A college student who majors in religion may decide to become a theologian, or an expert in the study of religion.

Use the noun theologian to describe a person who has read and studied religious thought and ideas. Professors in a university's religious studies department are usually theologians, and religious leaders are usually considered to be theologians. Theologian comes from theology, the study of God or religion, which has its root in the Greek word theologia, "an account of the gods."

Definitions of theologian

n someone who is learned in theology or who speculates about theology

theologiser, theologist, theologizer
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Pierre Abelard
French philosopher and theologian; lover of Heloise (1079-1142)
Saint Ambrose
(Roman Catholic Church) Roman priest who became bishop of Milan; the first Church Father born and raised in the Christian faith; composer of hymns; imposed orthodoxy on the early Christian church and built up its secular power; a saint and Doctor of the Church (340?-397)
Saint Thomas Aquinas
(Roman Catholic Church) Italian theologian and Doctor of the Church who is remembered for his attempt to reconcile faith and reason in a comprehensive theology; presented philosophical proofs of the existence of God (1225-1274)
a Greek who was a Christian theologian active in Alexandria and who was declared a heretic for his doctrines about God (which came to be known as Arianism) (256?-336)
Jakob Hermandszoon
Dutch Protestant theologian who founded Arminianism which opposed the absolute predestinarianism of John Calvin (1559-1609)
Arnold of Brescia
Italian theologian who censured the worldly possessions of monks and the temporal power of bishops and was condemned for dogmatic errors by the Second Lateran Council (early 12th century)
Athanasius the Great
(Roman Catholic Church) Greek patriarch of Alexandria who championed Christian orthodoxy against Arianism; a church father, saint, and Doctor of the Church (293-373)
Augustine of Hippo
(Roman Catholic Church) one of the great Fathers of the early Christian church; after a dramatic conversion to Christianity he became bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa; St. Augustine emphasized man's need for grace (354-430)
Karl Barth
Swiss Protestant theologian (1886-1968)
St. Basil the Great
(Roman Catholic Church) the bishop of Caesarea who defended the Roman Catholic Church against the heresies of the 4th century; a saint and Doctor of the Church (329-379)
the Venerable Bede
(Roman Catholic Church) English monk and scholar (672-735)
Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmine
Italian cardinal and theologian (1542-1621)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
German Lutheran theologian and pastor whose works concern Christianity in the modern world; an active opponent of Nazism, he was arrested and sent to Buchenwald and later executed (1906-1945)
Rudolf Karl Bultmann
a Lutheran theologian in Germany (1884-1976)
Jean Caulvin
Swiss theologian (born in France) whose tenets (predestination and the irresistibility of grace and justification by faith) defined Presbyterianism (1509-1564)
John Duns Scotus
Scottish theologian who was very influential in the Middle Ages (1265-1308)
Johann Maier Eck
a German Roman Catholic theologian who was an indefatigable opponent of Martin Luther (1486-1543)
Johannes Eckhart
German Roman Catholic theologian and mystic (1260-1327)
Jonathan Edwards
American theologian whose sermons and writings stimulated a period of renewed interest in religion in America (1703-1758)
Desiderius Erasmus
Dutch humanist and theologian who was the leading Renaissance scholar of northern Europe; although his criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church led to the Reformation, he opposed violence and condemned Martin Luther (1466-1536)
St. Gregory of Nazianzen
(Roman Catholic Church) a church father known for his constant fight against perceived heresies; a saint and Doctor of the Church (329-391)
Richard Hooker
English theologian (1554-1600)
Mark Hopkins
United States educator and theologian (1802-1887)
Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Spaniard and Roman Catholic theologian and founder of the Society of Jesus; a leading opponent of the Reformation (1491-1556)
Cornelius Jansenius
a Dutch Roman Catholic theologian (1585-1638)
Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus
(Roman Catholic Church) one of the great Fathers of the early Christian Church whose major work was his translation of the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin (which became the Vulgate); a saint and Doctor of the Church (347-420)
St. John Chrysostom
(Roman Catholic Church) a Church Father who was a great preacher and bishop of Constantinople; a saint and Doctor of the Church (347-407)
John Knox
Scottish theologian who founded Presbyterianism in Scotland and wrote a history of the Reformation in Scotland (1514-1572)
Martin Luther
German theologian who led the Reformation; believed that salvation is granted on the basis of faith rather than deeds (1483-1546)
Philipp Melanchthon
German theologian and Luther's successor as leader of the Reformation in Germany (1497-1560)
John Henry Newman
English prelate and theologian who (with John Keble and Edward Pusey) founded the Oxford movement; Newman later turned to Roman Catholicism and became a cardinal (1801-1890)
Reinhold Niebuhr
United States Protestant theologian (1892-1971)
Greek philosopher and theologian who reinterpreted Christian doctrine through the philosophy of Neoplatonism; his work was later condemned as unorthodox (185-254)
Edward Bouverie Pusey
English theologian who (with John Henry Newman and John Keble) founded the Oxford movement (1800-1882)
Fausto Paolo Sozzini
Italian theologian who argued against Trinitarianism (1539-1604)
Emanuel Swedenborg
Swedish theologian (1688-1772)
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus
Carthaginian theologian whose writing influenced early Christian theology (160-230)
Paul Johannes Tillich
United States theologian (born in Germany) (1886-1965)
Isaac Watts
English poet and theologian (1674-1748)
John Wickliffe
English theologian whose objections to Roman Catholic doctrine anticipated the Protestant Reformation (1328-1384)
Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf
German theologian (1700-1760)
Huldreich Zwingli
Swiss theologian whose sermons began the Reformation in Switzerland (1484-1531)
Gregory the Great
(Roman Catholic Church) an Italian pope distinguished for his spiritual and temporal leadership; a saint and Doctor of the Church (540?-604)
Saint Irenaeus
Greek theologian who was bishop of Lyons and an antiheretical writer; a saint and Doctor of the Church (circa 130-200)
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Church Father, Father, Father of the Church
(Christianity) any of about 70 theologians in the period from the 2nd to the 7th century whose writing established and confirmed official church doctrine; in the Roman Catholic Church some were later declared saints and became Doctor of the Church; the best known Latin Church Fathers are Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory the Great, and Jerome; those who wrote in Greek include Athanasius, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, and John Chrysostom
Doctor, Doctor of the Church
(Roman Catholic Church) a title conferred on 33 saints who distinguished themselves through the orthodoxy of their theological teaching
a theologian who specializes in eschatology
a theologian who believes that the Scripture prophecies of the Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) will be fulfilled in the future
a theologian who believes that the Scripture prophecies of the Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) are being fulfilled at the present time
a theologian who believes that the Scripture prophecies of the Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) have already been fulfilled
Type of:
bookman, scholar, scholarly person, student
a learned person (especially in the humanities); someone who by long study has gained mastery in one or more disciplines

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