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Information About Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Theological Education: Home

Artificial Intelligence (AI -- Large Language Models)

           There can be little doubt that AI will affect theological education (and, indeed, all education) in profound ways. The cluster of technologies, which currently fall under the broad rubric of AI, are diverse and, like any emerging technology, are changing quickly.

            This libguide is designed as a beginner's guide to AI. It is an expanding work in progress.


A Very Quick Overview of What AI is...


Some Quick Advice

            If you are considering using AI for your research or your classes. I offer the following advice for your research and lecture preparation:

 (1) The DTL's Main Discovery tool is still far superior for creating a comprehensive bibliography.

(2) ChatGPT is quite good at delivering a focused list of the most important (book length) works on a topic (e.g. "What are the most important published works on the theme of wealth and poverty in the Gospel of Luke?" or "Who are the leading Evangelical scholars in the field of pastoral theology?").

(3) ChatGPT is pretty good at answering general theological questions (e.g., "What is the social-scientific criticism of the New Testament?" or "Who were the most important dialogue partners with Martin Luther during the Protestant Reformation?").

         If you are considering using AI for your research or your classes. I offer the following advice for your teaching or class assignments:

(1) Do NOT prohibit the use of AI (you could never enforce this rule and it would be like telling students of 20 years ago "not to use the internet"; this tool is here to stay, so teach students to use it wisely.)

(2) Teach students how to create productive queries and how to fact check and expand from those queries. Spend a class session creating, refining, and critiquing queries and answers. Then make assignments which require students to engage in the same kind of critical inquiry and fact checking.

(3) Think creatively. For example, have students create a work product, using and the critique that product based on their research (e.g., have ChapGPT create a sermon in the style of John Wesley and have the student critique that sermon on the basis of their knowledge of Wesley).

Random Tips

Adding words like "published," "scholarly," "academic," and "peer-reviewed" are important as is adding details like date ranges and theological orientation. The more data that you query includes, the better the results from the AI.