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    An examination of public theology’s contribution to social justice, through case studies of contemporary public issues, such as poverty, family violence, human trafficking, and environmental stewardship.

    What is 'social justice' and how is this term understood within the Christian theological tradition? How does Christian theology understand and respond to the concerns of the 'Other'? This paper employs the metaphor of hospitality to offer a critical and constructive theological ethic which responds to local, national and global justice issues. Topics addressed include: antisemitism and Islamophobia; racism and civil rights; global refugees and asylum-seekers; human-trafficking and slavery; the criminal justice system.

    About this paper

    Paper title Public Theology and Social Justice (Advanced)
    Subject Christian Thought and History
    EFTS 0.1667
    Points 20 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (Distance learning)
    Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,240.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    CHTH 320
    Limited to
    BA(Hons), PGDipArts, PGCertChap, PGDipChap, MChap,, PGDipFBLM, MFBLM, BTheol(Hons), PGDipTheol, MTheol, PGDipMin, MMin
    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

    Dr Andrew Shepherd

    Paper Structure

    The paper is comprised of three modules:

    1. Encountering the Other: Social Justice & Theologies of Hospitality
    2. Historical Threads
    3. Contemporary Themes


    • Two essays (2,500 words) - 30% each
    • One essay (4,000 words) - 40%
    Teaching Arrangements

    Thirteen 2-hour videoconferences throughout the semester.


    No textbook required.

    Course outline

    View the latest course outline here

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

    Students who successfully complete the paper at 400-level will be able to

    • Offer a theological account of the concept of 'social justice'
    • Demonstrate a critical understanding of a selection of justice issues within contemporary society
    • Describe how a theological ethic of hospitality frames contemporary justice issues
    • Describe how a theological ethic of hospitality may shape the actions of the Church in response to a contemporary justice issue
    • Outline how the principles of a theological ethic of hospitality may be applied to public policy in response to a contemporary justice issue
    • Offer a critical evaluation of a theological ethic of hospitality and outline other ethical models that might be employed to address contemporary justice issues


    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 Monday 13:00-14:50 9-13, 15-22
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