Ecclesiology: the study of the formal church

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter Academicpeer-review

16 Downloads (Pure)


The recent publication of two handbooks on ecclesiology (Avis 2018; Bender and Long 2020), which devote attention to the relation with the social sciences and empirical research, inspired to consider how these predominately systematic theological handbooks construct the dialogue between ecclesiology and qualitative research. In the reconstruction of this dialogue, a slightly older handbook on the Christian church (Mannion and Mudge 2008), was included. Reviewing the relevant parts of these three handbooks, the chapter concentrates on three topics. First, how do the handbooks, and the systematic theological authors of the handbook chapters, define, or approach ecclesiology? Second, what is their view on the importance of empirical research for the study of the church? Third, what is the agenda they set for an ‘ecclesiological ethnography?’ The third and final section pays explicitly tribute to the lasting challenge to ecclesiology from the perspectives of liberation and feminist ecclesiologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Blackwell Companion to theology and qualitative research
EditorsPete Ward, Knut Tveitereid
Place of PublicationHoboken, NJ
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781119756897
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Ecclesiology
  • Formal Church
  • Qualitative Empirical Research
  • Radical Ecclesiology

Cite this