We explain what theology is and what are the branches of study of this science. In addition, great theologians and theological documents.
What is theology?
Theology is the study or reasoning of God . It is a science that is responsible for studying the set of knowledge related to the divine, to God. The word theology was used for the first time by Plato, in The Republic.
The word theology follows from theos , the Greek word that describes God; and logos , which translates as the study of . Therefore, the meaning of theology could broadly refer to the study of God.
The term or concept of theology encompasses everything that is related to divine knowledge or of God . And there is a record of its use in Plato’s Republic, which used it to describe the rational understanding of the divine nature. But it was not until the times of Aristotle, when this term was a little more specific and with this diversified the occasions to use the concept of theology.
He used theology to name the mythological thinking of thinkers, before the birth of Philosophy . This denomination was ironic and pejorative. But then the word theology was used as a way to name the most important branch of Philosophy , which would later be called Metaphysics.
St. Augustine was inspired by Marco Terencio Varrón to use the term natural theology as true and began studying it, to finish writing The Theological Sum, for example, which meant a great document of the time to understand religions .
This type of theology is developed within the Christian churches that are called Catholic. It is used to study the relationship between God and Man , based on the Holy Scriptures, traditions and the Magisterium.
One of the outstanding characteristics of Catholic theology is its level of systematization and the issues addressed by it describe the need to renew the image of the Church as a place where Christ himself is present.
What is said, in simple words, propose what thousands of theological researchers were in charge of exposing for years: the Church as a community of salvation and in contact with God , not as an institution that distances beings from the Land of God.
Branches of Catholic theology
Fundamental theology : Discipline that is in charge of the research and teaching of theology proper.
Dogmatic theology : It is responsible for studying dogmas, that is, the theoretical truths of the Christian faith. He emphasizes the importance of the proposal that is above sensory perceptions, speaking of faith.
Spiritual theology : Its purpose is spiritual life, holiness and knowledge of faith through the testimonies provided by the spiritual experience of the Saints. It uses, first of all, the Holy Scriptures, which are considered to be written with thedatathat God wanted to let men observe, as well as prayers and prayers through which to reach God. It also uses, secondly, tradition and interpreters – the Magisterium – responsible for discovering the meanings of the Scriptures. And finally, investigate the writings that some Saints have left on earth, as testimonies of their research and spiritual encounters with God.
Pastoral theology :It is responsible for reflecting on thecommunicationbetween the Church as an institution and the rest of the men and faithful that make it up. This is done through the preaching of divine truths and constant catechesis. It is also responsible, through the sacraments and pastoral activities, to act in the daily life of the faithful. Specifically, reflect on the awakening of faith and being constantly formed; the sacramental and liturgy life; spiritual attention to the faithful, as well as paying special attention to people with particular needs, such as the sick, elderly, addicted and marginalized. Take special care of the missionary dimension and the call to mission forhuman rights, peace and social justice .
Within the pastoral theology, there is the branch in charge of studying and carrying out missionary preaching, a resource that Christ himself used to address the two types of audiences he had in his time and that remains until the day of today as a way to address the two types of audiences that exist today.
One, is destined for the new people, more incredulous and not yet within the Christian faith; and another, towards the congregation or faithful people, which is the one that is already within the ranks of the believing people. This is what leads us to name another of the sub-branches of pastoral theology, in which some general principles of rhetoric-art and science of public speaking apply – that is, the proclamation of the Holy Scriptures , generally the task of priests and pastors, in sermons and Sunday homilies, is Homiletics.
The study of sermons and religious discourses, with their composition and content, is the main object of study of this branch of theology. In turn, within homiletics, differences between evangelical homiletics and Catholic hemiltics can be noted , which are based, for example, on the solemn character of the proclamation – his homily proper – within the Catholic Church, in which only Priests or those authorized – permanent deacons, for example – to deliver sermons within Mass can do so. On the other hand, in the Evangelical Church, preaching can be in charge of both the Pastor, and any other member of the congregation, without the need to be consecrated to perform this task.
At present there are many documents that speak of theology and that explain for sure what are the foundations of science and its research methods . A lot of time spent, many hours of research, prayers and spiritual life at the service of explaining faith and everything that integrates it.
Some of its most famous authors and from which we can still obtain copies of their research are: Alberto Magno, San Agustín de Hipona, Santo Tomás de Aquino, Juan Crisóstomo, Jerónimo de Estridón, San Francisco de Sales, Gregorio Magno and one very close to our times, Joseph Ratzinger, that is, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
As a very important theological document and of public domain to be cited and consulted by all within Catholicism, we find the CCE, Cathechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae or Catechism of the Catholic Church , which exposes, carefully and in detail, the Catholic ecclesiastical doctrine illuminated by Sacred Scriptures, the Tradition of the Apostles and the ecclesiastical Magisterium, formed by the Pope – the highest authority of the Catholic Church – and the bishops in communion with him.
The writing of this Catechism was the result, together with other very important documents, of the renewal of the Catholic Church initiated with the Second Vatican Council and which became texts taken as a reference about the Church and very significant for its history. And bishops experts in Theology and Catechesis were summoned for writing , in order to reinforce the knowledge of the bishops participating in the Council.
In turn, in the drafting of this Catechism – which took approximately six years to complete – all the members of the Second Vatican Council participated and had the collaboration of the entire Episcopate, in the service of sharing the faith with all the people that make up the Church.