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← Why am I reading theology?

Cartomancer's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Cartomancer

Theology is very interesting. It tells us all kinds of things about the real world. Admittedly all of those things are about the bit of the real world sitting between the theologian's none-too-receptive ears, but it's still worth trying to understand.

Okay, so I'm an historian of medieval thought. Well, kind of. Probably not for much longer given the severe lack of employment prospects therein for someone with no undergraduate teaching experience or publications to his name, but I have the letters now at least. And thus I'm biased. Knowledge of theology is very important in understanding the intellectual outlook of the Middle Ages. There was quite a lot of it about, and in the context of medieval societies and medieval approaches to knowledge and science, it made as much sense as anything else.

Modern Theology, however, is, essentially, tie-in fan fiction. The genre is quite common in certain quarters, such as the sourcebooks for fantasy roleplaying games, which often go into lavish and elaborate detail about the specifics of their fictional worlds. I have hundreds of the things, and they're very entertaining. They cover topics as diverse as the precise way in which a vampire's soul works, lists of High Elf kings, navigational star-maps of the areas surrounding space-time anomalies and the physics behind the devices used for the heat-shielding of alien war engines. Theology is just the same. Except that the people writing this stuff under the name "theology" tend to think the world they're writing about is this one. That's the only appreciable difference.

Mon, 04 Jul 2011 20:30:04 UTC | #846145