Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Theology

Editor-in-Chief: Taliaferro, Charles

Covered by:
Elsevier - SCOPUS
Clarivate Analytics - Emerging Sources Citation Index

CiteScore 2018: 0.37

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.275
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.975

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Theological Predication, Doctrinal Location, and Method in Analytic Theology

Ryan S. Peterson
Published Online: 2017-09-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0036


Theological method is situated properly in relation to a range of doctrinal commitments, especially commitments located in the doctrines of God, creation, and theological anthropology. In this article, I use Thomas Aquinas’s account of theological predication to illustrate this doctrinal and methodological interconnection. Then, I describe the methodological commitments of analytic theology as they have been articulated by its advocates and argue that analytic theology should embrace an explicitly theological methodology. This requires taking seriously the proper ends of theology and the varied means used by theologians in the Christian theological tradition. I argue that analytic theologians should nurture attentiveness to theology’s chief end (the visio Dei and the corresponding goals of faithful worship and personal formation), the doctrinal order in which specific doctrinal questions find their proper context and location (beginning from and ending with the doctrine of God), and the practices that facilitate good theological judgment-making (prayer and contemplation).

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas; theological method; systematic theology; analytic theology; analogy; theological predication; contemplation; doctrine


  • Abraham, William J. “Systematic Theology as Analytic Theology.” In Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology, edited by Oliver D. Crisp and Michael C. Rea, 54-69. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.Google Scholar

  • Allen, Michael. “Theological Commentary.” In Theological Commentary: Evangelical Perspectives, edited by R. Michael Allen, 1-9. New York: T&T Clark, 2011.Google Scholar

  • Alston, William P. Divine Nature and Human Language: Essays in Philosophical Theology. New York: Cornell University Press, 1989.Google Scholar

  • Burrell, David. Analogy and Philosophical Language. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973. Google Scholar

  • Clarke, W. Norris. “Review of ‘Speaking the Incomprehensible God’” by Gregory P. Rocca, The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review, 68:4 (2004): 633-636.Google Scholar

  • Crisp, Oliver D. “On Analytic Theology.” In Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology, edited by Oliver D. Crisp and Michael C. Rea, 33-53. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.Google Scholar

  • Gregory of Nazianzus. On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters of Cledonius, translated by Frederick Williams and Lionel Wickham. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002.Google Scholar

  • Griffiths, Paul J. Religious Reading: The Practice of Reading in the Practice of Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.Google Scholar

  • Hector, Kevin W. Theology without Metaphysics: God, Language, and the Spirit of Recognition. Current Issues in Theology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.Google Scholar

  • James, Aaron B. Analogous Uses of Language, Eucharistic Identity, and the ‘baptist’ Vision. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2014.Google Scholar

  • McCall, Thomas. An Invitation to Analytic Christian Theology. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2015. Google Scholar

  • Rea, Michael. “Introduction.” In Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology, edited by Oliver D. Crisp and Michael C. Rea, 1-30. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.Google Scholar

  • Rocca, Gregory P. Speaking the Incomprehensible God: Aquinas on the Interplay of Positive and Negative Theology. Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2004.Google Scholar

  • Rocca, Gregory P. “The Distinction between Res Significata and Modus Significandi in Aquinas’s Theological Epistemology,” The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review, 55:2 (1991): 173-197.Google Scholar

  • Soskice, Janet Martin. Metaphor and Religious Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.Google Scholar

  • Thomas Aquinas. Summa Contra Gentiles, translated by Anton C. Pegis. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991.Google Scholar

  • Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologiae, translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province. New York: Benziger Bros., 1948; reprinted in a Latin-English edition by NovAntiqua, 2008.Google Scholar

  • Vanhoozer, Kevin J. “Introduction.” In Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible, edited by Kevin J. Vanhoozer. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005.Google Scholar

  • Wood, William. “Trajectories, Traditions, and Tools in Analytic Theology,” Journal of Analytic Theology, 4 (2016): 254-256.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2017-07-25

Accepted: 2017-08-31

Published Online: 2017-09-23

Published in Print: 2017-09-26

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 458–470, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0036.

Export Citation

© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in