Original Research - Special Collection: UP Faculty of Theology Centenary Volume One

Human dignity and education – A Protestant view

Friedrich Schweitzer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3436 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3436 | © 2016 Friedrich Schweitzer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 April 2016 | Published: 29 August 2016

About the author(s)

Friedrich Schweitzer, Professor of Practical Theology/Religious Education, Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Tübingen, Germany; Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa, Germany

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Taking current discussions on the relationship between human dignity as a human right and education as his starting point the author pursues the possibility of interpreting this relationship from a Protestant perspective based on the biblical understanding of the likeness of God. Since this understanding has not been at the centre of the majority view in Protestant educational thinking the author tries to uncover a minority tradition that has made the likeness of God the basis of education (Melanchthon, Comenius, and others). In another step, the author describes four foundational perspectives for making the likeness of God and human dignity the basis for education today, addressing education beyond utilitarianism, justice in education and education for justice, interreligious education and special commitment to children’s rights. In all four respects Protestantism can make important contributions but there is also a need for the renewal of Protestantism’s understanding of education in light of future challenges.


human dignity; education; Protestantism; likeness of God; justice; interreligious dialogue; children’s rights; Melanchthon; Comenius


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