What is Theology?
It has been defined as reasoned discourse about God or the gods, or more generally about
religion or spirituality.
Theologians use various forms of analysis and argument (philosophical, ethnographic,
historical) to help understand, explain, test, critique, defend or promote any of a myriad
of religious topics. It might be undertaken to help the theologian
understand more truly his or her own religious tradition,
understand more truly another religious tradition,
make comparisons between religious traditions,
defend or justify a religious tradition,
facilitate reform of a particular tradition,
assist in the propagation of a religious tradition,
draw on the resources of a tradition to address some present situation or need,
for a variety of other reasons.
The term can now be used to speak of reasoned discourse within and about a variety of
different religious traditions.
History of the Term “Theology”
The Greek word is literally translated as "to talk about God" from Θεός (Theos) which is
God and logy which derives from logos, though this raises the question of the meaning of
the word "God".
Drawing on Greek sources, the Latin writer Varro influentially 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).
In patristic Greek sources,
could refer narrowly to devout and inspired
knowledge of, and teaching about, the essential nature of God.
In some medieval Greek and Latin sources,
(in the sense of "an account
or record of the ways of God") could refer simply to the Bible
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