Why Study Theology? A Word from St. Basil the Great

Why Study Theology? Well, I can think of lots of reasons. But here are some words from St. Basil the Great (330-370), Bishop of Caesarea and one of the famous Greek Cappadocian church fathers.

stbasil2008web“To count the terms used in theology as of primary importance, and to endeavour to trace out the hidden meaning in every phrase and in every syllable, is a characteristic wanting in those who are idle in the pursuit of true religion, but distinguishing all who get knowledge of “the mark” “of our calling” (Phil. iii.14); for what is set before us is, so far as is possible with human nature, to be made like unto God. Now without knowledge there can be no making like; and knowledge is not got without lessons…. Truth is always a quarry hard to hunt, and therefore we must look everywhere for its tracks. The acquisition of true religion is just like that of crafts; both grow bit by bit; apprentices must despise nothing.” (De Spirito Sancto I.2)

[Contextual note: Basil is reflecting on the Nicene debate and the immense significance that concepts, words, and sometimes even syllables and prepositions  – i.e., homoousion vs. homoiousion, preps. ‘with’, ‘through’, ‘in’ – can have for proper theological understanding).

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