Systematic Theology and Studies in World Views

Systematic Theology and Studies in World Views is the study of religious and non-religious beliefs and worldviews in history and the present. Traditionally the subject has had two distinct emphases, partially in the study of Christian faith and teaching, partly in the study of widespread world views and ideas in modern culture.

A typical element of systematic theology is the combination of methods from the history of ideas and philosophy in studies of Christian interpretations of faith, amongst other aspects with the aim of problematising and specifying both epistemological and contextual criteria for contemporary theological reflection. One orientation which has become increasingly central to the subject as it has developed in Uppsala is the issue of the relation between culture, art and theology. How is secular world view reflection affected by the fact that culture, in a broad sense, has a set religious heritage which constantly intrudes, not least into art and literature? Can film, literature or music contribute to an expansion of methods and models for thinking about world view problems.

These questions lead directly to the other focal point for the subject, world view studies, which complement systematic theology with its traditional focus on Christian dogmatics. World view studies represent a critical expansion of the area of theological reflection to more generally touch upon people’s beliefs and world views in western culture. In Uppsala world views studies has developed in an empirical direction where both quantitative and qualitative studies of patterns in world views in Swedish society have been paired with a further philosophical discussion of secularization, modernity and the increasing importance of science for individuals’ orientation in life.

Taken together systematic theology and world views studies in Uppsala is an interdisciplinary oriented subject where the hermeneutic traditions of dogmatics meet contemporary philosophy, sociology and cultural theory in a fruitful manner.