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ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC  December 2006

ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC December 2006

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Subject:

Theology Re: [ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC] More OTO ritual

From:

Avyorth <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Society for The Academic Study of Magic <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 5 Dec 2006 00:51:37 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (83 lines)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Al Billings" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2006 5:10 PM


> Theology is what scholars in seminary studying for the priesthood do.


Here's yet another 'take' on what constitutes 'theology'.

Regards,

Avyorth


Editors' Introduction

I. BUDDHIST THEOLOGY: ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT (Roger Jackson)

The term "theology" most often is understood as denoting critical and/or
systematic "discourse about God" in theistic religious traditions,
especially Christianity, but also, among others, Judaism, Islam, and some
forms of Hinduism. In fact, however, neither Judaism, Islam, nor Hinduism
has innate to it an exact terminological equivalent to Christianity's
"theology."[note 1]  Furthermore, as Yves Congar has noted, Christians
themselves only began consistently to apply the term to their sacred
theorizing during the high middle ages, with the establishment of university
faculties of theologia - prior to that, they tended to prefer such phrases
as sacra scriptura ("sacred scripture"), sacra erudito ("sacred knowledge"),
divina pagina ("divine pages"), or sacra doctrina ("sacred doctrine")
(455-456). Nor is the term originally Christian: its locus classicus is in
Plato's Republic (379a5), where it refers to poetical narratives about the
gods; Aristotle equates theologia with mythological explanations of the
world or, alternatively, with the science of metaphysics; and the
Hellenistic writer Panaetius of Rhodes sees "theology" as threefold:
mythological, philosophical, and political (Congar: 455).

Therefore, although "theology" has in recent times been deeply interwoven
with theistic traditions, originally it referred not to talk about the one
God, but, rather, to discourse (logia) about the divine (theo), however that
might be conceived. Thus, notes David Tracy, "to speak of 'theology' is a
... useful way to indicate the more strictly intellectual interpretations of
any religious tradition, whether that tradition is theistic or not [and] to
use theo logia in the literal sense of 'talk or reflection on God or the
gods' suggests that even nontheistic traditions (such as some Hindu,
Confucian, Taoist, or archaic traditions) may be described as having
theologies" (446). Furthermore, adds Tracy, "theology" need not even imply
belief in gods of any sort: as long as a tradition conceives some notion of
ultimate reality, by whatever name, and however provisionally, "[i]nsofar as
... explicitly intellectual reflection occurs [with respect to that
ultimate] within a religious tradition, one may speak of the presence of
theology in the broad sense" (447). Because they have taken the term in its
narrowest - albeit most common - usage, as referring to discourse about God,
educated modem Buddhists understandably have been reluctant to apply the
term "theology" to their own or earlier Buddhists' theorizing about the
sacred. If, on the other hand, they were persuaded to define it in the
broader - and more basic - sense suggested by Tracy, simply as "intellectual
reflection within a religious tradition," they might then be willing to
acknowledge that, right from its inception, Buddhism has been deeply
involved in "theological" activity, which might fruitfully be related to
theological activity that has occurred in other traditions, whether theistic
or not.


NOTES

1    Jews increasingly have adopted the term "theology," but only in
relatively recent times, and at least partially under the influence of
interactions with Christianity (see, e.g., Cohen). Muslims traditionally
speak of two branches of religious reflection, kalama and falasafa; the
latter is philosophy, but the former does approximate what Christians mean
by "theology," both functionally and etymologically, for it means
"discourse" about ultimate things (see, e.g., Glasse: 216-219, 309-312).
Hindus, like other Indians, speak of the articulation of philosophical
"viewpoints," darsanas, and while a darsana may include theological
reflection (see, e.g., Pereira), there is much in darsana literature that is
not related to discourse about the ultimate, and there exist whole schools
of thought whose darsanas reflect a complete lack of interest in or
deliberate rejection of ideas about the ultimate.


    - Roger Jackson & John Makransky (Eds) 'Buddhist Theology: Critical
Reflections By Contemporary Buddhist Scholars (Curzon;2000)

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