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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2011 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Constant Mews


Previously coded HSY1200


This unit explores the different ways God has been presented in the scriptures and traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The emphasis is on exploring the broad history of religious ideas and images about divinity from the time of the formation of the canon of classic sacred texts in each of these religions to modernity. It will consider how these ideas and images have related to specific situations in human experience at particular moments in history, as well as how they have been used both to support and to question an established religious, social and political order. The emphasis will be on how these teachings are lived out in practice as well as in theory.


Upon completion of this unit, students will be expected to:

  1. have an understanding of the historical origins of the three monotheistic faiths;
  2. understand the major developments and phases of the individual traditions and the continuities and ruptures that characterize them;
  3. understand the core beliefs about God of the individual traditions;
  4. be familiar with the key texts and figures of Judaism (Bible and Rabbinic literature), Christianity (New Testament and Church Fathers), Islam (Koran and hadith literature);
  5. be familiar with different ways of figuring divinity (eg. transcendent, immanent etc.) and the subsequent view of the religious quest;
  6. be able to analyse core texts and distill religious ideas from them;
  7. appreciate the challenge of modernity (eg. enlightenment, secularism, feminism) to the various traditions studied;
  8. understand the historical relationship between the three religions;
  9. appreciate how the 3 traditions have shaped and continue to shape the modern world.


Major essay (1750 words): 50% +Tutorial presentation (1000 words) and participation: 10%
Short writing exercise or text analysis (750 words): 10% +
Exam (1 hour): 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Constant Mews

Contact hours

Two hours of lectures and one hour of tutorials per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Religion and theology
Jewish civilisation