PG 521 “Then who can be saved?” Genre and Context in Soteriology

Module Level

9/10 MTh / PhD / STL Seminar Course


Final Paper (75%); Participation/Continuous (25%)

Module Aims

This module is a survey of different genres or styles of theological texts on salvation spanning the entire history of the Christian theological tradition. The aim of the module is (i) to expose students to the various styles and genres of theological writing, (ii) to foster in students the ability to identify the theological substance and argumentation in any given style/genre of theological text, and (iii) to cultivate in students a sensitivity to history, context, genre, and the influence these different factors have in the communication of theological ideas (e.g., salvation). Ultimately, the module offers students the opportunity to experience first-hand how theological content can be (and has been) communicated through a variety of different forms.

Texts will be selected from across the Christian theological tradition.

Patristic Theology
Scripture Commentary (e.g., Cyril or Origen)
The Theological Oration (e.g., Athanasius)
The Sermon (e.g., Augustine)

Medieval Theology
The Theological Dialogue (e.g., Anselm)
The Sentences (e.g., Peter Lombard)
The Scholastic Quaestio (Thomas Aquinas)

Modern Theology
The New-Scholastic Treatise (e.g., Scheeben/Pohle–Preuss/Tanquerey/Hervé/Ott)
The Essay (e.g., Newman or Rahner)
The contemporary scholarly article

Learning Outcomes

  • Give examples of different genres/styles of theological text: (e.g., oration, dialogue, quaestio, homily, etc.).
  • Chronologically and contextually place each genre/style.
  • Identify both common and distinctive characteristics of each genre.
  • Identify the theological substance of a given text.
  • Distill the argument of a given text.
  • Explain how a particular style or genre of text shapes or influences its argument and content.



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