06 July 2006

Theology and modern universities

There are sometimes discussions about whether subjects like theology have a place in the modern university. Having once taught missiology in a university, I am quite interested in such questions, and remember that modern universities had their origin in medieval ones in which theology was regarded as "The Queen of the Sciences".

There is an interesting article on The Culture of Theological Thought as a Part of Educational Universum by Deacon Andrei Kuraev, Professor of the Moscow Theological Academy, translated by fr. Savatii Lewis.
Jul 5, 2006, 23:07

I find it interesting to compare the kinds of attitudes found in this article with those at the University of South Africa (Unisa), where I worked for several years. When I started working there, it was a Broederbond-controlled institution, dedicated to turning out obedient servants of the white male Afrikaner estalishment that ran the university and the country. The higher one went in the university, the greater the proportion of Broederbond members among the staff, and the lower ranks, secretaries, typists etc were filled with their wives and daughters.

One of the few exceptions to this was the theology faculty, in which certain departments, notably Missiology, Theological Ethics, and Systematic Theology were almost alone in seeing the need for Unisa to transform itself from a party-policical indoctrination machine into a true university. One result of that is that the first non-Broederbond faces to appear among the top management of the university were mainly from the theology faculty. Unfortunately this seemed to have a deleterious effect of the theology faculty itself, where some of the best minds were taken away from teaching, and sidetracked into academic administration.

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