This unit is designed primarily for non-Indigenous students who wish to explore theology from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander point of view. The unit will introduce students to the methods, themes, and language of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander approaches to Christian theology. It will also contrast these approaches with those of the dominant theological culture.

Unit code: IS8001M

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Indigenous Studies

Proposing College: School of Indigenous Studies

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Learning outcomes


Describe the key methods by which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theologians attempt to decolonise Australian theology.


Critically evaluate the ways in which 'traditional' Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander concepts such as 'dreaming' or 'country' are deployed by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander scholar to elucidate a Christian doctrine.


Analyse the ways in which Christian doctrines such as that of Trinity, Christ, Church and Revelation are redeployed and reinterpreted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theologians.


Articulate ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theological perspectives might helpfully inform the student’s own ministry context.


Content will be delivered via: 1/Weekly set readings; 2/Two weekly lectures, with time for questions and guided discussion; 3/Oral presentations from students, followed by time for questions and guided discussion.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Denise Champion with Rosemary Dewerse, Yarta Wandatha. Uniting Church 2014
  • Denise Champion with Rosemary Dewerse, Anaditj. Uniting Church 2021
  • Garry Worete Deverell, Gondwana Theology: a trawloolway man reflects on Christian faith. Preston, Victoria: Morning Star Press, 2018.
  • Jione Havea (ed.) Indigenous Australia and the Unfinished Business of Theology: Cross-Cultural Engagement. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014
  • Vicki Grieves, ‘Aboriginal spirituality: Aboriginal philosophy, the basis of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing.’ Darwin: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health, 2009.
  • David Joy and Joseph Duggan (eds) Decolonizing the Body of Christ: theology and theory after empire? New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012
  • Anne Curthoys and Jessie Mitchell, Indigenous Rights and Settler Self-Government in Colonial Australia, 1830-1890. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.
  • Skye, Lee Miena. Kerygmatics of the New Millennium: A Study of Australian Aboriginal Women's Christology. No.4. ISPCK, 2007.
  • Anne Pattel-Gray and John P. Brown, Indigenous Australia: a dialogue about the word becoming flesh in Aboriginal churches. Geneva: WCC, 1997.
  • Anne Pattel-Gray (ed.) Aboriginal Spirituality: Past, Present, Future. Blackburn, Victoria: Harper Collins Religious, 1996.
  • Tyson Yunkaporta, Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World. Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2019.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Oral Presentation

An oral presentation critically engaging with the readings set from one of the weekly topics.

1500 30.0
Book Review

A critical review of one of the set texts.

1500 30.0

A critical essay answering one of four essay questions in which the student is invited to connect their learnings from the unit to a ministry context in positive and helpful ways.

3000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 5 Apr, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-09-28 10:50:06 +1000