ENGLISH FOR THEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS PURPOSES


Summary: Students of Theology & RS need specific equipping to help meet the demands that studying these subjects in English can bring. The main purpose of English for Theological and Religious purposes is to advance a good command of English in T & R among international students. Students will normally be intent on a diploma course, a University degree, a Masters or DPhil in Theology or Religious Studies at an English speaking University, although the course may be taken by other student such as pastors or ministers on sabbatical.

All Nations Tutorial College is a Christian College and is focused on training people for Christian ministry. However, we also believe in dialogue with other religions through the medium of English. We believe that the best root from which to learn English is the Christian faith, but are sensitive and flexible to the needs of those from other religions who need to learn English, and are committed to the teaching of English to them and to dialogue.

Course design: The course is designed to enable students to begin to discuss Theology and RS intelligently and confidently in English. This is enabled by the process of translating the relevance of Theology and religion to today’s world using today’s English.

A series of three challenges will be set to varying levels of difficulty. The level of difficulty is flexible and can very much depend on the demands of the student. The starting point of the challenge will be the student’s starting point.

The first challenge to the study of Theology and Religion is to be able to clearly conceive of the existence of God and to use the English language to express this. There are four arguments which support the existence of God and these will be followed in turn.

  • Cosmological argument
  • Teleological argument
  • Moral argument
  • Argument from religious experience

The second challenge is to be able to conceive of God’s activity in the world, and to speak of this in a way that is generally meaningful, rather than confined to specific religious communities.

  • The miraculous activity of God
  • The language of God

The third challenge is to be able to conceive of God at work in society through religion, and again to be able to present this in clear English.

  • The influence of religion versus the challenge of secularization
  • Religious Ethics in society


Material: All materials will be brought within the context of an English language lesson and regularly supplemented with EFL material.

The primary text will be a modern translation of the Bible, since this has been by far the strongest influence on the English language. If preferred more particular reference to the Jewish Scriptures, the Koran or the Buddhist Scriptures can also be made, but more general philosophical and sociological approaches to religion will be covered. An introduction to Theology will be made via a selection of some key essays and texts that have made their mark in history. Examples include the writings of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, the reformer John Calvin, and the 20th century theologian Karl Barth.

A variety of texts on the place of Religion in society today will also be covered. This will centre on the influence of Religious ethics on topics such as marriage, abortion, and genetics.

Method: Students will first be asked to complete a questionnaire to discover their specific study needs both in English and T & R.

Once the course is underway a variety of methods will be used to prepare students.

These will include listening, discussions, constructing essay plans and reading via textual analysis (the breaking down of a text into its constituent parts to aid understanding). There will also be focused listening exercises, reading comprehension, interviews and footage from the internet, other writing exercises and interactive dialogue.

Dates times & cost: The course will normally be taken over a two-month period usually in July and August, although it may be possible to run the course at other times by prior arrangement. The course will take place at premises hired by All Nations Tutorial College in Oxford. The length of the course will be seven and a half hours per week + study time over a period of 2 months. This will be 60 hours in total. The total cost will be £3000 for an individual. There is considerable reduction for a group course (see dates and fees).


Visas: If studying in Oxford it is recommended that students also enrol on a General English language course required for an overseas student visa, if that is required.