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German Students of Theology

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

The central question in this article is how the expectations of students of theology developed and if they were fulfilled. German students of Evangelical Theology were asked about their motives for studying, their expectations concerning the study of theology and the profession of pastor. The article is based on a panel-study by the author. Three interviews at the beginning, the middle and at the end of the study were carried out. As it was be plausible that these expectations were not homogeneous between different groups of students, the author looked for reference-groups and subcultural collectivities. Some environmental conditions belonging to the ecological climate of faculties were assessed. Very often pastors of the home parish, academic teachers or friends are significant others, who mediate influences of a specific background on the student's process of socialization. Moreover, the receptivity and selectivity in respect to the study courses are important for the results. The author tries to identify the variables that affect the fulfillment of the expectations and to assess their influence. The results concern the professional socialization as well as the pastoral theory. Therefore, the framework of the research is outlined in a double perspective: (a) in a professionalization approach including theorems of socialization and (b) in the dimension of pastoral theology. The author tries to draw conclusions concerning the study of theology and on the professional period of probation.


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