Thinking theologically about practice

Subject code: TAM301

Subject name: Thinking theologically about practice

Semester: Autumn

Locations: Bergen

Study year: 2017–2018

Course language: Engelsk

Studypoints: 15

External candidate: No

Single subject: No

Required prerequisite knowledge

The basic educational pathway is an obtained bachelor's degree with 80 ECTS specialization in theology and with a grade average of C or higher (ECTS). Language requirements apply as for the entire Master program. For details and alternative pathways, see the curriculum for Master in Theology and Ministry.

Recommended prerequisite knowledge

2 years of experience from Ministry or Church practice.

Relevance within study programme

Obligatory course in Master in Theology and Ministry

Elective for Master of Theology or Christian studies


The course offers an introduction theological thinking in the context of practice.

Learning outcomes descriptors


The candidate:

  • has fundamental knowledge within the academic field of practical theology
  • has specialized insight in qualitative methods in ecclesial ethnographic research
  • has thorough knowledge of theory formulation and method development in practical theological research related to empirical research
  • can apply theological and interdisciplinary knowledge in an innovative manner in Practical Theology
  • can analyze academic problems on the basis of the practical theology and qualitative empirical research–s distinctive character and place in society



The candidate:

  • can analyze existing theories, methods and interpretations in the area of Practical Theology and work independently on practical and theoretical problems
  • can use practical theological and empirical methods for research and scholarly
  • and /or artistic development work in an independent manner
  • can analyze and deal critically with empirical research and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments
  • is sufficiently equipped with theory and methodology from the forefront of empirical practical theological research in order to design a limited research project of his/her own


General competence

The candidate

  • can analyze relevant Practical Theological theory and research ethical problems
  • can apply his/her knowledge and skills in the field of empirical and practical theological methods in order to carry out assignments
  • can communicate independent work and masters language and terminology of the area of empirical and practical theology
  • can participate in scholarly discourses about practical theology in academia, the church, and in wider society
  • can contribute to new thinking and innovation in practical theology


The content of TAM301 Thinking Theologically about Practice could be expressed in terms of two main foci and a cluster of central topics:

Focus 1 will be on reflexivity in theological reflection and issues of tradition and the place of empirical work in theological method.

Focus 2 will be on formal practical theological method. This will offer an overview of the discipline of practical theology.

A cluster of topics and cases form a third area of attention: Ordinary Theology, Lived Religion, Material Christianity,

Christopraxis, Ordinary Hermeneutics, practice and Theological Fragments, and Messy Church

Teaching and learning methods

Two weeklong learning sessions on campus comprised of lectures, group-seminars, and case-based classes.

An online learning-program stretching over eight weeks before and between the learning sessions. Each week is comprised of at least one video-lecture, self study of syllabus related to the week–s topic, online office hour (a live-chat with a lecturer), and a small assignment (coursework requirement).


375 h

Coursework requirements

  • 80% attendance at the learning session is a requirement. (Alternative assignments will be provided for students prohibited from attending).
  • 8 minor online assignments.

          (Alternative submission deadline may occasionally be approved)

Grading, coursework requirements

Approved/Not approved

Final assessment

Final assessment in TAM301 is the subject of one Home Exam. This is a written essay comprised of 5000 words (+/- 20%) on a pre-assigned topic. Duration:10 working days.The Home Exam is an individual piece of work and is assessed according to the ECTS grading scale. The wording of the assignment and date of submission is announced after the final learning session in the course.

Permitted aids under examination


Grading, examination

The Home Exam is assessed according to the ECTS grading scale,A – F.

Assessment language


Alternatively, one of the Scandinavian languages.

Other languages could be accepted by application.



Course evaluation

Students will be encouraged to evaluate the course module online (Itslearning) upon completion. Lecturers will evaluate the course module through mutual conversation, and based on student evaluations.

Offered as Single Standing Module



Ballard, Paul and Pritchard, John (1996) Practical Theology in Action London: SPCK

Fulkerson, Mary, McClintock (2007) Places of Redemption Oxford: Oxford University Press

Osmer, Rick (2008) Practical Theology: An Introduction Grand Rapids: Eerdmans

Root, A. (2014). Christopraxis: A Practical Theology of the Cross. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

            Ward, P. (ed.) Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography (2013 Erdmann–s)

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