Last Updated: Feb 15, 2016
The term systematic theology has different meanings depending on the context, but generally describes efforts to create a coherent and related body of Christian beliefs. Similar efforts are called by others dogmatics or constructive theology.
This guide presents some books, articles, and introductory materials to acquaint you with these efforts.
Some good sources for articles addressing systematic theology and its facets are listed below. To find other journals, search DiscoverE for the subject "theology doctrinal periodicals."
International Journal of Systematic Theology
Focusing on doctrine with occasional articles related to ethics, historical theology, and the philosophy of religion, IJST publishes work from a variety of ecclesial and academic traditions, largely from scholars in North America and Europe.
This is an ecumenical source that dialogues with both contemporary and historic theologians. Articles, critical book reviews, review essays, and responses are published.
Scottish Journal of Theology
Call Number: ALPHA BY TITLE
A journal addressing topics of systematic, biblical, and historical theology. Publishes articles and book reviews.
Anglican Theological Review
Call Number: ALPHA BY TITLE
An unofficial publication of the seminaries of the Episcopal Church in the United States and Canada, ATR offers articles and book reviews that address systematic theology in addition to liturgics, historical theology, and other topics.
Irish Theological Quarterly
Call Number: ALPHA BY TITLE
This journal, rooted in the Catholic tradition but ecumenical in approach, publishes articles related to systematic, historical, and moral theology, as well as sacred scriptures.
For an overview of the topic, see the "systematic theology" entry by Dr. Ian McFarland in the Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology.
For the well-researched, easily accesible "Wikipedia" of all things Christianity, go to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (you will need to click on the "online resource" tab and then "full text" to access this resource.)
In addition to the books below, this article provides an overview of late 20th-century writings in systematic theology: Fackre, Gabriel. 1995. "The revival of systematic theology," Interpretation 49(3): 229-241.
Other suggested Print Resources are listed below:
Theology: A Very Short Introduction
Call Number: THEOLOGY STACKS: BT65 .F67 2000
This book is suitable for explaining the contours of theology: its distinction from religious studies, five central topics, and skills and methods used. Additional readings on each topic addressed are suggested at the end of the book.
The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought
Call Number: THEOLOGY REFERENCE: BR95 .O94 2000
This book presents historical threads while focusing on current understandings. Thematic entries like abortion and ecology are included along with topics like redemption and christology. Every article is written from the standpoint of the topic's relationship to Christianity. A book list for further reading is included at the end of each article.
Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology.
Call Number: THEOLOGY COURSE RESERVES: BT65 .M54 2004 (Older versions on the shelf in THEOLOGY STACKS)
An introduction to the traditional topics of doctrinal theology, this book provides numerous footnotes with recommendations for further study and several appendices that compare differing perspectives through imaginary conversations. A glossary provides point-of-need descriptions for terms discussed in the work.
Essentials of Christian Theology
Call Number: THEOLOGY STACKS: BT77 .E69 2003
Arranged according to nine topics of Christian theology, this work presents differing viewpoints on each topic. Placher provides an introduction and key terms for each topic. A glossary of names and terms is also included.
The Modern Theologians
Call Number: THEOLOGY STACKS: BT28 .M59 2005
This book provides introductions to theological options including responses to modernity, particularized and global theologies, and theology's relationship with fields including science, art, and pastoral practice. Chapters provide entry points for learning about influential theologians in fields of interest.
The Library of Congress subject heading for systematic theology is Theology, Doctrinal. Using this you will find a much broader array of materials than searching solely for the phrase "systematic theology."
The Library of Congress section for Doctrinal Theology is BT. Subdivisions of this field are listed below:
BT 10-1480 Doctrinal Theology
- 19-37 Doctrine and dogma
- 93-93.6 Judaism
- 95-97.2 Divine law. Moral government
- 98-180 God
- 109-115 Doctrine of the Trinity
- 117-123 Holy Spirit. The Paraclete
- 126-127.5 Revelation
- 130-153 Divine attributes
- 198-590 Christology
- 296-500 Life of Christ
- 580 Miracles. Apparitions. Shrines, sanctuaries, images, processions, etc.
- 587 Relics
- 595-680 Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ. Mariology
- 650-660 Miracles. Apparitions. Shrines, sanctuaries, images, processions, etc.
- 695-749 Creation
- 750-811 Salvation. Soteriology
- 819-891 Eschatology. Last things
- 899-940 Future state. Future life
- 960-985 Invisible world (saints, demons, etc.)
- 990-1010 Creeds, confessions, covenants, etc.
- 1029-1040 Catechisms
- 1095-1255 Apologetics. Evidences of Christianity
- 1313-1480 History of specific doctrines and movements. Heresies and schisms
A full guide to Library of Congress call numbers beginning with B can be found here: