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This lesson introduces theology as "theos logos," i.e. the academic and scholarly study of God, with emphasis on both the scope and limitations of theology.

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Hi. Welcome to this tutorial on theology.

The word theology comes from two Greek words-- theos and logos. Theos, which means God, and logos, which means reason or word that we often take to mean study of. So theology is literally the study of God.

Theology as it is known today in the Western religions comes from Greek philosophy and scriptural traditions. Right now, we're thinking about the scriptural traditions in Judaism, in Islam, and in Christianity, so the Koran, the Tanakh, or the Jewish Bible, and Christian Bibles. And we have bibles in the plural here just because there are various different Christian bibles which differ slightly depending on whether you are orthodox or Catholic or Protestant.

All of these traditions really stem from the Hellenistic Period, which ran roughly from the reign of Alexander the Great to the early Roman Empire, when the Greek language was really the language that linked together the entire ancient world. What is theology? Well, we can say that theology is reinterpreting the received tradition in the light of new questions, or describing an unseen reality through reasoned discourse about the historical faiths.

Three important theologians come to mind. They are Moses ben Maimon, also known as my Maimonides, who codified Jewish law and ethics. And then next, Thomas Aquinas, who is the formulator of Catholic theology, who is important for Catholic theology even today. And finally, Ibn Sina, or Avicenna as he is known. This is an Anglicizing of his Muslim named Ibn Sina. Ibn Sina was an Islamic philosopher and physician. All three of these people are doing something similar. They're taking Aristotle and interpreting Greek philosophy for their respective traditions and their respective interests.

Just to recap, theology is the study of God. And it asks questions about the nature of God's existence and what God is like. It does that by using scripture and Greek philosophy.

Hi. Welcome to this lesson on theology. We discussed how theology is the study of God that is derived from Greek philosophy and scriptural traditions, that focuses especially on describing an unseen reality. We also discussed three medieval theologians-- Moses ben Maimon, or Maimonides, who founded Jewish law and ethics, Thomas Aquinas, the formulator of Catholic theology, and Ibn Sina, or Avicenna, who was an Islamic philosopher and physician. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

Terms to Know

The study of God, including questions regarding God's existence, nature, and character.