Practical theology: The past, present and future of a concept

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Following the pattern set by Friedrich Schleiermacher, the concept of practical theology became well-established in Britain during the twentieth century as the subject was taught, with a clear ecclesial and pastoral focus, in the Scottish universities. In the present day, however, if practical theology is to be sustainable in the academy it needs to engage more closely with scripture, doctrine and tradition and in so doing to address, through mutually-generative and mutually-accountable interaction, the whole of material life. The university setting indeed provides opportunities for such wider engagements and research. When practical theology moves outside an ecclesial context, practice cannot be conceived as self-validating but must always remain subject to external theological critique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-26
Number of pages22
JournalTheology in Scotland
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Scotland
  • Ludwig
  • Benedict
  • Hegel
  • George Wilhelm Friedrich
  • MacIntyre, Alasdair
  • Rule of
  • practical theology
  • practice
  • Schleiermacher
  • Wittgenstein

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