Theology Parameters

 This endeavor will look a lot like the dive into philosophy.

1) Dividing Christianity into epochs or time periods.  The tentative periods at this time are; “Ancient Christianity (100-500 AD), “Augustine (He deserves a section all his own),” Medieval Christianity (500-1500 AD),” “The Refomation (1500-1700 AD),” “The Enlightenment (1700-1800),” and the “Modern World (1800-Present).”

2) Provide a general survey in each period of the Christian thinkers cultural milieu, influences, significant issues, and movements as well as their general thoughts regarding different areas of Christian doctrine.  While many of these topics will overlap, it appears that some form of systemization is necessary so that a structure will aid both myself and the reader in taking concrete situations and people and synthesizing them with abstract ideas to stimulate critical thinking, creating the grand “aha!” moment.  As such, the format for each period will be (hat tip to Wiles and Santer’s book Documents in Early Christian Thought for giving me the idea of how to structure some of this:

1.  General Historical-Cultural context (How/why did it influence Christian thought?)

2.  Role of Theology in time period for church (Did they see it as important?)

3. Major Movements (eg Dominicans, The Apologists, Evangelicals, etc)

4. Heresies

5. Major personalities of the era (Augustine, Ignatius of Loyola, Aquinas, Luther, etc) 

6. Their theological views on a) God, b) Trinity, c) Christology, d) Pneumatology, e) sin & grace, f) tradition and Scripture, g) Ecclesiology, h) the sacraments, i) Christian living, j) Church & society [politics], and k) eschatology. 

7. Drawing conclusions and setting the stage for the next era. 

8. Intersecting the info with the Philosophy of the day  and see how they interact.

Obviously no one can do every major movement, heresy, Christian personality, and area of doctrine justice; to try to do so would take a few lifetimes.  My hope is that a reasonable balance can be found between being too large and being too simplified.

I would like to invite other Christian intellectuals to lend their expertise on this amibitous project.  Of course, comments are welcome, provided they are constructive.  However, if anyone would like to post, as frequent or as infrequent on my site during this project, please comment and let me know.  I am hopeful that this could become a communal affair.  I will correspond with any takers to make this happen.  Also, if you feel compelled to post, don’t view my categories or outline as rigid; it isn’t, it is merely made to have a starting place.  The same goes for chronology.  Post on whatever, and i will organize it.  You don’t have to be “in order.”    


  1. Matthew

    You are missing the entire Eastern side of Christianity. They treat Augustine as a minor Western writer of no importance and place their theology on the Greek fathers instead. This can’t really be ignored. Some western figures dealt with the Eastern church (ie. Luther), and their figures did draw on orthodox theology.

  2. Matthew,

    Thanks for Pointing this out. To my credit, i wasn’t completely unaware of the Eastern Tradition, but i haven’t really been able to figure out how to incorporate them into this blog, since i want this blog to be rooted in a historical perspective.

    It is tough to incorporate the Eastern Church b/c as time went on they by and large withdrew from the western church; the 1054 split was truly a split, with little interaction between the two after that (unless the west was attacking them during the crusades).

    This also happened theologically. While Luther and a few drew on their work, i think that for the most part they were separate entities.

    All that to say it seems to me that since i am tracing this historically, i am going to have to by and large go with one “tradition.” Since the west is more accessible and familiar to most (including myself), we will go with that.

    That being said, their is a great deal of overlap, particularly before the split. That is more than welcome to come into play here. However, a a separate blog might have to be started for teh East at some point. Also, i am doing a lot of research on the Eastern tradition this semester for class, so i will be incorporating their thought quite a bit in my other blog

    As ifind points of overlap, they will also come over to here.

    Thanks for the thoughts Matt. Hope to hear from you soon.

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