Fundamental Theology Lecture Notes 1 Definition and History Theology means simply the word about God or the

study of the Godhead. It is the formal attempt to understand and interpret the things of God, both theoretical and practical, revealed in both Scripture and tradition, in a scholarly, methodical, and systematic manner. ANSELM OF CANTERBURY gave a classic formulation to the theological enterprise as fides quaerens intellectum, or “faith seeking understanding.” What is Theology? Let us try to understand: Theology comes from the Greek words Theo, which means God and Logos, which literally means word. Therefore, literally, Theology is the word about God or the study about God. This study has its Greek because they are the first to make a systematic study of the things about every observable things and phenomena including the divinity. It is a formal attempt to understand and interpret the things of God. Formal here means certain set of rules have to be followed in our study of Theology. Theology is the study of religion, especially the Christian faith and God's relation to the world. Let’s take the definition in detail: It is a study and religion is the subject of this study, particularly Christian faith. Since Christian faith proclaims belief in God who created the world and governs everything in it, the work of God as it relates to the life of humans and the creation becomes the subject of Theology. Theology is, as St. Anselm puts it, faith seeking understanding. It is therefore an attempt to understand faith employing faith and reason. Again, this entails a study but unlike other sciences where the scientists make use only of reason and treats faith as irrational, in Theology, the totality of the person is involved including intellect and faith. What are the sources of doing Theology? If a biologist begins his study by investigating the nature and function of living things, a physicist deals with all non-living things, what is it that a theologian takes to start his investigation of a God who is unseen to the human eye but is accessible primarily through the human mind? Obviously, we can only begin with what we see and perceive as human experience. Therefore, we might ask how do we experience God and since the experience of God does not belong exclusively to the priests nor to the religious and theologians alone, we’ll have to deal with the human experience of God throughout history particularly that of the Judeo-Christian Tradition (JCT). We will then call this human experience of God as the Revelation. 1. Human Experience Life comes first, Theology follows. What the sacred writers of the Scriptures put into writing was the experience of salvation they had with and through God. This experience was narrated and transmitted orally before they were canonized as Scriptures. But this experience was primarily an interpreted experience using the language and symbolisms found in the culture of the chosen people at the time of writing. While all experiences are an interpretation of events, the Scriptures present the events from a particular vantage point, that of faith. Hence, the Scriptures are born from an experience understood in the light of faith, of the encounter of the people with God. 2. Revelation Revelation may be defined as the communication of some truth by God to a rational creature through means which are beyond the ordinary course of nature. This is not synonymous to the last book of the New Testament, Book of Revelation or Apocalypse which though they speak both about events as manifestation of God’s plan, the New Testament book is rather specific to a particular place, time and people while Revelation as a theological subject pertains primarily to the manifestation in general of God’s divine will to humans particularly

2 Peter 1:4). man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature (see Eph. Scriptures – refer to the Old and New Testament books which form the Christian canon. to the last of the elect. His plan was to raise men to a participation of the divine life. but ceaselessly offered helps to salvation. DV#2 The eternal Father. The Neo-Scholastic approach can be summarized as follows: Starting point: Church Teaching Sources of Proof: Scripture and Tradition Systematic Explanation of the Position Application to Daily Life Redemption The End Times . the Father "foreknew and predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son. God the Father did not leave men to themselves.15. the invisible God (see Col. the firstborn of every creature". 1. Tradition – the living transmission of the Christian faith orally and in writing from the apostles to the present time. NeoScholastic Theology developed a response to the issues of the time. 2:18. counter-Reformation period. the Word made flesh. 1 Tim. fideist and traditionalit thinking.(3) He planned to assemble in the holy Church all those who would believe in Christ. before time began. when. This Revelation. 1:9) by which through Christ. Fallen in Adam. while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. 3. The Neo-Scholastic Method In the post-Tredentine. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words. especially in the 19 th and until the 1960’s. By this revelation then. At the end of time it will gloriously achieve completion. therefore.(1*) In the present era of time the Church was constituted and. Characteristics of the Neo-Scholastic tehological approach is the development of the theological manual which became the major theological instruction in schools and seminaries. Neo-Scholastic theologicans seek first to clarify the Bible and early Church writers. Church Teachings In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will (see Eph. LG#2 God’s Revelation Through Time L o v e God Creation Salvation How does one do Theology? 1. as is read in the Fathers. particularly in connection with the spread of rationalist. created the whole world. is found in the Scriptures and Traditions as its sources. from Adam and "from Abel. Jesus Christ. by the outpouring of the Spirit. Already from the beginning of the world the foreshadowing of the Church took place.(2) All the elect. John 15:14-15) and lives among them (see Bar. who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. It was prepared in a remarkable way throughout the history of the people of Israel and by means of the Old Covenant. Through this revelation. all the just. was made manifest. followed by arguments to refute the errors of Protestantism and finally instructs the readers or listeners on how to life a truly Catholic life. the Redeemer "who is the image of the invisible God. so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Israel and later through His own Son. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends (see Ex. 3:38). 33:11. often called as the Judeo-Christian Tradition. in view of Christ. the just one. that he should be the firstborn among many brethren". the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ."(2*) will be gathered together with the Father in the universal Church. by a free and hidden plan of His own wisdom and goodness.

concerns. and ESCHATOLOGY. Apologetics . too. said long time ago: “Gloria Dei. If the world. Other Approaches arising from Liberation Theology a.A theological science which has for its purpose the explanation and defence of the Christian religion . of his action. life and love. As St. As St. Method Arising from Vatican II Dei Verbum. whose will is nothing else than we live a full human life. The prime object of Theology remains as it is: God. theologians have to ask more basic questions about the nature we live in. the FALL. of the human situation. life and love. Christology. we affirm God’s gracious and saving presence and action. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO gave an authoritative formulation of the truths of faith for the West in his large corpus of writings. At present other branches of Theology have developed as a response to the need of times. This offer is freely given to the world. Feminist Theology b. before asking what God wills for the world. Dei Verbum calls us to a doing Theology that takes into account the particular situations. for God “speaks to men and woman as friends and dwells among them. This new understanding that arose from Vatican II thus inspired an approach which can be summarized as follows: The Pole of Contemporary Human experience: (SEE) The Pole of the Judeo-Christian Tradition: (DISCERN) Practical Mediation or Theology of Praxis: (ACT) 3. issues or problems of people and their environment. A wrong or flawed understanding of the reality “outside” due to difficulties in knowing the situation may lead us to a wrong or flawed understanding of God. vita autem hominis visio Dei”— the glory of God is men and women fully alive! God is please and glorified when we live a life of love. Iraneaus. and that is the world (oekumene) is where God “speaks” (=acts > dabar) we must be attentive to the world with all its beauty and ugliness and it is in the world that we can live our humanity full of life and love in “fellowship” (=participation) with others This new understanding of the divine revelation prompted theologians to re-think their theological approach. that is. ECCLESIOLOGY. God’s goodness. The Neo-Scholastic way of doing Theology where the doctrine or church teachings is the starting point and human experience is relegated as non-essential is no longer tenable.” The world then is the place of God’s revelation. However. It is in and through the ordinary events of our lives that we experience and share in the “divine nature” of God.” Beginning with the human experience. Theology of Ecology What are the Branches of Theology? Though it can be pursued objectively as an academic subject. “An error about the world redounds on error about God. redemption through GRACE. Among the different branches of Theology at present are as follows: 1. Thomas Aquinas said.2. homo vivens. the Vatican II Document on the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation understands revelation as God’s offer of goodness. It includes the doctrines of GOD. the SACRAMENTS. theology’s true purpose is in understanding and interpreting the truths of God as a service to the community of FAITH. CHRISTIAN systematic theology began with reflection of the three articles of faith in the theology of IRENAEUS OF LYONS.

more commonly still. Christology – is that part of theology which deals with Our Lord Jesus Christ. generally speaking. Sacramentology – Theology that deals with the study of the sacraments 15. Soteriology – the Theology of salvation 16. dogmatic theology proper being distinguished from it as "special dogmatic theology". Biblical Theology – theology that is drawn from the Bible by Biblical theology by seeking to discover what the biblical writers. Liturgical Theology – the branch of Theology which deals with the liturgy and worship of the Church including the sacraments. 4. 7. apologetics or fundamental theology is called "general dogmatic theology". under divine guidance. as "patristic study". . Such asTheology ProperorPaterologyis the study of God the Father. 5. Church History – is the scientific investigation and the methodical description of the temporal development of the Church considered as an institution founded by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Ghost for the salvation of mankind. In its full extent it comprises the doctrines concerning both the person of Christ and His works. Pneumatology – Theology of the Holy Spirit 14. 19.Angelologyis the study of angels. Catechesis – s an education in the faith of children. Spirituality (Mysticism) – theology that deals with the different spiritualities in the Church 17. and taught in the context of their own times. Systematic theology is an importanttool in helping us to understand and teach the Bible in an organized manner. 13.Christology is the study of God the Son. or.the study of the writings of the Fathers of the Church. has more commonly been known in England as "patristics".That part of theology which treats of the theoretical truths of faith concerning God and His works.Soteriologyis the study of salvation. or anthropology. described. Ecclesiology – the theological discipline that studies the nature and constitution of the church and its distinctive place in the economy of salvation through CHRIST 8. young people and adults which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted. in relation to the divine.Christian Anthropologyis the study of humanity. but in the present article we shall limit ourselves to a consideration of the person of Christ.Eschatologyis the study of theend times. Pastoral Theology – Theology that deals with the care of the souls 12.2.Ecclesiologyis the study of the church. the Lord Jesus Christ. Patrology . in an organic and systematic way. Dogmatic Theology . Theological anthropology is the branch of theology which is concerned with the study of humankind. At times. Moral Theology or Christian Ethics – the theology with studies the rightness or wrongness of the human acts 11. 6. Mariology – Theology that deals with the study of Mary 10.Hamartiologyis the study of sin. believed. 20.Pneumatologyis the study of God the Holy Spirit. 3.Bibliologyis the study of the Bible.Christian Demonologyis the study of demons from a Christian perspective. Theology of Grace – Theology that deals with the study of God’s grace 18. Eschatology – the study of the end times 9. with a view to initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life.

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