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Religious Studies A Level at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School

Course description

Religious Studies A level involves significant amounts of group work and class discussion within lessons. Students will often be given material from newspapers, books and websites to read and respond to, or their own research to do, and so the ability to read extended pieces of writing is needed. Homework tasks will often include structured written tasks or extended written answers as well as reading, research and the preparation of learning aids. Students will make presentations to the group on topics that they have researched.

Course content

Students may choose either one of two pathways through the subject depending on whether they wish for a more Biblical or more Philosophical approach. New Testament and Ethics (Path A)

AS Level :

New Testament – Synoptic Gospels How the Gospels came into being: Can a translation be the word of God? Parables and Healings: In a scientific age, do Jesus’ healings have to be rationalised? Arrest, trials and death of Jesus: Are these accounts really historical? The resurrection of Jesus: Is the resurrection at the heart of Christian faith?

Ethics 1 Utilitarianism (Bentham, Mill): Is happiness all that people desire? Situation Ethics (Fletcher, Christian love): Is conscience a vital element of Situation Ethics? Religious teaching on the nature and value of human life: If God creates humankind, is God then responsible for sin? Abortion and Euthanasia: Do humans have the right to life?

A2 Level:

New Testament – John’s Gospel The Greek and Jewish context from which John draws. The nature, role and purpose of the discourses in John’s Gospel: How much of the discourses are John’s interpretations of Jesus’ teaching? The nature, role and purpose of signs in John’s gospel: If John is correct, why would Jesus use signs rather than just telling people? The nature, role and purpose of the passion and resurrection narratives: Is John more interested in the death than in the resurrection?

Concepts of God and Ultimate Reality / Religious Experience The concept of God in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition, Hinduism and Islam Differing understandings of the human situation in relation to God. Differing understandings of God’s relation to the natural world Different types and views of religious experience Experiences of God as sources of knowledge about God. Talking about God – examples of ‘God talk’ and its use and importance in religion and beyond.

Philosophy of Religion and Ethics (Path B) - Units 2 & 4 plus:

Philosophy of Religion The Cosmological argument: The strengths and weaknesses of the argument. Religious Experience: Main characteristics of visions, conversion and mystical experiences. Can religious experience show that God probably exists. Psychology and religion (Freud, Jung): Has ‘God’ been explained away by psychology? Atheism and postmodernism: How successfully has religion responded to the challenge of atheism?

Philosophy of Religion Understanding of the ontological argument as presented by Anselm and Descartes: Does it successfully challenge disbelief in God? The problems of religious language – meaningfulness and the verification principle: Is it possible to talk meaningfully about God? Personal identity and the possibility of continued personal existence after death: immortality, resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation and replica theory. Is the notion of personal post mortem existence coherent? The problem of evil: Religious responses to the problem of evil. Is free will a satisfactory explanation for the existence of evil in a world created by God?

Entry requirements

At least one B grade in an essay-based subject is required as part of the normal entry requirements. A GCSE in RE is not required.


The course is assessed by examination at the end of the year in each paper taken:

AS Level: 2 x 1hour 15 min exams

A2 Level: 2 x 1 hour 30 min exams

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School directly.

Last updated date: 26 June 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 - 2 Years