What is theology?

Lennan (1998, p.13) defines theology "as the study which, through participation in and reflection upon a religious faith, seeks to express the content of this faith in the clearest and most coherent language available." He also states (1998, p.14) that theology is "never creatio ex nihilo (creation from nothing), but it involves the interpretation of "the content of this faith" which predates all of us." Further, he states (1998, p.15) that "... theology reflects on the human experience - individual and communal - of God, and that it articulates that experience in words and symbols." 

McBrien (1980, p.26) states: "Faith is not theology, to be sure, but neither does faith exist apart from, or independently of theology. Theology comes into play at that very moment when the person of faith becomes intellectually conscious of his or her faith." 

Theology is "faith seeking understanding" - the classic definition of faith from St Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109). 

Building on this definition, McBrien (1980, p.26) states" "Theology is that process by which we bring our knowledge and understanding of God to the level of expression." 

Is the interpretation of faith an hermeneutical exercise? And is IPA a double hermeneutic? 

Tillich (1951, p. 4) states: "The situation" theology must consider is the creative interpretation of existence, an interpretation which is carried on in every period of history under all kinds of psychological and sociological conditions."

Religious Education 



Data Analysis




Lennan, Richard (Ed.). (1998). An introduction to catholic theology. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press. 

McBrien, Richard P. (1980). Catholicism. East Malvern, Victoria: Dove Communications.

Tillich, Paul (1951). Systematic theology, vol 1. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Notes, 12/9/15

Late Middle English (originally applying only to Christianity): from French théologie, from Latin theologia, from Greek, from theos 'god' + -logia (see -logy).

For an explanation of St Anselm's fides quaerens intellectum (faith seeking understanding), see:

I am proposing that "fides" be translated as "faithfulness", that is, it is the disciple who seeks to understand the Master. Thus theology becomes the ally of spirituality and not the soldier of orthodoxy.