Students will explore the symbolic world of European and Australian art (including work by Aboriginal artists) to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the representation of selected key aspects of Christian belief. Drawing specifically on the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria in dialogue with other images, we will consider how various artistic approaches illuminate changing perspectives on diverse themes in order to resource theological conversation.

Unit code: AR2110P (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Religious Studies

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Identify significant dates, people and themes in the history of Protestantism in the 18th-mid-20th centuries


Apply key principles of artistic and theological interpretation to a range of art works


Evaluate the interplay of context and tradition (both artistic and theological) in the work of a visual artist


Communicate an understanding of the treatment of a central Biblical and/or theological theme in the work of a visual artist;


Intensive: Lecture, tutorial, site visits to the National Gallery of Victoria, provision of online resources to galleries elsewhere

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bevans, Stephen B., and Katalina Tahaafe-Williams. Contextual Theology for the Twenty-First Century. Eugene, Or: Pickwick Publications, 2011.
  • Caruana, Wally, Aboriginal Art, London: Thames & Hudson, 2003.
  • Crumlin, Rosemary. The Blake Book: Art, Religion and Spirituality in Australia. Melbourne, Vic: Palgrave Macmillan Australia, 2011.
  • Dyrness, William, Visual faith: art, theology and worship in dialogue, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.
  • Harries, Richard, The image of Christ in modern art, Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2013.
  • Hudson, Wayne. Australian Religious Thought. Melbourne: Monash University Press, 2017.
  • Loverance, Rowena, Christian Art, London: The British Museum, 2007.
  • McCaughey, Patrick, Strange Country: why Australian painting matters, Carlton, Vic.: The Miegunyah Press, 2014.
  • McDannell, Colleen. Picturing Faith: Photography and the Great Depression. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.
  • Sherman, Louise, and Christobel Mattingley. Our Mob, God's Story: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists Share Their Faith. 2017.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay 2 (2500 words)

0 40.0
Oral Presentation

Presentation (online or f2f) of 1000 words

0 30.0

Essay 1 (500 words)

0 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-02-05 11:58:49 +1100