Journal for Christian reflections in the context of social sciences and humanities

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The Possibilities of Using Empirical Methods in (Practical) Theology
Šídlová Jana
Traditionally, the thinking horizon of theology seems to be diff erent than the one of the social sciences. Theology and the social sciences also use diff erent methods. However, since the Second Vatican Council, the methods of the social sciences, the empirical methods, have been gradually implemented into practical theology. However, there exists not only one way of carrying it out. The paper deals with the possibility of using empirical methods in (practical) theology. Johannes van der Ven’s models of relationships between these methods and practical
theology are described and analysed. Intradisciplinarity is granted as the most suitable model for both practical and systematic theology. The most appropriate method for theology within the model of intradisciplinarity is the qualitative technique that puts great importance on the scientist himself. This is specifi cally the case with the ethnographic approach. This technique allows the theologian to remain the theologian and use the refl ected religious experience of other believers as a starting point of his theological reflection.

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