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Dogmatics is an independent subject at Catholic and Protestant theological faculties on the dogmatic interpretation of the content of the Christian doctrine of the faith. Dogmatics occupies a central position especially in the Roman Catholic Church , since the truths of faith of the Catholic Church are conveyed here. In addition to the specialist areas of Christian ethics ( theological ethics and moral theology ) as well as Christian social ethics ( Christian social doctrine ) and Catholic fundamental theology, it is part of systematic theology . The presentation of the historical development of dogmas is the subject of the history of dogmas .

Concept and history

The Greek word dogma originally meant a legal ordinance or a basic philosophical doctrine. Christian dogmatics is about doctrines. The term “dogmatics” did not appear until the 17th century, but the concern associated with it is much older. The main theological work of Origen , De principiis (German: From the basic doctrines ) is considered to be the first Christian dogmatics . In the later Middle Ages the four books Sententiarum ( on the basic propositions ) by Petrus Lombardus and the Summa theologiae ( summary of theology ) by Thomas Aquinas became very influential .


Important sub-areas ( treatises ) of dogmatics are:

and also in Catholic theology:


Theological dogmatics is not about reducing a doctrine to a few principles. Rather, it is a matter of developing the whole of revelation and Christian faith , which, however, has found binding expression in the doctrinal decisions ( dogmas ) of the Church in the understanding of at least Catholic and Orthodox theology in relation to individual central faith truths . In theology it is therefore always about the justification, development and interpretation of these doctrinal decisions.

Similarly, the term can also be used in relation to other sciences . For example, legal dogmatics is an attempt to systematically develop and present the applicable law. Similarly, the use of the term “dogmatics” in economics is possible.

The concept of dogmatics must be differentiated on the one hand from that of the deductive or narrower axiomatic method , in which other theorems or conclusions are derived from a few basic statements ( axioms ). On the other hand, there is dogmatism , an attitude of mind that uncritically holds certain convictions ("dogmas" in the figurative sense) as unquestionable and thus hinders the freedom of thought and the further development of science.

The spectrum of systematic-theological and dogmatic statements is naturally very broad. Regardless of the commonality in the apostolic or Nicene creed, there are still confessional differences - such as Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox theology - as well as various theological schools - such as fundamentalist, conservative, evangelical, liberal, dialectical, existential, feminist, liberation theological, etc. offer different interpretations.


Dogmatists are theologians who deal with the field of dogmatics. Significant dogmatists are listed in the appropriate category .

In everyday use, a dogmatist is a person who (in the negative) stubbornly refuses to abandon certain principles.

The representatives of a medical direction as Diocles of Karystos the Hippocratic medical theory (and speculative) invested more strongly than were dogmatists referred.

See also


Gerhard Sauter: Dogmatik I. Encyclopedic overview and dogmatics in the German-speaking area . Pp. 41-77.
Not so Jeffner: Dogmatics II. Dogmatics in the Nordic countries . Pp. 77-92.
Alasdair Heron: Dogmatics III. Dogmatics in Great Britain . Pp. 92-104.
Frederick Herzog: Dogmatics IV. Dogmatics in North America . Pp. 104-116.

Web links


  1. z. B. a census ordered by Emperor Augustus ( Lk 2.1  EU ).
  2. Horst Georg Pöhlmann : Abriss der Dogmatik. A compendium . Gütersloh 1973, 4th edition, p. 19f (Chapters I, A).
  3. Jutta Kollesch , Diethard Nickel : Ancient healing art. Selected texts from the medical writings of the Greeks and Romans. Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig 1979 (= Reclams Universal Library. Volume 771); 6th edition ibid 1989, ISBN 3-379-00411-1 , p. 8 f.