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Theology, science of religious knowledge; the formal analysis of what is believed by adherents of a religion, making its doctrine coherent, elucidating it logically, and relating it to secular disciplines. Most religions have no well-developed theology. The concept arose in Greek, but its elaboration took place only in Christianity. The early Church Fathers and Doctors formulated doctrine in contemporary philosophical terms, and major advances were made by resolving controversies. In the Middle Ages Scholasticism developed, partly in reaction to the influence of Neoplatonism, and divided theology into natural theology and revealed theology. From the Reformation each branch of Protestantism began to develop its own distinctive theology. From the Enlightenment rationalist theology became dominant, leading to modernism and the modern critical view of the Bible. Partly in reaction, neo-orthodoxy and the existentialist theology of Reinhold Nie-buhr and Paul Tillich arose.

See also: God; Religion.

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