Theologoumenon

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The mural "Les Limbes" by Delacroix in the Palais du Luxembourg. The Catholic idea of Limbo is often cited as a theologoumenon. Once a widespread concept, it is no longer usually taught in Catholic pedagogy, and has generally been abandoned since the Second Vatican Council. Pope Benedict XVI referred to it as a "theological hypothesis" and expressed doubts about its accuracy.[1]

A theologoumenon is a theological statement or concept that lacks absolute doctrinal authority.[2][3] It is commonly defined as "a theological assertion or statement not derived from divine revelation",[4] or "a theological statement or concept in the area of individual opinion rather than of authoritative doctrine".[5]

Understandings[edit]

Catholicism[edit]

In Roman Catholic theology, it usually refers to statements that are without direct confirmation in Scripture or official endorsement by the divinely inspired Teaching Magisterium of the Church, and are therefore not dogmatically binding per se, but are worth recommending because they cast light on understanding doctrines that are considered to be divinely revealed.[6]

Orthodoxy[edit]

In Orthodox theology, the term has a roughly similar meaning. The Orthodox Church in America defines theologoumena as acceptably orthodox "theological opinions" that can develop into "pious traditions", but which nevertheless can be erroneous or imperfect.[7] A more comprehensive Orthodox definition is often given as "the theological opinion of one or many of the holy fathers of the undivided Church."[8] "The content of the theologumena," according to Bulgarian theologian Stefan Zankow, "is probable truth." In Zankow's words, "the number of the fathers who accept a given viewpoint of this nature has no significance as to its validity; still, the greater the number who defend such a statement, the greater probability of its truth."[9] Other Orthodox thinkers often formulate the concept in a similar way.[10] There is some disagreement between Orthodox and Catholic theologians as to which theological concepts are divinely revealed doctrines and which are simply theologoumena.[11]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Lessons from Limbo". oca.org. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  2. ^ "Theologoumenon definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". www.collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  3. ^ "Definition of THEOLOGOUMENON". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  4. ^ "Theologoumenon definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". www.collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  5. ^ "Definition of THEOLOGOUMENON". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  6. ^ "Library : Review of Fr. McBrien's". www.catholicculture.org. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  7. ^ "Lessons from Limbo". oca.org. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  8. ^ dhs (2016-01-18). "The Influence of V. V. Bolotov on Orthodox Theology". David Heith-Stade's blog. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  9. ^ dhs (2016-01-18). "The Influence of V. V. Bolotov on Orthodox Theology". David Heith-Stade's blog. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  10. ^ dhs (2016-01-18). "The Influence of V. V. Bolotov on Orthodox Theology". David Heith-Stade's blog. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  11. ^ Gentle, Judith Marie; Fastiggi, Robert L. (2009-09-30). De Maria Numquam Satis: The Significance of the Catholic Doctrines on the Blessed Virgin Mary for All People. University Press of America. ISBN 9780761848479.