Common Time 2019

Theology and Philosophy

Buttressing - South side of Winchester Cathedral
Buddhist ordination in Pali with lacquered boards - In the Fellows Library

"Theology's regal status as ‘Queen of the Sciences' lies in its commitment to seek the deepest possible level of understanding." John Polkinghorne

The religious questions of man remain as important today as ever. We believe that religious studies should form an integral part of the education of Wykehamists and should be accessible to boys of any religious persuasion or none. Through the exploration of theology, philosophy and the major religious traditions of the world, a deeper understanding of culture, humanity and ourselves will emerge.

These courses complement the religious life of the school whilst remaining sensitive to the distinction between theological education and Christian catechesis. In the department we aim to promote honest and robust discussion and to provide boys with a stimulating, enjoyable and academically rigorous study of religion and philosophy.

During the first three years Religious Studies is taught as part of the Div course, providing a broad conspectus of Christian history and theology together with reference to other world religions.


The Cambridge Pre-U in Philosophy & Theology is a course designed to bring together important elements of both disciplines. GCSE Religious Studies is not a prerequisite. Boys will study two broad areas covering the philosophy of religion and ethics. They sit three papers and will be examined on four set texts. Topics covered include: foundational debates in Western philosophy; epistemology, reason and revelation; moral absolutism and relativism; free will, determinism and conscience; arguments for the existence of God; religious experience; sociology and psychology of religion; the problem of evil; science and religion; life after death; Christian and secular approaches to ethics; practical ethics including medical ethics, war and peace and environmental ethics.

Pre-U Theology & Philosophy attracts large numbers of boys, several of whom each year apply to read Theology, Philosophy, or related subjects at top universities.