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Beyond Profession
The Next Future of Theological Education
PAPERBACK; Coming Soon: 3/18/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7875-5
Price: $ 19.99
176 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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Series: Theological Education between the Times

What should theological education become? 

Theological education has long been successful in the United States because of its ability to engage with contemporary cultural realities. Likewise, despite the existential threats facing it today, theological education can continue to thrive if it is reinvented to fit with the needs of current times. 

Daniel Aleshire, the longtime executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, offers a brief account of how theological education has transformed in the past and how it might change going forward. He begins by reflecting on his own extensive experience with theological education and reviewing its history, dating back to colonial times. He then describes what he believes should become the next dominant model of the field—what he calls formational theological education—and explores educational practices that this model would require. 

The future of theological education described here by Aleshire would make seminaries more than places of professional preparation and would instead foster the development of a “deep, abiding, resilient, generative identity as Christian human beings” within emerging Christian leaders. But it is a vision that, while not a linear continuation of the past, retains the essence of what theological education has always been about.

Table of Contents

1. Time and Change, Church and Theological Education
2. Diverse Histories, Common Influences
3. Formational Theological Education and Its Goals
4. Formational Theological Education and Its Educational Practices

Praise for the TEBT series:

“At once visionary and realistic, the books in this series offer fresh, short, and very different answers to the question, ‘What is theological education for?’ Studies of that question have appeared every couple of decades and seem to assume that ‘one-size-fits-all’ answers are possible. What’s new and groundbreaking here is that a group of theological educators from a broad array of very different religious traditions address the question in conversation with one another and in light of the changing place of faith communities in contemporary culture.”
— David H. Kelsey
Yale Divinity School
“The authors of this series invite us into an exercise of the imagination—to let loose of the theological school models we know so well and instead craft ways that we teach and learn as if we are living in the new Jerusalem. This is daring work. Will we have the will to grasp it? I encourage you to read and see.”
— Emilie M. Townes
Vanderbilt University Divinity School
“I would be hard-pressed to name any other resource that even approaches this series in its visionary outlook and wide perspective on the challenges and opportunities currently facing theological education. The authors represent an unparalleled selection of leaders in theological education whose views and experiences point to different paths into the future, all leading to true excellence and relevance in theological education.”
— Justo L. González
author of The History of Theological Education
“At a time of massive changes in churches and theological schools, as well as in society generally, the twelve-book series Theological Education between the Times presents an indispensable resource. Many people, especially younger generations, question as never before the necessity of religious practice or even belonging to a congregation. In this new context, the repercussions for theological education are many: What adjustments must leaders make to maintain support? How can faculty modify programs to meet the demands of modern times? What message will attract prospective students? Astute theological educators from diverse backgrounds prayed together and engaged in conversations that contributed to the authorship of this lucid and compelling series intended for anyone concerned about the fate of religion in society.”
— Katarina Schuth, OSF
Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity