The Holocaust in Theology, Literature and Art

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Religions and Philosophies

Module overview

The purpose of the course is to analyse different representations of the Holocaust in 20th and 21st century theology, literature, film, and art. The impossibility of adequately expressing the horrors and atrocities of the Holocaust stands in contrast to the need to transmit knowledge about the Holocaust to later generations. How and to what extent is it legitimate to write fiction and poetry about the Holocaust, to address the Holocaust in art, and to make movies about it which are non-documentary and sometimes even have the form of comedy?

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At completion of the course students should be able to:

  • evaluate the role of the Holocaust in relation to modern Jewish identity;
  • explain how the Holocaust is dealt with in Jewish and Christian theology;
  • assess the different literary representations of the Holocaust in European, American, and Israeli literature;
  • analyse the ways in which the Holocaust is represented in post-ww2 films;
  • compare Holocaust museums and memorials with regard to the ways in which the Holocaust is presented there;
  • discuss whether and to what extent it is legitimate to represent the Holocaust in fiction and art;
  • write essays that critically assess and analyse the various representations of the Holocaust in theology, literature, and art.


A two hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.

Method of assessment

One 4,000 word essay (worth 80%);  one class presentation (worth 20%).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules