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Empirical Research Within Practical Theology

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Empirical inquiry in practical theology and religious pedagogics can be perceived and applied in a variety of ways, according to the manner in which these disciplines have incorporated inner and outer theological developments of modernity. By historical analysis an alternative can be brought to light. In one model questions of the social sciences are seen merely as being related to the exterior conditions of practical theology, mainly following the interest in optimizing purpose-means-relations. In the other model empirical questions are part and parcel of the conditions of modern theology itself. This second perspective is made possible by a new assessment of the forms which religion takes among people in their everyday life. This theory is open to all branches of Christianity and its historical effects. Here the individual religiosity of the subject is respected. The history of Christianity and the modern history of liberation are necessarily connected. The consequences in theory-building lead to practical theology as a reconstructing and critical-hermeneutical theory. As to the methodology the approach implies a new emphasis on developmental research in relation to case-studies with qualitative interpretations in order to understand the 'autobiographical theologumena' of children, youths and adults.


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