Human Ageing:
Theological and Spiritual Perspectives

crosslisted DP8632C and DS8632C 
Foundational Unit

Rev. Dr Laurence McNamara CM

Australians are living longer and our society is an ageing society. This unit will explore the ways human ageing has been understood in the Bible and throughout the history of the Christian church(es). Recent theological explorations of ageing will be an important focus of the course unit. Special emphasis will be given to Catholic theology and the ways it contributes to an understanding of human ageing. Closely related to the theological inquiry will be a consideration of the way both Christian and non-Christian spiritualities have tried to understand and live with the reality of growing old.




intensive mode: 9.00am — 3.30pm


two 1,000-word short papers   2 x 20%
one 4,000-word essay   60%


  • Coleman, Peter G. Belief and Ageing. Spiritual Pathways in Later Life. Edited by J. Phillips. Ageing and the Lifecourse. Bristol: Polity Press 2011.
  • Confoy, Maryanne. Welcome, Inclusion, Attentive Presence: The Central Role of Pastoral Care in Catholic Health and Aged Care. Canberra: Catholic Health Australia, 2015.
  • Hauerwas, Stanley, Carole B. Stoneking, Keith Meador, and David Cloutier, eds. Growing Old in Christ. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2003.
  • Kimble, Melvin A., and Susan H. McFadden, eds. Aging, Spirituality, and Religion: A Handbook: Volume 2. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.
  • Kimble, Melvin A., Susan H. McFadden, James W. Ellor, and James J. Seeber, eds. Aging, Spirituality, and Religion: A Handbook. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995.
  • MacKinlay, Elizabeth B. The Spiritual Dimension of Ageing. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001.
  • ———. Spiritual Growth and Care in the Fourth Age of Life. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006.
  • ———, ed. Ageing, Disability and Spirituality: Addressing the Challenge of Disability in Later Life. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2008.
  • Rohr, Richard. Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. London: SPCK, 2012.
  • Swinton, John. Spirituality and Mental Health Care: Rediscovering a 'Forgotten' Dimension. London: Kingsley, 2001.