mid-14c., "the science of religion, study of God and his relationship to humanity," from Old French theologie "philosophical study of Christian doctrine; Scripture" (14c.), from Latin theologia, from Greek theologia "an account of the gods," from theologos "one discoursing on the gods," from theos "god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + -logos "treating of" (see -logy). Meaning "a particular system of theology" is from 1660s.
Theology moves back and forth between two poles, the eternal truth of its foundations and the temporal situation in which the eternal truth must be received. [Paul Tillich, "Systematic Theology," 1951]
"act of setting free from restraint or confinement," early 15c., liberacion, from Old French libération and directly from Latin liberationem (nominative liberatio) "a setting or becoming free," noun of action from past-participle stem of liberare "to set free," from liber "free" (see liberal (adj.)).
Liberation theology (1969) translates Spanish teologia de la liberación, coined 1968 by Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez (b. 1928). In late 19c. British history, liberationism, liberationist are in reference to the movement to disestablish the Church, from the Liberation Society, devoted to the freeing of religion from state patronage and control.
early 15c., "pertaining to theology," from Medieval Latin theologicalis, from Latin theologicus, from theologia (see theology). Related: Theologically.
1969, American English, shortening of liberation, used with possessives, originally in Women's Lib. Colloquial shortening libber for liberationist (n.) is attested from 1971.
name of a supreme angelic being in Jewish theology, 1786, of uncertain origin.