Verbum et Ecclesia (Jul 2009)

Spirituality and the University

  • C. Kourie

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 30, no. 1
pp. 145 – 173


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It is not often that we witness the birth of a new discipline; the academy is slow to open its doors to �newcomers�. Yet, within the last few decades, we have seen the introduction of the �new� discipline of Spirituality into the revered corridors of higher education, not without some raised eye-brows from those within the established disciplines, in particular that of theology and religion. Spirituality is difficult to define and its inter-disciplinary nature does not allow for easy classification. There are diverse spiritualities, each one culture-specific, expressing its own historical, sociological, theological, linguistic and philosophical orientation. Post-patriarchal and telluric, contemporary spirituality affects all areas of society, and is a force for personal and societal transformation. The important role of the academy in this endeavour is increasingly coming to the fore. Spirituality can no longer be considered a �Cinderella� discipline; on the contrary, it has returned to its rightful place and is exerting considerable influence both within and outside the walls of the university.