Department/School

Sociology and Anthropology

Abstract

Ethnography and theology are two contrasting life-activities, regulated by separate ideals. Like other sciences, ethnography is regulated by the ideal of ‘truth’. It gathers data about human communities, particularly their worldviews and their tacit social practices. New data correct old conclusions, forcing ethnographers to discard the ideas with which they began their investigations. Following the regulative ideal helps them avoid placing their concerns about those of the people they study. Theologians (and others) can use ethnographic methods to gather data about congregational life, how people practice their religions, etc., but this practice itself is not ‘doing’ theology

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Ecclesial Practices

Publication Date

2016

Volume

3

Issue

2

Pages

173-181

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1163/22144471-00302003

Comments

This article is part of a symposium of 6 articles (plus an editor's introduction) on the possible roles that ethnography can play in theological studies (and vice versa). They are worth reading together.

Document Version

Preprint