Online Course Details
Meeting ID 844 7116 2479 | Passcode 594089
The Heythrop Institute has produced a series of podcasts for teachers offering theological, historical and philosophical insight into the first branch of the new RED ‘Creation and Covenant’. The podcasts will be made available to participants beforehand, and the collaborative workshops will be an opportunity to discuss the material heard, to explore together how the material might relate to the RED and classroom practice, and to help shape future HI approaches to the remaining branches. Heads of RE and RE co-ordinators may find this particularly helpful, as will any staff interested in their own continuing theological formation. A certificate of attendance will be available for those that wish. Attendees should not feel obliged to go to every workshop unless they wish to.
In many places,the new RED implies well-developed, flexible and informed theological thinkingas a background for classroom practice. HI has produced a series of experimental podcasts exploring the‘creation and covenant’ branch of the RED. Each of these workshops will explore one or two episodes of the podcasts,relating it to specific points on the RED, and giving an opportunity to explorecollaboratively how well the theological ideas translate into the classroom,throughout the key stages represented. This collaborative process will enable HI representatives to adjusttheir writing as they prepare podcasts for the other branches.
Week 1 Creation and the genesis of Genesis (1 + 2)
Conflict between science and religion?
Interpreting the Bible
Philosophical ideas of meaning in text: basic meaning, writer meaning, reader meaning.
How do we think God communicates through sacred text?
The Vatican Council on how to interpret the Bible – authors’ intention in context
Best guesses about the context of the authors of Genesis:
Historical awareness of the existential disaster and recovery
Week 2 ‘In a Beginning’ and ‘Genesis 2-3: Being Human’
Thinking about the historical background to Genesis One
The Bible and engagement with other cultures. Retelling myths.
Guessing author intentions; noting traditional reader understandings.
Theme of covenant.
Creation and fall – a myth with relevance for Jewish (and human) history.
Week 3 ‘The drama of salvation: creation and salvation’, ‘The science of creation: God and the world’
These two episodes explore the development of theological ideas within biblical text that become critical for Christianity.
The different meanings of ‘God saves’ and different Jewish pictures of ultimate human destiny.
The idea of ‘covenant’ as a living relationship in history.
The wider intellectual environment in which Jewish and Christian thinkers develop their thinking about the meaning of life.
The Greek-speaking intellectual tradition and the Jewish experience of persecution by a Greek king.
The creation of Judaism as Jesus knew it.
‘End of the world’ thinking and politics.
prophetic reading of scripture and allegorical reading
Christian understandings of ‘rescue’
Finding science in scripture – the Torah meets Aristotle and Plato
The creation of theological language and the language of the New Testament.
God as the one who is, the eternal Word of God.
Week 4 ‘From Genesis to modern understandings of creation’
How the theology of creation evolves beyond the bible in the tradition.
The creed, encoding specific options about the philosophy of creation by God from nothing.
The theology of the word, and the doctrine of the Trinity emerge.
The ancient harmony between accounts of God and creation and ancient science.
Popular beliefs go backward and informed beliefs go forward after Galileo.
The problems posed by geology and evolution: the age of the earth, the fluidity of ‘in their kinds’ and undermining the argument for God from the order of the universe.
Richard Dawkins restating an argument against God
Creative fusions of Christianity and evolutionary thinking: Teilhard de Chardin.
The official Catholic acceptance of evolutionary theory.
Week 5 ‘The value of creation: social and ecological justice and the meaning of life in the world’.
Here we try and bring Christian thinking about creation and the destiny of the world into conversation with other belief systems and world views which our students are encountering.
What difference might being a Christian make to how we go about trying to save the planet?
Paradoxes within Christianity.
The concept of the fundamental goodness of creation and the beginnings of Catholic Social Teaching. The revolutionary concept of the ‘common destination of goods’.
Interpreting Genesis 1-3 in the light of the climate crisis.
A theological idea: creation as sacrament, revealing the creative power and action of God.
Participants listen to the podcasts relevant to the coming session, noting questions, points of interest, points of usefulness.
(a)whether or not the approach and content are helpful to them personally
(b) what questions they raise that they'd like to follow up
(c) if and how the approach can be translated into the classroom,
(d) take one theme and explore ways of structuring its teaching for progression across the different year groups
John Moffatt will collect some of the responses and post them for participants.
To facilitate discussions please find below a copy of the RED topic-based outcomes across the year groups, along with a chart matching the topics from the RED to the content of the podcasts.
Files (Please see them at the bottom of the page)
RED Age-Phase Outcomes Summary
Grid for identifying relevance of podcasts to RED
Episode 1 - Creation: Revelation and Interpretation
This episode begins looking at the Genesis creation stories and reflects on how to interpret sacred text responsibly when there is a mismatch between literal meaning and modern understandings of the world. It uses a simple but very useful idea from the philosopher J. L. Austin.
Episode 2 - The Genesis of Genesis
The Second Vatican Council said that we need to try and understand the cultural context of the many different authors within the Bible and to make a best guess about their intentions. This episode explores the likely motivations of the authors of the opening chapters of Genesis, against the backdrop of the Jewish people’s experience of exile and liberation in the sixth century before Christ.
Episode 3 - In a Beginning
This episode looks at the first account of creation in Genesis 1 and explores how the authors adapt material from other cultures in order to say what they want to say about their experience of God.
Episode 4 - Being human
Genesis 2-3 presents a human story of gift, grace, failure and punishment. The episode explores the possible links with lived Jewish history and the tradition of the prophets.
Episode 5 - The Drama of Creation: Creation and Salvation
Genesis 1-3 is only the tip of the iceberg among the biblical accounts of creation. The chapters can only be fully understood as part of a human story – the drama of salvation, of a God who rescues God’s people. This episode explores different versions of that drama that appear in the Bible.
Episode 6 - The Science of Creation: God and the World
There is a lot of more scientific and philosophical thought in the Bible and in the later traditions (Jewish, Christian and Muslim), that tries to make sense of the details of God’s relationship with the world. This episode looks at how such reflection on creation by Jewish thinkers, against the background of Greek philosophy ultimately led to the distinctively Christian idea of Christ as the Word of God and God as Trinity.
Episode 7 - From Genesis to Modern Christian Understandings of Creation
This episode offers a glimpse of the stages in which the Christian tradition has evolved, interpreting Biblical text about creation in the light of philosophical and scientific ideas through the ages, with a particular focus on how the Church has coped with the two shocks of Galileo’s theory that the earth went round the sun, and Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Episode 8 - The Value of Creation and the Meaning of Life
We return to an all-important idea that our understanding of the cosmos affects our whole lives. Many people make sense of the universe without believing in God. Often they still share many values with Christians and other believers. We finish with the ways in which a Christian spirituality of creation can help engage us in the human project of protecting our shared planet.
John Moffatt SJ works at the London Jesuit Centre. His first degree was in Classics. He taught in London secondary schools intermittently between 1985 and 2016 and has worked briefly in University Chaplaincy. He has been involved with teenage and adult faith education in Britain and South Africa and has recently completed a doctorate in medieval Islamic philosophy.