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date: 18 January 2022


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<p>This introductory article discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the history of Trinitarian theology. This volume is divided into seven sections that cover general topics, including the Trinity in Scripture, patristic witnesses to the Trinitarian faith and medieval appropriations of the Trinitarian faith. It provides a valuable ecumenical overview of the key theological and philosophical discussions relating to the Trinity and reflects on the practical import of Trinitarian theology in the liturgy, art, and politics. It also charts the development of theological doctrine from the New Testament writings through the patristic medieval, Reformation, modern, and contemporary periods of Trinitarian reflection.</p>

Keywords: Trinitarian theology, Scripture, patristic witness, Trinitarian faith, liturgy, art, politics, New Testament, Reformation

The development of Trinitarian theology constitutes one of the characteristic traits of contemporary theology. This development is a complex phenomenon that one can observe at least since the 1960s. It is often characterized as a ‘renewal’ or a ‘rediscovery’, but historical studies invite us to nuance this judgement, because in reality reflection on the Trinity has never ceased to be fruitful and to give rise to new approaches. It is perhaps more exact to speak of ‘development’ in order to describe the scope and multiplication of recent publications in this domain. This development is still ongoing, and it is probably too early to speak of a ‘maturity’: the enquiry continues to feel its way forward, and has not yet born full fruit. This Handbook bears witness to the enquiry that characterizes contemporary Trinitarian thought.

While recognizing the great diversity of the currents within this development, one can observe certain fundamental elements common to the contemporary enquiry:

  1. (1) The Trinity is not a mystery among others, but it constitutes the central mystery of Christian faith and should illumine the entirety of the Christian life. The Trinity is the mystery of salvation, as Karl Rahner vigorously reminded us: ‘The Trinity is a mystery of salvation, otherwise it would never have been revealed’ (Rahner 2001: 21; italics in original). Trinitarian theology is situated at the heart of a nexus that is indispensable for understanding its meaning: the liturgy (which, in the concrete life of Christians, certainly has the first place), biblical exegesis, the dogmatic and moral ecclesial tradition, the teaching of the saints, the historical inheritance of the great theological syntheses, the necessary recourse to philosophy for expositing the faith, the task of preaching and the proclamation of the faith, relationships to politics and society, and the encounter with non-Christian cultures and religions. The fundamental nexus, formulated in an exemplary way by St Basil of Caesarea in the fourth century, is constituted by the sacraments (baptism), the confession of faith (creed), and the ecclesial prayer (doxology), ‘in conformity with the meaning of the Scriptures’: (p. 2)

    As we are baptized, so, also, do we believe; as we believe, so, also, do we give glory. Therefore, since baptism has been given to us by the Savior in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we offer a confession of faith consistent with our baptism, and also the doxology consistent with our faith, glorifying the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son (Letter 159, in Basil of Caesarea 1981: 313; emphasis ours).

  2. (2) Trinitarian theology is intrinsically connected to Christology. Contemporary reflection seeks to avoid the dichotomy that separated what is ‘Trinitarian’ from what is ‘Christological’. On the one hand, contemporary works often underscore that Jesus’ Pasch (passion, death, resurrection, ascension, pentecost) is the ‘place’ par excellence of the revelation of the Trinity, without forgetting the presence and action of the Spirit in the life of Christ (‘pneumatic Christology’). On the other hand, Jesus’ words and actions, which the New Testament teaches, only possess their full meaning in light of faith in the Trinity.

  3. (3) Trinitarian faith is not limited to illuminating the sphere of redemption and salvation, but it equally concerns creation: the doctrine of creation calls for a properly Trinitarian consideration.

  4. (4) The majority of studies—not only the systematic works but also the biblical and histories studies—pay attention to the problematic of the unity and distinction between the ‘economic Trinity’ and the ‘immanent Trinity’ (or, if one prefers, between the Trinity in its work of creation and grace, and the Trinity in its inner life). The question of the relationships between the Trinity and history is often found at the centre of contemporary writing on the Trinity.

  5. (5) The majority of studies also pay special attention to the complex question of the relationships between holy Scripture and dogma (conciliar formulations of dogma) as regards the Trinity.

  6. (6) For related reasons, the separation between a treatise ‘De Deo uno’ (the one essence of God) and a treatise ‘De Deo trino’ (God as Trinity) is most often avoided—which does not negate the legitimacy of studies on the divine attributes common to the three divine persons. An important debate remains open here: how to link Trinitarian theology with ‘philosophical theology’?

  7. (7) Patristic doctrines today receive renewed attention in order to understand and express the monotheism proper to Christian Trinitarian faith, not only because of contemporary religious pluralism, but also in critical reaction to the hubris of the idealist subjectivity that has marked the modern conception of God (God as the Absolute Spirit which expresses itself in the human spirit).

  8. (8) Ecumenical discussions of the Holy Spirit, especially between the eastern and western traditions (Filioque, divine energies), exercise a determinative role in contemporary reflections, beyond that of ecumenical studies in the strict sense.

  9. (9) Interreligious dialogue, along with the dialogue of Christianity with cultures (without forgetting the confrontation of Christianity with atheism, which today enjoys a revival in western societies), likewise plays a role whose importance continues to increase.

(p. 3) Writing on the Trinity is not limited to books and essays that are devoted exclusively to the doctrine of the Trinity. Simplifying a little, one can observe three principal categories of studies (cf. Durand 2010: 9–10).

  1. (1) New ‘treatises’ devoted to the mystery of the Trinity are not numerous. Only a few theologians, such as Karl Barth, Michael Schmaus, Karl Rahner, and Jürgen Moltmann, have formally undertaken this task.

  2. (2) Many theologians have placed the consideration of the Trinitarian mystery at the centre of their dogmatic proposals (for example Eberhard Jüngel, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Wohlfart Pannenberg, Robert Jenson).

  3. (3) More broadly, numerous books and essays in recent decades have treated particular aspects of Trinitarian doctrine (consider, for instance, the works of the French theologians Louis Bouyer and Yves Congar) or particular periods of the history of Trinitarian doctrines (for example Thomas F. Torrance, Lewis Ayres).

Little by little, in diverse fields of theological reflection, works have appeared that attempt to realize that programme that, already in 1952, Hans Urs von Balthasar had in view: ‘Christian proclamation in the school, from the pulpit, and in the lecture halls of the universities could be so much more alive, if all the theological tractates were given a complete trinitarian form!’ (Balthasar 1993: 29; italics in the English translation)—‘Wie lebendig könnte die christliche Verkündigung in der Schule, von der Kanzel, auf den Kathedern sein, wenn alle theologischen Traktate trinitarisch duchrformt wären!’ (Balthasar 1952: 18). Henceforth one sees develop Trinitarian Christologies and treatises on creation structured in a Trinitarian manner. Still more, essays on ‘Trinitarian ontology’ express in a striking way the search for a unified understanding of all reality in light of faith in the Trinity. In addition to these new efforts, it appears more and more clearly that the doctrine of the Trinity goes beyond purely instrumental usages and that it should avoid ‘functionalization’, in order to become again what it is in the New Testament: the Christian teaching on God, with regard to the vivid knowledge of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who is the very object of Revelation and therefore of all Christian theology.

One domain of research seems, however, to be developed in a particularly extensive way: that of historical studies. The present Handbook wished to honour this aspect: 18 contributions of this volume are devoted to the patristic, medieval, and modern history of Trinitarian theology. The interest in history is not surprising because, on this topic perhaps more than any other, reference to the dogmatic tradition and to theological traditions plays a determinative role. What one means by ‘Trinitarian faith’ can hardly be understood outside of reference to the councils of Nicaea and Constantinople and to their reception: the doctrine of the Trinity is indissociably connected to the reading of Scripture through the ecclesial and theological traditions, with the result that the development of Trinitarian theology today appears generally as a creative reappropriation of the patristic and medieval sources. In this history, a special place rightly belongs to the patristic period, but the medieval period also deserves particular attention, both because of the extensions of patristic thought that it offers (continuity), and because of (p. 4) the creative syntheses that it shows (newness). There is no ‘blank space’ between the patristic age and the era of the Reformation. In the same way, contrary to certain widespread prejudices, the modern period reveals itself to be surprisingly fecund in this domain. The modern period is characterized especially by the arrival of history, under two principal aspects. First, Trinitarian enquiry has been marked since the seventeenth century by the impact of the historical method, and then by history as a theological discipline—under the name ‘historical theology’ since the beginning of the twentieth century. Second, the development of systematic Trinitarian theology owes much to ‘philosophies of history’, in particular that of Hegel, which have considerably influenced the destiny of Trinitarian theology, although the consequences are ambiguous (Holzer 2008; for a critical reflection on this subject, see Ayres 2004: 384–429). The modern period presented other challenges, in particular one that involves the notion of ‘person’ and that at times gave rise—paradoxically—to a ‘depersonalization’ of the Trinity. The impact of the notion of ‘person’ derived from seventeenth-century philosophy appears already in the controversies of that epoch, in England, between Unitarians and Trinitarians (Dixon 2003; Libera 2007: 101–23). In analytic philosophy today, the notion of ‘person’ is often defined by the capacity for self-reflection or by the matrix of representation and recognition, in either case posing a challenge for theological thought (Allard 2010).

In contemporary theology, the principal ‘theological loci’ are Trinity and creation, Trinity and history, Trinity and monotheism, Trinity and Christology, Trinity and grace, and more broadly Trinity and human life (ethics, society, interreligious dialogue, politics and culture). All these theological loci are connected to biblical, liturgical, patristic, and historical renewals—without forgetting the revival of the eschatological dimension of biblical faith. It is clear that the liturgical renewal and communion ecclesiology, for example, are not posterior in time to the development of Trinitarian enquiry: we are dealing with concomitant movements. Thus, for over a century, ecclesiology has been marked by an effort to renew itself from a Trinitarian perspective. It is necessary finally to note that contemporary Trinitarian theology is no longer presented under the rubric of a unified doctrine and language. Formerly, St Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, elaborated different Trinitarian theologies, but their theological language and their references were similar: they spoke the same theological language, on the basis of common sources and with a common method. This no longer happens today. The diversification of languages, methods, and theological and philosophical sources is certainly a cause of a real difficulty, for students as well as for teachers, with respect to a unified presentation of faith in the Trinity. Trinitarian theology has also been widely freed from its connection to the literary genre of the theological manual, in order to appear in works that bear the marks of their authors and their own intellectual enquiry. This phenomenon, as one would expect, brings today a diversification of points of view, to which this Handbook bears witness in its way. We have sought to offer readers essays that do justice to this diversification of points of view, while also offering, in so far as possible, a coherent ensemble. The present Handbook is not a theologically neutral encyclopaedia, but rather (p. 5) presents contributions from scholars who differ on many points but who generally agree in working out their Trinitarian theology in relation to the Nicene faith. This Handbook thus offers not only a contribution to those who wish to know the history of Trinitarian theology, but it also reveals the Nicene unity still at work among Christians today despite the presence of ecumenical differences and the variety of theological perspectives.

The chapters that follow are divided into seven parts covering seven general topics: the Trinity in Scripture, Patristic witnesses to the Trinitarian faith, Medieval appropriations of the Trinitarian faith, From the Reformation to the Twentieth century, Trinitarian Dogmatics, the Trinity and Christian life, and dialogues.

1. The Trinity in Scripture

This first section considers Trinitarian doctrine in Christian Scripture, which attained canonical form during the same period in which Trinitarian doctrine was taking shape. Khaled Anatolios shows that the fluidity of the canon in the first centuries does not appear to have affected Trinitarian doctrine. Yet the development of the notion of ‘canonicity’ itself speaks to the understanding of revelation at work in the development of Trinitarian doctrine, and the canon of Scripture also provides certain norms that shaped the development of Trinitarian doctrine, such as the identity of the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New, the rule of faith as an interpretive key, the Christological reading of Scripture, and the understanding of history in light of missions of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Exploring the topic of the Trinity in the Old Testament, Christopher Seitz begins by noting the history-of-religions approach, which correlates certain developments within Israel's worship of one God with what Christians identified as distinct hypostases in God. Seitz proposes an alternative approach, namely that of recognizing that descriptions of Israel's God may have not only a referent within ancient Israel but also, in God's providence, a further divinely intended referent. The latter referent is not extrinsic to the former, because it is the pressure of the affirmations about Israel's one God, in light of the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, that lead Christians to identify Jesus and the Spirit in Trinitarian fashion. Kavin Rowe takes up the Trinity in the Pauline epistles and Hebrews. Rather than seeking ‘proof-texts’ or studying the implications of particular words as applied to Jesus, Rowe suggests that the narrative fabric of the books sets forth an idiom, a grammar or logic, that can only be rightly interpreted through Trinitarian conceptions. Examining the synoptic Gospels and Acts, Simon Gathercole begins with the point that the God and Father of Jesus Christ is the one God of Israel, the Creator who chose Israel and promised to restore her to holiness. The synoptic Gospels include Jesus within the divine name and attribute to him the divine power of electing and forgiving, as well as pre-existence, although the synoptic Gospels also indicate that the Son receives everything from the Father. The risen Jesus gives the Spirit, whose divine (p. 6) personal agency appears particularly in Acts. In his essay on the Gospel of John, the Epistles of John, and Revelation, Ben Witherington III argues that John does not simply derive his Father language from the Jewish wisdom literature (despite its recognizable influence), but instead has in view the Son's relationship to his Father. After the Ascension, the Son's agency on behalf of the Father is continued by the Spirit's agency on behalf of the Father. Thus the Book of Revelation depicts the Father and the Son sitting on the divine throne while the Spirit dwells in the Church. Bringing this section to a close, Mark Edwards unites it to the next section by exploring how exegesis of Scripture, against the Gnostics’ rejection of the Old Testament and in the face of other heterodox currents, led to the language in which Trinitarian doctrine was formulated during the first centuries of the Church.

2. Patristic Witnesses to the Trinitarian Faith

Discussing the Trinity in the pre-Nicene Fathers, Stephen Hildebrand traces the evolution of Trinitarian thought from Apostolic Fathers like Ignatius of Antioch through the Apologists (St Justin Martyr, Theophilus of Antioch) to the great theologians of the late second and early third centuries: under the pressure of Gnostic and Monarchian theologies, a refining of theological language within a more systematic approach characterizes the work of Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian; the dominant themes are the Trinity in the economy, the emergence of a theology of the Spirit, the theological appropriation of Greek philosophical thought in an effort to explain the faith handed down, and the emergence of Trinitarian technical vocabulary. Warren Smith offers a nuanced account of the fourth-century Trinitarian controversies. He shows how these fundamentally exegetical controversies began with Arius’ insistence on the unique divine prerogatives of the Father and continued with decades of debate over the appropriateness of the word ‘homoousios’, which had been rejected by third-century synods in Antioch because of concerns about modalism. Lewis Ayres presents the Trinitarian theology of Augustine, structured around the Father's begetting of the Word that breathes forth Love. Ayres identifies the roots of Augustine's theology in the Latin anti-modalist tradition and in his appreciation of God's transcendent simplicity, and Ayres sets forth Augustine's emphasis on the salvific missions as drawing us into the mystery of the divine processions. Andrew Louth examines Trinitarian theology in the fifth through the eighth centuries, with particular attention to Cyril of Alexandria as a consolidator of Cappadocian doctrine, Dionysius the Areopagite with his emphasis on God as ever greater, Maximus the Confessor whose emphasis lies on the transformation of the soul brought about by contemplating the Trinity, and John Damascene who roots his Trinitarian doctrine in the unity of God. Louth points out the importance of hymnody for transmitting Trinitarian doctrine, and he notes the impact of the rise of Islam.

(p. 7) 3. Medieval Appropriations of the Trinitarian Faith

Discussing the period between 800 and 1100 in the West, Lauge Nielsen highlights four figures: Alcuin, Gottschalk, John Scotus Eriugena, and Anselm. Alcuin's work on the ‘undivided Trinity’ defends the Augustinian emphasis on the divine unity, whereas Eriugena draws on Greek Orthodox theology to emphasize the proper mode of action of the divine persons. Anselm relies upon the Augustinian image and defends the Filioque against Greek theologians. Dominique Poirel treats twelfth-century theologians in the West, most notably Peter Abelard, Bernard of Clairvaux, Richard of St Victor, and Peter Lombard. Poirel examines the multiplication of models used to think about the Trinity: the triad ‘power—wisdom—goodness’, images in the human soul, traces in visible creation, interpersonal love. Despite tensions at the beginning of the period, these efforts draw toward a richer doctrine, notably toward the theory of Trinitarian ‘appropriations’. Expositing Bonaventure and Aquinas, Joseph Wawrykow underscores the centrality of Trinitarian theology for both theologians and highlights their areas of agreement as well as their distinctive features: Bonaventure puts the good and love at the heart of his account of God, and emphasizes the primacy of the Father; especially important in Aquinas’ teaching is his understanding of divine persons in terms of ‘subsistent relations’. Russell Friedman describes two distinct ways in the late thirteenth century of talking about the ‘constitution’ of the divine persons, one based on ‘relations’, the other on ‘emanations’. Friedman focuses especially on John Duns Scotus and sketches two important fourteenth-century developments: the denial that the Trinitarian mystery can be explained in any significant sense, and innovations in Trinitarian logic. Byzantine theologies of the Trinity from the ninth through the fifteenth centuries are traced by Karl Christian Felmy. After attending briefly to liturgical hymnody and art, he explores the controversy over the Filioque with particular attention to the ninth-century Patriarch of Constantinople Photius. He also treats, less-known authors and the Trinitarian doctrine of Gregory Palamas, whose approach he shows to have similarities with that of Augustine except as regards the Filioque and the divine energies.

4. The Reformation to the Twentieth Century

Our fourth section moves from the Reformers and the Baroque period to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These latter centuries are treated in seven essays, on the grounds that the influence of these centuries is decisive for much contemporary study of the Trinity. Scott Swain's study of the Reformers on the Trinity highlights their effort, in light (p. 8) of the new exegetical modes arising with the Renaissance, to articulate Trinitarian doctrine biblically with a focus on the economy of salvation rather than on metaphysical or logical debates per se, although the Reformers engaged in those too when necessary. Ulrich Lehner examines both Catholic and Protestant Trinitarian theology from 1550 to 1770, from the mystical visions of Ignatius of Loyola to the Augustinian approach of Jonathan Edwards. Lehner also attends to the growing variety of eclectic views and to the influence of anti-Trinitarian thinkers, beginning with Michael Servetus and Faustus Socinus. Cyril O’Regan examines how Immanuel Kant marginalizes Trinitarian doctrine, and he also explores the use made by G. W. F. Hegel and Friedrich Schelling (among others) of triadic dynamisms. Indebted to Jacob Boehme, Hegel rejects a tri-personal divinity in favour of a self-realizing triadic dynamic symbolized by the doctrine of the Trinity; the later Schelling argues for divine tri-personal agency (‘semi-Arian’ in its orientation) that is brought to completion in history. In his treatment of nineteenth-century Protestant thought, Samuel Powell shows that Friedrich Schleiermacher had a major impact through his view that traditional Trinitarian doctrine is abstracted from the experience of salvation, an impact reflected in Isaac Dorner's effort to develop a Trinitarian theology on the basis of analysis of the ethical or supreme good (indebted also to Kant) and in Johann von Hofmann's emphasis on the history of salvation (indebted also to Hegel). Aidan Nichols's exposition of nineteenth-century Catholic theology moves from the Roman scholasticism of Giovanni Perrone to the Tübingen School's emphasis on the Trinity's manifestation in history to Matthias Joseph Scheeben's creatively Augustinian approach to divine Persons and nature, with attention as well to lesser figures and to the mystical theology of Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Focusing on Karl Barth but also commenting on Jürgen Moltmann, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Eberhard Jüngel, George Hunsinger credits Barth with placing the revelation of the Trinity at the foundation of his dogmatics and with insisting that God's attributes (in his unity) be thought through only in relation to prior Trinitarian and soteriological reflection. Vincent Holzer argues that Karl Rahner's and Hans Urs von Balthasar's Trinitarian theology arises from a more fully historical theology of grace derived from Maurice Blondel. Rahner and von Balthasar attempt to reintegrate the more abstract notion of the divine essence into the historical revelation of the Trinity, Rahner through the self-communication of God rooted in the gracious dynamism that is our created spiritual existence and von Balthasar through his Trinitarian dramatics in which the Son undergoes the wrath of the Father for us. Exploring contemporary Orthodox Trinitarian theology, Aristotle Papanikolaou highlights the influence of Sergius Bulgakov, Vladimir Lossky, and John Zizioulas. Bulgakov conceives of the Trinity in terms of the actualization, in the Holy Spirit, of the self-revelation of the Father in the Son—in which process the tri-hypostatic being of God is revealed as Sophia in eternal communion with humanity (the world's ‘sophianicity’). Lossky holds that the Trinity is revealed in the Incarnation of Christ, an ‘antinomic’ truth (the non-opposition of opposites) that requires, against both Bulgakov and scholasticism, an apophatic and mystical theology. In his theology of Trinitarian communion, Zizioulas adopts Lossky's emphasis on the monarchy of the Father and on personhood as freedom from the (p. 9) limitations of nature, but distances himself from Lossky's apophaticism and neo-Palamite commitment to the essence/energies distinction. Fergus Kerr inquires into the surprisingly limited interactions of theologians with the analytic philosophy that has dominated English-speaking universities for the past half-century.

5. Trinitarian Dogmatics

The biblical and historical studies of the previous four sections make clear that Trinitarian reflection has consistently been at the centre of constructive Christian theology. What might contemporary Trinitarian dogmatics look like? The fifth section seeks to answer this question by treating, in order, the dogmatic place of the Trinity; the role of reflection on the divine unity and analogous naming in Trinitarian theology; the theology of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the Trinity, creation, and the human person; the Trinity and the sacramental Body of Christ; and deification. Kathryn Tanner shows that the dogmatic place of the Trinity arises in the early Church from reading the New Testament's testimony to the relationships and activities of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What came to be authoritative Christian teaching about the Trinity involves the convergence of biblical interpretation and theological pressures fundamental to Christian concerns about salvation in Christ. Rudi te Velde notes that the notion of a ‘personal’ God is presently in crisis in the West, and he explores what it means to apply the notion of ‘person’ analogously to God, with particular attention to intra-Trinitarian relationship and to the creation of persons made for relationship with each other and God. Emmanuel Durand underscores the eschatological ultimacy of the Father, fecund source of the Son and Holy Spirit and first principle of all Trinitarian action ad extra. This resituates the theology of Christ and of the Holy Spirit within the context of a Trinitarian and paternal theocentrism. Thomas Weinandy exhibits the Nicene affirmations that are central to all further teaching about the Son, and he explores the relationship between the divine Son and all those who are created and recreated in the image and likeness of the Son. Bruce Marshall underscores that a Trinitarian pneumatology treats primarily the identity of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit's distinctive work in creation and redemption. Regarding the first issue, he shows two alternatives: one, exemplified by Aquinas, finds the identity of the Spirit in his relation of origin to the Father and Son; the other, exemplified by Scotus, finds the Spirit's identity in his unique way of originating from the Father. The Spirit's place in the saving work of the Trinity lies especially in his immediate indwelling by grace. Risto Saarinen outlines some traditional and contemporary views of the human being as an image of God, and discusses the analogical relationships between the triune God and creation, focusing on the problem of avoiding anthropomorphism; in this light he examines contemporary theologies that seek to affirm ontological links between the Trinity and created realities. With ecumenical and interreligious conversations in view, Charles Morerod argues that the theology of (p. 10) the Church requires first not an account of its visible structures but an account of how humans, through the missions of Christ and the Holy Spirit, come to share in the relationships of the divine Persons. Daniel Keating emphasizes that faith and the sacraments bring about real transformation through the indwelling of the Spirit and adoptive sonship in the Son, so that Christians already live in the Trinity.

6. The Trinity and Christian Life

Keating's essay forms a bridge from the dogmatic to the practical import of the doctrine of the Trinity. This practical import is no modern discovery, as Geoffrey Wainwright shows by beginning his essay on the Trinity in liturgy and preaching with Basil the Great's Trinitarian doxology. Wainwright shows how doxologies, preaching, and hymnody developed to foster Christians’ worship in accordance with the Trinitarian and mediatorial patterns found in the New Testament. François Bœspflug examines the theology of Trinitarian images and distinguishes five periods in Trinitarian iconography, cataloguing a vast array of artistic representations whose peak occurs in the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries. Romanus Cessario depicts the moral life in terms of the creative Trinity and human participation, as the created image of God, in the eternal law—a participation that through grace (which brings forth not only the infused virtues but also the gifts of the Holy Spirit) becomes filial conformity to God the Trinity in truth and charity, whose glorious consummation is sketched in the beatitudes. Amy Laura Hall takes up Julian of Norwich's writings with a focus on Julian's context of the black plague and her insistence that in the Trinity all things will be well, a vision that inspires moral and physical solidarity with ‘contagious’ outsiders today. Weaving together the insights of such figures as Thomas Aquinas, John Owen, John Henry Newman, and Hans Urs von Balthasar, Francesca Murphy explores prayer as requiring the confluence of invocation and meditation, made possible in various forms (personal and liturgical) by real assent to God revealing himself in the humanity of Christ as the Mediator/intercessor/propitiator and inspiring us by his Spirit. Examining the Trinity and feminism, Nonna Verna Harrison argues that the use of feminine metaphors to describe God should not lead to a rejection or replacement of the names for the Trinity given in Scripture and Tradition, since divine paternity does not mean that the immaterial Father is male. The generation of the Son is a model for both human motherhood and fatherhood. The Son, incarnate in a woman's womb and as a man, redeems and sanctifies all humankind: like a mother and like a bridegroom, he enters into deep relationships of love with men and women alike. Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt critiques social Trinitarianism on the grounds that it grants too much to Kant's reduction of religion to the sphere of practical reason, and he goes on to show that the true political relevance of the doctrine of the Trinity consists in the fruitfulness of our participation in the Trinitarian life of God as it is revealed to us.

(p. 11) 7. Dialogues

Does Trinitarian reflection play a significant role in ecumenical dialogue? Does it pose a hindrance or a help to interreligious dialogue and to engagement of postmodern culture? David Fergusson shows how the agreement of Christians regarding the doctrine of the Trinity has stimulated efforts to extend this agreement to other areas of faith and practice (doctrinal, liturgical, and moral) informed by Trinitarian reflection. Fergusson also evaluates important contributions in this regard by George Lindbeck and Robert Jenson, among others. Examining Jewish-Christian dialogue regarding the doctrine of God, Ellen Charry explores two encounters that occurred during the patristic and medieval periods and two encounters that occurred in the past thirty years. While the former two encounters were hampered by Christian inability to articulate the doctrine of the Trinity, the latter two show signs of promise, in part because both the Jewish and the Christian participants share a debt to Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Abraham Heschel. Gavin D’Costa raises concerns about the approaches of Karl Rahner, Jacques Dupuis, and Raimundo Panikkar to the Trinity and non-Christian religions, and he instead argues for explicitly Trinitarian and Christological approaches to these religions in terms of praeparatio evangelica, semina Verbi, and vestigia Trinitatis. Building upon recent critiques of modernity from theologians such as John Milbank and David Schindler, Tracey Rowland proposes that Trinitarian love infuses culture with a self-giving and teleological order that overcomes the ongoing mechanization and monetization of culture. An example of this renewal through self-giving love can be found in Pope John Paul II's theology of marriage and the family. Lastly, by way of conclusion, the editors of this volume present some brief Prospects for Trinitarian Theology.

References Mentioned in the Introduction

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Balthasar, Hans Urs von (1952), Schleifung der Bastionen: Von der Kirche in dieser Welt (Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag).Find this resource:

—— (1993), Razing the Bastions: On the Church in This Age, trans. Brian McNeil (San Francisco: Ignatius Press).Find this resource:

Basil of Caesarea, Saint (1981), Letters, vol. 1: Letters 1–185, trans. Sister Agnes Clare Way (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press).Find this resource:

Dixon, Philip (2003), ‘Nice and Hot Disputes’: The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Seventeenth Century (London: T. & T. Clark). (p. 12) Find this resource:

Durand, Emmanuel (2010), ‘Introduction: Les principaux foyers du renouveau trinitaire’, in Emmanuel Durand and Vincent Holzer (eds.) Les réalisations du renouveau de la théologie trinitaire au XXe siècle (Paris: Cerf), 9–14.Find this resource:

Holzer, Vincent (2008), ‘Ouverture: Le renouveau de la théologie trinitaire au XXe siècle’, in Emmanuel Durand and Vincent Holzer (eds.) Les sources du renouveau de la théologie trinitaire au XXe siècle (Paris: Cerf), 9–16.Find this resource:

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