CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: ITS SEVERAL BRANCHES, AND THEIR RELATION TO OTHER DEPARTMENTS OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE
In this chapter, A. A. Hodge first states his conception of religion and theology. He defines theology as “the science of religion.” However, it is important to note that, for him, there are many kinds of theology, depending on the religion being treated. When we are dealing with the Christian religion, we are making Christian Theology. In this sense, the Christian religion, “determined by the revelation supernaturally presented in the Christian Scriptures,” is the source of Christian Theology.
After defining theology, Hodge divides it into diverse parts. According to him, the aim of each theological science is to answer the questions about God's existence, his revelation, the content of that revelation, and the history of interpretation (p. 17). In this task, theology makes use of “auxiliary sciences” like Universal History, Archaeology, Ethnology, Comparative Philology, Comparative Religion, Philosophy, Psychology, Aesthetic, Physical Sciences, and Statistics.
The theological sciences themselves are grouped in five categories: Apologetics, Exegetical Theology, Systematic Theology, Practical Theology, and Historical Theology.
Apologetics treats of the existence of God and his revelation to man. It embraces the proofs of God’s existence, the development of Natural Theology, and the evidences of Christianity.
Exegetical Theology treats of the contents of God’s revelation, interpreting the Scriptures as the word of God. It embraces the studies on the Biblical canon and the meaning of the biblical words.
Systematic Theology uses the inductive method and the results of Exegetical Theology aiming at a coherent and xxx presentation of the revealed truths.