Project Description

Margaret Beaufort Certificate of Theology

Catholic Teaching and Practice for Women

This course series comprises a minimum of 60 hours of study and is run on a Thursday afternoon as a women-only learning space.  The courses, whether online or face-to-face, are followed by online liturgy or prayer service.

Women are welcome to attend CTP courses following application and interview. They are able to attend a single module, or may choose to work towards the Margaret Beaufort Certificate in Theology.

The Certificate is awarded to students who complete five modules, over a one- or two-year period. They will be expected to cover three of the five study areas (listed below). Attendance at five modules will lead to a Certificate.  Accreditation can be awarded if two essays or presentations are submitted.

Commitment to attending five modules upfront will entitle the student to one FREE module.  Therefore you attend five modules but only pay for four.  Bursaries are available.

The five subject areas are:

  • Biblical Studies
  • Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy/Liturgical Studies
  • Spirituality/Theology/ Arts
  • Philosophy/Ethics
  • Church History/Systematic Theology

Cost: £180 per module. Commitment to attending five modules will entitle the student to one free module (i.e., attend five, pay for four).

For new students, please complete the CTP application form.  Download form here.   Email the form to:  apply@mbit.cam.ac.uk.   Places will be confirmed once application is accepted and fees have been processed.

For current and recent CTP students who have already completed an application, all you need to do is email your interest to apply@mbit.cam.ac.uk.

Any other questions, email info@mbit.cam.ac.uk

Module 1 (Online)

Jesus through the Centuries

Join our Director of Studies, Dr Louise Nelstrop for this four week intensive course exploring how the person of Jesus has been understood across history.  We will explore treatments of Jesus from the early Church to the modern day, including representations of Jesus in film and the arts.

The purpose of this course is twofold:

  1. To explore historical discussions concerning who Jesus is (Christology)
  2. To consider Christian thinking on how Jesus effects salvation (Soteriology)

As Alister E. McGrath notes in Theology: The Basics: ‘One of the most basic tasks of Christian theology is to clarify the identity and significance of Jesus Christ.’  In terms of the former, he points out that Christians have always stressed that Jesus is special in ways that mean he is ‘set apart’ and ‘qualitatively different’ from other human beings.  He is not just a teacher. The study of Jesus’ identity is formally known as ‘Christology’, which McGrath helpfully defines as ‘trying to make sense of Jesus’.  The second issue, Jesus’ significance, relates to a second area of theology, ‘Soteriology’, which McGrath helpfully defines as ‘making sense of salvation’.  It is clear that that the two ideas are closely related.

Indeed, as this course will explore, discussion of Jesus’ identity in the New Testament and in early Christian debates is fuelled by concerns relating to salvation.   Looking at discussions from the Bible onwards, students will follow the development of these two key areas of doctrine across history and consider the relationship between them.

Each week is divided into two teaching blocks, and over the course of these 8 sessions, students will carefully explore how Jesus has been understood within and outside Christian traditions across history.  While it will not be possible to consider all the different approaches to and understandings of Jesus that have existed across history, this four week course plots a historical route through discussions of who Jesus is and how he effects salvation.

Course Outline

Week 1: Jesus in the Bible and Apocryphal Literature

Week 2: Debate about Jesus’s Humanity and Divinity in the Early Church

Week 3: The Necessity of the Incarnation

Week 4: The Quest for the Historical Jesus and Jesus in the Arts

Pre-course and Weekly Reading

A reasonable amount of  reading will be made available online to students for each session.

Dates: Thursday afternoons, 7th–28th October 2020, 2:00pm to 5.30pm.   Followed by an optional evening liturgy at 6pm also online.

Cost:  £180

Course Leader: Dr. Louise Nelstrop

Module 2  (Online)

The Nameless Women of the Bible:  From Potiphar’s Wife to the Samaritan Woman

One calculation of named individuals in the Bible records 2,900 men and only 170 women.  But what of the hundreds of nameless women who flit across the pages of the Old and New Testaments?  This course will explore the plight and personalities of some of these women, from the well-known Samaritan Woman to the relatively unknown Wise Woman of Tekoa.  While doing so it will cast a light on the faith stories and socio-economic circumstances of a great variety of women and deepen your knowledge of books as diverse as Deuteronomy and 1 Timothy.  You will also be introduced to parallel versions of certain stories from the synoptic gospels, and to a wide range of biblical genres, from the narrative and law to parable and epistle.  The primary focus will be on the biblical texts which recount their fates, but their stories will also be discussed with reference to art, literature, and informative commentary. By the end of the course you will still not know the names of these women, but you will know them.

Course Leader: Dr Rosalie Moloney

Dates: Thursdays 4th to 25th November 2021, 2:00pm to 5:30 PM.  Evening Liturgy 6pm

Cost: £180

Module 3 (Online)

Sacramental Theology

This course focuses on understanding and appreciating Sacraments in the life of Catholics as a sign of Christ’s continuing presence with the Church.  It will offer an in-depth consideration of the use of signs and symbols in daily life, the Church as the sacrament of Christ’s presence, the seven sacraments; the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, Healing and Service of Communion and the Mission of the Faithful and the role that the Sacraments play as part of the universal call to holiness and vocation.  (N.B this course is a more advanced study than the CCRS course on the same topic.)

Course Leaders: Dr Gemma Simmonds CJ

Dates: Thursday afternoons 28 April – 19 May 2022 , 2:00pm  to 5.30 pm.  Evening Liturgy 6pm

Cost:  £180

There may be an opportunity for the leader and attendees have the course at  MBIT in Cambridge if possible.  Others outside Cambridge can attend online.  More information closer to time.

Module 4 

Women Who Changed the Church

From the women of the scripture to Catholic Women Speak, women have consistently changed church practice, communities, and ideas.  This eight lecture series, including this year’s Mary Ward lecture, will explore inspirational women whose lives and actions have been transformational within the Church.  By focusing on women in the historical and contemporary church, the course is designed to open discussion spaces to celebrate, uncover, and critique the contributions of women to and through Church history.

Speakers include:  Prof Shannen Dee Williams of Villanova University (Mary Ward Lecture 2022), Prof Jeana Del Rosso of Notre Dame of Maryland University, Dr Sue Price, Dr Phyllis Zagano, Prof Charlotte Methuen, Pavlína Kašparová, and Dr Carmen M. Mangion of the University of London among others.

Course Leaders: Dr Louise Nelstrop and  Dr Férdia Stone Davis

Dates: Thursday afternoons 20 January to 10 March 2021, 2 pm to 3.30pm.  There will be 3 workshops from 4:00pm to 5:30pm in weeks 3, 5, and 7 in which we will discuss key readings associated with the lectures.  Evening Liturgy 6pm

Cost:  £180 for all the lectures, plus the three workshops

The lectures and workshops will be online.  

Module 5 

Love and Desire:  Mystical, Monastic and Beguine Spirituality

This CTP course is comprised of three Tuesday full study days open to both men and women.  However only female students taking the CTP course will have an opportunity to attend a reading group on the final Tuesday from 2:00pm to 4:00pm  that will explore three short key texts relating to each of the topics.

Course Leader: Dr Louise Nelstrop

Dates: Tuesday 31 May,  7 June and 14 June 2022, 10:30am to 4:00pm plus a half-day workshop on Tuesday 21 June 2022, 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

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Day 1:  31 May 2022  Study Day: Love and Desire in English Mysticism 10:30am to 4:00pm (with time for lunch and breaks)

The first day will introduce students to the way in which English Mystics deal with love and desire.  It will focus mostly on medieval writers who are now household names, like Julian of Norwich and the Cloud-Author, but also bring in other writers who are less well-known in the English tradition.  The day will focus particularly on imagination, poetry and the arts, bringing in these writers and their thoughts on love and desire into conversation with the wider fields of art and poetry.

Course Leaders:  Dr Louise Nelstrop and Dr Elizabeth Powell

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Day 2:  7 June 2022  Study Day: Love and Desire from Bernard of Clairvaux to Hadewijch 10:30am to 4:00pm (with time for lunch and breaks)

The second day will explore the importance of love and desire and understood in key twelfth century monastic and beguine spirituality. The course will focus particularly on Bernard of Clairvaux’s Sermons on the Song of Songs, Hadewijch’s Visions and poems and Richard of St Victor’s short treatise, The Four Degrees of Vehement Love. It will introduce students to the value placed on desire, even erotic desire, within medieval Christian thought and tease out what is meant by these writers is the same as agapeic love.

Course Leaders: Dr Edward Howells and Dr Louise Nelstrop

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Day 3:  14 June 2022  Study Day: Love and Spirituality in the Cistercian Tradition 10:30am to 4:00pm (with time for lunch and breaks)

The third day will focus on spirituality in the Cistercian tradition. It will examine important spiritual and mystical motifs, including friendship, love and union, and think about how these have been developed. Key writers to be discussed include William of St. Thierry, whose writings influenced a number of female authors in the medieval period, including Beatrice of Nazareth. We will consider Beatrice’s Seven Manners of Love and also explore Aelred of Riveaulx’s claim that God is friendship.

Course Leaders: Dr Edward Howells and Dr Louise Nelstrop

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Day 4:  21 June 2022 Study Half Day: Texts on Love – Ancient Thoughts, Contemporary Relevance 2:00pm to 4:00pm

This workshop will be a chance for students to reflect on the materials covered in the course.  We will examine key texts, discuss their attitude to love and whether these ancient understandings of love have something to teach us today and watch an award- winning short film, co-directed by Louise Nelstrop, about contemporary artists engaging with this material.

Course Leader: Dr Louise Nelstrop

PLEASE NOTE THIS CTP COURSE IS HELD ON A TUESDAY, NOT THURSDAY

Cost:  £180

This mini-series is entirely online.