Theological Encyclopaedia And Methodology -- By: Edwards A. Park

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 001:3 (Aug 1844)
Article: Theological Encyclopaedia And Methodology
Author: Edwards A. Park

Theological Encyclopaedia And Methodology

Edwards A. Park

Translated from the unpublished Manuscripts of Prof. Tholuck of Halle

(Continued from Vol. I. No. II. p. 367.)

The Various Departments Of Dogmatic Theology.

I. The arrangement of Proof-texts, and the Dogmatic Theology of the Bible.

The first duty of the student in the department of systematic theology is, to collect the dicta probantia. The arrangement of these proof-texts, (τόποι) belongs to the department of “Topics.” The collections which have been hitherto made of such passages are unsatisfactory. They contain those texts only which express a truth absolutely and directly, but omit those which simply involve and imply the same truth.

The department of Biblical Dogmatic Theology is immediately derived from that of Topics. In other words, the system of Christian faith is expressed with simplicity, in sentences which are founded on the proof-texts of the Bible. In addition to the simple statement of the Christian principles, this department will allow an exegetical proof that the principles are taught in the Bible, and also a brief scientific confirmation of them. In this department, as in that of Topics, we have no satisfactory Treatise for students. The older writers, as Zachariae, are prolix and devoid of taste. Storr and Knapp have given us the best works that we have of this character.

Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the name Biblical Dogmatic Theology has been used in a different sense from that which is given above. It has been applied to the science which is more properly called Dogmatic History. Certain theo-

logians, who take a rationalistic .view of christian doctrine, have considered the various teachings of the Bible, from the time of Abraham to that of Jesus and the apostles, as the product of the human reason in its course of gradual improvement. In this sense, therefore, must the Biblical Dogmatics or Theology exhibit the gradual development of the reason in religious things, as it kept pace with the advancement of the times in which the writers of the Bible lived. There has also been included in this department a representation of the particulars in which the apostles agree among themselves, and also of the particulars in which they differ among themselves, in their respective systems of faith. The Biblical Dogmatics of Von Ammon, De Wette, Baumgarten Crusius, Von Colin, have been composed in this rationalistic spirit.

II. Dogmatic Theology Of The Church.

Different men take different views of the contents of the Bible. When any great number of men unite in the s...

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