TT429: Rules of Serious Engagement

Two major recent initiatives in the subject, Understanding Christianity, a teaching and learning approach developed by the Church of England, and The Commission on RE (CoRE), which reported its findings on September 12th, 2018, are shaping current thinking about RE. Both call for a renewed focus on depth of understanding and academic rigour, in short, ‘serious engagement’, as Understanding Christianity puts it, with the subject matter. In recent years, rigorous and academically stretching RE has often been associated with the critical realist approach, which treats RE as a quest for ‘ultimate truth’, competing claimants in a debate in the ultimate […]

TT428: Professional Disciplinary Dialogue

This piece of research considers what the next steps are for a community coming to terms with being defined as a disciplinary subject, and perhaps most importantly, how we discuss this professionally. It is a response to the growing number of groups calling for the subject to be considered in disciplinary terms, with a recognition of the potential multidisciplinary nature of the subject. In this piece, I consider how the nature of the subject, students, and teachers are affected by this shift in subject definition. I then consider how other humanities subjects such as History and Geography have engaged with […]

TT426: Cracking Christian Concepts in a Cathedral

The intention of this work is to complement the requirements of the Understanding Christianity resource produced for Church of England schools by the Church of England and RE Today in 2016. (RE Today Services works nationally and internationally to support Religious Education in schools.) The driver for the research arose from speaking with many primary school teachers when they visited the Education Department at Chester Cathedral. They spoke about this new schools’ resource, saying that they found it difficult and challenging because they did not really have a personal grasp of core Christian concepts themselves. They therefore felt ill-equipped to […]

PS096: A Passport to Pilgrimage: Sacred Places, Shrines and Schools . . .

John Pritchard, former Bishop of Oxford, defined pilgrimage as “a spiritual journey to a sacred site”, but pointed out that, if we remain within our local environment or even our home, it is “possible to gain the same insights and wisdom as those who journey great distances.”  Pritchard reminds us that, if we have a pilgrim spirit, “These journeys will bring us back to where we started but we may no longer be the same people. With open eyes and hearts, we may have discovered God where he has always been – right in the midst of the everyday.” For […]

TD039: Developing Links

Did God create a rainbow for us to see religions in black and white? Is the art of Christianity better presented when using an artist’s palette or just with an HB pencil?   ‘Faith is my guide. Let God paint! The colours God decides to use in your life today are beautiful, even if they are dark blues, greys or even black. However, He loves to paint with all colours of the universe and will surely use many new ones in your future landscape.’ (When I was looking for inspiration to write this synopsis, this appeared on Pinterest! It was […]

PS093: Analogous Philosophy & Theology

This Farmington Institute paper outlines the nature and importance of analogy in philosophy and theology as seen in the writings of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein. This will be done with reference to a number of perennial philosophical problems, namely the problems of the “one and the many”, “identity and difference” and the “unity of the sciences”. In doing so, it will attempt to illustrate why the aforementioned thinkers provide a more successful and prudent framework for answering these problems, academically and experientially, than those of popular alternatives. The latter being, to use two well-known contemporary approaches, positivism and […]

WR04: The language of Orthodox Icons-a resource for teachers

Summary: This report is designed to be an illustrated resource for RE teachers wishing to use icons in the classroom in order to encourage a more theological understanding of the incarnation, baptism, resurrection and atonement. Explanations of the significance and language of icons will allow teachers to adapt the material to their own needs when preparing lessons around the use of icons whether at primary, secondary or sixth form level. Includes information on the theology of the icon, the origin and development of icons, the language of icons and their liturgical function, the style of icons, and the setting of […]

TD38: Turning the Tide – Communicating Catholic ethos to the major stakeholders in schools and colleges

Summary: This report investigates the background to Catholic schools, their purpose and the issues with communication. Catholic ethos in schools and colleges has become, to a wide degree, implicit rather than explicit in terms of theology and is in danger of being lost due to the pressures and demands on schools, but it has not disappeared, it is simply that we need to find a language in which to communicate it in the changed circumstances of the present day. This project has been a lifelong one; a burning passion that what is precious is not lost for the lack of […]

TD37: “Through her eyes” – A study considering traditional and feminist hermeneutical theories applied to the Book of Esther

Summary: My Farmington Fellowship has given me the opportunity to explore scholars’ ideas and develop resources in the fields of traditional and feminist hermeneutical approaches to interpreting the Bible. I choose these areas to study as my Sixth Form students find these areas hard to grasp and some of the scholars’ views they study confusing. My aim was to produce resources that engage the pupils in these areas, as well as develop their subject knowledge, thus eliminating the areas that are confusing to them. During my study I have identified the key scholars that the OCR RS A Level specification, […]

TD36: “Good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell” – Do school children have an accurate understanding of Christian beliefs about life after death?

Summary: A common student response to the question “what do Christians believe about life after death?” is “Christians believe that good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell”. This is over-simplified at best, and at worst just wrong! The concept of grace seems to be missing from students’ understanding. In this research, data is gathered comparing the beliefs of church-goers from four different churches about life after death with the expectations of students in two different schools. From the comparison of these results it is clear that there are several areas where there are misunderstandings about key beliefs.