curriculum: worldviews course
The worldview course is a rich combination of reading, seminar discussions, lectures, and investigative outreach. Students discover, assess, synthesize, and communicate their findings in oral and written forms, in larger groups and in one-on-one conversations. The bulk of the course runs before or after the Oxford term.
In conjunction with cultural information and advice provided by the Oxford Study Abroad Programme (or OSAP, a long-standing Oxford study abroad organization with whom the Oxford Study Centre has partnered), OSC provides introductions and insights about the religious life of Oxford in particular, and England and Europe more widely.
The worldview course provides discussions of the interpretation of the Bible and other important texts, a variety of worldviews with notable presence in the West (including discussions of origins, texts, populations, etc.), a series of challenging readings (in theology, politics, economics, history, science, culture, etc.), conversations with guest speakers and conference calls with accomplished scholars and authors.
Among other objectives, students will gain, develop, and cultivate:
abilities to investigate and discover the origins, sources (e.g. documents), and significant convictions of worldviews commonly encounterd in western civilization (e.g. Islam, pseudo-Christian religions);
knowledge of how these worldviews (or their constituent elements) impact the personal convictions and practices of their adherents, as well as features of culture, such as relationships, philosophy, laws and politics;
abilities to appreciate how adherents of various worldviews gain and hold their convictions vis-à-vis the Bible and other sources of religious authority (e.g., Qur’an);
enhanced abilities to interpret texts and assess alternative readings (hermeneutics);
increased abilities to perceive, investigate and understand worldview convictions of others, and this with a missional perspective and posture;
increased abilities to convey one’s own worldview convictions with clarity in speech and writing, and that with attention to how these communications (verbal and otherwise) may be perceived by others;
development of a self-reflective attitude and a willingness to reconsider the content and form of one’s own worldview convictions, especially in conversation with other Christians with somewhat differing convictions.
Studying in Oxford, England, provides students with opportunities for cross-cultural experiences in a context related to their native language. It presents ample occasions to worship with, to encourage, and to be edified by the body of Christ in another country. As a multicultural center, most Oxford churches host internationals (both Christians and non-Christians), providing a trusting and friendly atmosphere for building and cultivating relationships.