The study of religion and the philosophical questions that follow contributes to students’ understanding of the foundations of Western culture. It provides an opportunity to reflect upon their own attitudes, the attitudes of others and the fundamental questions of what it means to be human. It is multi-disciplinary; encompassing literature, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, linguistics, art, and more. It also instills the analytic and critical skills needed for further academic study in the field of humanities.
An article in the New York Times (Dec. 26, 1997, Business Section) suggests that those who read philosophy do better in the job market than most other graduates in the arts and sciences: “Apparently people in the real world think philosophy majors are well trained. They are trained to think, to analyse. They express themselves well. They write.” Pupils begin that training at A Level. Career opportunities are diverse; including the church, education, caring professions, civil service, business, journalism, law, politics and the arts.
Some famous people who studied in this area:
Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Steve Allen (writer & comedian), Woody Allen (director & comedian), William Bennett (former Drug czar & NEH leader, author), Gerald Levin (CEO of Time Warner), William Jefferson Clinton (former U.S. President), Carleton Fiorina (CEO of Hewlett-Packard), Lawernce Rockefeller, Philip K. Dick (science fiction writer), David Duchovny (actor on X-FILES), Rebecca Goldstein (novelist & MacArthur prize recipient), Harrison Ford (actor), Vaclav Havel (former President of Czechoslovakia), Mark Hulbert (financial columnist for FORBES magazine), Carl Icahn (business person & corporate raider, bought TWA), Martin Luther King, Jr. (civil rights leader), Bruce Lee (martial arts expert & actor), Peter Lynch (director), Paul Martin (Canadian Prime Minister), Steve Martin (comedian & actor), Beverly McLachlin (Canadian Chief Justice), Bob Moses (civil rights activist), Iris Murdoch (novelist), Freeman Patterson (photographer, author), Neil Peart (drummer for rock group, RUSH),Chaim Potok (novelist), Brad Roberts (singer-songwriter for CRASH TEST DUMMIES), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Ricky Gervais (comedian), Terrence Malick (filmmaker), Ethan Coen (of ‘the Coen Bros.’, filmmaker), George Soros (money manager, Soros Foundation), William Crawley (BBC).
The Divinity Department presently has two full time teachers and two non-specialist teachers from the Modern Languages Department who assist in teaching two Year 8 and Year 9 classes. The two specialist teachers undertake all teaching in Year 10 and above.
The Department occupies two classrooms situated in the West Wing of the School. Each classroom is equipped with interactive whiteboards and AV resources.
Divinity is a core subject in Years 8 to 13. Classes are not streamed in the first three years. Boys are taught Divinity for two periods per week.
Years 8 & 9
Pupils study four key topics; (1) The Gospels; (2) Jesus of Nazareth; (3) The history of the Christian Church and (4) The Bible.
They begin preparation for GCSE in Year 10. The Department currently follows the CEA GCSE specification. We have begun teaching the Revised GCSE specification in Year 10. All boys will sit one module (Christianity through a study of Matthew) at the end of Year 11. Boys can opt to sit the second module (An Introduction to Philosophy of Religion) at the end of Year 12 to gain the full GCSE qualification.
Some ninety boys take GCSE every year achieving outstanding results with excellent added value for individual boys.
AS and A2
AS Religious Studies has attracted up to twelve boys who study Acts, 1 Corinthians, Galatians (Unit 2) and Philosophy of Religion (Unit 7). We follow the CEA specification. We are currently considering changing from Unit 2 to Unit 6, Religious Ethics: Foundations, Principles and Practice. The two specialist teachers stay with their classes at A2. Both the AS and the A2 class are allocated eight periods per week. Results have been very encouraging
- An Introduction to the Acts of the Apostles
- An Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
- A Study of Acts, Galatians and 1 Corinthians
- Religious Belief and Competing Claims