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    The challenges posed by social reconciliation in different countries in recent times, and their relevance to Christian Ethics and Public Theology.

    This paper seeks to develop a fuller understanding of theoretical and practical approaches to reconciliation in the aftermath of division and violence. It explores the ethical challenges in transforming personal, social and structural relationships that have been damaged by conflict in different contexts. It highlights both the pitfalls and the positive potential that Christian theology might offer towards the search for a better future.

    About this paper

    Paper title Reconciliation, Christian Ethics and Public Theology
    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.
    One 200-level CHTH or CHTX paper
    CHTH 415
    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.
    Professor David Tombs:
    Teaching staff
    Professor David Tombs
    Paper Structure

    The paper is structured in four modules:

    • Introduction to Reconciliation, Ethics and Public Theology
    • The South African Context
    • The Northern Ireland Context
    • The Aotearoa/New Zealand Context
    • Forgiveness

    Assessment comprises two 1,500-word essays and one 2,000-word essay.

    Teaching Arrangements

    This Distance Learning offering of this paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

    Campus: One two-hour lecture each week.
    Distance: One-hour introductory videoconference, a teaching day, and four two-hour videoconferences on Zoom during the semester. Recordings will be available on Blackboard for students who cannot attend the teaching day live.


    Bloomfield, David, et al. (eds), Reconciliation After Violent Conflict: A Handbook (Stockholm: IDEA, 2003).
    This is available to download free of charge as a PDF from the publishers:

    Tutu, Desmond, No Future Without Forgiveness (Doubleday: 1999).

    Course outline

    View the latest course outline here

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Ethics.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:

    • Clarify a sound understanding of the challenges posed by reconciliation as a personal and political process and its relevance to Christian ethics and public theology
    • Analyse the ethical and theological complexity of truth, justice, forgiveness, remorse and apology in the social transformation of division and conflict
    • Critically evaluate the resources that Christian ethics and public theology can draw upon to contribute constructively towards personal and political reconciliation
    • Present persuasive written work with analytic arguments based on evidence, reading and reason


    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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