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    A critical study of the nature of Christian theology as public discourse: aims and methods, challenges and possibilities.

    What does it mean to talk of doing theology 'in public'? How can theology contribute to current issues?

    About this paper

    Paper title Public Theology: Faith in the Public Square
    Subject Christian Thought and History
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (Distance learning)
    Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    36 100-level points
    CHTH 333, CHTH 413, CHTX 333, CHTX 413
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Theology
    May not be credited together with CHTX 313 or CHTX 411 passed in 2009.
    Students are welcome to study papers in Theology regardless of whether they have a particular faith commitment or not. Papers in Theology examine the scriptures, history, content, and relevance of the Christian faith, but presuppose no Christian commitment from students. All that is required is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.

    Professor David Tombs -

    Teaching staff
    Lecturer: Professor David Tombs
    Paper Structure


    • What is Public Theology?
    • Public Theology and Scripture
    • Public Theology and the Church
    • Principles of Theological Engagement in the Public Square
    • Making Theology Engage: Globalisation and the Global Economic Crisis
    • Going Global, Going 'Glocal'
    • Theology and #MeToo


    • Two essays (2,000 words) 30% each
    • Essay (2,500 words) 40%
    Teaching Arrangements

    Campus: One 2-hour lecture each week.

    Distance: One 1-hour introductory lecture, and four 2-hour videoconferences throughout the semester.


    Textbooks are not required for this paper. Readings will be provided electronically.

    Course outline

    View the course outline for CHTH 233

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to

    • Describe what scholars mean by 'public theology' and show how it draws upon the central tenets of the Christian faith
    • Construct an argument to show that theology has an inherently 'public' dimension
    • Develop skills in showing the relevance of Scripture and Christian tradition to matters of contemporary public concern
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the relation between the church and public theology


    Semester 1

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

    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Thursday 14:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22
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