ERIC Number: EJ853087
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jul-27
Reference Count: 0
The Ethics of Being a Theologian
Noll, K. L.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n42 Jul 2009
Most people do not understand what religious study really is. Professors of religion are often confused with, or assumed to be allies of, professors of theology. The reason for the confusion is no secret. All too often, even at public universities, the religion department is peopled by theologians, and many of those theologians refuse to make the distinction that the author makes in this article. Religious study attempts to advance knowledge by advancing individuals' understanding about why and how humans are religious, what religion actually does, and how religion has evolved historically. Theology also views itself as an academic discipline, but it does not attempt to advance knowledge. Rather, theologians practice and defend religion. Theology is a set of words about a god; therefore, while theology is one of many objects of investigation for a religion researcher, it is the substance of the scholarship produced by a theologian. The author requests that theologians fulfill basic ethical obligations, such as the affirmation that theology is not knowledge and must position itself apart from those academic disciplines that try to advance knowledge, such as history, anthropology, religious study, and (perhaps especially) the natural sciences.
Descriptors: Religion, Intellectual Disciplines, Religion Studies, Ethics, Scholarship, Epistemology, Theological Education, Philosophy, Religious Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A