Study of the Purposes of Theological Education

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Wed, 10/01/1986

Yale University's work on the arts and theology is centered at the Institute of Sacred Music. The program attracts visual artists and novelists, as well as musicians, and has produced many insights about church life and theological education. Based on the Institute's work in the arts, Dr. John W. Cook, director of the Institute, launched a structured inquiry into the future of the arts in theological schools. Cook and his colleagues reviewed the literature on American theological education, surveyed contemporary seminary practices, and developed a constructive proposal for the future of the arts in theological schools. Following consultations and a national conference, the Yale team presented its findings in popular magazines, scholarly journals, and in book form. The inquiry cast new light on the purposes of theological education as understood from the perspective of the arts. The result was a fresh and illuminating account of the prevailing visions of theological education, as well as suggestions for alternative ways of looking at the issue of purpose in seminary life. The project influenced the relationship between seminary educators responsible for instructions in the arts with other portions of the curriculum. (KA)