What is it about?

This article argues that theology is not the "queen of the sciences". It is not essential to the functioning of a university, nor is it the foundation of other branches of knowledge. Its presence in a modern university is contingent on the social and historical conditions of the society in which it is located. The article argues that theology belongs in the university only because of its relationship to the church, specifically in societies in which Christianity has a large public presence. The article discusses Friedrich Schleiermacher's view that theology has a practical orientation toward Christian leadership in society. It argues that this perspective sheds light on the history of academic theology in Australia.

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Why is it important?

This article tries to show the benefits and limitations of understanding theology as a "science", or as part of a modern research university. It gives an account of theology that is oriented toward service to the Christian community, and it shows that this approach is compatible with promoting the common flourishing of society.


When I was writing this paper, I enjoyed trying to combine theological thinking with some of the institutional realities of modern universities. I was especially motivated to provide an alternative account to Linn Marie Tonnstad's article, "(Un)wise Theologians: Systematic Theology in the University" (IJST, 2020), which I found brilliant and challenging but also too idealistic.

Ben Myers
Alphacrucis College

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Does Theology Belong in the University? Schleiermacherian Reflections from an Australian Context, International Journal of Public Theology, December 2021, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15697320-01540015.
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