Conception and Purpose (§ 1). 

Theological Science in the Primitive Church (§ 2).  

In the Byzantine and Middle Ages (§ 3). 

In Humanism and the Reformation (§ 4). 

Pietism and Rationalism Influential (§ 5).

Schleiermacher and his Influence (§ 6).

Modern Problems (§ 7).

Development Outside Germany (§ 8).

In the Roman Catholic Church (§ 9).


1. Conception and Purpose. Theological Encyclopedia is the branch of learning which sets forth the order and contents of theological science. The word encyclopedia, in its technical sense, is derived from the philosophic realm of Alexandrine study, and back of that from Greek antiquity. Since the time of Aristotle enkyklios paideia meant the circle of education which, according to Quintilian (Institutiones, I., x. 101), included grammar, rhetoric, music, geometry, and astronomy. The idea which philosophy took up was appropriated by theology. The compounded expression as a single word occurs first in a discourse by the Jesuit Tarquin Gallucci (b. 1574) entitled De encyclopædia comparanda (J. Lami, De eruditione apostolorum, Florence, 1738, p. 215) and next in J. H. Alstedt's Cursus philosophici encyclopedia (Herborn, 1620), in which Alstedt refers to the Encyclopædia of Matthias Martin (1649) as his source. The meaning of " Encyclopedia " in these cases is an orderly exposition of knowledge. The works just named were the forerunners of the great encyclopedic collections which have set forth either the material of science as a whole or that of individual sciences. So that the word encyclopedia has become fully naturalized. It was first applied to theology by S. Mursinna in Primæ lineæ encyclopædiæ theologicæ (Halle, 1764-94). The idea of a formal encyclopedia of sciences was first put forward by Hegel (Encyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften, Heidelberg, 1827, § 16), who limited it to the setting forth of the beginnings and the fundamental conceptions of special sciences. So theological encyclopedia sets forth the fundamental conceptions and methods of theological science. In doing this it takes cognizance of the genius of the Christian religion, of the causes which have built up a theology, of the historical and systematic relationship of the parts to the whole, and, above all, of the relationship of the science to life and of theology as the science of religion to the Church which is held together by this religion. Inasmuch as this science is always in a state of flux--new materials always being added, new questions arising--the best that can be done is to describe it historically and in relation to the present.


2. Theological Science in the Primitive Church. The history of theological encyclopedia is not to be separated from the history of teaching and of the science. Christian theology grew out of the proclamation of the Gospel according to the command of Jesus (Matt. xxviii. 19-20). The communities of believers, instead of attempting to satisfy their religious needs with cultic organizations or wasting, their energies in social performances, sought through instruction an assured and unified conviction of the grounds of their faith as members of the body of Jesus Christ. And just as in the religion of the Old Testament priesthood and prophecy strove together, and in Greco- Roman culture religion and philosophy, so in Christianity revelation and philosophy were the two factors out of which a developing theology drew its materials. There was an inherent tendency to a unification of all the elements which could serve the nourishment of the soul and the support of Christian activities. Catechetics, systematic introduction into the Christian rites, were the motives for the collection of the reports about the work of Jesus and his relation to salvation (Luke i. 4; I Cor. xiv. 19; Gal. vi. 6; Heb. vi. 1-2). Thus with the development of the organization of the Church grew up a literature of instruction. While direct testimony to the existence of such a body of material in the early Church is not immediately attainable, it can not be doubted that in such centers of Christianity as Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople during the second century such technical material existed. Indirect testimony to this is found in the technical terms existing in patristic works which have their roots and their analogies in the terminology of rhetoric, philology, and philosophy. Instruction in the form of question and answer is suggested by the Instituta regularia divinæ legis of Junilius at Antioch, the Sacra parallela of John of Damascus, the Quæstiones Amphilochiæ of Photius, and the Hupomnēstikon biblion of Josephus (MPG, cvi. 14-177). For other varieties of instruction the homilies, corresponding to the Diatribes of the Cynic-Stoic schools, and scholia and commentaries are evidence. These are the roots of the system of instruction in dogmatic and practical theology. There soon followed the encyclopedic productions of Chrysostom (Peri hierosynēs), of Ambrosius (De officiis ministrorum), and of Augustine (De doctrina christiana, De catechizandis rudibus, Encheiridion ad Laurentium).


3. In the Byzantine and Middle Ages. During the Byzantine period and the Middle Ages the pedagogic methods of patristic times passed over into the Western Church where the influx of new peoples made necessary the use of these means of instruction. In Byzantine literature heathenism and Christianity remained in a relation of easy sociability of which the Myrobiblion of Photius (d. 891) is an example. Philosophical activity was concerned with Catenæ (q.v.) which set forth authoritative traditions of exegesis, faith, and conduct of service. In the West the concern was for a practical use of the material of science, and in this direction Augustine was the leader. Under his influence Cassiodorus wrote his Institutiones divinarum litterarum, which was followed by the more systematic seventh and eighth books "On God, Angels and the Orders of the Faithful" of Isidor's Originum sive etymologiarum. In the Middle Ages the monastic schools and universities arose, the latter with their trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic) and quadrivium (geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music). The De institutione clericorum of Rabanus Maurus (c. 850), the Capitula ad presbyteros of Hincmar, and the Capitulare of Hatto of Basel are specimens of the work done for the schools of the monasteries, when the monks and clergy were the leaders in the Western world. During the heyday of scholasticism appeared the Speculum doctrinale of Vincent of Beauvais, part of an Omnium scientiarum encyclopædia (4 vols., Douai, 1624). In opposition to this dialectic discipline arose a mystical type of instruction which partook more of the theological than the philosophical, illustrated by such works as the Didascalion of Hugo of St. Victor (c. 1141), the Epistolæ of Jean Gerson (d. 1429), and the De studio theologico of Nicholas of Clémenge (d. 1437).


4. In Humanism and the Reformation. The Reformation and Humanism created a new science through the study of linguistics and of history. Study of language gave to theology firm standing-ground and new forms and purposes, the first results of which were attention to Scripture. Erasmus (Ratio seu methodus perveniendi ad veram theologiam), Melanchthon (Brevis discendæ theologiæ ratio), and Luther (in his maxim: oratio, meditatio tentatio faciunt theologum) showed the way, followed by Theobald Thamer (Adhortatio ad theologiæ studium, 1543), David Chytræus (De studio theologico, 1557), and John Gerhard (Methodus studii theologici, 1617). Interest in questions of encyclopedia was livelier in the Lutheran Church than in the Reformed, as shown by Bullinger's Ratio studii theologici and Konrad Gessner's Pandectæ universales (1548-49). Nevertheless the father of a systematic and thorough encyclopedia was the (Reformed) professor Andreas Gerhard of Marburg in his De theologo seu de ratione studii theologici (Strasburg, 1562-82), in which the division of theological science into exegetical, historical, dogmatic, and practical theology was first made. But the development of theological encyclopedia proceeded without well-formed plans; materials and methods were not carefully distinguished. Polemics too had its influence in the unfolding, and the science divided into exegetical, didactic, and polemical theology. Historical criticism had not yet come to its own, the linguistic methods of Humanism were yet dominant, and the contests between externals and internals dragged dogmatic, practical, and polemic interests into the foreground. Meanwhile philosophy, which among the Reformers had remained wedded to theology, received new impetus from Bacon and Descartes, and a new idea of the world came into existence through Copernicus and Kepler. For Bacon, theology is a positive science, independent of reason, which, however, it takes into its service. A great step had been taken toward insight into religion and toward the formation of a new basis.


5. Pietism and Rationalism Influential. The factors which next entered into conflict with rigid scholasticism were Pietism and rationalism, different in origin and purpose, yet united in emphasis upon individualism. Under Pietism theology took on a practical-ascetic phase, it became piety. Spener gave direction to this in his Pia desideria (1675) and in the preface to his De impedimentis studii theologici. Study of the Bible is the foundation of all theology, interpretation is the mistress who orders all the parts and affords the basis; dogmatics and ethics are to come from Scripture. Historical development was lost to sight, church history simply furnished a bounding line. The orthodox cultivation of homiletics seemed to Spener the greatest hindrance to theological study, while catechetics is especially important. A. H. Franke took up Spener's thesis in Idea studiosi theologici (Halle, 1718) and Methodus studii theologici (1723), as did J. J. Breithaupt in Exercitationes de studio theologico (1702), J. Lange in Institutiones studii theologici (1723), and J. J. Rambach in Studiosus theologiæ (Frankfort, 1723). Related spirits were Franz Buddeus (Isagoge historico-theologica, Leipsic, 1727) and C. M. Pfaff (Introductio in historiam theologiæ litterariam, 3 vols., Tübingen, 1723), who reinstated the division into exegetical, historical, dogmatic, and practical theology. To the filling in of these outlines L. Mosheim contributed in his Kurze Anweisung, die Gottesgelehrtheit vernünftig zu erkennen (ed. Windheim, Helmstadt, 1756-63). Through the prevalence of the Wolffian philosophy rationalism had its influence, and the works of J. S. Semler rapidly succeeded each other (1757-80). J. A. Nösselt united a view of the materials and the literature of theology in his Anweisung zur Kenntniss der besseren Bücher in der Theologie (Leipsic, 1800). Similar lines were followed in the text-books of G. S. Franke (Theologische Encyklopäie, vol. i., Altona, 1819), K. F. Stäudlin (Encyklopädie und Methodologie, Hanover, 1821), and J. T. L. Danz (Encyklopädie und Methodologie, Weimar, 1832).


6. Schleiermacher and his Influence. A new start was made with Schleiermacher, who in opposition to rationalism in religion wished to recover for religion its own province in a philosophic consideration of the self-consciousness of Christians. It was he who first discerned the essence of theology as subject to scientific treatment and gave to the science organic form. In this respect his Kurze Darstellung des theologischen Studiums (Berlin, 1811, enlarged, 1830) made an epoch. He showed that theology had developed out of the needs of the Church and by those needs was to be oriented. He produced a clear demarcation between philosophy and the history of religion, but he divided the science into the parts, philosophical, historical, and practical. The first governed apologetical and polemic theology; dogmatics and ethics were assigned to historical theology; and practical theology dealt with church government and church service. The operation of Schleiermacher's principles was for a time thwarted by the entrance of the Hegelian philosophy which regarded religion and its results as transitional in the march of evolution, but with the help of the growing historical and linguistic criticism it established itself ever more firmly. Meanwhile there appeared the contrast between emphasis upon the historical (Strauss's Leben Jesu) and Hegelian opposition between pantheism and atheism, a problem to the solution of which F. C. Baur devoted himself in the history of early Christianity. Next to appear was the "Mediating theology," the fundamental thought of which was that a view of the world which includes supernaturalism is not an obstacle to scientific work. Recognizable here is the influence of Schleiermacher and Neander in the acknowledgment of a revealed character in Christianity, and of Hegel and Schelling in the tendency to speculation. The writing which best exhibits this character is A. F. L. Pelt's Theologische Encyklopädie (Hamburg, 1843), which makes historical theology take precedence of dogmatic and practical. Noteworthy are E. L. T. Henke's Grundriss für Vorlesungen zur Einleitung in das theologische Studium (Marburg, 1869), J. P. Lange's Grundriss der theologischen Encyklopädie und Methodologie (Heidelberg, 1877) which unites systematic and practical theology, and K. Rosenkranz's Encyklopädie der theologischen Wissenschaft (Halle, 1831) which seeks to use Hegel's philosophy in the construction of theological science. The "mediating theology" was left behind by K. R. Hagenbach in the work which long remained the standard (Encyklopädie der theologischen Wissenschaft, Leipsic, 1833, 9th ed. with the help of E. Schürer, 1874, 11th ed. by Kautzsch, 1884, 12th ed. by Reischle, 1889). J. F. Räbiger's Encyklopädie der Theologie (1880) differs from R. Rothe's Theologische Encyklopädie (ed. Ruppelius, Wittenberg, 1880) in that it uses the historic standpoint of the Tübingen school, while Rothe gives the preference to a speculative tendency. The Encyklopädie of J. C. K. Hofmann (ed. Bestmann, Nördlingen; 1879) closely follows Schleiermacher in emphasizing the personal relationship of man to God, in which he was preceded by G. C. A. Harless (Nuremberg, 1837). More in the direction which Hengstenberg gave to theology is the series issued under the editorship of O. Zöckler (6 vols., Nördlingen, 1881 90) under the title Handbücher der theologischen Wissenechaften in encyklopädischer Darstellung.


7. Modern Problems. The question what the present condition of theological work demands has been answered by Ritschl, who asserts as the starting-point of theology the Gospel as it lies in Scripture. This Gospel is essentially a revelation, set forth, however, in historical relations and under historic conditions. So that there results a double field of investigation, philosophical history and the internal developments of church life. On this basis, investigation of theology without reference to the Church which developed it is out of the question; it would make the Bible simply a part of the world's religious literature, deprive it of the interest derived from churchly relations, separate it from its accompanying conceptions of canon, symbol, and dogma. Yet the tendency is strong in modern times in this way to seek a universal theology. In this direction look the methodological proposals of G. Krüger (Was heisst und zu welchem Ende studiert man Dogmengeschichte? Freiburg, 1895; Das Dogma vom neuen Testament, Giessen, 1896) and W. Wrede (Ueber Aufgabe und Methode der sogenannten neutestamentlichen Theologie, Göttingen, 1897); the former would do away with the distinction between canonical Scripture and the early patristic writings, and the latter would put the theology of the New Testament into a philosophy of religion. Another advocate of this method is C. A. Bernouilli (Die wissenschaftliche und die kirchliche Methode in der Theologie, Tübingen, 1897), who takes the position that the true theology is something apart from the Church and that "religion is history." This school calls its method the "purely historical." Yet can that be "purely historical" which disregards the historical fact of him who is come to save the lost? which attempts a vivisection between Church and theology which is possible only in theory? The latest development analyzes the situation into a necessity for investigation of three points: the conception of the Church, of science, and the view of the world which Christianity would set forth. The Roman Catholic conception of the Church as a sanatorium excludes the action of science, the Lutheran conception of it as a community of faith requires that action for its own good. The conception of the world as set forth by the physicist is different from that reached by the theologian and is reached by different methods. The decision upon the worth of the Scriptures of the New Testament as compared with early patristic writings in the construction of a history of dogma is helped by the consideration that the former are the classical expression from the earliest generations of Christians of the faith which had been transmitted to them, while in the history of dogma Biblical science can not maintain itself as a separate entity over against church history and as a dogmatic fact. The history of Christianity involves the connection of the external and the internal, the latter the facts of Church life.


8. Development outside Germany. In countries other than Germany the development of the encyclopedia of theology runs nearly parallel with the German. In Holland the two conflicting tendencies are the Reformed and the historical schools, with a "mediating theology" between. Representative of these are for the Reformed A. Kuyper (Encyklopedie der heilige godgeleerdheid, 3 vols., Amsterdam, 1894); for the historical school J. T. Doedes (Encyklopedie der christelijke theologie, Utrecht, 1876); and for the mediating school J. Clarisse (Encyclopædiæ theologicæ epitome, Leyden, 1832) and H. de Groot and L. G. Pareau (Encyclopædia theologi Christiani, 3d ed., Utrecht, 1851). In England the historical school is represented by the Unitarian J. Drummond (Introduction to the Study of Theology, London, 1884), the Evangelical by A. Cave (An Introduction to Theology, its Principles, its Branches, its Results, and its Literature, 2d ed., Edinburgh, 1896). In America the mediating school is represented by P. Schaff (Theological Propædeutic, a general Introduction to the Study of Theology . . . , New York, 1893), whose results are not unlike those of Hagenbach. France is represented by H. G. Kienlen (Encyclopédie de la théologie chrétienne, Strasburg, 1845) and E. Martin (Introduction a l'étude de la théologie protestante, Geneva, 1883). Schleiermacher has found a follower in Sweden in Reuterdahl, whose work was published 1837. Hagenbach's work was reproduced in Hungary by Imre Révész (1857) and practically reproduced in America by G. K. Crooks and J. F. Hurst (New York, 2d ed., 1894).


9. In the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church, while not unmoved by the movements of Humanism and the Reformation, was yet not driven from the methods of scholasticism, and its development of theological encyclopedia was in the direction of polemic and apologetics (N. J. Laforet's Dissertatio historico-dogmatica de methodo theologiæ sive de authoritate ecclesiæ catholicæ tanquam regula fidei christianæ, Louvain, 1849). The key-note was struck by Melchior Cano (De locis theologicis, Louvain, 1564), taking the Scriptures and tradition as the starting-point. The Jesuit Possevinus (Bibliotheca selecta de ratione studiorum, Rome, 1593) followed a revived scholasticism. Much material was furnished by the work of the Benedictines in patristics, and J. Mabillon produced an encyclopedic work in his De studiis monasticis (Venice, 1705). E. Du Pin's Méthode pour étudier la théologie (Paris, 1716, 1768, often translated) exhibited something of the breadth of Gallicanism, though the influence of the Jesuits did much to restrain this tendency. The work of P. Annato (Apparatus ad positivam theologiam methodicus, 2 vols., Paris, 1700, 7th ed., 1744), exhibiting a tendency toward agreement with Protestantism, was put on the Index. Under the stimulus of Protestant work after the middle of the eighteenth century a host of books by Roman Catholics appeared in Germany, and at the beginning of the nineteenth century, under the influence of the philosophy of Schelling, Baader, and Gunther there were contributions by J. S. Drey (1819), H. Klee (1832), F. A. Staudenmaier (1834, 1840), A. Gengler (1834), A. Buchner (1837), and A. von Sieger (1839). Under the influence of the new dogma of infallibility J. B. Wirthmuller produced his Encyclopädie der katholischen Theologie (Landshut, 1873), and the scientific method was employed by H. Kihn (Freiburg, 1892). The former distinguishes between an Ideal- and a Real-Encyklopädie, the latter includes under "formal" theology the "ideal" and the "instrumental," and under "material" theology the departments of historical, doctrinal and ethical, and practical theology.



Bibliography: Zyro, Versuch einer Revision der christlich theologischen Encyclopädie, in TSK, 1837, pp. 680-681; W. Grimm, in ZWT, 1882, pp. 1-28; M. Kähler, Wissenschaft der christlichen Lehre, pp. 1-42, Leipsic, 1893. All the later and best works mentioned in the text, such as Cave, Schaff, Kuyper, and Hagenbach, discuss the subject. An excellent handbook to Roman Catholic literature is D. Gla, Repertorium der katholisch-theologischen Litteratur, Paderborn, 1895. Consult also: A. Dourer, Grundriss der Encyclopädie der Theologie, Berlin, 1901; L. Emery, Introduction a l'étude de la théologie protestante, pp. 1-55, Paris, 1904; E. D. Davies, Theological Encyclopædia, London, 1905.