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

How scientific is theology really? A matter of credibility

Jaco Beyers
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3449 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3449 | © 2016 Jaco Beyers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 April 2016 | Published: 28 October 2016

About the author(s)

Jaco Beyers, Department of Biblical and Religious Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria; Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The criteria for what is considered as science have been debated for a very long time. This article assumes the scientific nature of Theology as a given. This article discusses in three concentric circles the scientific nature of Theology and the type of contribution Theology can make. The first circle addresses the nature of science. This broader look at what is considered to be science sets the context for the ensuing discussion. Secondly, Theology as science is investigated. The criteria which make Theology an indispensable part of the scientific project is identified as the ability to collaborate with other sciences based on a shared interest in reality and creation. Further, Theology as science has the ability to contextualise the products of scientific efforts to be relevant not only to the faith community but to society at large. Theology as science requires a critical self-reflection which does not only include a self-understanding but also a self-renewal. The third concentric circle focusses on the scientific nature of Theology as practised at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria. The Faculty of Theology endeavours to produce life-giving Theology. To prove itself to be scientific Theology needs to act credible by contributing to the wellness of society.

Keywords

theology; science; credibility; oikodome; dialogue

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