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CHTH331 Christianity, War and Violence (Advanced)

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.

Paper title Christianity, War and Violence (Advanced)
Paper code CHTH331
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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18 200-level points
CHTH 231, 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 will
  • Critically evaluate the theological framework within which Christian ethics has its place
  • Outline and critically engage with 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

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Not offered in 2023

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