Encyclopedia of Theology
Encyclopedia of Theology a branch of theological science of comparatively recent origin. Its aims are to furnish
(1) a sketch of the different branches of theology in their organic connection and relations with each other; showing the fitness of the various branches to theological science as a whole, and the relative importance of these branches; and
(2) a plan of theological study, showing the order in which the topics should be taken up, and indicating the best methods of study and necessary books and helps of all kinds. This second branch, including the practical application of encyclopedia, is generally called Methodology, and the whole science taken together is called by the double name Encyclopedia and Methodology. Of these, Encyclopedia is the objective side, the outline of the science itself; Methodology is the subjective side, having reference to the work of the student of the science.
I. History of the Science. — In form, this branch of science is modern. When theology as a science was in its infancy, theological encyclopedia as science was impossible. But at an early period helps for students were prepared. Such were the treatise by Chrysostom, De Sacerdotio, the De officiis ministrorum of Ambrosius, De doctrina christiana of Augustine, and a work of the same kind as the latter, De disciplina scholarium, attributed to Boethius (t 525), but probably written after his time. Cassiodorus (t 562) wrote De Institutione Divinacrum Literarum, an introduction to the profitable study of Scripture, for the use of monks. In the 7th century Isidor of Seville wrote a larger work, a kind of general encyclopedia, wherein he also treats of theology, Originum sive Etymologiarum Libr. xx, but it is more in the shape of pastoral theology, as is the De institutione clericorum of Rabanus Maurus in the 9th century. The latter contains, however (volume 3), a sketch of the different branches of information necessary to a minister. The Didascalion (eruditio didascalica) of Hugo of St. Victor (t 1141) comes nearer to the character of a theological encyclopedia — its 1st, 2d, and 3d books treating on the preparatory studies, and the others, 4th to 6th, on the exposition of Scripture and the study of the fathers (Liebner, Hugo v. St. Victor, page 96). In the 13th century, Vincent of Beauvais (t 1264), in his Speculuon doctrinale, gave a scientific exposition of several subjects, including theology. After these we find the writings of Nicolas of Clemanges (De stud o theologico, d'Achery, 1:473), and Jean Charlier Gerson (De reformatione theologaie, and Epistolae duce ad studentes Collegii Navarrae Parisiensis, quid et qualiter studere debeat novus theologies auditor).
But the real origin of theological encyclopedia is to be found in the time when the Reformation, in the 16th century, breaking through the bonds of scholastic divinity, brought in a new era for science, particularly for theology. Erasmus first led the way in the new direction by his Ratio s. methodus compendio perveniendi ad veram theologiam (1519-1522), giving to theological studies a solid philosophical foundation, promoting the study of the Scriptures, and requiring from the theologian a knowledge of natural sciences. In the Lutheran Church we first find Melancthon giving a short guide to theological studies in his Brevis ratio discendae Theologie (Opp., Bas. 7541, 2:287), This was followed by a work of his pupil, Theobald Thamer, Adhortatio ad theologies studium in aademia Marburgensi. 1543. After these we find the Oratio de studio theol. recte inchoando, 1577, and Regulae studiorum seu de ratione discendi in praecipuis artibus recte instituenda (Lips. 1565), both by David Chytrius; the Consilium de theologiae studio recte constituendo (Nuremb, 1565), by Hieronymus Weller, the pupil and friend of Luther; the systematic Methodus studii theologi publicis praelectionibus in academia Jenensi a.
1617 exposita, (1620, 1622, 1654), by John Gerhard; as also the works of Jacob Andreoe, De Stud. Sacr. Litt. (Lips. 1567); Nicholas Selnecker (Notatio de Stud. Theologiae (Lips. 1579); and Abr. Calov (Isagoge ad Theoilogicam). First in the list of encyclopedic works of the Reformed Church stands Bullinger's Ratio stadii theologici, and the latter part of Conrad Gessner's Pandectarum universalium liber ultimus. But more important than either of those is the work of Andreas Gerhard of Ypern (Hyperius), professor at Marburg (t 1564), Theologus, seu de ratione studii theologici (Basal, 1572, 1582), in which we find a first attempt to arrange the matter of the Encyclopedia, dividing it into different departments, exegetical, dogmatical, historical, and practical, though the exact limits of each were not yet well defined. The writers on dogmatics often prefixed an encyclopedic essay to their works, as did J.H. Alsted in his Methodus sacrossanctae Theologies (Hanov. 1623) which contains two prefatory books on the study of theology. From the school of Saumur came Steph. Gaussin's Dissertationes de studii theologici ratione, etc. (1678, 6th ed., by Rambach, Hal. 1726). Calixtus (t 1656) wrote a copious Appaeratus Theologicus (Helmst., edited by his son, 1661); and Spener (t 1705) gave acute advice and discriminations in several of his writings.
The term encyclopedia, in its present meaning, we find for the first time in the title of a work by the Reformed theologian S. Mursinna, Primae lineae ENCYCLOPAEDAE, THEOLOGICAE, (Hal. Magd. 1764; 2d ed. 1794). But this, like all the works heretofore mentioned, has now only a historical interest. Herder's Briefe u. d. Stadium d. Theologie (1785, 4 volumes) is, on the other hand, even now of value in this field. A new era in the history of theological encyclopedia was inaugurated by Schleiermacher in his Darstellung d. theologischen Stadiums z. Behufe einleitender Vorlesungen (Berlin, 1811); but the full effect of the book was not felt until its 2d edition appeared in 1830, although Bertholdt (Theol. Wissenschaftskunde, Erlangen, 1821, 2 volumes), Francke (Theol. Encyclopaedie, 1819), and Danz (Encyclopaedie and Methodologie, Wein. 1832) had been stimulated and guided by Schleiermacher's remarkable sketch. The powerful grasp of the whole science, and the luminous statement of the relations of all the parts, given by Schleiermacher, give his Darstellung the foremost place in this branch of science. (There is an English translation by Farrar, not very well done, under the title Brief Outline of the Study of Theology, Edinb. 1850, 12mo). Its practical fault lies in the divisions, made of the whole science (see below). It was followed by Hagenbach's Encyclopaedie au.
Methodologie d. Theol. Wissenschaften (Leips. 1833, 8vo), a work of great practical value, which has maintained its position as the most useful manual on the subject (7th edition, Leips. 1864, 8vo). The Encyclopaedie d. theol. Wissenschaften of K. Rosenkranz (Halle, 1845) is thoroughly speculative and Hegelian. Harless's Enryclopadie u. Methodologie (Nurnb. 18371) is a Lutheran work, and is really valuable for its historical sketch of the development of theology and for its copious literature. The Anleitung z. Studium d. christl. Theologie of Lobegott Lange (Jena, 1841) advocates Biblical rationalism. Pelt's Theologische Encyklopadie (Hamb. 1843, 8vo) follows Schleiermacher's method closely, but is a thorough and scholarly work, careful in statement, broad in range, and accurate in literature. Holland has produced a valuable compendium in Clarisse, Encyclopedice Theologicae Epitome (2d edit. Lugd. Bat. 1835, 8vo), which has a copious literature, especially full in reference to English books, a matter in which the German writers on the subject are all signally deficient.
Among Roman Catholic books in this field are to be mentioned Possevinus, Bibliotheca selecta de ratione studiorum (Colon. 1607); Ellies du Pin, Methode pour etudier la theologiae (1716), translated into several languages. In the 18th century, Denina (1758), Gerbert (1764), Braun (1777), Brandmeier (1783), and specially Oberthur, labored in this field. The influence of the later Protestant writers is manifest in such works as Drey, Kurze Einl. in das Stud. d. Theologie (Tubing. 1819); Klee, Encyklopaedie (Mainz, 1832); Staudenmaier, Encyclopadie der theol. Wissenschaften als System d. gesammfen Theologie (Mentz, 1834-1840); Gengler, D. Ideale d. Wissenschaft. o. d. Encyclopadie d. Theologie (Bamb. 1834); Buchner, Enc. u. Method. (Sulzb. 1837); A. von Sieger, De natura fidei et methodo theologiae ad ecclesiae catholicae Theologos (Monast. 1839).
No book properly to be called Encyclopedia of Theology has appeared in English, and no book is more needed, as the English theological literature is almost wholly neglected by the Germans. (We are glad to see, as this article goes to press, 1868, an Encyclopedia and Methodology announced as in preparation by Dr. H.B. Smith.) But there are many excellent remarks in English books of pastoral theology on the best methods of study, and some special treatises which deserve notice. Among them are Dodwell, Advice on Theological Studies (Lond. 1691); Bennet, Directions for Studying (Lond. 1727, 3d edit. 8vo); Cotton Mather, Manuductio in Ministerium (Boston, 1726, 12mo; republished, with additions, as Mather's
Student and Preacher, by Ryland (Lond. 1781); Mason, Student and Pastor (Lond. 1755); Marsh, Course of Lectures on Divinity (Cambridge, 1809, 8vo), which gives good practical hints, and also attempts an encyclopaedic outline; Doddridge, Lectures (Works, Lond. 1830, 215 sq.); Bickersteth, Christian Student (Lond. 4th edit. 1844), contains much information and good advice, but is destitute of scientific form or spirit. There are many compends, such as Preston's Theological Manual (1850), Smith's Compendium (1836), etc., which are superficial sketches of theology, designed to aid students in cramming rather than in thorough work. Many good hints are given in books of pastoral theology, for which SEE PRACTICAL THEOLOGY. There is a good list of books in Lowndes's British Librarian, page 813 sq.
II. Method of Theological Encyclopedia and Methodology. —
1. Some writers hold that encyclopedia should be treated entirely apart from methodology: so Kienlen, Encyclopadie (Strasb. 1842), confines the former to the exposition of the relation of the several branches of theology to the science as a whole; making methodology a separate work, aiming not to set forth the science at all, but to show how it should be studied. This view is correct, if encyclopedia be taken in its broadest sense, as not merely an introductory science, taking the beginner by the hand at the portals of theology, and showing, him the way to enter, and the plan of the edifice, but also as forming the conclusion of the course of study, in which all the branches are exhibited in their natural relations to the central trunk. But in view of practical use, most of the recent writers blend methodology with encyclopedia in one connected whole.
2. We give here the methods of the chief writers on the subject:
(1.) Schleiermacher (§ 31) divides theology as science into three branches, Philosophical, Historical, and Practical. Philosophical theology includes, 1. Apologetics; 2. Polemics. Historical theology includes, 1. Exegetics, or the knowledge, of primitive Christianity; 2. Church history, or the knowledge of the earthly career of Christianity; 3. the knowledge or the present condition of Christianity (a) as to doctrine (Dogmatic theology), (b) as to social condition and extension (Ecclesiastical statistics). Practical theology includes, 1. Church service (Liturgy, Worship, Homiletics, Pastoral care); 2. Church government.
(2.) Hagenbach adopts the old and useful division of theology into four parts, Exegetical, Historical, Systematic, and Practical. Exegetical theology includes a knowledge of the sacred books, as the primary source of Christian doctrine, and the record of the original facts of Christianity. This knowledge presumes a knowledge of the languages of the sacred books, and requires also an apparatus (1) of criticism; (2) of history, viz. archaeology, geography, etc.; (3) of interpretation (Hermeneutics).
Historical theology includes Bible history of Old and New Testament, Biblical theology, Church history, Doctrine history, Patristics, Symbolics, Archaeology, Statistics. Systematic theology includes Dogmatics, Apologetics, Polemics, and Ethics. Practical theology embraces Catechetics, Worship, Homiletics, Pastoral care, Church government. — Pelt gives a very complete outline (founded on Schleiermacher's) in his Encyclopaedie (1843, 8vo), which he modifies somewhat in his article Theologie, in Herzog's Real-Encyklopadie, 15:748 (compare also his article in Studien u. Kritiken, 1849, page 27). — Godet (Bulletin Theologique, Paris, 1863, art. 1) divides theology into,
1. Speculative, or the knowledge of salvation;
2. Practical, or the art of saving men. Under the first he classes Exegetical, Systematic, and Historical theology; under the second, Ecclesiastical economy, Missions, Apologetics (compare a criticism on this outline by Pronier, in the same journal, May, 1863, page 76 sq.).
Thomas (Bullet. Theol. September 1865) proposes to arrange as follows:
1. Apologetics (historical and philosophical);
2. Historical theology (Biblical sciences, Church history, Statistics);
3. Systematic theology (Dogmatics, Polemics, Speculative theology);
4. Practical theology (the individual, the family, the nation, civilization, the Church, (a) as to its base, (b) as to its organization, (c) as to its active working. — Dr. W.F. Warren, of the Boston Theological Seminary, gives a philosophical but luminous outline in Jahrbicherf. Deutsche Theologie, 1867, page 318, as follows:
1. The Church, in its origin in time (History of the sacred writings; Biblical doctrines: Mosaic, Jewish, and New Test.; Biblical Church history; auxiliary sciences: philology, archeology, geography, chronology, etc.).
2. The Church in its development in time (Literature, History of doctrines, System of Christian doctrines, Church history, Church economy, auxiliary sciences, with Polemics as a concluding discipline).
3. The Church in its consummation (the scientific exposition of what the Word of God tells us concerning the future development and final consummation of the Church). In a note to Dr. Warren's article (page 321), Dr. Wagenmann gives another outline, to which we refer the reader.
Literature. — Besides the authors already cited, see Tholuck's Lectures on Encyclopedia, translated in the Bibliotheca Sacra, volume 1; Biblical Repository, edited by Dr. Robinson, 1:613; 4:127; Zyro, in Studien u.Kritiken, 1837, page 689 sq.; Shedd, Essays, Essays on Method and Influence of Theological Studies; Vincent, Du Protestantisme en France, 1:314 sq. (Paris, 1860,12mo); Credner, Preface to Kitto's Cyclopcedia.