"The fundamental ethos of a university is different from that of a school. In a school, instruction and learning are the prime functions of teacher and pupil, and the objective is some prescribed standard level of knowledge and competence in various subjects. In a university, on the other hand, all this plays only a subsidiary role, for the prime task of students is to engage in inquiry, and to learn as they pursue their inquiry under the ultimate authority not of the university teachers but of the truth itself. Correspondingly, the university lecturer is not an exalted schoolteacher but a thinker and researcher to whom the student is, as it were, apprenticed in academic and scientific inquiry."Given TFT's distinction between university and school, where might we place and MDiv program at a seminary? My reflex would be to locate it more under school than under university, because - as a professional degree - it is primarily concerned with certain competency levels. But, I'm worried that such an approach to theological education could stifle the joy and excitement that comes with the study of God and his works, and so I am sympathetic to the university paradigm as well. In any case, this goes to show the difficulty involved in developing a coherent account of what a Seminary is.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
TF Torrance: The Difference Between University and School
Posted by W. Travis McMaken
Thomas F. Torrance, The Christian Frame of Mind: Reason, order, and openness in theology and natural science (Colorado Springs, CO: Helmers & Howard, 1989), 129.