The Sixth Form
It is sometimes assumed that the reason for studying this subject is a candidate’s own personal commitment to a religious faith. This may be, but need not be the case, and it is clear that what is needed most is a readiness to ask questions about human life and society, and to examine thoughtfully some of the answers which have been given at various times in our history.
In the new Sixth Form courses Theology may - like all other subjects - be taken either as a one-year AS or a two-year A-level course.
The course offered from September 2008 will be the revised Theology A level following the AQA syllabus. This course has two distinct halves, a biblical component involving detailed study of the key themes in the New Testament, and an exciting new component ‘Religion art and the media’ There is a final ‘synoptic’ element at A2. There is no coursework requirement. Candidates will be required to sit four written papers. (Two at AS & two at A2)
AS level: New Testament
This paper examines four key areas of New Testament study:
- The origin and formulation of the synoptic gospels
- The public life and ministry of Jesus recorded by the synoptic gospels
- The accounts of the trial and death of Jesus.
- The resurrection accounts.
Specific textual passages are specified for critical analysis together with an examination of key issues that arise from them.
AS level: Religion, Art and the Media
This paper sets out to study of theological ideas from a contextual and artistic perspective. Again four areas a specified for study:
- The nature of religious art
- The purpose of religious art
- Religion art and popular culture, (The study of the relationships between Humour and Religion, Religious themes in film and literature are specified for study)
- Religion and the use of modern media. (Particularly Cyber religion, Television)
Issues arising from these four areas of study and their relevance to religion and society will also be studied from a contextual perspective. (This paper will be studied primarily from a Christian perspective.)
A2: Religion and Art
At A2 this paper requires the detailed study of the following four areas:
- Iconography in the Orthodox Church
- Protestant Art of the Reformation
- Catholic Art of the Counter-Reformation
- The religious art of the Pre-Raphaelites
This paper examines the changing nature and themes in religious art over the course of history and the relevance of religious art to contemporary society.
The final A2 paper, Religion and Human experience provides a synoptic element that allows candidates to play to their strengths in the fields of study the have undertaken. Candidates can elect answer questions on either ‘Religion and the visual arts’ or ‘Ways of reading and understanding scripture’
The course encourages students to:
- develop an interest in and enthusiasm for a rigorous study of religion
- treat the subject as an academic discipline by developing knowledge and understanding appropriate to a specialist study of religion
- use an enquiring, critical and empathetic approach to the study of religion.
One very rewarding feature of this subject is the variety of skills which are involved, since it requires both close study of a text in the New Testament topic and also an awareness of the historical approach to the life and history of the Christian Church. These skills are transferable to good degree courses in most Arts subjects.
No special subject combinations are required, and the syllabus is designed to make it possible to take this subject in the Sixth Form without having taken the GCSE course in the Lower School. Theology can therefore be taken, whether as an AS or a full A-level, either because it combines well with a boy’s other subject choices, or to give some variety in his programme of study.
After A level
If taken as a full A Level Theology can lead to honours degree courses in many subjects. Theology and/or Religious Studies can be read at one of the many well established British Universities, for example, Oxford, Cambridge, Durham or St Andrew’s. Other degree courses often look favourably on Theology A Level students. This is particularly true of Law, Philosophy, and many other Arts subjects.