Journal Article

Theology and Religious Studies: Their Difference and the Difference It Makes

Schubert M. Ogden
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 3-17
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http:/stable/1462751
Page Count: 15
Were these topics helpful?
See something inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

  • Download ($42.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Theology and Religious Studies: Their Difference and the Difference It Makes
Preview not available

Abstract

On the conventional account, theology differs from other forms of reflection, including religious studies, for one or both of two reasons: (1) because it has to appeal to special criteria of truth for some if not all of its assertions; and (2) because the theologian has to be a believer who already holds these assertions to be true. But, since by contemporary standards, either of these is also a reason for dismissing theology as illegitimate, the perennial task of achieving an adequate theological self-understanding today is widely supposed to confront a dilemma: one must choose, finally, between a theology that is really different from religious studies only because it also fails to comply with current standards of reflection and a theology that is in full compliance with such standards only because its difference from religious studies is merely verbal and so does not really make a difference, anyhow. The question, consequently, is whether it is possible to provide an account of the difference between theology and religious studies other than the conventional account. One way of arguing for an affirmative answer is to establish the following three claims: (1) that religious studies differ from the study of religion generally in being constituted as such by the question as to the meaning and truth of religion as itself a claim to truth; (2) that this difference remains even in the case of full compliance with contemporary standards of reflection, since it entails neither special criteria of truth for religious assertions nor special qualifications for students of religion; and (3) that, analogously, theology would be different from religious studies, as well as from other forms of reflection, even it it were in full compliance with the same standards of reflection, since the sufficient ground of its difference is the question that constitutes it a distinct field of reflection-namely, the reflective question as to the meaning and truth of the Christian religion, or witness of faith. Having established these claims, the argument concludes that the supposed dilemma is merely that and that there remains the distinct possibility of a theology that is in full compliance with contemporary standards of reflection even while being really and not merely verbally different from every other field of study.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
3
    3
  • Thumbnail: Page 
4
    4
  • Thumbnail: Page 
5
    5
  • Thumbnail: Page 
6
    6
  • Thumbnail: Page 
7
    7
  • Thumbnail: Page 
8
    8
  • Thumbnail: Page 
9
    9
  • Thumbnail: Page 
10
    10
  • Thumbnail: Page 
11
    11
  • Thumbnail: Page 
12
    12
  • Thumbnail: Page 
13
    13
  • Thumbnail: Page 
14
    14
  • Thumbnail: Page 
15
    15
  • Thumbnail: Page 
16
    16
  • Thumbnail: Page 
17
    17