Practical Theology Bibliography

Boston University School of Theology construes the discipline of Practical Theology in a way that focuses on the concrete problems and practices of the church in the world as well as their interpretation by whatever disciplines and approaches are suggested by the problems and practices themselves. For that reason, the following bibliography should in no way be construed as “the essence” of practical theology. An inherent difficulty in producing a “core bibliography” for practical theology is that many of the texts with which all students in the field should be familiar tend to be more philosophical, historical, and methodological when, in practice, the discipline itself relies on contextual research and the kind of analysis that employs a varied range of research from the natural and social sciences, as well as the arts and humanities, in order to interpret and reflect theologically on a given problem or practice. The following bibliography, therefore, pertains only to those suggested works that will contribute to a practical theologian’s understanding of the more general features of the discipline.

The Discipline of Practical Theology




Andrews, Dale 2002 Practical Theology for Black Churches: Bridging Black Theology and African American Folk Religion. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.
Browning, Don S. 1991 A Fundamental Practical Theology: Descriptive and Strategic Proposals. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress.
Browning, Don S.(Ed.) 1983 Practical Theology: The Emerging Field in Theology, Church, and World. San Francisco: Harper & Row.
Browning, Don S., David Polk, and Ian S. Evison 1989 The Education of the Practical Theologian: Responses to Joseph Hough and John Cobb’s Christian Identity and Theological Education, Scholars Press Studies in Theological Education. Atlanta: Scholar’s Press.
Deck, S.J. Allan Figueroa 2004 “A Latino Practical Theology: Mapping the Road Ahead.” In Theological Studies 65: 2 (June), 275-297.
Doehring, Carrie 1999 “A Method of Feminist Pastoral Theology.” In Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore& Brita Gill-Austern, Eds. in Feminist and Womanist Pastoral Theology. Nashville: Abingdon, 95-112.
Dykstra, Craig 1999 Growing in the Life of Faith: Education and Christian Practices. Louisville, Kentucky: Geneva Press.
Farley, Edward 1982 Ecclesial Reflection. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
1983 Theologia: The Fragmentation and Unity of Theological Education.
1990 “Protestant Practical Theology.”  In Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 934-936.
1996 Deep Symbols : Their Postmodern Effacement and Reclamation. Valley Forge: Trinity Press.
Goizueta, Roberto 1994 Foundations of Theology: An Hispanic-American Perspective. Maryknoll: Orbis.
Graham, Elaine L. 1996 Transforming Practice: Pastoral Theology in an Age of Uncertainty. London: Mowbray (Chapters 4, 5, and 6).
Groome, Thomas 1980 Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision. San Francisco: Harper & Row
1991 Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry: The Way of Shared Praxis. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco
1998 Educating for Life : A Spiritual Vision for Every Teacher and Parent. Allen, Texas: Thomas More.
Hanson, Bradley C. (Ed.) 1990 Modern Christian Spirituality: Methodological and Historical Essays. Atlanta: Scholars Press. [See in particular Part One (chapters 1-4)]
Heitink, Gerben 1999 Practical Theology: history, theory, action domains : manual for practical theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Hough, Joseph C. and Cobb, John B., Jr. 1985 Christian Identity and Theological Education. Atlanta: Scholar’s Press.
International Journal of Practical Theology
This journal is present in the STH library and online. Practical Theology students should consult this journal regularly.
Jennings, Theodore W. 1985 The Vocation of the Theologian. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
Maddox, Randy L. 1991 “Practical Theology: A Discipline in Search of a Definition.” Perspectives in Religious Studies 18, 159-169.
Ogden, Schubert M. 1986 “Prolegomena to Practical Theology,” in On Theology. San Francisco: Harper & Row.
Poling, James N. and Donald Miller 1985 Foundations for a Practical Theology of Ministry. Nashville: Abingdon Press,
Schleiermacher, Friedrich 1966 Brief Outline of the Study of Theology. Translated by Terrence N. Tice. Richmond: John Knox Press.
Segundo, Juan Luis 1976 The Liberation of Theology. Maryknoll: Orbis
Stone, Howard W. and James O. Duke 1996 How to Think Theologically. Minneapolis: Fortress.
Van der Ven, Johannes 1990 Practical Theology: An Empirical Approach. Kok Pharos Publishing House
Viau, Marcel 1999 Practical Theology: A New Approach. Leiden: Brill.
Volf, Miroslav and Dorothy C. Bass, (Eds.) 2002 Practicing Theology: Beliefs and Practices in Christian Life. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
Wheeler, Barbara and Edward Farley, (Eds.) 1991 Shifting Boundaries: Contextual Approaches to the Structure of Theological Education. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press.
Wood, Charles Monroe 1985 Vision and Discernment: An Orientation in Theological Study. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

Theological Foundations

Students must demonstrate close reading of classical texts of the Western Christian tradition and must be able to dialogue competently with contemporary theological developments, issues, and trends. Students should be able to locate themselves theologically with regard to major doctrinal questions and should also be deeply conversant with two major theologians, one each from two of the following three periods:

* Classical and Medieval (1st through the 16th Centuries CE)
* Modern (17th through the 19th Centuries CE)
* Contemporary (20th and 21th Centuries CE)

Specifically, students should be prepared to analyze the implications of each theologian’s work for practical theology.


Author Year Citation
Augustine 2000 De civitate Dei. English. edited and translated by R.W. Dyson. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.
Billingsley, Andrew 1999 Mighty Like a River: The Black Church and Social Reform. Oxford University Press.
Boff, Leonardo 1986a Church: Charism and Power: Liberation Theology and the Institutional Church. New York: Crossroad.
1986b Ecclesiogenesis: The Base Communities Reinvent the Church. Maryknoll: Orbis.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich 1998 Sanctorum Communio: A Theological Study of the Sociology of the Church. Volume 1, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works. Minneapolis: Fortress.
Cavanaugh, William T. 1998 Torture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics, and the Body of Christ. Blackwell.
Dulles, Avery 1988 Models of the Church. Second Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan.
Flannery, Austin P. (Ed) 1996 Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents. Specifically Lumen Gentium, Unitatis Redintegratio, Gaudium et Spes, Ad Gentes. Costello Pub. Co.
Gill, Robin 1999 Churchgoing and Christian Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
Guder, Darell, (Ed.) 1998 The Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Hauerwas, Stanley 1984 The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics. University of Notre Dame Press.
1989 Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony: A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture and Ministry for People Who Know That Something Is Wrong. Abingdon Press.
1995 In Good Company: The Church as Polis. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
Johnson, Elizabeth 1993 Friends of God and the Prophets: A Feminist Theological Reading of the Communion of Saints. Westminster/John Knox Press.
Lathrop, Gordon W. 1999 Holy People: A Liturgical Ecclesiology. Minneapolis: Fortress.
Lincoln, C. Eric and Lawrence H. Mamiya 1990 The Black Church in the African American Experience. Duke University Press.
Lohfink, Gerhard 1999 Does God Need the Church? Toward a Theology of the People of God. Translated by Linda M. Maloney. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.
Moltmann, Jürgen 1993 The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic Ecclesiology. Minneapolis: Fortress.
Russell, Letty M. 1993 Church in the Round: Feminist Interpretation of the Church. Westminster: John Knox Press.
Schillebeeckx, Edward. 1993 Church: The Human Story of God. Crossroad/Herder&Herder.
Schmemann, Alexander 1989 The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.
1993 For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.
Schüssler Fiorenza, Elisabeth 1993 Discipleship of Equals: A Critical Feminist Ekklesia-logy of Liberation. New York: Crossroad.
Song, C.S. 1996 Jesus the Crucified People. Minneapolis: Fortress.
Wesley, John 1988 “Of the Church,” The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley, Sermon 74, Volume 3. Nashville: Abingdon, 45-57.
Yoder, John Howard 1992 Body Politics : Five Practices of the Christian Community before the Watching World. Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources Press.
1994 The Royal Priesthood: Essays Ecumenical and Ecclesiological. Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press.
1997 For the Nations: Essays Public and Evangelical. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Zizoulas, John 1997 Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.

Theological Interface with Philosophy, Ethics, and the Social Sciences

Author Year Citation
Aristotle 1941 Nichomachean Ethics. In The Basic Works of Aristotle, edited by Richard McKeon, 332-581. New York: Random House.
Bernstein, Richard 1983 Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Boff, Clodovis 1987 Theology and Praxis: Epistemological Foundations. Maryknoll: Orbis
Gadamer, Hans-Georg 1993 Truth and Method. Continuum.
Habermas, Jurgen 1973 Theory and Practice. Boston: Beacon.
Kant, Immanuel 1993 Critique of practical reason. edited and translated, with notes and introductions, by Lewis White Beck. New York : Macmillan Pub.
Marx, Karl 2000 Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Oxford University Press. Ed. David McLellan
MacIntyre, Alasdair 1984 After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. Second Edition. University of Notre Dame Press.
Milbank, John 1993 Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason. Blackwell.
Ricoeur, Paul 1981 Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences : Essays on Language, Action, and Interpretation. Ed. and Trans. John B. Thompson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tracy, David 1996 Blessed Rage for Order: The New Pluralism in Theology. University of Chicago Press.

Theology and Context

The following list is intended to be illustrative rather than exhaustive of contemporary approaches to contextual theology and also includes theological reflection on the relationship between faith and culture. All practical theology majors should read judiciously from the following list in order to gain a solid grasp of the literature.

Author Year Citation
Cannon, Katie Geneva 1996 Katie’s Canon. Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community. Continuum.
Comstock, Gary David 1993 Gay Theology without Apology. Pilgrim Press.
Cone, James 1887 Black Theology and Black Power. Revised Edition. Maryknoll: Orbis.
Deck, Allan Figueroa 1989 The Second Wave: Hispanic Ministry and the Evangelization of Cultures. Paulist.
Goizueta, Roberto 1992 We are a People! Initiatives in Hispanic American Theology. Fortress Press.
Goss, Robert 1994 Jesus Acted Up: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto. HarperCollins.
Graham, Elaine L. 1996 Transforming Practice: Pastoral Theology in an Age of Uncertainty. London: Mowbray (Chapters 4, 5, and 6).
Gutiérrez, Gustavo 1971 A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation (revised edition, 1988). Maryknoll: Orbis.
Hunsberger, George R., et al, (Eds.) 1996 The Church Between Gospel and Culture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Isasi-Diaz, Ada Maria 1988 Hispanic Women: Prophetic Voice in the Church. New York: Harper & Row.
1996 Mujerista Theology: A Theology for the Twenty-First Century. Westminster/John Knox Press.
Miller-McLemore, Bonnie J. 2003 Let the Children Come: Reimagining Childhood from a Christian Perspective. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Ruether, Rosemary Radford 1993 Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology. Rev. Edition. Beacon Press.
Schreiter, Robert J. 1985 Constructing Local Theologies. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
1997 The New Catholicity: Theology Between the Global and the Local. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.
Tanner, Kathryn 1997 Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress.
Tillich, Paul 1959 Theology of Culture. Oxford University Press.
Townes, Emilie (Ed.) 1993 A Troubling in My Soul: Womanist Perspectives on Evil and Suffering. Maryknoll: Orbis.
1997 Embracing the Spirit: Womanist Perspectives on Hope, Salvation, and Transformation. Maryknoll: Orbis.
Tutu, Desmond 2000 No Future Without Forgiveness. New York: Doubleday.
Villa-Vicencio, Charles 1992 A Theology of Reconstruction: Nation Building and Human Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wheeler, Barbara and Edward Farley, (Eds) 1991 Shifting Boundaries: Contextual Approaches to the Structure of Theological Education. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press.
Williams, Delores 1993 Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk. Maryknoll: Orbis.

Works by Practical Theology Faculty at the School of Theology

The following includes a partial list of faculty publications designed to provide doctoral students an introduction to the practical theological thought and method of those with whom they are studying.