Method Of The Theological Use Of The Bible, Especially Of The Old Testament -- By: A. Duff, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 037:145 (Jan 1880)
Article: Method Of The Theological Use Of The Bible, Especially Of The Old Testament
Author: A. Duff, Jr.


Method Of The Theological Use Of The Bible, Especially Of The Old Testament1

A. Duff, Jr.,

Much of the cloud that hangs around the so-called conflict of religion and science would be cleared off by attention to the fact that a religion is a series of phenomena, and therefore there may be a science thereof. For one has defined science to be a systematized knowledge, and therein the definer has done well. He has thus put forward a commonly used sense of the word as the one best fit to be used, and thereby has also chosen a meaning which accords with the etymology of the word, and which also exactly translates the only actually used sense of certain words of exactly analogous etymology in other modern languages. Compare wissenschaft and la science. The value of a word is great, if it will exactly render the meaning of these terms so often met in works which need to be translated for scientific purposes. Again, although science is very often used alone when men mean only natural science and physical science, yet this misfortune does not affect the adjectives and adverbs derived from science, viz. scientific, etc.

I shall not hesitate to urge this use of the word by using it strictly in this essay. There is a possibility of arranging all the observed religious phenomena of facts, and the systematized knowledge of these is the science of religion. Not that religion is a science; but the systematized knowledge thereof is, viz. theology is. Theology is the systematized knowledge of religion. I need not stay to comment on the folly of such as presume to deal with religious things, and

yet laugh at theology, that is, laugh at knowledge of what they presume to deal with; nor yet at writers who say theology is effete, and yet, in ipso facto, discuss knowledge of religious things. Now there must be rigid investigation of all that claims to be religious fact. This is exactly the business of a theologian. It is by no means a conflict against him. Nor yet is it a conflict with religion. It certainly is a conflict against everything which claims to be religion, but which really is not religion. It is therefore a conflict for religion. All that claims to be religion must be observed, recorded, classified. It must be thus decided whether there be anything religious at all in the world; and if there be, this must be mapped clearly; that is, religion must be defined. Then only can the truly religious element in us be well cared for. But this study of what religion is, is not the special work which a Christian theologian has to do. It is the work of a wider, a more preliminary investigator. That general science of religion in general, usually styled “th...

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