Doctrines are teachings, and anything taught is a doctrine. But the word is most familiar in a religious context, referring to the teachings of a religious leader or community.
Not all doctrines are of the same kind. They differ from one another in what they refer to, in whether or not they can be empirically verified,in their status, and in many other ways. Since awareness of these differences may help us construct or examine doctrines, this paper presents a preliminary taxonomy of the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I will refer also to other religious communities for illustration and comparison. Every set of doctrines can be classified in several ways--some binary, others with multiple categories. I have suggested nine such ways.
1. Halakah/Haggadah. This binary classification is one of the oldest, and it is the primary classification used in Judaism. Halakah is law-torah, while haggadah is story-torah. Halakah refers to the legal material in Scripture and tradition; and haggadah is everything else, all nonlegal material. Corresponding to these categories are two pairs of English words that similarly alliterate: behavior and belief, and law and lore.
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