You are here:Home-Resources-Counsel of Chalcedon Magazine-2001 Issue 3-Francis Turretin on Theological Prolegomena

Francis Turretin on Theological Prolegomena

In any discipline polysyllabic terms roam the landscape often appearing like untamable beasts to the uninitiated. Theology is certainly not immune to this characterization. We find this to be true with the term theological prolegomena. What is it and to what does it refer? The first term, theological, is made up of the two Greek words, theos (God) and logos (word), and refers to the study of God. The second, prolegomena, is made up of two Greek words, pro (before) and legomena, the participle form of the word lego (I say). Hence prolegomena literally means "before words," or "sayings." Within the context of theology, then, theological prolegomena is the term that refers to "the introductory section of a treatise or system of thought in which basic principles and premises are enunciated." Stated simply, theological prolegomena is the section in a theological work where a theologian's presuppositions are laid out. For example, What is theology? What is the relationship between God's knowledge and our knowledge? How does human reason relate to theology? Now, theological prolegomena is something that we might take for granted because of the place in church history where we stand. Therefore, let us first conduct a brief reconnaissance of the history of the development of prolegomena. This will set the stage for an examination of what Francis Turretin writes on the subject.