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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2018 - 2019

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module aims to consolidate and expand students’ knowledge and understanding of various theoretical approaches to religion, by providing 1) an introduction to certain sociological approaches to religion, 2) an exploration of important philosophical approaches to religion, and 3) specific, more concentrated, treatment of certain relevant topics (e.g., the critique of ‘natural theology’; the challenge of nihilism; secularization; etc.). In this module, students develop their wider knowledge, and enhance their skills in comprehension, analysis and synthesis. Students are expected to attend lectures and seminars, and to engage with relevant texts.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate a breadth of knowledge and understanding of philosophical and sociological themes and issues;
2. Engage with particular issues and themes in philosophy and sociology;
3. Achieve and employ enhanced analytical and critical skills;
4. Enjoy an enhanced appreciation of key elements in Western intellectual culture;
5. Obtain and make manifest enhanced insight and reflexivity regarding his or her own values, principles and outlook.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Independent Study48Assigned Readings
Independent Study53Independent Learning & Exam Preparation
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

An introduction to various theoretical approaches to religion

The critique of natural theology (with focus on Spinoza & Hume)

The challenge of nihilism (with focus on Nietzsche)

Major figures & themes in the sociology of religion

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
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
Indicative Reading List

  • Durkheim, E.: 2008, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, UP, Oxford,
  • Hume, David: 2008, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion & The Natural History of Religion, Oxford UP,
  • Milbank, John: 1991, Theology & Social Theory, Blackwell, Malden, MA,
  • Spinoza, B.: 2007, Theological-Political Treatise, ed. J. Israel, UP, Cambridge,
  • Weber, Max: 2002, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Penguin, NY,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes