Theology - History of The Term

History of The Term

Theology translates into English from the Greek theologia (θεολογία) which derived from theos (θεός), meaning God, and logia (λόγια), 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 théologie. The English equivalent "theology" (Theologie, Teologye) had evolved by 1362. 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 (θεολογια) was used with the meaning "discourse on god" in the fourth century B.C. by Plato in The Republic, Book ii, Ch. 18. 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 but—using 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.
  • Some Latin Christian authors, such as Tertullian and Augustine, followed Varro's threefold usage, though Augustine also used the term more simply to mean 'reasoning or discussion concerning the deity'
  • In Patristic Greek Christian sources, theologia could refer narrowly to devout and inspired knowledge of, and teaching about, the essential nature of God.
  • 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.
  • 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 with corporeal, moving realities). Boethius' definition influenced medieval Latin usage.
  • 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).
  • 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, 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.
  • 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 ), 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."

Read more about this topic:  Theology

Other articles related to "history of the term, the term":

Multimedium - Terminology - History of The Term
... The term multimedia was coined by singer and artist Bob Goldstein (later 'Bobb Goldsteinn') to promote the July 1966 opening of his "LightWorks at L'Oursin" show at Southampton, Long Island ... music-cum-visuals to debut as discothèque fare.” Two years later, in 1968, the term "multimedia" was re-appropriated to describe the work of a political consultant, David Sawyer ... In the late 1970s, the term referred to presentations consisting of multi-projector slide shows timed to an audio track ...
Cuckold - History of The Term
... The term was clearly regarded as embarrassingly direct, as evident in John Lydgate's "Fall of Princes" (ca ... In the late 14th century, the term also appeared in Geoffrey Chaucer's Miller's Tale ...

Famous quotes containing the words term and/or history:

    We now demand the light artillery of the intellect; we need the curt, the condensed, the pointed, the readily diffused—in place of the verbose, the detailed, the voluminous, the inaccessible. On the other hand, the lightness of the artillery should not degenerate into pop-gunnery—by which term we may designate the character of the greater portion of the newspaper press—their sole legitimate object being the discussion of ephemeral matters in an ephemeral manner.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1845)

    The history of the genesis or the old mythology repeats itself in the experience of every child. He too is a demon or god thrown into a particular chaos, where he strives ever to lead things from disorder into order.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)