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CHTH320 Public Theology and Social Justice

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.

Paper title Public Theology and Social Justice
Paper code CHTH320
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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One 200-level CHTH or CHTX paper
CHTH 420
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

Dr Andrew Shepherd

Paper Structure
  • Two essays (2,000 words) - 30% each
  • One essay (3,000 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, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper at 300-level will be able to

  • Offer a theological account of the concept of 'social justice'
  • Demonstrate an 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

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Not offered in 2023

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