$31,402 to go to meet our Challenge Grant, by December 1st. Your gift now will count twice!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

THEOLOGY

Literally "the science of God," used by the Stoics in the third century B.C. to describe a reasoned analysis of the deity. Earlier uses were more naturalistic. Thus, Plato in the Republic and Aristotle in his Metaphysics called Homer, Hesiod, and Orpheus theologians because they first determined the genealogies and attributes of the gods.

With the advent of Christianity, theology came to mean what its etymolgy suggested, and was defined by St. Augustine as "reasoning or discourse about the divinity." Through the patristic age to the period of The Schoolmen, this remained the acceptable generic meaning. Peter Abelard (1079-1142) is credited with first having used the term in its modern connotation. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) defended theology as a science because it investigates the contents of belief by means of reason enlightened by faith (fides quaerens intellectum), in order to acquire a deeper understanding or revelation. He also distinguished theology proper from "natural theology" or what Gottfried Leibniz later called "theolodicy," which studies God as knowable by reason alone and independent of divine authority. Since the thirteenth century the term has been applied to the whole study of revealed truth and gradually replaced its reival synonyms. (Etym. Latin theologia; from Greek: theo, God + -logia, knowledge.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Putting Our Best Foot Forward 13 hours ago
Contentious Spirits, Beware! October 30
And here's another very old story: the secular media don't understand Catholic affairs October 29
How not to be persuasive October 29
Francis the Man, Francis the Pope October 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6