Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Contemporary Orthodox Christian theological education in the United States of America
by Wisnosky, Marc, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2015, 206; 3725604
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation analyzes and compares the curricula within and across the eight Eastern Orthodox Christian seminaries in the United States of America through the lens of Theological or Pastoral orientation of the seminaries. This dissertation aims to address this deficiency in the literature on religious higher education in the United States of America.

This comparison of Orthodox seminary curricula is guided by three questions: What are the curricula in use at the eight Orthodox Christian seminaries in the United States of America? What distinctions arise from an analysis of these seminaries’ course descriptions and curricula? How do these curricula achieve the Assembly of Bishops’ goals for unity?

I employed an emergent design methodology to code, analyze, and compare over 400 course descriptions obtained from bulletins and course catalogs of the eight Orthodox Christian seminaries. The course descriptions were compared with other courses of the same institution, other courses offered by comparable institutions, and other courses I designated as similar based upon coding outcomes.

I found that the seminaries exhibited one of two innate foci: Theological orientation or Pastoral orientation. I compared the seeming orientations with the schools’ mission statements. I then solicited course syllabi to explore the courses in more depth to determine whether the course descriptions were accurate reflections of what was taught in the courses.

I surveyed seminary administrators and professors about the Theological or Pastoral orientation of their schools, and the preparedness of their seminary’s graduates to fulfill priestly duties. This allowed triangulation of data with the syllabi and course descriptions.

This dissertation engages the field of comparative and international education, providing a comparative analysis of internationally and ethnically affiliated schools. It aims to explore in more detail the variations in how future religious leaders are educated within one faith group. This dissertation also explores the international and historic diversity of Orthodox Christian groups in the United States of America. These analyses will enrich the field of religious higher education studies by revealing the inner workings of an entire religious community in the United States; a religious community little studied and little understood.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jacob, W. James
School: University of Pittsburgh
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Theology, Religious education, Higher education
Keywords: Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Seminary, Theological education
Publication Number: 3725604
ISBN: 9781339099606
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