I‘ve listened to a lot of lectures in my day. Hundreds, maybe thousands. And I’ve learned a lot in some of those lectures. I still listen to lectures, downloaded from iTunes U, when I ride my bike or walk the dog.
But never did I learn more than in the seminar format of a doctoral program. My two years in coursework at Princeton were, while rife with personal turmoil, simply the most wonderful learning experience in my entire educational journey.
I don’t doubt that there is subject matter that is best taught and learned in a didactic, unilateral way: professor talks, student listens.
But I do not think that theology is best taught this way. Theology is inherently personal. Students of theology aren’t just having what they think challenged. They’re having what they believe challenged.
Theology is too personal a subject to be taught via lecture. Students need to be able to ask questions, talk it through, and express their doubts.
In short, theology shouldn’t be treated like other academic subjects. It’s unique, and should be taught uniquely. Indeed, theology should be taught by methods that are inherently theological, and I think that there’s a strong case to be made that a conversation is more Christlike than a lecture.