In this article, the well-known Orthodox patristic scholar and theologian Jean-Claude Larchet explores some fundamental questions in Orthodox theology especially touching on its aims and methods. For him, the most vital aspects of theology include its mystical, empirical, rational, and discursive qualities. He shows that theology must take into account all these aspects and not just one of them. The author then turns his attention to the question of the place of theology in the Church, finding at least three areas where theology is helpful: catechesis, apologetics, and in the liturgy of glorification (doxologia). He also discusses the relationship of theology to other rational sciences: philosophy and literature. Always important for the author is the question of innovation and tradition in theology - a theme which is vital for contemporary minds. Logical assumption brings the author to a discussion of the place of spirituality and ecclesial obligations in the formulation of theology. The French theologian stresses the need for a theologian to have a solid knowledge of both ancient Christian texts as well as of contemporary theological and philosophical literature.
THEOLOGY, MYSTICAL THEOLOGY, CATECHESIS, APOLOGETICS, LITURGY, PHILOSOPHY, LITERATURE, TRADITION AND CREATIVITY