What are human beings and what is our purpose? What can we know about God and how? What is the nature of reality and existence? In this survey unit, students will be introduced to how key Western philosophers have answered these questions. Beginning with Plato and ending with contemporary philosophy, students will be introduced to key movements and themes in the history of Western philosophy, including modernism and post-modernism. Attention will also be given to how philosophy relates to Christian theology. In tracing the history of philosophy to the present moment, students will also be introduced to the philosophical assumptions of life in the Western world today, including in Australia.

Unit code: CT2041L

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Australian Lutheran College

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Learning outcomes


Identify basic themes of Western philosophy


Describe how specific philosophers have influenced Christian theology


Differentiate the philosophical approaches of modernism from post-modernism


Reflect on the philosophical assumptions of Western life today, particularly in Australia

Unit sequence

Course relationship: A level 2 unit in undergraduate theology and ministry courses


This online unit involves students and the lecturer together engaging with texts from the philosophical tradition. Using a journal, students will reflect in open forum on their interaction with key philosophers and movements, providing an avenue for regular feedback. A book review will help to scaffold an interview that will bring philosophical approaches into conversation with assumptions in Australian life today.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Allen, Diogenes, and Eric O. Springsted. Philosophy for understanding theology. 2nd ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2007.
  • Brown, Colin. Philosophy and the Christian faith. London: Tyndale Press, 1968.
  • Cary, Phillip. Philosophy and religion in the West. Audio Lectures. Chantilly, VA: The Teaching Company, 1999.
  • Cullmann, Oscar. ‘Immortality of the soul or resurrection of the dead?’ in Immortality and Resurrection. Ed. K. Stendahl. New York: MacMillan, 1958.
  • Gould, Paul M., and Richard Davis, eds. Four views on Christianity and philosophy. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016.
  • Kenny, Anthony. A new history of western philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University, 2010.
  • Magee, Bryan. Confessions of a philosopher: a journey through western philosophy. London: Phoenix, 2002.
  • Sayers, Mark. Disappearing church: from cultural relevance to gospel resilience. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016.
  • Scruton, Roger. From Descartes to Wittgenstein: a short history of modern philosophy. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2002.
  • Stump, Eleonore, and Michael J. Murray, eds. Philosophy of religion: the big questions. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Book Review

Review an assigned text on a philosopher of the modern period

1000 25.0

Reflections on assigned readings

2000 45.0

A mock Socratic dialogue

1500 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 5 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:51 +1000