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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

Working in a social constructionist framework, the author describes practical theology as a multi-conversational discipline. In each conversation (with systematic and biblical theology, with other academic disciplines, and with the church and society) specific demands are placed on discourse, governed by specific criteria for truth claims. In these conversations, two levels of discourse are distinguished. First order discourse consists of ordinary religious language (and action), second order discourse is the academic discussion of this language. In both discourses social constructions can be found, analyzed and critiqued, but the referential and performative criteria differ. Finally it is claimed that the theological and normative dimension of practical theology is not something added to empirical investigations, but present in the material researched.


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