Eduction for the Ministry


This glossary was started in March 2024 by the Pauatahanui. It is an explanation of words and terms that were encountered in reading by the group members. Terms will be added as they are encountered. If you would like to terms to be added, expanded or corrected please email We are a students of theology and do not make any claim to expertise. EfM encourages debate so please feel free to engage in debate about our definitions.

Term Explanation
Aggiornamento Italian meaning bringing up to date. Pope John XXIII and the 2nd Vatican Council. Internal spiritual renewal, and external adaptation of the Church's laws and institutions to the times.
Bris or Brit milah The Jewish ceremony in which a baby boy is circumcised, usually eight days after birth.
Eschatology The part of theology concerned with death, judgement, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.
Epistemology The theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.
Ethnological Relating to races, their origins and distinctive characteristics.
Etiological Serving to explain something by giving a cause or reason for it, often in historical or mythical terms.
Etymological Relating to the origin and historical development of words and their meanings.
Exegesis Critical explanation or interpretation of a text.
Ex Nihilo Latin out of nothing Belief that nothing existed before God started creating.
Habitus Latin attitude The foundational attitude of a person, their way of being-in-the-world. Thomas of Aquinas defined habitus as "“a disposition whereby someone is disposed, well or ill"
Halachic or halakhic (from Jewish Halakha) The body of Jewish law supplementing the scriptural law and forming especially the legal part of the Talmud.
Hermeneutic A method or theory of interpretation.
Homiletical The idea of using sermons or homilies to teach theology
Immanent God is present in time and space, that God is near us.
Intersectionality The cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (e.g. racism, sexism, and classism) combine or overlap, (intersect) especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups
Metanarrative An overarching account or interpretation of events and circumstances that provides a pattern or structure for people’s beliefs and gives meaning to their experiences
Metanoia Greek Changing one's mind The ongoing process of transformation; a transformative change of heart
Noetic (From Greek Inner Wisdom) Of, relating to, or based on the intellect.
Phenomenological Denoting or relating to an approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience.
Predestination The belief that events in life are decided in advance by God and cannot be changed. The doctrine that God has eternally chosen those whom he intends to save.
Ressourcement French return to the sources. Used at 2nd Vatican Council. Return to authoritative sources.
Salvation Deliverance by redemption from the power of sin and from the penalties ensuing from it.
Sitz in leben German place in life. A term used to signify the circumstances in which a particular story, saying, etc., was either created or preserved and transmitted.
Theodicy The vindication of divine providence in view of the existence of evil. The term literally means “justifying God".
Theophany The word theophany is a combination of two Greek words, meaning God and appearance. A theophany is an appearance of God.
Transcendence The aspect of God's nature and power which is wholly independent of the material universe, beyond all physical laws.
Via negativa Latin the negative way To explain what God is by focusing on what God isn't.

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