Long gone are the days when boys tracked St Paul’s missionary journeys in a dilapidated biblical atlas and then went on to ‘learn’ a gospel.
Divinity or Religious Studies has changed. It is flourishing nationally and the same is true at Tonbridge. Today it promotes critical thought and introduces ‘big’ questions of meaning and value which philosophers and theologians have wrestled with for centuries. Not only does this provide an excellent intellectual training but it forces boys to think about themselves and the world around them. Although much of our teaching is rooted in the Christian tradition it is non-confessional in approach and in no way seeks to ‘convert’ or push a particular point of view.
All boys study Divinity in the Novi and two main areas are covered – an introduction to philosophical and theological questions and an introduction to ethical thinking. Within the course of a year boys will consider questions such as ‘What makes a person?’ and ‘Can terrorism ever be justified?’ Boys are given open-ended questions to debate in class and on paper for prep and this contribute positively to their general intellectual development.
IGCSE Religious Studies is offered as an option and boys studying it cover philosophy and ethics. This is proving an increasingly popular choice and covers issues ranging from medical ethics to the problem of evil. In recent years all but a few boys have attained A* or A grades.
In the Sixth Form boys may opt for Religious Studies focussing on Ethics and the New Testament. The course provides an excellent intellectual training which encourages clarity of thought and articulate expression and forms a respected basis for any arts or science degree.
A distinctive feature of the department is that it produces its own textbooks / work books for all years.