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    STUDIA THEOLOGIA ORTHODOXA - Issue no. 1 / 2021  

DOI: 10.24193/subbto.2021.1.03
Published Online: 2021-06-30
Published Print: 2021-06-30
pp. 81-100

This paper explores the use of the terms theologia and philosophia in the philosophic opuscula of Michael Psellus, especially those which are dedicated to the Chaldaean Oracles. It begins with a review of previous pagan and Christian usage, the conclusion of which is that Christians rejected the pagan distinction between theologoi, as inspired conduits of divine truth, from philosophers who interpreted such revelations under the rubric of theologia. For Christians Greek theologoi were mere purveyors of myth; theologia was not a branch of philosophy but the exposition of truths revealed in scripture. Since the revealers were already theologians, and the interpreters were theologoi in their own right, the terms became synonymous when applied to Christian practice. Psellus is on the whole faithful to this tradition, reserving the term theologia for Christian teaching in contrast to philosophy, except in one passage that speaks of the philosophy and theology of the Chaldaeans. The purpose of this phrase, in which the latter term seems to be epexegetic to the former, is to intimate that even the best theology of the pagans, being ignorant of the biblical revelation, can rise no higher than philosophy.

Keywords: Chaldaean Oracles, Opuscula, philosophy, theology, revelation.
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