Document Type


Publication Date



Teaching theology within academic institutions with confessional commitments and theologically conservative students requires holding together, in creative tension, two pedagogical goals. The challenge is to promote rigorous academic inquiry by encouraging student openness to engagement with perspectives that challenge their own beliefs while simultaneously constructing a course that is experienced as a safe space where students do not feel their personal faith is under attack. This essay presents the argument that a methodological framework for introductory theology courses informed by Alasdair MacIntyre's reflections on the nature of living traditions holds great promise for achieving these objectives. The essay will also describe how a creative extended analogy drawn from the game of basketball facilitates student comprehension of this initially abstract intellectual framework. Finally, the essay will offer some representative examples of student participation in course online discussion forums in order to illustrate the effectiveness of this approach for student learning.


Originally published as:

Crane, Richard D. “Method, MacIntyre, and Pedagogy: Inviting Students to Participate in Theology as a Living Conversation.” Teaching Theology & Religion 19, no. 3 (July 2016): 222–44. doi:10.1111/teth.12335.