Originally posted this at Homebrewed Christianity
I got a call the other day from a college student who asked me “how would you define theology?”
I said that it can be thought of as 4 things:
- God Talk: the most basic thing it to look at the etymology (theo- logy).
- Faith Seeking Understanding: Anselm’s famous dictum is still many’s favorite.
- Unquestionable Answers: in contrast with Philosophy’s unanswerable questions. I got this funny line from one of the best little books I have ever read – John Caputo’s Philosophy and Theology
- 2nd order activity carried out by disciples within hermeneutical communities. The primary activity is the faith lived out in particular locations and within cultural contexts – theology is the secondary discipline reflecting upon the primary expression.
Now within theology it is important to acknowledge that there are distinct schools of Systematic, Historical, Philosophical and Biblical – these are recognized as the “Big 4” – and there is also my discipline of Practical Theology.
I am big fan of Grenz and Olson’s book Who Needs Theology? and the way that they conceptualize it.
I feel good about my 4 fold answer, I think it covers the basics and provides a framework to enter into the conversation.
March 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm
Looks good, but what category would you put global theologies or contextual theologies in? Or things like liberation and environmental theologies? What would you classify them as? And is there such thing as an embodied theology?