One of the biggest hangovers from the Enlightenment is the fragmentation of knowledge. This is true of all departments of knowledge, not just theology. With the rush to specialization, there comes greater knowledge in specialty departments, but with a corresponding lack of general knowledge. No longer could one acquire a Ph.D. in Physics generally. You can only get a Ph.D. in Physics now if you do it in a sub-department of a sub-department of a sub-department of Physics.
Seminaries today are specialized. Faculties are specialized. This has some advantages. There can be a good division of labor this way. Specialists have a better chance of keeping up in their field. However, there comes a terrible price to pay that goes largely unnoticed by all but a few (usually in church history and systematics, who are more attuned to the unity of theology anyway): departments not only stop talking to each other, but start becoming suspicious of each other. The very worst part of this suspicion certainly surrounds the exegetical departments in their relation to systematics. The fault here is almost entirely on the part of the exegetes. Systematics professors have been warned for so long about the dangers of proof-texting that they are gun shy to a certain extent. But if I had a dollar for every time I read in a commentary “That’s a systematic category, and we can’t talk about that in a commentary,” I would be exceedingly wealthy indeed. Exegete this passage, folks: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one” from Deuteronomy 6:4. Does not the Shema tell us that the Lord is one? Then shouldn’t theology also be one in some sense? I do not advocate the elimination of departments in seminaries. But there are some things that seminaries need to do if students are not to leave bewildered by the competing methodologies of the various disciplines.
First, have students read Richard Muller’s book The Study of Theology. And they should read it at the beginning and at the end of their seminary training. Either that, or read Edward Farley’s book Theologia (unfortunately out of print).
Second, the introductory classes to the various disciplines should have sections dealing with how their discipline is dependent on every other discipline.
Third, all throughout the courses, specific application should be made apparent as to how the knowledge they are acquiring is inter-dependent on all other disciplines in theology.