Theology

Patrology

PATROLOGY The term patrologia was first used by the Lutheran theologian Johannes Gebhard (d. 1637), and his work under that title appeared in 1653. Eventually “patrology” became synonymous with the science of patristics, especially as it relates to questions of doctrine and dogma. Patrology embraces all the church authors of antiquity beginning with Saint JEROME, …

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Patristics

PATRISTICS History of Christian literature that deals with the theological authors of Christian antiquity. The title of a father can be applied to the leading church writers down to the thirteenth century (after which the title of Schoolman is used), but it is usually limited to the fathers and doctors of the church from the …

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Oriens Christianus

ORIENS CHRISTIANUS The technical Latin term for the scholarly study of the Christian Orient. In its examination of the cultures of the Christian East this study encompasses seven languages: Georgian, Armenian, Syriac, Christian Arabic, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Old Nubian. Scholars in this discipline study works of literature originally composed in these languages as well as …

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Eschatology

ESCHATOLOGY The study of the last things, of the destiny of individual persons, and, more broadly, of society, of the world, and of the universe. In the culture of the pagan Greco-Roman world, concern with the destiny of the individual after death received comparatively little attention outside the mystery religions, but Hellenistic speculation on successive …

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Immaculate Conception

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION The doctrine held by the Roman Catholic church that from the very first moment of her conception, the Virgin Mary was free from the stain of original sin, and that, unlike the rest of mankind, she inherited human nature in an unsullied condition to make her worthy of being the Mother of Christ. …

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Immersion

IMMERSION It was ordained by Jesus Christ that water represents the visible sign of baptism: “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5). In conformity with Christ’s teachings, the apostles used water in administering the sacrament through complete immersion. This practice has since been followed …

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Incarnation

INCARNATION A central doctrine of Christian theology affirming that the eternal Son of God, who is the Divine Logos and second HYPOSTASIS of the Holy Trinity, took human flesh from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary in order to accomplish the work of our salvation. The doctrine is held to be a mystery difficult …

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