Christian Theology and the Secular University  book cover
1st Edition

Christian Theology and the Secular University

ISBN 9780367882129
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
242 Pages

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Book Description

If the secular university by definition is non-sectarian or non-denominational, then how can it accommodate a discipline like Christian theology?  Doesn’t the traditional goal of theological study, which is to attain knowledge of the divine, fundamentally conflict with the main goal of secular academic study, which is to attain knowledge about ourselves and the world in which we live?  So why should theology be admitted, or even care about being admitted, into secular academic life? And even if theology were admitted, what contribution to secular academic life could it make?

Working from a Christian philosophical and theological perspective but also engaging a wide range of theologians, philosophers, and religious studies scholars, Christian Theology and the Secular University takes on these questions, arguing that Christian theology does belong in the secular university because it provides distinct resources that the secular university needs if it is going to fulfill what should be its main epistemic and educative ends.  This book offers a fresh and unique perspective to scholars working in the disciplines of theology, philosophy, and religious studies, and to those in other academic disciplines who are interested in thinking critically and creatively about the place and nature of theological study within the secular university.

Table of Contents


1 Whose Theology? Which University?

2 Theology in the Secular University: A Critical Analysis of the Current Debate

3 An Epistemology of Truly Liberal Learning

4 Theology and Truly Liberal Learning in the Secular University

5 Theology and Moral Education in the Secular University


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Paul A. Macdonald, Jr. holds an endowed chair in the Department of Philosophy at the United States Air Force Academy.


"Christian Theology and the Secular University clearly and competently outlines the major fault lines of the debate over the appropriate academic context for the study of theology. (...) Those in the battle to defend or dismiss theology’s place in the secular university will find the study to be an invaluable starting point for a debate that shows no signs of abatement."

- Mark S. M. Scott, Thorneloe University at Laurentian

"This book o¿ers Christian educators (particularly teacher educators interested in the foundations of their institution’s educational philosophy) a great deal to think about."

- Bill Boerman-Cornell, Trinity Christian College, International Journal of Christianity & Education

 "Ultimately, what is perhaps most valuable in MacDonald's text is that he invites his reader to consider the purpose and value of education, both for the individual and for the society at large. MacDonald successfulþ argues that if we are to enhance the common good, future leaders must be well educated, and that education must include the study of christian theology. It is an essential ingredient for students to know how to be critical thinkers who are ever striving for the common good"

- Molly F. James, Anglican and Episcopal History