The Holy Trinity

Posted on February 18, 2012


My book on the Trinity is now published in UK & RoW (US rights are with IVP USA – don’t have a date for their publication). Paternoster have it available for order here; No doubt Amazon et al. will catch up soon.

The book is cast as a history of Trinitarian doctrine, with a heavy emphasis on the fourth and twentieth centuries; to give a flavour of the argument, it closes with these words, citing some of the authors I consider along the way:

…we set out on our own to offer a different, and we believed better, doctrine. We returned to the Scriptures, but we chose (with Tertullian’s Praxeas, Noetus of Smyrna, and Samuel Clarke) to focus exclusively on the New Testament texts, instead of listening to the whole of Scripture with Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Daniel Waterland. We thought about God’s relationship with the creation in the economy, but we chose (with the Valentinians, Arius, and Hegel) to believe that the Son must be the mode of mediation of the Father’s presence to creation, instead of following Irenaeus and Athanasius in proposing God’s ability to mediate his own presence. We tried to understand the divine unity, but we chose (with Eunomius and Socinus) to believe that we could reason adequately about the divine essence, instead of following Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and John Calvin in asserting divine unknowability. We addressed divine simplicity, and chose (with Socinus and John Biddle) to discard it, rather than following Basil and the rest in affirming it as the heart of Trinitarian doctrine. We thought about Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but chose (with Sabellius, Arius, and Eunomius) to affirm true personality of each, rather than following Augustine and John of Damascus in believing in one divine personality.

We called what we were doing a ‘Trinitarian revival’; future historians might want to ask us why.

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