In today's society, the word, ‘dogma’ is seen in a very pejorative way. Indeed, dogmas are usually considered by most to be fixed, unbending rules created by human persons in authority throughout history. Furthermore, for many people dogmas constitute a ‘great scandal’ of Christianity, or at any rate a bold demand on the faithful. More particularly, this is precisely how theological truths pertaining to God and God’s self-revelation to the world are seen. Living in an age which ‘demythologises’ all institutions and structures, doctrinal truths not only seem inappropriate but also provocative and unbecoming with regards to the dignity of the emancipated human person. For this reason, they are in constant need of new justification.
This course unit aims at uncovering the attitude of the early Church towards doctrinal truths in order to examine the extent to which these precepts, according to the Psalmist, “… are right, rejoicing the heart… and lightning the eyes… more to be desired a day than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.” (Ps 19:7-10).
This unit builds on the knowledge and skills learnt in the introductory unit in theology. It prepares the student for more specialised study at higher levels through a study of the nature, attributes and creative work of the Triune God as this is made known to us through his self-revelation.