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The International Journal of Practical Theology is an academic journal. It is intended for practical theologians and teachers of religious education, scientists specializing in religion, and representatives of other cultural-scientific disciplines. The aim of the journal is to promote an international and interdisciplinary dialogue.
The journal contains contributions on an empirically descriptive and critically constructive theory of ecclesiastical and religious practice in society. Primarily, it deals with descriptions of religion as it is practised. Religion in this context can be understood in the broad sense of the word according to which all appreciative tendencies towards an ultimate view of oneself and of the world can be described as being religious. Thus the many different forms of religion as they are lived today are applied in a critically constructive manner to the normative self-image of churches, ecclesiastical groups and denominations. As contributions towards practical theology, they ultimately pursue the structure of practically orientated theories of ecclesiastical and ecclesiastically conveyed religious practice.
The spectrum of themes is divided into five groups. First, the articles deal with the global and regional different changes in religious practice in relation to the processes of socio-cultural modernization processes (individualization and pluralization). Second, they study the development of new forms of public religion (civil religion). Third, they analyse the life history of the formation and transformation of religion (religious development). Fourth, they examine the intercultural and interreligious dimensions of religion on an individual, social and ecclesiastical level (interreligious dialogue, syncretism). Fifth, they attempt to give a critical and constructive interpretation of the ecclesiastical fields of action (church service and sermon, religious instruction, pastoral care and spiritual guidance, organization and management).
In addition to essays, the International Journal of Practical Theology also offers research reports which provide information on the current state of affairs of interdisciplinary and international research of religion as far as this is relevant from a practical and theological point of view. Furthermore, the journal also contains situation reports which reveal the state of discussion of practical theology in various countries, regions and confessions. Finally, it also includes a review section which gives information on important new publications in the field of practical theology.
The International Journal of Practical Theology is neither the organ of a specific theological school nor of a particular ecclesiastical organization. The journal does not aim to present biased opinions of theological schools or confessional organizations but rather place in the foreground of discussion the differences between ecclesiastical and ecclesiastically conveyed practice of religion, the documentation and discussion of its development within its regional context, its international interweavement and different normative orientations. – The contributions are in English or German. A summary (abstract) is given in the other language respectively to give the reader a general idea of the article.