Critical Reflections on Theology's Handmaid

Philosophy and Theology 18 (1):53-75 (2006)
Orthodox Christian theology gives philosophy the same role it played in the Church of the first half-millennium. This article distinguishes among nine senses of philosophy and four senses of theology in order to highlight the characteristic features of Orthodox Christian theology’s use of philosophy and philosophical reasoning. It shows why, given the metaphysics and epistemology of Orthodox Christian theology (e.g., God is recognized as fully transcendent, such thatthere is no analogia entis between created and Uncreated Being, with the result that the experience of the encounter with God can only be recounted apophatically) and its sociology of knowledge (e.g., theology in the strict sense occurs primarily in monasteries, not in the academy), philosophy is regarded as not able to contribute to the development of old doctrines or the fashioning of new doctrines, but only to the clarification of doctrinal statements. As a consequence, Orthodox Christian theology has been committed to severely confining philosophy’s role in theology
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DOI 10.5840/philtheol20061813
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