Theology and Religious Studies

Chairperson :Dr Canisius Mwandayi
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About the Department

  1. PREAMBLE

The Department of Religious Studies offers undergraduate and post-graduate programmes, namely: Bachelor of Religious Studies Honours Degree, a Masters of Philosophy (MPhil) as well asPhD research in the whole area of Religious Studies.

The programmes offered in Religious Studies take a multicultural approach where diversity and tolerance of other religions will be emphasized. These programmes become more important in the light of social and cultural upheaval in wake of globalization, rapid development in information technology and urbanisation.These new challenges emerging from increasing secularism at local, national and international level, in both rural and urban areas require new perspectives from scholars inreligious studies and theology. Such problems require new religious and philosophical insights, deep scholarly research to inform the different religious communities and give the new interpretations of the different religions in a global village. Thus, the Department of Religious Studies is concerned with contributing to the development of knowledge not only in the African contextbut also beyond the borders of Africa.

  1. VISION

To be a unique and pacesetting Religious Studies Department that produces innovative and high calibre graduates equipped with quality information on religious, ethical, philosophical, Biblical and theological domains.

  1. OBJECTIVES
  2. To provide well-trained mentors for the different religious institutions nationally and regionally.
  3. To provide leadership for religious, biblical, ethical and theological education through consultancy and support services to the community.
  4. To facilitate research and publication in Religious Studies.
  5. To stimulate collaboration among existing religious bodies and theological institutions in Zimbabwe and beyond.
  6. To initiate religious, biblical, ethical and theological initiatives that address the many challenges of the world such as war, HIV/AIDS, famine and environmental change.

 

  1. CAREER PROSPECTS

The Theology and Religious Studies graduates will have career opportunities in Religious institutions, NGOS, the public sector, the uniformed forces, welfare institutions, universities and the private sector.

  1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

5.1 Bachelor of Arts Religious Studies and Theology is a full-time degree programme. Normally, a student will be required to complete the programme in not less than four years from the date of registration.

5.2 At the Third Level of the degree programme, students go on Work Related Learning for 10-12 months.

6.VISITING SCHOOL

The Department also offers visiting school studies in Religious Studies. This is a 3 year programme. It is presumed that students registering for this programme are attached already to their workplaces hence the waiver on Work Related Learning experience.

  1. GOING INTO THE FUTURE

The department looks forward to offer more programmes at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. At the undergraduate level the Department envisages to create an opportunity for students to pursue a degree programme in either of the three key areas: Religious Studies and Theology, Religious Studies and Applied Ethics and Religious Studies and Sustainable Development. It is in these same areas that a student can choose also to pursue studies at post-graduate level. At the post-graduate level, it would be an open choice for a student, guided also by the Department, to choose either going for an MPhil or a taught Masters

Regulations

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 These regulations shall be read in conjunction with the University’s General Academic Regulations for Undergraduate and Postgraduate degree programmes, hereinafter referred to as the General Regulations.

1.2 The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is concerned with contributing to the development of knowledge in the African context. It demonstrates the relevance of Theology and Religious knowledge to development. It responds to economic, social and political changes that have affected religious institutions and agencies of development.

1.3 Visiting School

The department also offers visiting school studies in Theology and Religious Studies. The programme incorporates a 10 – 12 months work related learning period which runs concurrently with the second level of studies.

2. PREAMBLE

2.1 There are new challenges emerging from increasing secularism at local, national and international level, in both rural and urban areas which require new perspectives from theologians. These problems require new philosophical insights, deep scholarly research to inform the different religious communities and give the new interpretations of the different religions in a global village.

2.2 The programme will take a multicultural approach where diversity and tolerance of other religions will be emphasized. This programme becomes more important in the light of social and cultural upheaval in wake of globalization, rapid development in information technology and urbanisation.

2.3 The proliferation of new perspectives in theologies has created new challenges for the mainstream religious institutions and how they have to manage these changes.

3. OBJECTIVES

To provide well-trained mentors for the different religious institutions nationally and regionally.

3.1 to provide leadership for theological education through consultancy and support services to communities in need of collaboration with other theological institutions.

3.2 to facilitate research and publication in African theology and methodology

3.3 to stimulate collaboration among existing theological institutions.

3.4 to initiate theological and religious initiatives that addresses the many challenges of the world such as war, HIV/AIDS, famine and environmental change.

4. CAREER PROSPECTS

The Theology and Religious Studies graduates will have career opportunities in Religious institutions, NGOS, the public sector, the uniformed forces, welfare institutions, universities, private sector.

5. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

5.1 Normal Entry

For normal entry into the BA Theology and Religious Studies programme candidate should have an “A” level pass in Divinity and any one of the following, History, Sociology, Shona, Ndebele, Economics, Accounts, Literature in English and any other relevant subject in the Humanities.

5.2 Special entry

Refer to Section 3.2 of the General Regulations. Candidates must have acquired a Diploma in Theology from a recognized theological institution acquired normally in not less than 18 months and at least 5 subjects at “O” level or its equivalent.

5.3 Mature entry

Refer to Section 3.3 of the General Regulations

6. GENERAL PROVISIONS

6.1 These regulations should be read in conjunction with the University’s General Academic Regulations for Undergraduate degree Programmes, hereinafter referred to as the General Regulations.

6.2 Bachelor of Arts Religious Studies and Theology is a full-time degree programme. Normally, a student will be required to complete the programme in not less than four years from the date of registration.

6.3 At the Third Level of the degree programme, students go on Work Related Learning for 10-12 months.

6.4 The degree programme offers pre-requisite, core and elective modules.

6.5 At least four of the modules registered per semester should be from within the programme.

6.6 Normally, where a prerequisite module is involved, a candidate will be required to pass it before taking higher modules.

6.7 Students can include in their programme of study, modules offered by other departments, in line with the concept of “Flexible Packaging”.

6.8 Each module is worth four credits except the dissertation which is worth eight (8) credits.

7. ASSESSMENT

7.1 Overall assessment shall consist of continuous assessment and formal examinations

7.2 To be admitted to examinations, a student must have satisfied continuous assessment requirements for all approved modules of study.

7.3 In the case of a dissertation, the Departmental Board of Examiners shall determine a mark for each student based on the presentation to a panel of the Departmental Board of Examiners and improvements done to the final version of such dissertation, submitted at a date determined by the Departmental Board.

7.4 Each formal examination shall be held during an examination period at the end of a semester in which the module is completed.

7.5 The final mark will be weighted as 25% for continuous assessment and 75% for examination.

8. PROVISION FOR PROGRESSION

Refer to Section 8 of the General Academic Regulations and section 6 of the Faculty of Arts Regulations.

9. WORK RELATED LEARNING GUIDELINES

Refer to Section 10 of the General Regulations.

10. FAILURE TO SATISFY EXAMINERS

Refer to Section 9 of the General Academic Regulations.

11. GRADING AND DEGREE CLASSIFICATION

Refer to Section 9 of the Faculty of Arts Regulations.

12. DEGREE WEIGHTING

Refer to Section 11 of The Faculty of Arts Regulations.

13. PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

NB. *Denotes elective modules

**Denotes a module with a prerequisite

Code Description Credits
Level 1 Semester 1 Credits
HTRS 101 Jesus and the New Testament 4
HTRS 102 Introduction to the Old Testament 4
HTRS 103 Introduction to Religious Studies and World Religions 4
HTRS 104 African Traditional Religions 4
CS101 Basic Communication Skills 4
HCS115 Introduction to Information Technology 4
Level 1 Semester 2
HTRS 105 Introduction to Christian Theology 4
HTRS 106 Philosophy of Religion 4
HTRS 108 Themes in Christian History and Thought 4
*HTRS 109 Introduction to HIV/AIDS ministry in Zimbabwe 4
*HTRS 110 History of Christianity in Africa 4
CS102 Extended Communication Skills 4
Level 2 Semester 1
HTRS 201 Pauline Writings 4
HTRS 202 Islam: Africa 4
HTRS 203 Social Ethics 4
*HTRS 212 Religious Perspective on Sexuality, Marriage and Family 4
*HTRS 208 New Religious Phenomena: Growth of Independent Churches and Tele Evangelists 4
*HTRS 209 Fundamentalism and Religion in the 21ST Century 4
*HTRS 213 Biblical Greek 4
GS 201 Introduction to Gender Studies 4
Level 2 Semester 2
HTRS 204 Theology of Development 4
HTRS 205 The Bible in an African Context 4
HTRS 206 Theology and Gender Studies 4
HTRS 207 The Great Themes of the Old Testament 4
*HTRS 210 Research Methods in Religious Studies and Theology 4
*HTRS 211 Religious Education 4
**HTRS 214 Biblical Hebrew 4
Level 3 Work Related Learning
HTRS 301 Work Related Learning Report 15
HTRS 302 Academic Supervisor’s Report 15
HTRS 303 Employer’s Assessment Report 10
Level 4 Semester 1
HTRS 401 African Christian Theology 4
HTRS 402 Church and Social Transformation 4
HTRS 403 Religion and the Media 4
*HTRS 404 Christian Leadership 4
*HTRS 410 History of Spirituality and Mysticism 4
*HTRS 411 Religion and Society in Africa 4
Level 4 Semester 2
HTRS 405 Counseling and Theology 4
HTRS 406 Religion, Conflict, Peace and Development 4
HTRS 408 Dissertation 8
*HTRS 412 Themes in African Religions and New Religious Movements 4

13. MODULE SYNOPSES

HTRS 101 Jesus and the New Testament

The module will introduce students to the study of the New Testament and the diverse portrayals of Jesus of Nazareth. The students will focus on these two main questions; who was Jesus? Why is He Important?

HTRS 102 Introduction to the Old Testament and the Pentateuch

The module will introduce students to the study of the Old Testament; its social, religious and literary settings, including the canon of the Bible. The module will focus on equipping students with tools for biblical interpretation and ability to analyze relevant texts in the light contemporary religious development in Africa.

HTRS 103 Introduction to Religious Studies and World Religions

The module will examine the various theories and underlying concepts in the study of the beliefs and practices of such world religions as Religions of Africa, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism and Islam. This will help the students to appreciate and understand other religions while getting to know their own religion better.

HTRS 104 Introduction to African Traditional Religions

The module will discuss the understanding and development of African Traditional Religions. The module will focus on the religions of Africa, themes, rites of passage, beliefs and religious practices of selected African communities. It shall attempt to encourage an understanding of the contribution of African Traditional Religions to religious syncretism amongst African Moslems and Christians.

HCS 115 Introduction to Information Technology

Refer to the Department of Computer Science.

CS101 Basic Communication Skills

Refer to Faculty Regulations.

CS102 Extended Communication Skills

Refer to Faculty Regulations.

HTRS 105 Introduction to Christian Theology

The module will introduce students to fundamental doctrines in theology like; Revelation, Faith, Scripture, Tradition, the Triune God, Revelation, Salvation, Eschatology, and to contemporary issues in theology like inculturation, peace building, gender and development in Africa.

HTRS 109 Introduction to HIV/AIDS ministry in Zimbabwe

The module examines the consequences of HIV/AIDS and the church’s response to this pandemic. The module will focus on the care and intervention programs, development of life skills, support networks and behaviour change while critically analyzing the cultural and socio-politico-economic factors associated with high risk sexual behaviour.

HTRS 108 Themes in Christian History and Thought

The module will attempt to give a brief overview of some themes in Christian history and thought from the Early Church to contemporary issues in Christian thought and practice. The module will try to cover themes that have particular reference to ministry in Africa; Early Church, Patristic Theology, Ecumenical Councils, Scholastic Theology, Reformation, Protestantism, Missionary Movement, Evangelical Movement, Pentecostalism and Fundamentalism

HTRS106 Philosophy of Religion

People have died or have been killed in the name of religion. Religion is not a matter of intellectual persuasion or conviction, religion touches the very core of a person. It demands conviction, commitment and sacrifice. In this module we will discuss and reflect on the philosophical theories guiding the study of religious inquiry and quest for meaning.

*HTRS110 History of Christianity in Africa

The module surveys the History of Christianity in Africa from the Church of Alexandria to the rapid growth of African Christians in the 19th century with advent of colonialism and Independence of most African states

HTRS 201 Pauline Writings

The module will examine Pauline Literature in the context of the Greco-Roman world and the Early Christian community that occasioned the letters in the light of a developing Pauline theology.

HTRS 202 Islam: Africa

The study of Religions in Africa will not be complete without an in-depth study of Islam’s, beliefs and doctrines, as one of the major religions in Africa. The module will discuss the historical development of Islam and the challenges of contemporary Muslims in Africa.

HTRS 203 Social Ethics

The module will examine ethical theories from a philosophical, religious and theological perspective, and encourage students to develop an ethical approach based on sound humane principles of ethical responsibility. This module will provide a framework for understanding moral experience in the light of religious faith and offer the students opportunities to reflect and understand the various dimensions of moral experience through an analysis of concrete cases.

HTRS206 Theology and Gender

The module introduces students to gender concepts, theology of feminism as well as various roles and status of women in the Bible and in our African context. Topics to be covered include the role of women in Bible, ordination of women, impact of education and urbanization, women’s struggle for emancipation and participation in Church life.

HTRS204 Theology of Development

The module introduces students to the discipline of development studies, addressing major theories and themes that have shaped the discipline overtime. It begins with classical theories, examining their contribution to growth and development of economies. The module also addresses major themes in development discourses such as the global millennium goals, including globalization and its impact on development of poor societies of the world, gender equity; notions of democracy; good governance and human rights; health; the environment and community development in the context of Christian teaching and social theology.

HTRS 205 The Bible in An African Context

The module will discuss the reception and influence of the Bible within an African context, and related issues on language, interpretation and translations and the impact of Bible on African institutions such as marriage, polygamy, faith healing and rites of passage and other contemporary issues.

HTRS 207 Great Themes in the Old Testament

Students will be introduced to various themes in the Old Testament such as creation, liberation, covenant, sacrifice, gender, word of God, inspiration. The module will invite students to reflect on these themes and their applicability to contemporary African issues.

*HTRS 208 New Religious Phenomena: Growth of Independent Churches and Tele- Evangelists

This module investigates the development and growth of African initiated Churches and the rise of tele-evangelists through satellite broadcasts. The module will focus

on different methods of evangelization of the 16th Century and the 19th Century and contemporary challenges of the post modern and globalization that have given rise to this new religious phenomenon.

*HTRS209 Fundamentalism and Religion in the 21ST Century

The 21st century has seen the growth of religious fundamentalism. The module will reflect on the beginnings of fundamentalism in Islam and Christianity and its impact on the believer and society as a whole while addressing issues of intolerance, terrorism, exploitation, gospel of prosperity, in light of the Gospel values of tolerance, care and concern for the marginalized.

*HTRS 210 Research Methods in Religious Studies and Theology

This module will focus on imparting basic research methodology and techniques such as conducting field investigation, social analysis, administering questionnaire and interpreting the findings in an academic manner.

*HTRS 211 Religious Education

The module tries to equip students in acquiring and developing strategies for teaching of religious education in various settings. The module will examine theories of religious and moral development and the underlying theological concepts of teaching religious education.

*HTRS 212 Religious Perspective on Sexuality, Marriage and Family

The module will discuss and reflect on sexuality, marriage and family, drawing from examples in the Bible and theology, while reflecting on contemporary writings. The module will cover these related subjects, premarital sex, sexuality and human development, marriage preparation, homosexuality, pornography, polygamy or extramarital affairs, faithfulness, and divorce. It shall attempt to determine what the church’s response should be.

*HTRS 213 Biblical Greek

The module will introduce students to Biblical Greek’s basic vocabulary and grammar and enables students to use advanced scholarly commentaries. The acquisition of language skills will be helpful for future graduate work.

**HTRS 214 Biblical Hebrew

The module will introduce students to Biblical Hebrew’s basic vocabulary and grammar and enable students to use advanced scholarly commentaries. The acquisition of language skills will be helpful for future graduate work.

GS 201 Introduction to Gender Studies

The module empowers the students with knowledge and skills that enable them to be gender sensitive in the university, workplace and in their social interactions. Topics covered include, Understanding Gender, Theories of Gender Inequalities, Historical Development of Gender, Gender Analysis, and Gender Issues in Zimbabwe, Redressing Gender Imbalances, Empowerment and Strategies for creating a gender responsive environment. Every student has to pass the course in order to graduate.

HTRS 401 African Christian Theology

The module will discuss the emerging theologies of Africa in relationship to the historical and contemporary issues in African Christian Theology such as African Christologies, inculturation, black theology, and ecumenism in Africa. The students will be invited to study and reflect on the work of some African theologians such as Bujo, Nyamiti, Magesa, Mugambi, Moyo, Muzorewa, Tutu.

HTRS 402 Church and Social Transformation

The module will focus on emerging theologies of transformation and the need for local churches to be self-empowering, self sustaining and self-sufficient. The module will look at the following topics, Liberation Theology, Black Theology, Feminist Theology, Theology for Development and theories of Social Analysis in order to assist marginalized communities for strategic community action for capacity building.

HTRS 403 Religion and the Media

This is a practical and introductory module aimed at equipping students with basic skills required in the production of print media, radio, television and the internet with particular emphasis on how religion is reported in the Media. The module will focus on media ethics, role of the media, Freedom of expression and censorship, production of media products, effective communication, and critical analysis of media products.

*HTRS 404 Christian Leadership

The module investigates the extent to which the Bible provides the basis for Christian leadership. The students will reflect and analyze how these models and principles of leadership in the Bible could transform the conceptions of leadership in Africa. The module will also seek to empower students by discussing and reflecting on contemporary theories of management, with particular focus on Church institutions, Welfare institutions, Humanitarian and Development Agencies.

*HTRS 410 History of Spirituality and Mysticism

This module will examine the historical development of spirituality and mysticism and its role in transformation of the church. The students will be invited to study and reflect on the works of some mystics and spiritual writers like; Teresa of Avila, John Chrysostom, Ignatius of Loyola, Henri Noumen, Thomas Merton, Evelyn Underhill. Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa.

*HTRS 411 Religion and Society in Africa

The module focuses on the crucial role played by religion in the development of African societies and institutions. Topics to be covered include Islamic, Christian and African Traditional religions, and how these influenced the development of African Societies overtime.

HTRS 405 Counselling and Theology

The module will introduce students to pastoral counseling, while focusing on the care of the sick, marriage guidance, bereavement, grief and loss. The students will be

encouraged to draw from traditional forms of counsel and guidance and their applicability to Christian pastoral care.

HTRS 406 Religion, Conflict, Peace and Development

The module will look at aspects of peace building, conflict transformation, post war reconstruction, mediation, rehabilitation, reconciliation and healing and people centered participatory development. While using biblical sources of sustainable peace building and exploring the theological bases for a just war theory and pacifism and show how effective Christian non violence can meet the multiple challenges of African conflict situations.

*HTRS412 Themes in African Religions and New Religious Movements

The module seeks to analyze themes that arose in African initiated Churches as a response to the various brands of Christianity and the contemporary themes that have made them an attractive alternative brand to Christian churches. The students will examine their impact on the history of the Church in Africa.

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