Theology as Requirement: The Challenges of Teaching Theology in the Modern Academy
Seminar series co-sponsored with the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning
A Three-Part Seminar for Theology Faculty and Graduate Students
This three-part seminar will bring together theology faculty and graduate students to discuss some challenges and opportunities associated with teaching theology in the modern academy—one characterized by pluralism, the rise of the “nones,” and even some hostility against the discipline. These discussions, each co-led by a faculty member and graduate student, will engage three moves innate to the theological classroom: introducing theology to those with a different or no experience of religion; complicating the discipline of theology for students who do have some religious background, but one that might be more catechetical in nature; and empowering students to engage the theological discipline themselves through their own theological reflection or the use of theological skills in other aspects of their lives. The co-leaders will begin each conversation with a brief presentation or discussion of a common reading, followed by an opportunity for participants to raise questions and share insights and best practices for theological education.
Wednesday, March 23, 2022 with Dr. Amey Victoria Adkins-Jones and Nathan D. Wood-House
This session focuses on models for introducing students from areligious cultures or backgrounds, or who come to the classroom from a different religious tradition, to the world of religion and theology. What practices do we engage to effectively invite students into a conversation they have not had (or have not had use for) to date? What other considerations are important for these foundational encounters with students?
Wednesday, April 13 with Dr. Jeffrey L. Cooley and Domenik Ackermann
This session explores the complicating of theology, focusing on teaching students who have been raised in the tradition being taught, but who have a catechetical understanding of their faith—more black-and-white than nuanced. How do we distinguish catechesis from theology? How do we invite students to ask challenging questions of their tradition without fearing the risk of losing faith? How do we reconcile questioning tradition with commitment to it? What practices do we use to introduce nuance and complexity?
Wednesday, April 27 with Dr. Meghan Sweeney and Katie Mylroie
This session explores empowering students to take up the practice of theology as their own. How do we teach the skills necessary for theological reflection? What practices can draw out the theologies of our students? How do we invite students to think theologically about their experiences and/or relate them to the traditions from which they come? If they are not of a tradition, what skills can we give them to use in other aspects of their lives or in other disciplines?