2.5 REVIEW AND DISCUSSION OF UNIT 2

Back to 2.4.7

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As a reminder of what you have covered in this unit, open and look through Unit 2 Contents. You might like to revisit some of the specific pages.  Keep the Contents page open while you are on this screen.

Below are two ways in which you can review what you have learned (whether you are doing the module as part of a degree or using it to study informally).

A.       Assessing the ‘learning outcomes’

Look again at the ‘learning outcomes’ for this unit, as pasted in below (from 2.1).  I have added references to the particular pages in which each was covered.

By the end of this unit, you should be able:

  • to describe what this unit means by the ‘just government strand’ in the Christian Bible [2.2.1 and 2.2.10 especially, and pages in between]
  • to discuss how to interpret some of the main texts in both Old and New Testaments about government [2.2.3-2.2.9]
  • to name some of the historical developments that are especially significant both in the background to, and actually as part of, the emergence of modern CST [2.4.1-2.4.3 especially]
  • to outline the meanings of ‘liberalism’, ‘conservatism’ and ‘socialism’, and how CST is related to these positions [2.4.4-2.4.6]

It is possible that, when you first re-read those points, you’ll think you can’t easily do those things.

But as you look again at some of the material, you might be surprised.  When you re-read specific pages, do you find that you largely know about what you encounter, even if you couldn’t easily bring it to mind beforehand?

Or is the material really unfamiliar?  If it is the latter, you might want to work through some of it again.

B.       Discussing your study

If you are studying formally, you will be expected to participate in a seminar on what you have read for Unit 2.  The exact format of this will be determined by the Module Convenor in your university/college.

If you are studying informally with others in a parish, other Christian community or workplace, it will be worthwhile to join with others to compare and contrast your reactions so far.

If you are studying the module alone, so cannot have a face-to-face discussion of it, you are very welcome to post your reactions to it and any questions at ‘Comments on Unit 2’.

Whichever of the above applies to you, your study will have provoked questions.  The ‘reflections’ are of course intended to do this.  You might like to have another look at the particular pages in which you were most interested to see what the ‘reflections’ asked you to consider.  As for the ‘exercises’, there have been three:

  • in 2.2.4, on the role of Israel’s king
  • in 2.2.6, on the meaning of Jesus’ statement, ‘Render to Caesar…’
  • in 2.4.3, on historical events during the modern period of Western history. 

In addition to discussing questions you have come up with, here are four areas you could address:

(i)     Study of the Bible

At the start of this unit, I said we would approach studying the Bible by taking into account “the overall shape of the narrative” of God’s relationship with his people (2.1, quoting Massaro).

  • Do you now have an overall sense of biblical history?
  • Does what you have learned affect how you would read biblical texts in future?  If so, in what ways?
  • In particular, would you now want to have sense of how a particular passage is related to the overall story of Israel and Jesus?

(ii) The ‘just government strand’ in Scripture

  • Which is the most fundamental of the following concepts for understanding the life of ancient Israel, and why?

Covenant    Torah    Kingship

  • What is your reaction to learning that the Hebrew Scriptures present an understanding of the role of rulers in which giving judgment in court is very prominent?  In light of your study, do you see this as a positive or a negative task?
  • In Unit 1 (1.2.5), there was a short reading from a statement by the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in which they strongly affirmed the value and importance of the vocation to go into politics (accessible here).  Does your study especially of Jesus but also of St Paul’s letter to the Romans enable you see the Bishops’ statement in a new way?
  • In the light of your study of Scripture, is there any advice you would give to a Christian who believes they have a vocation to go into politics?

(iii)  The historical context of modern CST

The start of 2.4.5 referred to liberalism, conservatism and socialism as “the three great traditions of political thought and practice that have dominated public life in the West for the last 200 years.”

It continued,

This raises a major question: Does CST represent a way of seeing the world and of acting in political life that corresponds, more or less, with one of these three?  Or does CST represent something different and distinct from all of them?

  • Discuss this question.

(iv)  Learning outcomes

  • Discuss with others to what extent have you achieved the Unit 2 learning outcomes (as listed above on this screen).

If your discussions of these or other questions prompt you to want to post in COMMENTS ON UNIT 2, please do.

You are now at the end of Unit 2.  You might wish to review the Module B Outline or go directly to Unit 3 Contents.

 

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End of Module B Unit 2

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