St John's College Oxford
St John’s is holding a Theology Essay Competition for UK students in Year 12 or equivalent, who will be starting Year 13 in September 2018.

The St John’s College Theology Essay Competition is open to all UK students currently studying in Year 12 and who will be starting Year 13 in September 2018. The competition is open to students regardless of whether they are currently studying Religious Studies (or equivalent) at A-level. Each student may submit one essay only of up to 2,000 words in answer to one of the following questions: 

  1. How can skills acquired in school subjects help when reading the creation stories in Genesis 1-3?  For example skills and methods embedded within courses such as, but not restricted to, English Literature and Language, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, foreign languages courses, History, Philosophy, Religion etc. 
  2. Why should we bother to read the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible?
  3. 'Religious literacy is critically important nowadays.' Critically evaluate this statement.
  4. Can devotional texts, such as prayers, make useful theological sources?

The organisers are interested in providing an occasion for independent research, as well as to encourage curiosity and reflection.

The essay titles have been chosen to take account of the research expertise at St John’s College and to encourage the widest possible approach to the investigation of theology. 

All essays should:

  • be word-processed with double-spaced lines
  • include ONLY your initials and date of birth in your header or footer (to allow anonymous marking)
  • be submitted, together with a cover sheet, by 4pm on Wednesday 12 September 2018 to the following email address: The cover sheet can be downloaded here.

All primary texts can be considered in translation or in the original language. Where either primary or secondary sources have been used they should be acknowledged with full references.

Prizes of book tokens will be awarded to the best essay in response to each question. All applicants will receive a certificate of entry.

Theology Study Day
All entrants to the competition will also be invited to attend a Theology Study Day at St John’s College on Saturday 6 October 2018. This will provide an insight into College life and a chance to meet the tutors and students. The essay prizes will be announced on the day and there will be an opportunity to see manuscripts in the College Library, to learn the Hebrew alphabet and to create a manuscript of your own on parchment. There will be a tour of the College, of the new Library and Study Centre, and lunch in Hall. If you have any questions, please contact