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Philosophy of Religion (PH307-15)


This module is not running in 2016/17

This module runs in the Autumn Term and is worth 15 CATS


When philosophy considers God it often supposes Him to be a peculiar kind of object defined by a number of distinctive properties (such as being the cause-less cause of the world). It then typically examines the reasons one might have for believing in any such entity (“Proofs for the Existence of God”) and the coherence of the properties themselves. Towards the end of this course we shall ourselves investigate some of these issues: in particular the Ontological and Cosmological Proofs, which have received new developments in the Twentieth Century. But we shall not start there. For a question that is often raised is why any entity defined by such properties should be regarded as divine. What, for example, has the issue of causality got to do with the sacred? Indeed, the propriety of thinking of God as an “object” or even an “entity” at all has been questioned. So most of our enquiry will concern a more basic question: What is the authentic sense of such terms as “divine”, “sacred” and “holy”? We shall, here, be following a broadly “phenomenological” approach to religion: inquiring into the place in human experience where an authentic meaning of religious terms and ideas can perhaps be discerned.


At the end of the course students are expected to have both: (A) Acquired an understanding of some of the most important accounts of religion since Kant; and (B) Understood and to been equipped to engage with some of the central arguments for the existence of God


In this module students must attend one lecture and one seminar each week all taught as one large group


This module can be formally assessed in the following ways:

  • 100% examination - 2 hour exam
  • 100% assessed - 1 x 2500 word essay

In addition all students must submit 1 x 2500 word unassessed essay to the coursework management system in line with the 2012-13 essay deadlines schedule.

Please see here for further infomation on how to choose your assessment method


Core texts: Friedrich Schleiermacher, On Religion (esp. Second Speech); Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy; Paul Tillich, The Dynamics of Faith; Martin Buber, I and Thou

Course materials from previous years

Please be aware that these materials may not be relevant to the current version of this module; they are intended primarily for students who took the module in other years.

Module Tutor:

David Smith

A dot D dot Smith at warwick dot ac dot uk