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Theology Summer School 2014

Key facts

Sorry, this course is currently unavailable. Please use the course enquiry form to be kept informed of future runs of this course.

TypesProfessional Development
Summer Schools -
AddressHeld at Christ Church
DatesSun 17 to Sat 23 Aug 2014
Subject area(s)Religious Studies
Theology and Religious Studies
FeesResidential - from £1,120
Non-residential - £845
Application statusClosed to new applications
Course codeO14I021JDR
Course contactIf you have any questions about this course, please email iptheo@conted.ox.ac.uk or telephone Email contact only.


The 2014 Theology Summer School will explore the theme 'Theology and Public Life'

The programme is directed on behalf of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education by Angela Tilby, Canon of Christ Church, Oxford


The academic programme consists of

  • Study in small interactive seminar groups with specialist tutors

    Applicants choose one morning seminar and one afternoon seminar from:

  • Morning Seminars
    • Christian Apologetics in a Secular Society
    • The Gospel of Luke
    • Public Theology in the 'Spiritual but not Religious' World

  • Afternoon Seminars
    • How to be a Christian in the World Today
    • Living the Eucharist
    • War and Peace in the Old Testament

    Each seminar has five two-and-a-half hour meetings, and classes will usually contain no more than 20 particpants

  • A plenary keynote lecture given by a leading scholar in the field

Contact hours

The programme provides a minimum of 26.5 contact hours, comprising

  • 25 hours of seminar meetings (12.5 per course)
  • a lecture lasting 1.5 hours


  • Participants are welcome to attend services at Christ Church Cathedral
  • There will be a conference worship during the summer school
  • Oxford is a diverse city, rich in places of worship for people of many faiths and denominations

Social programme

A number of social activities will be arranged during the summer school. These are likely to include a quiz and an informal tour of Oxford.

Programme details

Seminar options

Applicants take one morning course and one afternoon course

Morning Seminars

Christian Apologetics in a Secular Society

A recent survey in the UK shows that a majority of people now regard the churches as a negative influence on society. How true is this, and what accounts for this aggressive mood? Considerations from the sciences, from sociology and from recent moral debates will be discussed and the course will explore the possibility of a positive Christian apologetic for this situation.

Tutor: The Revd Professor Keith Ward is Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, London.

The Gospel of Luke

Luke wrote his account of the good news of Jesus Christ to challenge a sophisticated, rich and prosperous society. Has a Galilean peasant anything to tell us today in our search for happiness and fulfillment? How does Luke convey this message? Does this Gospel distort or validly develop the message of Jesus?

Tutor: Dom Henry Wansbrough is Professor of Biblical Studies at Liverpool Hope University and a Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey, York.

Public Theology in a 'Spiritual but not Religious' World

What might a public theology look like for the context of the early 21st century? With what credibility do religious institutions speak into public life? With what subjects should public theology now we concerned? Specifically, how do religious institutions engage with those who describe themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’? A range of theological, ethical and artistic resources will be considered in the attempt to develop a public theology for our specific context.

Tutor: The Very Revd Dr Jane Shaw is Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and former Dean of Divinity and Fellow of New College, Oxford.

Afternoon Seminars

How to be a Christian in the World Today

This course will explore four different expressions of political theology and assess their suitability for today’s world in terms relevant to: the Christian citizen, the Christian activist, the Christian revolutionary and the post-liberal Christian. We will explore the work of a range of theologians, focusing on William Temple, William Stringfellow, Gustavo Gutiérrez and Stanley Hauerwas, as well as reflecting on practical expressions of the Christian faith in different traditions. The course will use a range of text-based study, group work and audio-visual presentation.

Tutor: The Revd Dr James Walters is Chaplain at the London School of Economics.

Living the Eucharist

This course looks at the way the Eucharist is understood and lived out in Christian faith and practice. It starts with biblical, theological and liturgical groundwork, examining the theory and practice of Eucharistic worship in the early Church and in the various Christian traditions. The course will then point to ways in which the Eucharist illuminates such diverse subjects as discipleship, mission, ethics, ecology and sexuality; showing how Christ’s command to ‘do this in remembrance of me’, shapes all that Christians believe and do.

Tutor: The Revd Canon Dr Edmund Newey is Sub Dean of Christ Church, Oxford.

War and Peace in the Old Testament

The ‘violent God of the Old Testament’ may be a caricature, but the Old Testament is nevertheless full of images of warfare and it has often been used to sanction violent conflict. This course will explore the theological and ethical issues that confront us as we read Biblical texts about war and peace, including key texts like that of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, the Psalmist’s hymns to God as ‘warrior’ and Isaiah’s vision of the ‘peaceable kingdom’.

Tutor: Dr Andrew Mein is Tutor in Old Testament Studies at Westcott House, Cambridge.

Plenary keynote lecture

Professor Jolyon Mitchell will speak on Promoting Peace, Inciting Violence: The Role of Religion and Media. Professor Mitchell is Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues and Academic Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh; he was formerly a producer and journalist for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4.


All participants who complete the programme will receive an `attendance certificate`

Level and demands

Who is the programme for?

  • Members of the clergy, especially as part of their continuing ministerial development
  • Theologians
  • Teachers of religious education
  • Lay people with an interest in theological study at university level

Although the direction of the summer school is essentially Christian, religious leaders and members of other faiths will be warmly welcomed as participants


This is an intensive programme of study taught to an informed international audience

Applicants should be confident that they are academically and linguistically prepared for such a programme

Participants are expected to

  • undertake preparatory reading in advance of the programme
  • attend all relevant seminar sessions and the plenary keynote lecture
  • be actively engaged with their seminar topics

English language requirements

As attendees are expected to participate fully in seminar discussions it is important that applicants can demonstrate an appropriate level of proficiency in the four language skills - listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must provide evidence of their competency in the form of an original certificate or a certified copy that is not more than two years old on the date the summer school starts. These applicants must satisfy one of the following requirements:

  • IELTS - minimum overall score of 6.5, with not less than 6.5 in each of the four components
  • TOEFL iBT - minimum overall score of 100, with not less than 25 in each of the four components
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) - grade C or above

For further information on English language qualifications:

However, non-native speakers of English who are currently undertaking (or have successfully completed) a full-time degree-level course at a university where English is the language of instruction or who have significant business and professional experience in an English-speaking environment may not need to provide a certificate of English language qualification. Please contact the Programme Administrator for further details.

Disabled students (including those with mobility difficulties)

The aim of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE) is to treat all students equally and welcomes applications from people with disabilities. Individuals` needs are taken into account as far as possible, providing reasonable adaptations and assistance within the resources available. We ask that people let us know of any disability or special need (confidentially if required) so that we can help them participate as fully as possible.

When applying for OUDCE`s college-based summer schools, prospective students with mobility difficulties or visual or hearing impairments may want to make preliminary enquiries to the Programme Administrator, as the age and layout of these colleges often makes them user-unfriendly (although adaptations are often possible). Oxford, as an ancient city, tends to be difficult to navigate for people with disabilities. The number of very old buildings, designed in an age less sensitive to issues of disability, makes access to much of the city centre difficult. However, OUDCE will do as much as it is able to make study with the department possible.

Applicants should contact us if they will have problems gaining access to a bedroom or a teaching room that is located on upper or basement floors, or to the college dining hall (which is reached via a flight of stairs).



Founded in the 16th century, Christ Church is one of Oxford University's largest colleges.

Participants who choose to attend the summer school on a residential basis will have a single study bedroom and will take meals (breakfast Monday-Saturday, lunch Monday-Friday, and dinner on Sunday and Friday) in the college dining hall.

Bedrooms are located up the four or five floors of a staircase; bath and/or shower and toilet facilities on each staircase are shared.

A limited number of single and twin rooms have private bathroom facilities (shower and toilet) and these are available for an enhanced fee. Early application for these rooms is essential - ie by the first gathered field deadline of 1 March 2014.

Participants cannot be accommodated at Christ Church either prior to or beyond their programme dates. Family members and/or friends who are not enrolled on this summer school cannot be accommodated in college.

Participants who choose to attend the summer school on a non-residential basis are responsible for finding their own accommodation. Information on accommodation in Oxford can be found on the internet at:

Please be aware that there is high demand for accommodation in Oxford during the summer months.

IT facilities

  • Internet access is available via a number of computers in the Junior Common Room
  • For those with laptops, wireless internet access is available throughout the college, including the residential accommodation


Programme fees

  • Residential - standard single room - shared bathroom facilities - £1,120
    Fees include tuition; access to IT facilities; accommodation in a single room with shared bathroom facilities; breakfast Monday-Saturday; lunch Monday-Friday; reception and dinner on Sunday and Friday
  • Residential - single room with private shower and toilet - £1,300
    Fees include tuition; access to IT facilities; accommodation in a single room with private shower and toilet; breakfast Monday-Saturday; lunch Monday-Friday; reception and dinner on Sunday and Friday
  • Residential - twin room with private shower and toilet - £1,210 per person
    Fees include tuition; access to IT facilities; accommodation in a twin room with private shower and toilet; breakfast Monday-Saturday; lunch Monday-Friday; reception and dinner on Sunday and Friday
  • Non-residential - £845
    Fees include tuition; access to IT facilities; lunch Monday-Friday; reception and dinner on Sunday and Friday

Successful applicants who accept our offer of a place on the summer school will be invoiced for the appropriate programme fee once they have been enrolled on the programme.

Participants are required to pay the full fee within 30 days of their invoice date. Late applicants (see 'Apply for this course', below) are required to pay the full fee within 7 days of their invoice date. Places will not be held for participantsnts whose fees are not paid in full by the due date. In no circumstances will participants be admitted to the summer school unless all fees have been paid in full.


All enrolments are subject to OUDCE's Terms and Conditions for Course Registration and Fee Payment

If you wish to cancel you must inform the Programme Administrator by email at iptheo@conted.ox.ac.uk

Please be aware that if you cancel your place on the summer school you will not be entitled to a refund, except in exceptional circumstances, and at the discretion of the Director of Public & International Programmes at OUDCE. In such circumstance that a refund is given an administration fee may be levied.

You are therefore very strongly recommended to take out vacation cancellation insurance, and you should consult your travel agent and/or insurer for information and advice. Please note that OUDCE does not provide any insurance cover.

OUDCE reserves the right to alter details of any course should illness or any other emergency prevent a tutor from teaching, and to cancel a course or seminar if exceptionally low enrolment would make it educationally unviable.

The status of this course will be reviewed on 15 June 2014. If it is likely that individual seminars or the course may be cancelled, all those affected will be notified in writing within seven days, and possible options clearly explained.

If you have not heard from OUDCE by 22 June 2014, you should assume that the course and your seminars will be running; there is no need to contact us to confirm. You may wish to delay finalising your travel arrangements until after this date.

Apply for this course

Click here to download the application form

Please ensure all sections are completed fully, clearly, and in BLOCK CAPITALS.

The form must be accompanied by:

  • A brief statement of purpose (350-400 words) detailing your reasons for wishing to attend the summer school. This should include what you hope to get out of the programme, and what you are likely to contribute to the intellectual life of the summer school. This may include the relevance of the summer school to your current employment, professional or personal development, or present course of study. It is essential that you clearly state your reasons for wishing to enrol on specific seminars.
  • In the case of non-native speakers of English, official evidence of English language competency.
  • A letter of recommendation from a person who is well placed to comment on your suitability for the programme - eg a member of the clergy, your tutor or employer. A reference from a family member is not acceptable.
  • Four photographs (UK passport-sized - ie 4.5cm high x 3.5cm wide), with your full name printed on the back of each.

Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered

We are delighted to welcome applications from students of the Graduate Theological Foundation

Applications should be posted to: Theology Summer School, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, OXFORD, OX1 2JA, UK

An email acknowledgement will be sent to confirm receipt of application materials

Please note that we are currently unable to receive applications by email or fax

Application deadlines

Oxford University operates a 'gathered field' closing date system by which applications are reviewed fairly and equally in batches at specific dates throughout the admissions period rather than on a first come, first served or rolling basis.

There is a limited number of places available on every morning and afternoon course within each gathered field, and in assigning successful applicants to seminar groups the admissions panel will pay particular attention to applicants' personal statements.

There are three deadlines for applications:

  • Gathered field 1 - 1 March 2014
  • Gathered field 2 - 15 April 2014
  • Gathered field 3 - 1 June 2014

Subject to the availability of places, late applications may be considered on a first come, first served basis until 15 June 2014

Notification of the admission panel's decision

Applicants will normally be notified of the panel's decision by email within 14 days of the relevant gathered field deadline.

Applicants who are offered a place on the summer school must respond in writing within 14 days to accept or decline the offer. In accepting our offer of a place applicants are committing to paying the programme fees in full by the due date.

Please note that late applicants will be notified within 7 days of their materials having been received, and successful applicants will then have 7 days in which to accept or decline our offer of a place.

Enrolment, invoicing, and further course information

  • Participants will be enrolled on the summer school once they have accepted our offer of a place
  • The enrolment process includes the issuing of invoices, which will be posted to participants together with full instructions for payment
  • Detailed seminar information will be emailed to participants in Spring 2014 togther with 'Joining Notes', which will contain a wealth of practical information to assist participants prepare to travel to Oxford

Any queries?

Please contact the Programme Administrator by email at iptheo@conted.ox.ac.uk

Important information regarding immigration and visa requirements

All participants travelling to the United Kingdom (UK) are required to hold a valid passport. OUDCE welcomes international participants on all its courses; however, it is the responsibility of applicants to ensure that they conform to UK immigration law.

If you are an European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national you do not need a visa to enter the UK to participate in one of OUDCE’s summer schools. You are free to enter the UK as long as you show your EEA or Swiss passport on arrival.

If you are not an EEA or Swiss national, you will need to enter as a Student Visitor. The Student Visitor route allows students over the age of 18 to study either part-time or full-time for up to six months in the UK.

If you are not an EEA or Swiss national we strongly recommend that you visit the UK Border Agency’s website before submitting your application.

Please note that Oxford University summer schools administrative staff are not permitted to provide information and advice regarding visa-related matters: all such enquiries should be submitted to Oxford University’s student visa and immigration advisers via email at student.immigration@admin.ox.ac.uk

Sorry, this course is not currently accepting applications. If you have any questions about this course, please use the course enquiry form.

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