What Does it Mean to be Human?

A theological exploration in reference to disability, eating disorders, and artificial intelligence.


Course Introduction

What does it mean to be human? What do we owe to our fellow human beings? What is necessary for human flourishing?

The way in which we answer such questions shape all aspects of our lives: how we spend our money, how we vote, how we understand and treat our bodies, how we relate to those who are vulnerable, our patterns of work and rest, and so on.

This course aims to equip students with skills and resources with which to think theologically about these questions, and their implications, as they encounter them in their own contexts.

Course Overview

To address these important questions, we will consider how Christians have grappled with them across the centuries, as well as how we might continue that tradition of reflection in our changing world.

We will first consider what the scriptures and historical thinkers of the church have to say about our humanity. For example, we will consider what it means to be made in the ‘image of God’, how human beings are to relate to one another and their environments, and how we are made to live as bodily, emotional, intelligent beings.

We will then consider these themes through the lens of three case studies: disability, eating disorders, and artificial intelligence. Each of these topics cast a different light on the theological question of what it means to be human.

Engagement with disability, for example, asks us to think carefully about the place we give to certain cognitive abilities in our theological understanding of human creatureliness. Eating disorders challenge us to reconsider what it means to be embodied, and particularly our theological approach to need, dependence, and nourishment. Meanwhile, contemporary debates and discussions around artificial intelligence ask us to contemplate what makes human beings unique, and to think critically about how we are called to interact with emerging technologies.

Course Details

Course Duration:5 sessions
Course Dates: Thursdays, 22 February – 21 March 2024
Time19:30-21:00 GMT
Location:Online, Zoom
Cost:£74.50 | Early-bird discount available. Book before 30 November 2023 and receive 50% off!

By signing up you agree to the full Short Course Terms and Conditions (opens in a new tab).

Early-bird Terms & Conditions: Discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Discount is available on the full individual course fee of £74.50. Course fees must be paid in full before midnight on 30/11/23 to qualify. The sale price is £37.25 per person. Discounts are non-transferrable, not for resale, not redeemable for cash and valid only for the products set out above. KST reserves the right to withdraw, amend or cancel a discount offer at any time.

Course Tutors

Niamh is a PhD candidate in Christian Theology at the University of Cambridge, where she also completed her BA and MPhil degrees in Theology. Her research investigates how engagement with contemporary research into eating disorders can challenge and shape our theological understanding of what it means to be human. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, Matt.


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"All the teaching on KST has been excellent, the breadth and depth of knowledge has been amazing: I will really miss it."

Sue, Teeside