Constructive theology

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Constructive theology is the redefinition or reconceptualization[citation needed] of what historically has been known as systematic theology.[1] The reason for this reevaluation stems from the idea that, in systematic theology, the theologian attempts to develop a coherent theory running through the various doctrines within the tradition (Christology, eschatology, pneumatology, etc.). A potential problem underlying such study is that in constructing a system of theology, certain elements may be "forced" into a presupposed structure, or left out altogether, in order to maintain the coherence of the overall system.

In response to this realization, some modern theologians, especially Christian feminists such as Sallie McFague, Catherine Keller, and Sharon V. Betcher, feel that the term systematic is no longer accurate in reference to theology, and prefer the language of constructive theology.[citation needed] However, constructive theologians vary as to whether they reject the term systematic altogether, with the term systematic continuing to be preferred especially by Roman Catholics.[1] While not a proponent of the language of constructive theology, Karl Barth frequently criticized the practice of systematizing theology or structuring a coherent system upon a philosophical foundation external to theology's own internal commitments.

The term constructive theology has been in use mostly since the 1980s.[2]

Constructive Theology is also the title of a journal on the subject. A Bloomsbury book series on constructive theology, titled Rethinking Theologies, Constructing Alternatives, is edited by Marion Grau, Susannah Cornwall, Steed Davidson, and Hyo-Dong Lee.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Wyman 2017, p. x.
  2. ^ Rieger 2013, p. 484.


Rieger, Joerg (2013). "Constructive Theology". In Runehov, Anne L. C.; Oviedo Lluis (eds.). Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 483–486. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_263. ISBN 978-1-4020-8265-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Wyman, Jason A. (2017). Constructing Constructive Theology: An Introductory Sketch. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctt1pwt3qp. ISBN 978-1-5064-1861-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

Further reading[edit]

Barr, William R., ed. (1997). Constructive Christian Theology in the Worldwide Church. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-8028-4143-8.
Carmody, Denise L. (1995). Christian Feminist Theology: A Constructive Interpretation. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-55786-586-1.
Jones, Serene; Lakeland, Paul, eds. (2005). Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classical Themes. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press. ISBN 978-1-4514-1629-9.
Kaufman, Gordon D. (1993). In Face of Mystery: A Constructive Theology. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-44575-8.
 ———  (1995). An Essay on Theological Method (3rd ed.). Atlanta: Scholars Press. ISBN 978-0-7885-0135-7.
 ———  (2006). Jesus and Creativity. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press. ISBN 978-0-8006-3798-9.
Kim, Grace Ji-Sun (2011). The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1057/9780230339408. ISBN 978-0-230-12030-3.
Smyth, Newman (1913). Constructive Natural Theology. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. LCCN 13019088. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
Tanner, Kathryn (2001). Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity: A Brief Systematic Theology. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. ISBN 978-0-567-08770-6.