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.

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

Recent Catholic Commentary

Famous actors bring the New Testament to dramatic life in this audio Bible 8 hours ago
Preparing for the Jubilee of Mercy 10 hours ago
Final Liturgical Year volume for 2014-2015 now available August 31
Church Fathers: The Third Century and the School of Alexandria August 29
Every Aspect of the Catholic Thing August 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: welcome with compassion those who have remarried outside the Church CWN - August 5
Pope Francis: SSPX priests will licitly and validly absolve sins during Jubilee of Mercy CWN - 21 hours ago