This unit applies insights drawn from Christian spirituality, and material culture as well as pastoral practice to study a variety of responses to death, dying and bereavement. Students will be expected to engage with historical and contemporary theories and practices dealing with death and grieving. Reflection on and critical assessment of these practices will acquaint students with an understanding of the needs of the terminally ill and the bereaved.

Unit code: CH9214Y

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Identify how a work of art (of your choice) expresses cultural and spiritual attitudes to death and dying.


Articulate the foundational beliefs that underlie two Christian rituals surrounding death and dying


Critically assess several theories of grieving.


Identify (with visual examples) how art in the past might have enhanced pastoral care of the dying and the bereaved


Critically assess two or three themes that have emerged in recent literature on how Christian spirituality relates to death, dying and bereavement.


This unit explores the role of material culture as a source for identifying and interpreting Christian spiritual practices in the care of the dying and bereaved.

Indicative Bibliography

• No set texts • Readings will be provided on line for the students at the commencement of the unit

  • Anderson, M. Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for the End of life. New York: Marlowe and Company, 2003.
  • De Pascale, Enrico. Death and Resurrection in Art. Translated by Anthony Shuggar. Los Angeles: 2007
  • Kellehear, A. Death and Dying in Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Kelly, M. Grief: Contemporary Theory and The Practice of Ministry. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.
  • Morrill, Bruce, Divine Worship and Human Healing: Liturgical Theology at the Margins of Life and Death. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical press, 1990.
  • Morrill Bruce and Susan Rodgers and Joanna Ziegler (eds.). Practicing Catholic Ritual, Body and Contestation in Catholic Faith. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
  • Musgrave, B. And N. McGettigan, (eds.). Spiritual and Psychological Aspects of Illness: Dealing with Sickness, Loss, Dying and Death. New York: Paulist Press, 2010.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Choose from ONE of the following alternatives: Essay. 7000 words


Presentation i.e photograph, picture; poetry (performed); film or video; drama/dramatic performance; which displays one or more themes studied in this unit. This work will be accompanied by a written reflection (total equivalent to 7000 words).

7000 100.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:49 +1000