In the narrowest sense, the study of the knowledge of God; but more widely, in modern usage, the rational account of a religion as serviced by a range of subdisciplines which include the study of sacred texts, ethics, doctrine, history, and liturgy. The word does not occur in the Bible but the practice of theology began as early as Paul, who had himself studied Jewish theology (Phil. 3:5), which was as much practical directions as details of correct belief. Theological controversy is found in most of the epistles, and the disputants argued about truth and error, including or excluding rival views about the gospel (Gal. 1:6) or Christ (1 John 4:2–3).
Attempts have been made to bring the diverse materials of the NT under one umbrella as a ‘theology of the NT’, argued, for example, under dogmatic principles, such as Church, ministry, and sacraments. In Germany, the best-known recent NT theology was that of Rudolf Bultmann [[➝ Bultmann, Rudolf]] who, after a short introduction on Jesus' message, then described the theologies of Paul and John from an existentialist point of view, well adapted for the modern Christian. Since then it has been argued that the NT data are far too variegated to be brought into a single system. Round a core of consensus the remainder has to be recognized as attempts to express its significance for very different communities. The core is the salvation-event of Jesus Christ himself, especially the cross and resurrection and his preaching of the Kingdom, and the apostolic proclamation of this event.
OT scholars in the 19th cent. Shrank from the task of ordering the extraordinary variety of OT narratives into a coherent systematic theology, and produced instead histories of the religion of Israel. More recently, scholars have turned away from a purely descriptive account of the OT to recording it as a body of literature in which history and faith are inextricably combined and which in the Christian community of faith is linked to the NT. Through the OT interpretation of Israel's history, this offers a perspective for understanding events in our own day. For example, liberation [[➝ liberation theology]] and feminist [[➝ feminism]] theologians can approach the history of the Exodus with their particular human concerns: OT history is a model for regarding contemporary movements as the setting for God's continuing work of salvation.

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  • Theology —    Theology (from the Greek theologia, which means the science of God ) was much studied in Byzantium (q.v.). Among the topics considered were the nature of God (the Trinity), the relationship of Christ s human and divine natures, and the meaning …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

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  • theology — ► NOUN (pl. theologies) 1) the study of God and religious belief. 2) religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed. DERIVATIVES theological adjective theologically adverb theologist noun …   English terms dictionary

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  • THEOLOGY — Introduction Defined by Richard Hooker, the Renaissance theologian, as the science of things divine, theology (from the Greek word theos, God, and logos, word, doctrine ) is a sustained, rational discourse on god , His nature, His relationship to …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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