Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bachelor of Theology at University of Newcastle

On Friday 9 March 2007 the Academic Senate of our university approved the introduction of a Bachelor degree program in theology. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Kevin McConkey has indicated that this degree could be of interest to anyone in the community, not just those seeking to enter religious ministry.

A new position of Professor of Theology will be created, and this position will be funded for the first five years of the program by the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle.

Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Brian Farran, has said: "Placing theology in the public arena in a tertiary setting where everything can be critically assessed and dialogue can take place, is an exciting way for the Diocese to make links with the community and develop religious conversation".

Official UoN press release.

9 comments:

Samuel Douglas said...

I for one am looking forward to this predicted rise in discussion of religion and theology. I'm particularly keen to see the theology students go up against some of our resident evangelists.

On different note, I wonder who will be taking most of these courses, (and what they are, for that matter)? I would hope that Dr Wilks would do well out of this. Will the 'Reason and Religion' or 'Metaphysics' courses sneak into the program?

More details should be available in the next few months.

MH said...

You know how I seem to know everyone? Well, one of the first students to go through – he started this semester – is a young Anglican seminarian (straight out of my old school). (He may have even joined the Club …) The Diocese of Newcastle (which is Anglican, and not to be confused with the Catholic Diocese of Maitland/Newcastle) is supporting the degree as part of an attempt to educate its seminarians in the Hunter rather than having to send them elsewhere.

I actually think that the development is a step in the right direction for the University. Acknowledging one of the oldest traditional academic disciplines has to be something that fewer Universities are doing these days.

Further, anything that encourages debate on campus has to be a good thing.

Samuel said...

The theology students may not be interested in "going up against" the local evangelicals. they might, but they may see sam d as a more natural target. I have heard it rumoured (uncertainly, from a reliable source) that at least some of the theology courses could be quite biblical (in the evangelical sense) which would be cool. The story I heard was that the people setting up the course wanted something that "wasn't moore college" - suggesting that their goal was as silly as their description of it was imprecise. But the more God on campus the better, I always say.

Samuel Douglas said...

We will see. It is hard to generalise. But I would not rely on these students being unwilling or unable to challenge NCS doctrine (to choose an example at random).

I can see why you think think "the more god on campus the better". But be warned that a believer with an education will convert/steal more of a rival groups members than someone like me ever would.

Samuel said...

The truth is I will be dissapointed if these changes fail to produce anyone who I can violently disagree with. At the moment I only have Calvinists, and they're all to evangelical/pragmatic/moderate to divide from with any vigour. The prospect of having members stolen doesn't worry me much either. Of course it would be a pity if there are friends I see less often as a result, and it is nice to see one's own group grow. But a new Christian group would reach people who arn't being reached at the moment, which would be great, because ncs is here to serve God rather than vice versa, if you see what I mean. And such a successful group would be bible-based, because the unbiblical theologies taught at such courses usually have less popular appeal than biblical theologies, and are usually less evangelical in their nature. Also, the number of people in these courses will at least to begin with be quite small, and the people in them are (I suspect) more here to learn theology than to organise the spread of their own brand of it among students in other courses.

Samuel said...

I have suffered repeated physical attacks from one of the theology students.

I think it possible that the trauma I have undergone is part of an organized campaign, and thought it wise to warn people.

MH said...

I may have to do with studying world religions, studies of religion, another subject involving religion, and a fourth subject ...

I've been asking around about their subject stream.

Samuel Douglas said...

That sounds serious Sam B. I thought the disturbance would be limited to intellectual argument, rather than sectarian violence. We might have to discuss this further.

Samuel Douglas said...

I can now add that Sam B was strangled by a girl who seems to be quite friendly toward him. Of course I only saw her for a very short time. But the implication that he had a close brush with death at the hands of the Anglican equivalent of that monk from The Da Vinci Code, can now be firmly put to rest.