Mythical theology

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Mythical theology (theologica mythica) is one of three branches of theology established by the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BC) in his lost work Antiquitates rerum humanarum et divinarum. The other two are political theology (theologia civilis) and natural theology (theologia naturalis).

Mythical theology is practiced by poets, based on narratives (mythoi) pertaining to divine matters.

The theologians of civil or political theology are the people, asking how the gods relate to daily life and the state (see imperial cult). The theologians of natural theology are the philosophers, inquiring into the nature of the gods.

"Mythical theology" should be distinguished from the theologia mystica of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.


  • Shanks A., In Defence of "Mythical Theology", Cultural Values, Volume 3, Number 2, April 1999, 244-249.
  • W. Geerlings, Die "theologia mythica" des M. Terentius Varro (1990), ISBN 3-922031-88-9.

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