Theology and Religion

Book spines listing major world religions: Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Protestantism.

Oriel has a strong tradition in Theology that stretches back to the eighteenth century, when the College numbered among its students the eminent Anglican philosopher and theologian, Joseph Butler.

In the nineteenth century, Oriel was the cradle of the Oxford Movement, all of whose leaders - John Keble, John Henry Newman, and E B Pusey - were Fellows of the College. In this century a number of famous theologians began their careers as Oriel students, including T F Torrance and John Hick.

Theology remains a thriving subject at Oriel. The College is particularly strong in ancient and modern Christian doctrine, Christian ethics, Biblical studies, and the philosophy of religion. In addition to the Tutorial Fellow in Theology, William Wood, the College also has as a Fellow Hindy Najman, the Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture. Emeritus Professor Richard Swinburne is still a very active member of the college.

Students in the Theology course (the single honours school) typically begin by studying select books of the Bible, along with a wide-ranging examination of the Christian doctrine of creation. They are also required to learn either Biblical Hebrew or New Testament Greek. After their first public examination, students choose one of three ‘tracks’ of study: Biblical Studies, History and Doctrine, or Religious Studies. Regardless of the track they choose, Oriel students have many opportunities to pursue their own theological interests.

Admissions criteria

Candidates for places in the Single Honours School of Theology are not required to have backgrounds in particular subjects. Candidates are required to submit one piece of written work. Work should have been marked in the normal process of school or college work and should be in Religious Studies if studied to A-level (or equivalent). If Religious Studies is not being taken at A-level (or equivalent) then work should be from a related area.

Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent). 

2 or 3

For more information contact the admissions office:

Telephone: +44 (0)1865 276522

Organising Tutor/s

Brendan Harris wearing a white shirt and blue tie
Theology and Religion