The Russian government has made the last step towards a full recognition of theology by science, finally removing obstacles to the emergence of the country, candidates and doctors of theology. Critics of the decision fear it will drive the science in the “dark ages”. Supporters insist that everything is exactly the opposite: science is only enriched. Who is right?
After the Ministry of education approved the composition of the Council for conferring scientific degrees in theology under the Higher attestation Commission (HAC), in Russia you can officially become a candidate and doctor of theology (Cypher new speciality – 26.00.01). These changes in the educational approach places were met with sharp rejection. Some talked about the next “act of merging Church and state” that contradicts the Constitution. Other essentially refused to understand how theology, in principle, be considered science. Meanwhile, to answer these claims is much easier than it might seem at first glance.
The way to quarter of a century
“The initiator of the unification of standards of state and Church education became the Patriarch, for this theological school of the Russian Orthodox Church moved to a model of teaching according to the Bologna system”
History of theology in secular educational institutions of Russia long and dramatic. With the Soviet era everything is clear: the decree on the separation of state from Church and Church school has made theological education is illegitimate from the state’s point of view. While scientific degrees of candidate and doctor of theology existed before, and in 1814 there was a unification of the protection of these degrees (earlier in seminaries and academies, they were assigned “according to the regulations of the institution). Not surprisingly, after the collapse of the USSR the question of theological education and recognition of education at state level appeared almost immediately.
In 1992 came the Orthodox St. Tikhon theological Institute, a private educational institution that received 12 years on the highest state accreditation status of the University. It is a secular educational institution, but are studying the theology. Further, the question arose about how to enter the theological direction and in other universities. In 2009, MSU was sent to the Ministry of education projects of Federal state educational standards, the list of which was program 32-B Theology” (bachelor). In the end, the Ministry of education approved this direction. In the standard speech was not only about Orthodox theology – Islamic and Jewish theology, too, was covered.
As for educational institutions in the ROC, there was its dynamic processes. The initiator of the unification of standards of state and Church education became the Patriarch, for this theological school of the Russian Orthodox Church moved to a model of teaching according to the Bologna system. What’s interesting: the Church’s Seminary and the Academy became the first educational institutions of the country who did. And since 2010, the Seminary pass state accreditation and issue state diplomas of the specialty “Theology. For example, the accreditation in 2009 received the Smolensk theological Seminary. And the master of theology was accredited on 23 December 2011.
In may 2014 there was a single Federal standard state of the sample in the direction of “Theology,” which included Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist theology. All that back story needed to make it clear: candidates and doctors of divinity will not all of a sudden, literally from the sky, and at the end of a long and complex process, which is already partly implemented in practice and in Church and secular schools.
But there is a practical side of the issue – direct the educational and scientific process. Here the features. You need to understand that the notorious Department of theology in Russian state universities are not widely. While interest in religious issues one way or another is the place to be, many Humanities. This is why regularly, diplomas and dissertations on related topics. For example, the Church or the press about the coverage of religious extremist issues in the media at the journalism school. The study of Russian literature is also not without theological analysis. In the case of philosophy it is even more obvious, as well as – in the case history.
But in fact all this “science tricks”. As the field of research in the field of religion was, and the official scientific direction hitherto not had to look for options. These “options” will remain after the introduction of a direction “Theology” for master and doctoral defenses, as they remained after the state accreditation of undergraduate and graduate programs in theology. However, the mere fact of entering a separate direction “Theology” is extremely important.
“Who would be a theologian when I grow up?”
To start with the fact that theology is a fundamental humanitarian discipline. Including from the point of view of the education system in many countries of Europe, where there are separate Protestant and Catholic theological faculties in state universities, where it does not bother anyone. The Professor of theology Chris van Trastek described his student experience: “During training I have never experienced the pressure of the tenets of the faith: Church history is a discipline where we explored the socio-political history of the Church (East and West). Exegesis is the discipline built in the tradition of Judaism and the historical-critical approach to the interpretation of the fundamental Christian Church.
This is the Western experience. In Russia, according to the passport of scientific specialty “Theology”, for theology is 25 lines of research, covering such areas as philosophy, Philology, history, art history, cultural studies and pedagogy. In a secular environment there is a perception that theology cannot be a science, because science questions everything, in its essence, while the divinity constrained by Church dogma, and indeed, what could be in this area open? But dogma in the passport of the discipline is not a word, but there is mention of Canon law, liturgical practices, analysis, research, practical activities of religious organizations and so much more that is of significant research interest. This is especially true of areas at the crossroads of life, traditional religious communities, and contemporary realities. At the same time works in such a direction as “a Theological analysis of the problems of modernity, not so much, although this is a promising field (just yet, that is, untilled).
The head of the missionary Department of the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Kuril diocese Archpriest Viktor Gorbach confirmed that in theology or theology are doing the same things and in the Humanities. “In Western Europe theology has always been recognized by science, and in this sense, nothing new we did not invent. World experience shows that the participation of theologians in the solution of humanitarian problems always enriches science. It is possible to allocate some directions of scientific interests of theology. It is the study of texts, and theologians explores these texts and note their characteristic features and find common elements. Another area is Church history, and Church archaeology. Here, too, many scientific topics. One more thing – the Church of art,” he listed.
It remains, however, the perennial question: “who is a theologian when I grow up”, that is, you graduate? Priests will go or if it’s a girl, the Regents of the choir? In practice, all about the same as with a philosophical education. Secular “theology” is the path in the humanitarian profession a very wide spectrum: from the teacher in many Humanities disciplines to a journalist or a lawyer, because Canon law provides an excellent basis for further education in the field of jurisprudence. In fact, theology in state universities and designed to “theologian” was not in the clergy by default, and implemented their knowledge in the world.
The assignment of master’s and doctoral degrees in theology is a small but significant step, extending the field of humanitarian studies. For 70 years the Soviet Union, Russian theological science is not just fell into disrepair and was almost dying. It is clear that a single scientific standard, which gives the state (by the way, quite hard) is the way to intensive care. Standards needed, e.g., for publishing protected in the academies of scientific works. There is a problem with the publication of articles in journals WAC, but they are the most important criterion of access to protection. But all this is quite a natural process that is inevitable “down” for several years. From the point of view of religion, namely that of science the important thing is that in Russia, officially there is another huge area for humanitarian research, which Western experts yet advanced much farther, the benefit of their educational standards were without theology we inherited from the USSR with contempt.