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Theology in the Scriptures

  Θεολογία, θεολογεῖν, θεολόγος

not Scriptural terms
  When did these terms enter Christian literature????
Theology in the Ancient Greek
Philosophical Tradition

 Plato s Republic
  what are the forms of theology which you mean) οἱ
τύποι περί θεολογίας τίνες ἄν εἶεν]

  "Something of this kind, I [namely Plato] replied:

- God is always to be represented as he truly is,
whatever be the sort of poetry, epic, lyric or
tragic, in which the representation is given [τοιίδε
πού τινες· οἷος τυγχάνει ὁ Θεός ὤν, ἀεί δήπου
ἀποδοτέον, ἐάν τε τίς αὐτόν ἐν ἔπεσι ποιῄ ἐάν τε ἐν
µέλεσιν ἐάν τε ἐν τραγωδίᾳ].
Theology in the Ancient Greek
Philosophical Tradition

  Aristotle
  Θεολογία - τό τιµιώτατον

  Evidently, then, there are three kinds of theoretical sciences-

physics, mathematics, theology. The class of theoretical
sciences is the best, and of these themselves the last named is
best; for it deals with the highest of existing things, and each
science is called better or worse in virtue of its proper object”

  Δῆλον τοίνυν ὅτι τρία γένη τῶν θεωριτικῶν ἐπιστηµῶν ἐστι,

φυσική, µαθηµατική, θεολογική. Βέλτιστον µέν ουν τό τῶν
θεωρητικῶν γένος, τούτων δ᾽αὐτῶν ἡ τελευταία λεχθεῖσα.
Περί το τιµιώτατον γάρ ἐστι τῶν ὄντων, βελτίων δέ καί χείρων
ἑκάστη λέγεται κατά τό οἰκεῖον ἐπιστητόν
Theology in the Ancient Greek
Philosophical Tradition

  Stoics
-  Tripartite distinction
-  Mythical
-  Natural
-  Civil
  In Augustine's City of God, we read the following:
what is the significance of his saying that there are three kinds of
theology, that is, of the account that is given of the gods? Of these one is
called mythical, another physical and the third civil. If Latin usage
allowed, we should call the kind that he placed first "fabular." But let us
call it "fabulous", for the term "mythical" is derived from fables, since in
Greek a fable is called mythos. The second kind may be called "natural",
as common usage already approves. To the third kind Varro himself
gives a Latin name, that of "civil.

e ndeavo ur
-  Human

ι θ α ν ο λ ο γία eology is
-  Π eG
th re e ks , t h
-  “And so to ”

p o mo rp h ic
-  Anthro e t h at
a lan g u ag
d t h e o l o g y s s the
o f f e re e xp re
t G re e k w orld at h e r s u s e d to
-  Ancien t h e C h ri stian f
t ly
subsequen he Christian God
mystery o
Theology in the Scritpures

  The word "theology" does not appear in the Scriptures

  Athenagoras of Athens (2nd century) first to use the
term – in A Plea for Christians
  It was Clement and to a greater extent Origen who
were the first to introduce the term into the Christian
  It was in Alexandria that the first Theological School
Theology in the Early Christian Tradition

  The term "theology" used differently to how it is used


  St Athanasius – specifically used the term to depict Christ s relationship

with God the Father (cf. Trinitarian theology) (note diff. b/w theologia and oikonomia)
  Evagius of Pontos
  Saint Diadochos of Photiki said that "theology
bestows on the soul the greatest gifts… uniting it with God the
Logos in unbreakable communion."
  St Peter of Damascus said that theology is the most
exalted of the eight stages of spiritual contemplation.
Theology in the Scriptures

  The reason for existence – knowledge of God

“Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal
life” (Jn6:47)
“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the
Son of God does not have life.” (1John 5:12)

Theology =
a knowledge of God which is life giving, which explains what
life is all about
Theology in the Scriptures

  Theology is life-giving and for all

“the deeper breathing of the entire body”
  Theology as ‘gift’ – χάρις
  Therefore not acquired purely through scholarship

  Not acquired BUT accepted in thanksgiving

  The starting point for

  the gift of Jesus Christ
  a response to Jesus’ question,
“Who do you say that I am?”
Theology in the Scriptures

First Reflection

Subsequent Reflections
Who do Canon of Theology
you say Faith
that I (1Cor 15)
am ?
Theology in the Scriptures

•  The starting point of theology is the

gospel of God about Jesus Christ which is preached
Theology in the Scriptures

  A kerygma revealed to the ecclesia

  The Church as the hermeneutical

“He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good
pleasure that he set forth in Christ… in former generations this mystery
was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his
holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit…. this is the great mystery, and I
am applying it to Christ and the church” (Eph 1:9; 3:5 and 5:32).

“for now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I
know only in part; then I will know full, even as I have been fully
known” (1Cor 13:12).
Theology in the Scriptures

 Theology as a martyria - a witness to Christ who leads us

to the Father by the Holy Spirit
  Theology = God’s action in the world with His Son and Spirit
 "Theology is knowledge of God made possible by the
interpretation of the words concerning God found in
Scripture by the Word and the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit in the assembly of the Church to which this
grace, this gift and gospel is given in which the activity
of God takes place."
Theology in the

  The reflection of the kerygma of Christ becomes theology and

is handed down for future generations

  "Hold fast to what has been handed over to you either in

writing or orally that you have received”
  Παραθήκη τῆς πίστεως- depositum fidei

  What was handed over was the 1. Teaching of the apostles; 2.

The breaking of bread; 3. The prayers; 4. The communion.
Theology in the Scriptures
Theology in the Scriptures

 Theology therefore not part of the


 The first theological treatise after the preaching - St

John's Gospel

Theology was part of the interior life of the ecclesia, where

the ultimate act had been revealed and the person came to know
Christ through the Spirit and therefore to know God through
Him and therefore to be able to speak proper words, or God-
befitting words about the Trinity
Theology in the Scriptures

  Theology begins with the confession of Jesus
  This claim arises out a relationship with Him
  This is made possible by the seal of the Holy Spirit
  This is experienced in the Church
  This process is what makes theology possible.
Theology in the Fathers

  Gift - Charisma
  Revelation of a mystery
  Requiring inner purifcation
  Stillness
Theology as a Gift

  St Thalassius of Lybia –
“the desire of all desires, the grace of theology”

  Less a quest and examination of God by human

beings than a quest and an examination by God of
human beings

  Cannot be undertaken in a detached way but

presupposes a loving relationship of communion

  Not an accumulation of knowledge but a form of

Theology as a Gift

  Theologian – theodidaktos
  Origen (2nd cent.)
y is an
n, a brea
out, an e thing
radiation n, a
that com
from Go es
Theology as a Revelation of a Mystery

  “the mystery of theology”

  “every theological affirmation passes the

understanding of the one who utters it. For our
understanding is weak and our language leaves a lot
to be desired.”

  “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will

see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will
know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1Cor
Apophatic and Cataphatic Language
“The true knowledge of God and vision of God consists in this - in seeing
that God is invisible, because what we see lies beyond all knowledge,
being wholly separated by the darkness of incomprehensibility… What
is the significance of the fact that Moses went right into the darkness
and saw God there? (Ex 20:21). At first sight, the account of this vision
seems to contradict the earlier one (Ex 3). For, whereas on that
occasion the divine was actually seen in light, this time the divine is
seen in darkness. But we should not regard this as reflecting any
inconsistency, at least on the level of the mystical meaning, which
concerns us here. Through it the Word is teaching us that, in the initial
stages, religious knowledge comes to people as illumination. So what
we recognize as contrary to religion is darkness, and escape from that
darkness is achieved through participation in the light. From there the
mind moves forward; and, by its ever-increasing and more perfect
attention, it forms an idea of the apprehension of reality. The closer it
approaches the vision of God, the more it recognizes the invisible
character of the divine nature.”
Apophatic language

  Safeguards the inexhaustibility of God

  Theology – a knowledge beyond all knowledge
  Such language leads to an encounter
  Theology – as union with God
A personal commitment to holiness

  Theology – a theandric endeavor – σύνεργοι Θεου

(1Cor 3:9)
  Theology requires a radical and personal
transformation together with intellectual rigour
  Made possible through prayer
  Cf. Evagrius (4th cent.)
“a theologian is the one who prays; the one who
prays is a theologian”
A personal commitment to holiness

  St Maximus the
"mystical theology implies
an erotic ecstasy, a self
transcendence penetrated
by the irresistable desire of
the living God.
  Metanoia
  Askesis
  Doxa
St Gregory Nazianzus’ adage

"It is not given to all the world to philosophise

about God, not to all the world for the subject
is not common or trivial and I will add not
before any public, nor at any moment, nor at
any point of doctrine but at certain moments,
before certain people and certain limits. Not to
everyone, but only those who can philosophise
on God are those who have been tested to this
end, those who are arrived at a higher stage of
contemplation, those who have before hand
purified their souls and bodies or at least are
in the process of purifying themselves".
Peace of heart

  “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 45.10)

  "On what occasion it is allowed of us to philsophize

about God? This is possible when we have reached a
state of peace and by that we are sheltered from the
restlessness and the impurities which come from
outside. In order to know God we must be in a state
of inner peace.”
Mystical Theology