Liturgical Research Seminar (B-KUL-A07E1A)

4 ECTSEnglish26 First termFirst term
Facultaire POC Theologie en Religiewetenschappen

At the end of the course each student will be prepared:
i.  to conduct one’s own graduate research in liturgy with skills in three areas: heuristics, hermeneutics and synthetics.
ii. Heuristics: students gather information on the context and sources of an agreed upon prayer.
iii. Hermeneutics: students interpret the prayer in its liturgical context using a selection of analytical tools.
iv. Synthetics: students draw conclusions and develop a reasoned argument on the prayer and its liturgical context, which students communicate in written and oral forms.

Note: This course is taught at Ealing Abbey, London in early July for the following academic year. It is completed before its course description is posted on the KU Leuven web-site. For course information please visit the web-page for this course at:Institutum Liturgicum. To enquire please write to: After successfully completing this course at Ealing, you may thereafter enrol for this course at KU Leuven to receive KU Leuven study points / ECTS credits.

Previous knowledge:
It is recommended that participants have a general familiarity with the Bible and the history of western civilization in the Christian period in order to understand the general context of the documents examined. A basic ability to compose a written work is necessary before developing the specifics of academic writing. Analysis of liturgical texts assumes a working ability in Latin.


4 ects. Liturgical Research Seminar (B-KUL-A07E1a)

4 ECTSEnglishFormat: Assignment26 First termFirst term
Facultaire POC Theologie en Religiewetenschappen

After a general introduction, three encounters are assigned to each of three skills: heuristics, hermeneutics, synthetics. As a seminar, the students are engaged in their own learning process by producing two brief written essays which contribute to a more synthetic essay that forms the basis of an oral presentation during the last encounter.
i. The instructor introduces the general tools for research.
ii. Heuristics: students learn and use several methods to gather the essential body of information on a prayer from designated sources.
iii. Hermeneutics: students learn how to interpret a liturgical prayer in context.
iv. Synthetics: students learn how to develop a reasoned argument and communicate it in oral and written forms to an identified audience.
v. The last encounter includes the oral exam conducted individually.

Course Material:
♦ The Library resources are available to the students including research tools, and editions of Latin liturgical books.
♦ Participants with a personal computer, with a LAN cable or wireless connectivity and a UK plug-in adapter will benefit more readily from online resources.
♦ Students are greatly helped by their own electronic or online access to databases of primary texts such as: Bibleworks.
♦ Students enrolled at KU Leuven will have access to the Library of Latin Texts, Brepols.
♦ Students may consult additional books on study skills and the art of writing such as: W.M. Beveridge, The Art of Study, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1965.

Description of learning activities:

♦ develop a reasoned understanding of a selection of prayers in their original language
♦ identify the sources of a selection of prayers
♦ interpret a selection of prayers in their liturgical context and present an argument
♦ use library resources and source texts in original languages to study liturgical texts
♦ use online resources for the scientific study of liturgy
♦ participate in class lectures and discussions


Evaluation: Liturgical Research Seminar (B-KUL-A27E1a)

Type : Exam outside of the normal examination period
Description of evaluation : Written, Oral
Type of questions : Open questions
Learning material : Reference work, Course material

Evaluation description:
Examination type
: written (50%), oral (50%).
When: Written preparation comprises two small essays, which are developed into a concluding essay of 5-7 pages handed in at the beginning of the final session. The oral exam is conducted during the final session.
Explanation: The student and instructor agree on a prayer for study. Students write two brief essays, one presenting two sources underlying the prayer (heuristics) and the other follows one method to interpret the prayer (hermeneutics). Based on oral feedback from the instructor, students revise their written work and draw conclusions which they present in a final essay. Discussion questions ask the student to explain the method used in discovering sources, interpreting the prayer and writing a reasoned argument. The instructor asks questions that help the student come to a more satisfactory explanation of the prayer.
Criteria for evaluation: The student demonstrates a facility with the methods presented in class 1) to discover the context and sources underlying the prayer and 2) to interpret the prayer and 3) to present a coherent argument about the prayer based on their research. The essay is not intended to be a comprehensive study of the prayer, but a demonstration of the methods (heuristics, hermeneutics, synthetics) learned in class. The essay is used to support the student in his or her oral presentation and discussion, and then becomes a written record of the student’s work. The discussion questions are both theoretical, concerning the student’s understanding of the methods presented in class, and applied, concerning the student’s ability to apply these methods to the interpretation of one’s prayer text.

Because this is an intensive summer course, the opportunity for a second exam is by appointment and depends upon the availability of the instructor.