How is theology ‘the queen of the sciences’?


In Europe during the High Middle Ages, schools of higher learning utilized the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy) of classical liberal arts. It was in this environment that theology was named “queen of the sciences.”

Theology as Science

When we think of “science,” we usually think of the study of the natural world and that which can be quantitatively measured—subjects such as biology and physics. Historically, though, of the “natural” sciences, only geometry and astronomy were part of the standard university curriculum. So what was a science? Augustine defined it as anything to do with knowledge of the temporal world. Thomas Aquinas considered theology a science because it encounters special and general revelation.

The tradition of Wissenschaft provides a bridge to our modern understanding of science. Wissenschaft was the ideology of learning in German universities during the 1800s. Within this system, a…

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