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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Gr. δόγμα ), a doctrine received as an article of faith. I. In the Scriptures the Greek word δόγμα has nowhere the meaning of doctrine. In Ephesians 2:15, and Colossians 2:14, it denotes Jewish ordinances. In other passages (Luke 2:1; Acts 16:1; Acts 17:7) it designates the decrees of Roman emperors. II. This term is used by some of the earliest writers of the Christian Church, both Greek and Latin, to designate a doctrine of the Christian Church, or the whole of the Christian doctrines. Thus, by Ignatius, in the epistle to the Magnesians (chapter 13), the Christian doctrines are called δόγματα τοῦ κυρίου καὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων, and by Origen (in Matth. tom. 12, § 23), δόγματα θεοῦ . In his work against Celsus (contra Celsum, 3, c. 39) he calls the whole of the Christian doctrines τὸ δόγμα, and the apostles διδάσκαλοι τοῦ δόγματος . The ecclesiastical writers of the 2d and 3d centuries also applied it to the tenets of philosophical schools. But the meaning Christian doctrine came to be the common use of the word in the theological and ecclesiastical language of the Greek and Latin writers, and from the Latin it has passed into most of the modern languages, especially those of Roman Catholic countries. In English, the word Dogma, in this theological sense, is only of late coming much in use, but Doctrine has generally been used instead of it.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Dogma'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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