war and non-cooperative resistance.

    About this paper

    Paper title Christianity, War and Violence
    Subject Christian Thought and History
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    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:

    1. Humanity, Violence, and the Bible
    2. Violence in the Christian tradition
    3. The Contemporary Context: Christian Protest & Peacemaking

    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).

    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


    Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025

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