DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Relationships, Sexuality and Marriage
Module Code TP306
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: John Murray
Semester 2: John Murray
Autumn: John Murray
Module TeachersJohn Murray
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module explores Christian theological and philosophical understandings of marriage and sexual ethics in the context of the dignity of the human person made in God's image, drawing from biblical and theological sources, virtue ethics, and natural law theory. Particular attention is given to the teaching of Jesus Christ on marriage and sexual ethics, and how this is rooted in the Hebrew scriptural tradition and is developed by the early church in the New Testament. The fact that many issues in the area of sexual ethics are contested in the present context is examined with special attention given to the sensitivities and the complexities of this area of theological ethical study. The roles of conscience and religious teaching authority are explored, as is the relationship between faith and reason in moral decision making.

Learning Outcomes

1. Appreciate marriage as a social institution and religious sacrament, and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a number of key themes and issues in Christian sexual ethics.
2. Argue and reference an informed point of view on sexual ethics supported by relevant Christian theological and philosophical sources.
3. Demonstrate a clear, coherent and sound understanding of some important aspect of marriage and Christian sexual ethics through a written assignment.
4. Reflect critically and creatively on the dialogue between their own life experience and the Christian traditions's understanding of marriage and relationships, with a view to developing a coherent world view.
5. Engage in personal reflection on marriage and relationships, and the ethical aspects of these, in a manner that is aware of, and engaged with, the contemporary cultural context.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Assignment Completion55No Description
Independent Study46No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Cultural and historical context: the complexities, sensitivities, and significance of the issues and challenges

The Biblical vision of relationships, marriage and sexuality

'Theology of the Body' as one contemporary approach

Revisionist approaches to interpreting the Bible and evaluating the philosophy

The debate over responsible parenthood and family planning: Humanae Vitae [1968]

Marriage as a sacrament and community of love and life

Same-sex relationships: various approaches to biblical interpretation and ethical judgments

Divorce and Remarriage: various approaches in the Christian tradition

Conscience and religious authority in Christian moral decision making

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Ellison, Marvin M. and K.B. Douglas (eds.): 2014, Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection, 2nd, Westminister Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, USA,
  • Curran, Charles: 2005, The Moral Theology of Pope John Paul II, 3-5, Georgetown University Press, Washington D.C., USA,
  • McDonagh, Enda and Vincent MacNamara (eds.): 2011, An Irish Reader in Moral Theology: Volume II (Sex, Marriage and the Family), Columba Press, Dublin,
  • West, Christopher: 2018, Theology of the Body for Beginners, 3rd, Beacon, North Palm Beach, Florida, USA,
  • Curran, Charles and Richard McCormick (eds.): 1993, Readings in Moral Theology No. 8, Paulist Press, New Jersey, USA,
  • Farley, Margaret: 2007, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, Continuum, New York, USA,
  • Smith, Janet E.: 1991, Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later, University of American Press, Washington D.C., USA,
  • Wells, Samuel: 2010, Introducing Christian Ethics, 10-11, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA, USA,
  • Finnis, John: 2011, Collected Essays, Volume III: Human Rights and Common Good, 20-22, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Salzman, Todd and Michael G. Lawler: 2012, Sexual Ethics: A Theological Introduction, Georgetown University Press, Washington, D.C.,
  • Morgan, Peggy and Clive Lawton (eds.): 2007, Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions, 2nd, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh,
Other Resources

52047, Online Document, World Council of Churches, 2006, Churches' Response to Human Sexuality, https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2006-porto-alegre/3-preparatory-and-background-documents/churches-response-to-human-sexuality, 52048, Online Document, World Council of Churches, 2016, Abundant Life [Extracts], https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/publications/AbundantLife_4thpages_webmarketingsample.pdf, 0, Website/directory of works, Grisez, Germain, 0, The Way of the Lord Jesus, twotlj.org, 0, Website/directory of works, Oliver O'Donovan, 0, Various Articles by O'Donovan on module topics, https://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/author/oliverodonovan/, 0, Online Document, Catholic Church, 1997, Catechism of the Catholic Church, https://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM,
Programme or List of Programmes
AFUAge Friendly University Programme
BREBachelor of Religious Education &English
BRHBachelor of Religious Education &History
BRMBachelor of Religious Education & Music

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement