PG 655: Charles Taylor as a Resource for New-Evangelisation

Module Level

9/10: MTh / PhD / STL Seminar Course

Time Allowance

Second Semester: Alternate Mondays 4.00 pm – 6.00 pm


To qualify for assessment full attendance is expected at all sessions and assigned readings (which will be distributed) are to be completed before each session. Participants are required to prepare at least one set reading for discussion at a given session and, then, write a short summary of the recapture that follows in the subsequent session. A final paper is to be submitted on an agreed topic by 1.00 pm, Friday, the 8th of May 2020, which is to be no more than 5,000 words (including footnotes and bibliography), and which should follow strictly the standard presentation guidelines. Your final grade will include recognition of all written material and participation in discussion (80% final paper, 20% other written texts and participation).

Module Aims

Charles Taylor has emerged as a leading figure in the analysis and understanding of the place and role of religion in contemporary culture. His major work A Secular Age is arguably the most important publication to date in the discourse on religion and faith in our secular culture. His contribution is now essential reading for any would be theologian, who wishes to reflect seriously on the dynamics of evangelisation in a contemporary setting. This course aims to read and discuss a selection of texts from Taylor’s output on religion and culture with a view to developing a nuanced and theologically competent foundation to new-evangelisation.

An ancillary (and optional) aim is to prepare an article for possible publication in a theological journal.

Indicative Syllabus:

Through a confrontation with a series of texts from the breadth of Taylor’s oeuvre, students will be introduced to key terms and issues in contemporary debates on culture, religion(s), faith, secularization, fundamentalism, multiculturalism, language, authenticity, closed world structures, etc., with a view to a reception of Taylor’s discourse in contemporary Fundamental Theology.

Learning Outcomes

  • Appreciate Charles Taylor’s contribution to public discourse on religion and faith in contemporary culture.
  • Identify key neuralgic points in our present culture in respect of new-evangelisation.
  • Read critically a number of specific texts from the breadth of Taylor’s work.
  • Be able to formulate, express, and discuss competently various issues in respect of faith in a secular context.
  • Write a substantial paper on one particular aspect or topic that is related to the course.


  • Charles Taylor, The Explanation of Behaviour, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964.
  • Charles Taylor, Hegel and Modern Society, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1979.
  • Charles Taylor et al., Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University, 1994
  • Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity, Harvard: Harvard University, 1995
  • Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity, Harvard: Harvard University, 1989.
  • Charles Taylor, A Secular Age, Harvard: Harvard University, 2007.
  • Charles Taylor and Jocelyn Maclure, Laïcité et liberté de conscience, Paris: La Découverte, 2010
  • Charles Taylor, The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity, London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2016.
  • Turabian, Kate L. A manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations. 8th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.


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