University Theology as a Service to the Church

Avery Cardinal Dulles

in Church and Society

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228621
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236619 | DOI:
University Theology as a Service to the             Church

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The concept of university theology is necessarily somewhat vague. Patristic theology, for instance, had a particularly pastoral character since it was closely linked with the preaching of the bishops to their flocks. In the early Middle Ages theology, chiefly practiced in monasteries, became more contemplative; it was closely bound up with the pursuit of holiness and with prayerful reading of sacred texts, both biblical and patristic. In the high Middle Ages the universities emerged as the chief centers of theological productivity. Theology became more academic and scientific. Then, in early modern times, when the universities became secularized and nationalized, theology moved by preference to the seminaries, and there it remained for the most part until about a generation ago. This chapter discusses the differing styles of theology, contributions of university theology, academic freedom of technology, the impact of religious pluralism, and the remaining challenges to university theology.

Keywords: Middle Ages; religious pluralism; academic freedom; university theology; Church

Chapter.  5676 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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