Praktisk och pastoral teologi i Svenska kyrkans prästutbildning


  • Karin Rubenson
  • Elin Lockneus



In this article, we discuss practical and pastoral theology in relation to Swedish theological education for future ordained clergy in the Church of Sweden. We look at how pastoral theology is understood in the Church of Sweden today and its relation to Practical Theology as an academic subject. We problematize the split between "academic" and "pastoral" theology and argue that pastoral theology should be understood as a part of the academic discipline Practical Theology. Practical Theology today is heavily theoretical and methodological, not least in the United States, the origin of much literature used in the Swedish context. Interesting as this may be from a research perspective, the discipline runs the risk of losing some of its relevance for undergraduate theological education. Here we discuss different aspects of pastoral and practical theology, and how they may feed into each other. We highlight the potential problems with a practical theology distancing itself from what has been called "the clerical paradigm" (in Sweden: pastoral theology), but also point to the importance of Practical Theology as an academic field in relation to ordination training. In Sweden, academic theology is still understood as supposedly "neutral", which complicates the relationship between "academic" and "pastoral" theology, as this obscures the influences from explicit normative and constructive practical theology on Swedish theological education. Drawing on practical theologians such as Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore and Mary McClintock Fulkerson, we discuss the normative and constructive ambitions in some practical theological schools of thought today. A changing understanding of Practical Theology may contribute to pastoral theology as a part of the ordination training in the Church of Sweden, but the normative assumptions need to be made explicit.