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Martin Marty's Definition of Public Theology
One way to define the term
A paper of the Association of the Sociology of Religion discusses the role of Martin Marty, the church historian at the University of Chicago, in the phrase "public theology". Though we here at this website think of the phrase in a broader way (the formation of public theologies includes people not involved in the Christian church), it is useful to quote the paper here. Note the motivational aspect of the phrase.
The term "public theology" derives from Martin Marty's (1981) modification of the term public religion, originally used in 1749 by Benjamin Franklin. Marty favored it over Robert Bellah's Vietnam War era retrieval of the generic Rousseau term civil religion.
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