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Theology in the public square of Australian higher education


Fleming, D and Lovat, T and Douglas, B, Theology in the public square of Australian higher education, Journal of Adult Theological Education, 12, (1) pp. 30-42. ISSN 1740-7141 (2015) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1179/1740714115Z.00000000034


In the Australian context, tertiary theological education has historically been the domain of particular religious denominations, being applied principally to students within the denomination in question and delivered largely through colleges explicitly oriented towards training for religious ministry within the same denomination. As such, the introduction of the discipline of theology into the mainstream of a number of public and secular Australian universities marks a significant shift in this educational landscape. This article argues that theology’s move from the denominational and confessional context to the public square of a secular university carries with it a need to reassess the discipline’s educational assumptions. Not only is the majority student base not from within a particular denomination or looking to ministry training, but a significant number of students are typically not belonging to any faith and, in many cases, not interested in doing so. Theology in the public square must therefore be assumed to be primarily a discipline among other disciplines. Like other disciplines, it must therefore be available principally for the public good, and assessed for its worth by related criteria. These criteria impel a revision of the theological and pedagogical assumptions of the discipline when delivered in this context.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:theology, Australia, higher education, secular university
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Religion curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Religion
Objective Field:Religion and society
UTAS Author:Fleming, D (Mr Daniel Fleming)
ID Code:119203
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2017-07-27
Last Modified:2017-10-25

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