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Theology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


This article is about the academic discipline. For the academic journals named Theological
Studies, see Theological studies.

Augustine of Hippo (354430), Latintheologian. His writing on free will andoriginal sin remains influential in
Western Christendom.

Albert the Great (1193/12061280),patron saint of Roman Catholictheologians
Theology is the systematic and rational study of concepts of God and of the nature of religious
truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious
studies, usually at a university, seminary or school of divinity.
[1]

Contents
[hide]
1 Definition
2 History of the term
3 Various religions
o 3.1 Analogous discourses
4 Theology as an academic discipline
o 4.1 Theology and ministerial training
o 4.2 Theology as an academic discipline in its own right
o 4.3 Theology and religious studies
5 Criticism
o 5.1 Criticism by philosophers
o 5.2 Critics of theology as an academic discipline
o 5.3 General criticism
6 See also
7 References
8 External links
Definition[edit]
Augustine of Hippo defined the Latin equivalent, theologia, as "reasoning or discussion
concerning the Deity";
[2]
Richard Hooker defined "theology" in English as "the science of
things divine".
[3]
The term can, however, be used for a variety of different disciplines or fields of
study.
[4]
Theologians use various forms of analysis and argument
(philosophical,ethnographic, historical, spiritual and others) to help understand, explain,
test, critique, defend or promote any of myriadreligious topics. Theology might be undertaken
to help the theologian:
understand more truly their own religious tradition,
[5]

understand more truly another religious tradition,
[6]

make comparisons among religious traditions,
[7]

defend or justify a religious tradition,
facilitate reform of a particular tradition,
[8]

assist in the propagation of a religious tradition,
[9]
or
draw on the resources of a tradition to address some present situation or need,
[10]

draw on the resources of a tradition to explore possible ways of interpreting the world,
[11]
or
explore the nature of divinity without reference to any specific tradition.
challenge (ex. biblical criticism) or oppose (ex. irreligion) a religious tradition or the
religious world-view.
History of the term[edit]
Part of a series on
God
General conceptions
Agnosticism
Apatheism
Atheism
Deism
Henotheism
Ignosticism
Monotheism
Omnism
Panentheism
Pantheism
Polytheism
Theism
Transtheism
Specific conceptions
Creator
Demiurge
Devil
Deus
Father
Great Architect
Monad
Mother
Supreme Being
Sustainer
The All

The Lord
Trinity
Tawhid
Ditheism

Monism
Personal
Unitarianism
In particular religions
Abrahamic
Bah'
Christianity
Islam
Judaism
Mormonism
Ancient Egyptian Monotheism
Buddhism
Hinduism
Jainism
Sikhism
Zoroastrianism
Attributes
Eternalness
Existence
Gender
Names ("God")
Omnibenevolence
Omnipotence
Omnipresence
Omniscience
Experiences and practices
Belief
Esotericism
Faith
Fideism
Gnosis
Hermeticism
Metaphysics
Mysticism

Prayer
Revelation
Worship
Related topics
Euthyphro dilemma
God complex
God gene
Theology
Ontology
Philosophy
Problem of evil
Religion
Religious texts
Portrayals of God in popular media
V
T
E
Main article: History of theology
Theology translates into English from the Greek theologia () which derived
from heos (), meaning "God," and -logia (-),
[12]
meaning "utterances, sayings,
or oracles" (a word related to logos [], meaning "word, discourse, account, or reasoning")
which had passed into Latin as theologia and into French as thologie. The English equivalent
"theology" (Theologie, Teologye) had evolved by 1362.
[13]
The sense the word has in English
depends in large part on the sense the Latin and Greek equivalents had acquired
in Patristic and medieval Christian usage, though the English term has now spread beyond
Christian contexts.
Greek theologia () was used with the meaning "discourse on god" in the fourth
century BC by Plato in The Republic, Book ii, Ch. 18.
[14]
Aristotle divided theoretical
philosophy into mathematike, physike and theologike, with the latter corresponding roughly
to metaphysics, which, for Aristotle, included discourse on the nature of the divine.
[15]

Drawing on Greek Stoic sources, the Latin writer Varro distinguished three forms of such
discourse: mythical(concerning the myths of the Greek gods), rational (philosophical
analysis of the gods and of cosmology) and civil (concerning the rites and duties of public
religious observance).
[16]

Theologos, closely related to theologia, appears once in some biblical manuscripts, in the
heading to the book of Revelation: apokalypsis ioannoy toy theologoy, "the revelation of
John the theologos." There, however, the word refers not to John the "theologian" in the
modern English sense of the word butusing a slightly different sense of the root logos,
meaning not "rational discourse" but "word" or "message"one who speaks the words of
God, logoi toy theoy.
[17]

Some Latin Christian authors, such as Tertullian and Augustine, followed Varro's threefold
usage,
[18]
though Augustine also used the term more simply to mean 'reasoning or
discussion concerning the deity'
[2]

In Patristic Greek Christian sources, theologia could refer narrowly to devout and inspired
knowledge of, and teaching about, the essential nature of God.
[19]

In some medieval Greek and Latin sources, theologia (in the sense of "an account or
record of the ways of God") could refer simply to the Bible.
[20]

The Latin author Boethius, writing in the early 6th century, used theologia to denote a
subdivision of philosophy as a subject of academic study, dealing with the motionless,
incorporeal reality (as opposed to physica, which deals withcorporeal, moving
realities).
[21]
Boethius' definition influenced medieval Latin usage.
[22]

In scholastic Latin sources, the term came to denote the rational study of the doctrines of
the Christian religion, or (more precisely) the academic discipline which investigated the
coherence and implications of the language and claims of the Bible and of the theological
tradition (the latter often as represented in Peter Lombard's Sentences, a book of extracts
from the Church Fathers).
[23]

In the Renaissance, especially with Florentine Platonist apologists of Dante's poetics, the
distinction between "poetic theology" (theologia poetica) and "revealed" or Biblical theology
serves as steppingstone for a revival of philosophy as independent of theological authority.
It is in this last sense, theology as an academic discipline involving rational study of
Christian teaching, that the term passed into English in the fourteenth century,
[24]
though it
could also be used in the narrower sense found in Boethius and the Greek patristic
authors, to mean rational study of the essential nature of God a discourse now
sometimes called Theology Proper.
[25]

From the 17th century onwards, it also became possible to use the term 'theology' to refer
to study of religious ideas and teachings that are not specifically Christian (e.g., in the
phrase 'Natural Theology' which denoted theology based on reasoning from natural facts
independent of specifically Christian revelation
[26]
), or that are specific to another religion
(see below).
"Theology" can also now be used in a derived sense to mean "a system of theoretical
principles; an (impractical or rigid) ideology."
[27]