[Milton-L] De Doctrina Christiana
jamesrovira at gmail.com
Mon Jan 12 11:19:04 EST 2009
Hannibal -- I think you'll find that most documents intended to be
authoritative statements about God (doctrine) have also been systematic, and
systematically presented theology is usually intended to affect doctrine.
There's a great deal of less than systematic writing about God that still
believes it is conveying theological truth (s). I don't think I would
exclude from the umbrella "theology" any writing that is not systematic or
doctrinal -- there's little precedent for doing so throughout the history of
religious writing in the west. The most mystical writers in almost all
religious traditions still expected their readers to believe certain things
about God, even if it's that the suspension of rational thought is necessary
to experience the divine. The latter is an "idea about God" and comprises a
theology as well.
It seems difficult to me, if not impossible, to write a sentence with the
word "God" in it without implying some belief about God. Even the sentence
I just wrote implies that "God" can be a part of speech. Milton sought to
convey ideas that impacted religious belief in his day. These are
theological in nature, by definition. What these ideas were and how they
stand in relationship to doctrinal debates of his own day is another matter,
of course. I think we agree the translation of Milton's poetry to
systematic doctrinal statements is a difficult task. To me, though, that
doesn't make it any less theological.
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