Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field[according to whom?], religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.
Theologians use various forms of analysis and argument (experiential, philosophical, ethnographic, historical, and others) to help understand, explain, test, critique, defend or promote any myriad of religious topics. As in philosophy of ethics and case law, arguments often assume the existence of previously resolved questions, and develop by making analogies from them to draw new inferences in new situations.
The study of theology may help a theologian more deeply understand their own religious tradition, another religious tradition, or it may enable them to explore the nature of divinity without reference to any specific tradition. Theology may be used to propagate, reform, or justify a religious tradition; or it may be used to compare, challenge (e.g. biblical criticism), or oppose (e.g. irreligion) a religious tradition or worldview. Theology might also help a theologian address some present situation or need through a religious tradition, or to explore possible ways of interpreting the world.
The term derives from the Greek theologia (θεολογία), a combination of theos (Θεός, 'god') and logia (λογία, 'utterances, sayings, oracles')—the latter word relating to Greek logos (λόγος, 'word, discourse, account, reasoning'). The term would pass on to Latin as theologia, then French as théologie, eventually becoming the English theology.
Through several variants (e.g., theologie, teologye), the English theology had evolved into its current form by 1362. The sense the word has in English depends in large part on the sense the Latin and Greek equivalents had acquired in patristic and medieval Christian usage, although the English term has now spread beyond Christian contexts.
Greek theologia (θεολογία) was used with the meaning 'discourse on God' around 380 BC by Plato in The Republic. Aristotle divided theoretical philosophy into mathematike, physike, and theologike, with the latter corresponding roughly to metaphysics, which, for Aristotle, included discourse on the nature of the divine.
- mythical, concerning the myths of the Greek gods;
- rational, philosophical analysis of the gods and of cosmology; and
- civil, concerning the rites and duties of public religious observance.
Some Latin Christian authors, such as Tertullian and Augustine, followed Varro's threefold usage. However, Augustine also defined theologia as "reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity."
Latin author Boethius, writing in the early 6th century, used theologia to denote a subdivision of philosophy as a subject of academic study, dealing with the motionless, incorporeal reality; as opposed to physica, which deals with corporeal, moving realities. Boethius' definition influenced medieval Latin usage.
In scholastic Latin sources, the term came to denote the rational study of the doctrines of the Christian religion, or (more precisely) the academic discipline which investigated the coherence and implications of the language and claims of the Bible and of the theological tradition (the latter often as represented in Peter Lombard's Sentences, a book of extracts from the Church Fathers).
In the Renaissance, especially with Florentine Platonist apologists of Dante's poetics, the distinction between 'poetic theology' (theologia poetica) and 'revealed' or Biblical theology serves as stepping stone for a revival of philosophy as independent of theological authority.
It is in this last sense, theology as an academic discipline involving rational study of Christian teaching, that the term passed into English in the 14th century, although it could also be used in the narrower sense found in Boethius and the Greek patristic authors, to mean rational study of the essential nature of God—a discourse now sometimes called theology proper.
From the 17th century onwards, the term theology began to be used to refer to the study of religious ideas and teachings that are not specifically Christian or correlated with Christianity (e.g., in the term natural theology, which denoted theology based on reasoning from natural facts independent of specifically Christian revelation) or that are specific to another religion (such as below).
The term theology has been deemed by some as only appropriate to the study of religions that worship a supposed deity (a theos), i.e. more widely than monotheism; and presuppose a belief in the ability to speak and reason about this deity (in logia). They suggest the term is less appropriate in religious contexts that are organized differently (i.e., religions without a single deity, or that deny that such subjects can be studied logically). Hierology has been proposed, by such people as Eugène Goblet d'Alviella (1908), as an alternative, more generic term.
As defined by Thomas Aquinas, theology is constituted by a triple aspect: what is taught by God, teaches of God and leads to God (Latin: Theologia a Deo docetur, Deum docet, et ad Deum ducit). This indicates the three distinct areas of God as theophanic revelation, the systematic study of the nature of divine and, more generally, of religious belief, and the spiritual path. Christian theology as the study of Christian belief and practice concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and the New Testament as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theology might be undertaken to help the theologian better understand Christian tenets, to make comparisons between Christianity and other traditions, to defend Christianity against objections and criticism, to facilitate reforms in the Christian church, to assist in the propagation of Christianity, to draw on the resources of the Christian tradition to address some present situation or need, or for a variety of other reasons.
Islamic theological discussion that parallels Christian theological discussion is called Kalam; the Islamic analogue of Christian theological discussion would more properly be the investigation and elaboration of Sharia or Fiqh.
Kalam…does not hold the leading place in Muslim thought that theology does in Christianity. To find an equivalent for 'theology' in the Christian sense it is necessary to have recourse to several disciplines, and to the usul al-fiqh as much as to kalam.— translated by L. Gardet
In Jewish theology, the historical absence of political authority has meant that most theological reflection has happened within the context of the Jewish community and synagogue, including through rabbinical discussion of Jewish law and Midrash (rabbinic biblical commentaries). Jewish theology is also linked to ethics, as it is the case with theology in other religions, and therefore has implications for how one behaves.
Some academic inquiries within Buddhism, dedicated to the investigation of a Buddhist understanding of the world, prefer the designation Buddhist philosophy to the term Buddhist theology, since Buddhism lacks the same conception of a theos. Jose Ignacio Cabezon, who argues that the use of theology is in fact appropriate, can only do so, he says, because "I take theology not to be restricted to discourse on God.… I take 'theology' not to be restricted to its etymological meaning. In that latter sense, Buddhism is of course atheological, rejecting as it does the notion of God."
Within Hindu philosophy, there is a tradition of philosophical speculation on the nature of the universe, of God (termed Brahman, Paramatma, and/or Bhagavan in some schools of Hindu thought) and of the ātman (soul). The Sanskrit word for the various schools of Hindu philosophy is darśana ('view, viewpoint'). Vaishnava theology has been a subject of study for many devotees, philosophers and scholars in India for centuries. A large part of its study lies in classifying and organizing the manifestations of thousands of gods and their aspects. In recent decades the study of Hinduism has also been taken up by a number of academic institutions in Europe, such as the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Bhaktivedanta College.
In Japan, the term theology (神学, shingaku) has been ascribed to Shinto since the Edo period with the publication of Mano Tokitsuna's Kokon shingaku ruihen (古今神学類編, 'categorized compilation of ancient theology'). In modern times, other terms are used to denote studies in Shinto—as well as Buddhist—belief, such as kyōgaku (教学, 'doctrinal studies') and shūgaku (宗学, 'denominational studies').
English academic Graham Harvey has commented that Pagans "rarely indulge in theology." Nevertheless, theology has been applied in some sectors across contemporary Pagan communities, including Wicca, Heathenry, Druidry and Kemetism. As these religions have given precedence to orthopraxy, theological views often vary among adherents. The term is used by Christine Kraemer in her book Seeking The Mystery: An Introduction to Pagan Theologies and by Michael York in Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion.
Richard Hooker defines theology as "the science of things divine." The term can, however, be used for a variety of disciplines or fields of study. Theology considers whether the divine exists in some form, such as in physical, supernatural, mental, or social realities, and what evidence for and about it may be found via personal spiritual experiences or historical records of such experiences as documented by others. The study of these assumptions is not part of theology proper, but is found in the philosophy of religion, and increasingly through the psychology of religion and neurotheology. Theology then aims to structure and understand these experiences and concepts, and to use them to derive normative prescriptions for how to live our lives.
History of academic disciplineEdit
The history of the study of theology in institutions of higher education is as old as the history of such institutions themselves. For instance:
- Taxila was an early centre of Vedic learning, possible from the 6th-century BC or earlier;: 140–2
- the Platonic Academy founded in Athens in the 4th-century BC seems to have included theological themes in its subject matter;
- the Chinese Taixue delivered Confucian teaching from the 2nd century BC;
- the School of Nisibis was a centre of Christian learning from the 4th century AD;
- Nalanda in India was a site of Buddhist higher learning from at least the 5th or 6th century AD;: 149 and
- the Moroccan University of Al-Karaouine was a centre of Islamic learning from the 10th century, as was Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
The earliest universities were developed under the aegis of the Latin Church by papal bull as studia generalia and perhaps from cathedral schools. It is possible, however, that the development of cathedral schools into universities was quite rare, with the University of Paris being an exception. Later they were also founded by Kings (University of Naples Federico II, Charles University in Prague, Jagiellonian University in Kraków) or municipal administrations (University of Cologne, University of Erfurt).
In the early medieval period, most new universities were founded from pre-existing schools, usually when these schools were deemed to have become primarily sites of higher education. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by monasteries. Christian theological learning was, therefore, a component in these institutions, as was the study of Church or Canon law: universities played an important role in training people for ecclesiastical offices, in helping the church pursue the clarification and defence of its teaching, and in supporting the legal rights of the church over against secular rulers. At such universities, theological study was initially closely tied to the life of faith and of the church: it fed, and was fed by, practices of preaching, prayer and celebration of the Mass.
During the High Middle Ages, theology was the ultimate subject at universities, being named "The Queen of the Sciences" and served as the capstone to the Trivium and Quadrivium that young men were expected to study. This meant that the other subjects (including philosophy) existed primarily to help with theological thought.
Christian theology's preeminent place in the university began to be challenged during the European Enlightenment, especially in Germany. Other subjects gained in independence and prestige, and questions were raised about the place of a discipline that seemed to involve a commitment to the authority of particular religious traditions in institutions that were increasingly understood to be devoted to independent reason.
Since the early 19th century, various different approaches have emerged in the West to theology as an academic discipline. Much of the debate concerning theology's place in the university or within a general higher education curriculum centres on whether theology's methods are appropriately theoretical and (broadly speaking) scientific or, on the other hand, whether theology requires a pre-commitment of faith by its practitioners, and whether such a commitment conflicts with academic freedom.
In some contexts, theology has been held to belong in institutions of higher education primarily as a form of professional training for Christian ministry. This was the basis on which Friedrich Schleiermacher, a liberal theologian, argued for the inclusion of theology in the new University of Berlin in 1810.: ch.14
For instance, in Germany, theological faculties at state universities are typically tied to particular denominations, Protestant or Roman Catholic, and those faculties will offer denominationally-bound (konfessionsgebunden) degrees, and have denominationally bound public posts amongst their faculty; as well as contributing "to the development and growth of Christian knowledge" they "provide the academic training for the future clergy and teachers of religious instruction at German schools."
In the United States, several prominent colleges and universities were started in order to train Christian ministers. Harvard, Georgetown, Boston University, Yale, Duke University, and Princeton all had the theological training of clergy as a primary purpose at their foundation.
Seminaries and bible colleges have continued this alliance between the academic study of theology and training for Christian ministry. There are, for instance, numerous prominent examples in the United States, including Phoenix Seminary, Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Criswell College in Dallas, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, Dallas Theological Seminary, North Texas Collegiate Institute in Farmers Branch, Texas, and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. The only Judeo-Christian seminary for theology is the ‘Idaho Messianic Bible Seminary’ which is part of the Jewish University of Colorado in Denver.
As an academic discipline in its own rightEdit
In some contexts, scholars pursue theology as an academic discipline without formal affiliation to any particular church (though members of staff may well have affiliations to churches), and without focussing on ministerial training. This applies, for instance, to the Department of Theological Studies at Concordia University in Canada, and to many university departments in the United Kingdom, including the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter, and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds. Traditional academic prizes, such as the University of Aberdeen's Lumsden and Sachs Fellowship, tend to acknowledge performance in theology (or divinity as it is known at Aberdeen) and in religious studies.
In some contemporary contexts, a distinction is made between theology, which is seen as involving some level of commitment to the claims of the religious tradition being studied, and religious studies, which by contrast is normally seen as requiring that the question of the truth or falsehood of the religious traditions studied be kept outside its field. Religious studies involves the study of historical or contemporary practices or of those traditions' ideas using intellectual tools and frameworks that are not themselves specifically tied to any religious tradition and that are normally understood to be neutral or secular. In contexts where 'religious studies' in this sense is the focus, the primary forms of study are likely to include:
- Anthropology of religion
- Comparative religion
- History of religions
- Philosophy of religion
- Psychology of religion
- Sociology of religion
Sometimes, theology and religious studies are seen as being in tension, and at other times, they are held to coexist without serious tension. Occasionally it is denied that there is as clear a boundary between them.
Whether or not reasoned discussion about the divine is possible has long been a point of contention. Protagoras, as early as the fifth century BC, who is reputed to have been exiled from Athens because of his agnosticism about the existence of the gods, said that "Concerning the gods I cannot know either that they exist or that they do not exist, or what form they might have, for there is much to prevent one's knowing: the obscurity of the subject and the shortness of man's life."
Since at least the eighteenth century, various authors have criticized the suitability of theology as an academic discipline. In 1772, Baron d'Holbach labeled theology "a continual insult to human reason" in Le Bon sens. Lord Bolingbroke, an English politician and political philosopher, wrote in Section IV of his Essays on Human Knowledge, "Theology is in fault not religion. Theology is a science that may justly be compared to the Box of Pandora. Many good things lie uppermost in it; but many evil lie under them, and scatter plagues and desolation throughout the world."
The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion. Not anything can be studied as a science, without our being in possession of the principles upon which it is founded; and as this is the case with Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing.
The German atheist philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach sought to dissolve theology in his work Principles of the Philosophy of the Future: "The task of the modern era was the realization and humanization of God – the transformation and dissolution of theology into anthropology." This mirrored his earlier work The Essence of Christianity (1841), for which he was banned from teaching in Germany, in which he had said that theology was a "web of contradictions and delusions." The American satirist Mark Twain remarked in his essay "The Lowest Animal", originally written in around 1896, but not published until after Twain's death in 1910, that:
[Man] is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven.… The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.
20th and 21st centuriesEdit
A. J. Ayer, a British former logical-positivist, sought to show in his essay "Critique of Ethics and Theology" that all statements about the divine are nonsensical and any divine-attribute is unprovable. He wrote: "It is now generally admitted, at any rate by philosophers, that the existence of a being having the attributes which define the god of any non-animistic religion cannot be demonstratively proved.… [A]ll utterances about the nature of God are nonsensical."
Theology, of course, is not religion; and a great deal of religion is emphatically anti-theological.… An attack on theology, therefore, should not be taken as necessarily involving an attack on religion. Religion can be, and often has been, untheological or even anti-theological.
However, Kaufmann found that "Christianity is inescapably a theological religion."
English atheist Charles Bradlaugh believed theology prevented human beings from achieving liberty, although he also noted that many theologians of his time held that, because modern scientific research sometimes contradicts sacred scriptures, the scriptures must therefore be wrong. Robert G. Ingersoll, an American agnostic lawyer, stated that, when theologians had power, the majority of people lived in hovels, while a privileged few had palaces and cathedrals. In Ingersoll's opinion, it was science that improved people's lives, not theology. Ingersoll further maintained that trained theologians reason no better than a person who assumes the devil must exist because pictures resemble the devil so exactly.
The British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has been an outspoken critic of theology. In an article published in The Independent in 1993, he severely criticizes theology as entirely useless, declaring that it has completely and repeatedly failed to answer any questions about the nature of reality or the human condition. He states, "I have never heard any of them [i.e. theologians] ever say anything of the smallest use, anything that was not either platitudinously obvious or downright false." He then states that, if all theology were completely eradicated from the earth, no one would notice or even care. He concludes:
The achievements of theologians don't do anything, don't affect anything, don't achieve anything, don't even mean anything. What makes you think that 'theology' is a subject at all?
- "theology". Wordnetweb.princeton.edu. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- See, e.g., Migliore, Daniel L. 2004. Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology (2nd ed.) Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
- See, e.g., Kogan, Michael S. 1995."Toward a Jewish Theology of Christianity." Journal of Ecumenical Studies 32(1):89–106. Archived from the online on 15 June 2006.
- See, e.g., Dormor, Duncan, et al., eds. 2003. Anglicanism, the Answer to Modernity. London: Continuum.
- See, e.g., Spong, John Shelby. 2001. Why Christianity Must Change or Die. New York: Harper Collins.
- See, e.g., Burrell, David. 1994. Freedom and Creation in Three Traditions. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
- See, e.g., Gorringe, Timothy. 2004. Crime, (Changing Society and the Churches Series). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
- See e.g., Anne Hunt Overzee's gloss upon the view of Ricœur (1913–2005) as to the role and work of 'theologian': "Paul Ricœur speaks of the theologian as a hermeneut, whose task is to interpret the multivalent, rich metaphors arising from the symbolic bases of tradition so that the symbols may 'speak' once again to our existential situation." Overzee, Anne Hunt. 1992. The Body Divine: The Symbol of the Body in the Works of Teilhard de Chardin and Ramanuja, (Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions 2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-38516-4, ISBN 978-0-521-38516-9. Retrieved 5 April 2010. p. 4.
- The accusative plural of the neuter noun λόγιον; cf. Bauer, Walter, William F. Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker. 1979. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 476. For examples of λόγια in the New Testament, cf. Acts 7:38; Romans 3:2; 1 Peter 4:11.
- Scouteris, Constantine B.  2016. Ἡ ἔννοια τῶν ὅρων 'Θεολογία', 'Θεολογεῖν', 'Θεολόγος', ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ τῶν Ἑλλήνων Πατέρων καί Ἐκκλησιαστικῶν συγγραφέων μέχρι καί τῶν Καππαδοκῶν [The Meaning of the Terms 'Theology', 'to Theologize' and 'Theologian' in the Teaching of the Greek Fathers up to and Including the Cappadocians] (in Greek). Athens. pp. 187.
- Langland, Piers Plowman A ix 136
- Adam, James. 1902. The Republic of Plato 2.360C. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.
- Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book Epsilon. Archived 16 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Augustine, City of God VI, ch. 5.
- Tertullian, Ad Nationes II, ch. 1.
- Augustine of Hippo. City of God Book VIII. i.. Archived 4 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine: "de divinitate rationem sive sermonem."
- "Boethius, On the Holy Trinity" (PDF). Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- Evans, G. R. 1980. Old Arts and New Theology: The Beginnings of Theology as an Academic Discipline. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 31–32.
- McGukin, John. 2001. Saint Gregory of Nazianzus: An Intellectual Biography. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. p. 278: Gregory of Nazianzus uses the word in this sense in his fourth-century Theological Orations; after his death, he was called "the Theologian" at the Council of Chalcedon and thereafter in Eastern Orthodoxy—either because his Orations were seen as crucial examples of this kind of theology, or in the sense that he was (like the author of the Book of Revelation) seen as one who was an inspired preacher of the words of God. (It is unlikely to mean, as claimed in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers introduction to his Theological Orations, that he was a defender of the divinity of Christ the Word.)
- See the title of Peter Abelard's Theologia Christiana; and, perhaps most famously, of Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica
- "Theology." Oxford English Dictionary. note.
- See, e.g., Hodge, Charles. 1871. Systematic Theology 1, part 1.
- Oxford English Dictionary, sense 1
- "Theology, 1(d)" and "Theological, A.3." Oxford English Dictionary. 1989.
- Times Literary Supplement 329/4. 5 June 1959: "The 'theological' approach to Soviet Marxism...proves in the long run unsatisfactory."
- Jones, Alan H. 1983. Independence and Exegesis: The Study of Early Christianity in the Work of Alfred Loisy (1857–1940), Charles Guignebert (1857 [i.e. 1867]–1939), and Maurice Goguel (1880–1955). Mohr Siebeck. p. 194.
- Kapic, Kelly M. Kapic (2012). A Little Book for New Theologians. Why and How to Study Theology. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-830-86670-0.
- Gardet, L. 1999. "Ilm al-kalam." The Encyclopedia of Islam, edited by P. J. Bearman, et al. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV.
- Libenson, Dan and Lex Rofeberg, hosts. 5 October 2018. "God and Gender - Rachel Adler." Ep. 138 in Judaism Unbound (podcast).
- Rashkover, Randi. 1999. "A Call for Jewish Theology." CrossCurrents. "Frequently the claim is made that, unlike Christianity, Judaism is a tradition of deeds and maintains no strict theological tradition. Judaism's fundamental beliefs are inextricable from their halakhic observance (that set of laws revealed to Jews by God), embedded and presupposed by that way of life as it is lived and learned."
- Cabezon, Jose Ignacio. 1999. "Buddhist Theology in the Academy." pp. 25–52 in Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars, edited by R. Jackson and J. J. Makransky. London: Routledge.
- King, Anna S. 2006. "For Love of Krishna: Forty Years of Chanting." pp. 134–67 in The Hare Krishna Movement: Forty Years of Chant and Change, edited by G. Dwyer and R. J. Cole. London: I.B. Tauris. p. 163: Describes developments in both institutions, and speaks of Hare Krishna devotees "studying Vaishnava theology and practice in mainstream universities."
- Harvey, Graham (2007). Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary Paganism (2nd ed.). London: Hurst & Company. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-85065-272-4.
- "Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, 3.8.11" (PDF). Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- McGrath, Alister. 1998. Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. pp. 1–8.
- An earlier date is provided in: Reagan, Timothy. 2004. Non-Western Educational Traditions: Alternative Approaches to Educational Thought and Practice (3rd ed.). Lawrence Erlbaum. p. 185; and Chitnis, Sunna. 2003. "Higher Education." pp. 1032–56 in The Oxford India Companion to Sociology and Social Anthropology, edited by V. Das. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. p. 1036.
- Scharfe, Hartmut. 2002. Education in Ancient India. Leiden: Brill.
- Dillon, John. 2003. The Heirs of Plato: A Study in the Old Academy, 347–274 BC. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Yao, Xinzhong. 2000. An Introduction to Confucianism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 50.
- Becker, Adam H. (2006). The Fear of God and the Beginning of Wisdom: The School of Nisibis and the Development of Scholastic Culture in Late Antique Mesopotamia. University of Pennsylvania Press.
- "The School of Nisibis". Nestorian.org. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
- Lulat, Y. G. 2005. A History of African Higher Education from Antiquity to the Present: A Critical Synthesis. Greenwood. p. 71: The Al-Qarawiyyin mosque was founded in 859 AD, but "While instruction at the mosque must have begun almost from the beginning, it is only...by the end of the tenth-century that its reputation as a center of learning in both religious and secular sciences...must have begun to wax."
- Beattie, Andrew. 2005. Cairo: A Cultural History. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 101.
- Leff, Gordon. 1968. Paris and Oxford Universities in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries. An Institutional and Intellectual History. Wiley.
- Johnson, Paul. 2000. The Renaissance: A Short History, (Modern Library Chronicles). New York: Modern Library. p. 9.
- Rüegg, Walter. 2003. "Themes." pp. 3–34 in A History of the University in Europe, edited by W. Rüegg and H. de Ridder-Symoens, (Universities in the Middle Ages 1). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 15–16.
- See D'Costa, Gavin. 2005. Theology in the Public Square: Church, Academy and Nation. Oxford: Blackwell. ch. 1.
- Howard, Thomas Albert. 2006. Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 56: "philosophy, the scientia scientarum in one sense, was, in another, portrayed as the humble "handmaid of theology'."
- Howard, Thomas Albert. 2006. Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- See the discussion of, for instance, Immanuel Kant's Conflict of the Faculties (1798), and J.G. Fichte's Deduzierter Plan einer zu Berlin errichtenden höheren Lehranstalt (1807) in Howard, Thomas Albert. 2006. Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Frei, Hans W. 1992. Types of Christian Theology, edited by W. C. Placher and G. Hunsinger. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- D'Costa, Gavin. 2005. Theology in the Public Square: Church, Academy and Nation. Oxford: Blackwell.
- McClendon, James W. 2000. "Theology and the University." Ch. 10 in Systematic Theology 3: Witness. Nashville, TN: Abingdon.
- Schleiermacher, Friedrich.  1990. Brief Outline of Theology as a Field of Study (2nd ed.), translated by T. N. Tice. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen.
- Kratz, Reinhard G. 2002. "Academic Theology in Germany." Religion 32(2):113–16.
- Marsden, George M. 1994. The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 41: "The primary purpose of Harvard College was, accordingly, the training of clergy.' But 'the school served a dual purpose, training men for other professions as well."
- Curran, Robert Emmett, and Leo J. O'Donovan. 1961. The Bicentennial History of Georgetown University: From Academy to University 1789–1889, Part 1. Georgetown: Georgetown University Press: Georgetown was a Jesuit institution founded in significant part to provide a pool of educated Catholics some of whom who could go on to full seminary training for the priesthood.
- Dexter, Franklin Bowditch. 1916. "The Charter of the Collegiate School, October 1701." In Documentary History of Yale University, Under the Original Charter of the Collegiate School of Connecticut 1701–1745. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: Yale's original 1701 charter speaks of the purpose being "Sincere Regard & Zeal for upholding & Propagating of the Christian Protestant Religion by a succession of Learned & Orthodox" and that "Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences (and) through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State."
- Duke University Libraries (11 July 2013). "Duke University: A Brief Narrative History". Duke University Libraries. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
- At Princeton, one of the founders (probably Ebeneezer Pemberton) wrote in c.1750, 'Though our great Intention was to erect a seminary for educating Ministers of the Gospel, yet we hope it will be useful in other learned professions – Ornaments of the State as Well as the Church. Therefore we propose to make the plan of Education as extensive as our Circumstances will admit.' Quoted in Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion Archived 26 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine (Princeton University Press, 1978).
- "The CTU Story". Catholic Theological Union. Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
lay men and women, religious sisters and brothers, and seminarians have studied alongside one another, preparing to serve God's people
- See 'About the GTU' at The Graduate Theological Union website (Retrieved 29 August 2009): 'dedicated to educating students for teaching, research, ministry, and service.'
- "The Criswell Vision". Criswell College. Archived from the original on 26 April 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
Criswell College exists to serve the churches of our Lord Jesus Christ by developing God-called men and women in the Word (intellectually and academically) and by the Word (professionally and spiritually) for authentic ministry leadership
- "Mission Statement". Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
the mission of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is ... to be a servant of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention by training, educating, and preparing ministers of the gospel for more faithful service
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Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) is a learning community dedicated to the development of servant leaders for the global church, leaders who are spiritually, biblically, and theologically prepared to engage contemporary culture for the sake of Christ's kingdom
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