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Outlines of Dogmatic Theology
The writer of this work proposes to present in three volumes, in English, an outline of a three-year course of Dogmatic Theology, such as is offered to students for the priesthood in Catholic Seminaries. No attempt is made to give more than the merest outline; but it is hoped that it will satisfy the needs of some who are not professional students, especially by showing the nature of the questions dealt with in each Treatise, and their proportionate importance, as indicated by the space allowed to them.
Originality would be out of place in a work of this description: the matter is the common property of theologians. The admirable Compendium of Father Hurter is followed in the arrangement of the Treatises.
The aim of the work is Exposition, not Controversy, although controversial matter is occasionally introduced by way of illustration. The writer believes that if both parties to a controversy will give a clear exposition of what they hold upon the subject, the questions between them will quickly be brought to a decision.
In the Appendix to this volume will be found a sketch of the method of disputation commonly followed in schools of philosophy and theology, by which the class are practised in the art of stating objections clearly and answering them concisely.
No attempt is made to give special prominence to questions that are attracting public attention at the time of writing. It is hoped that the principles here given will enable the reader to follow intelligently the course of any theological discussion in which he may be interested, and to realize how closely the various parts of theology are linked together; so that no question can be considered as standing by itself, but must be studied in view of its connection with other branches of the science.
The book is suited for the reader of English. The authorities exist for the most part in Greek and Latin. These are translated or referred to in such a manner that the reader can verify the reference. The passages from the Fathers are taken from the Abbe Migne's great series, Patres Græci and Patres Latini, quoted as P.G. and P.L. respectively, and another reference is added which will guide to the passage in other editions. The chief works quoted will be found in a convenient Latin form in Father Hurter's collection called Opuscula Sanctorum Patrum. Detached passages are translated and arranged in Waterworth's Faith of Catholics. The authoritative documents of Councils and Popes are taken from Denzinger's Enchiridion.
The reader is supposed always to have a Bible beside him.
A list of a few English books bearing on the matter of the volume will be found appended to this Preface. The Catalogue of the Catholic Truth Society will give the names of popular tracts on most of the subjects dealt with in this volume.