What is Theology?

It seems that according to the late Fr. John Romanides, St. Gregory Palamas, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Gregory the Theologian (better known in the West as Nazianzen, although his father, a bishop, is also St. Gregory Nazianzen!), the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian (or “the Divine” in archaic English – not in the sense of being God in Essence, but, minimally, a teacher of religion, like other more recent “divines”… although as Orthodox remember, ironically indeed – at least in St. John’s case – ‘being God in Energy,’ as St. Athanasius said: “God became human so humans could become God”!), Metropolitan HIEROTHEOS (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos, Greece (who I believe was a sort of protege of Romanides, and is also featured at romanity.org), Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) of New Ostrog, et al.,

(big-T) Theology is words that try to guide us to theosis/divinization/salvation/the Glory of God/cooperation (synergeia) with God/daily repentance (metanoia)/purification from sin and the passions/co-suffering love like God’s… such words being from some of those who’ve been/are there… or perhaps, limited rational reflection upon their words. See here. This is in contrast to the largely ‘philosophical’ or speculative or academic nature of theology exemplified in the Wikipedia article. To employ a classic example, it’s the difference between deducing how many teeth are in a horse’s mouth based on numerous preconceived ‘principles’ or ‘sacred’ doctrines… and just opening up his mouth and counting them. Although it’s harder to purify ourselves than to open a horse’s mouth! (There’s a quote for the ages!!)

Another illustration is the Greek word theoria, basically vision or seeing, but in the West identified with theory, speculation by our fallen reason whose purpose is to lead *to* experiment observable by the fallen senses, not primarily information from actual experience not of the physical, fallen senses, but via the purified nous.

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