On theological education

In Theological Reflection and Education for Ministry: The Search for Integration in Theology, John Paver observes that the credit for the definitive catergorisation in modern theology and its attendant implications for the training of pastoral ministers lays with Schleiermacher. He writes:

‘… including theology in a research university could be seen as a betrayal of the educational revolution that the research university represented. Schleiermacher had to answer to these objections if theology was to have a place so he added another pole [to the “Berlin” type of theological education] by advocating that theological education should constitute professional education. His argument was partly sociological and partly philosophical-theological. Schleiermacher’s sociological argument was that every human society has sets of practices dealing with bodily, health, social order, and religious needs. These are socially necessary for the well-being of society as a whole and each of these requires properly trained leadership. Schleiermacher’s philosophical-theological argument proposed that religions such as Christianity do not rest on principles, but on a kind of initiation or insightful experience, which can be the subject of philosophical enquiry. hence, Christian theology can be a subject of Wissenschaft enquiry without threat or compromise to Christianity’s integrity or the integrity of the university’. – John E. Paver, Theological Reflection and Education for Ministry: The Search for Integration in Theology (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 8.

Paver’s essay is a significant contribution to the ever-burgeoning field of theological education, training for ministry practice, and pastoral supervision as a vehicle for theological reflection. Whether it justifies the £55 price tag is another story, but then that’s what libraries are for.

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