Friday, 11 January 2008

Trinitarian reading for laypeople

A friend asked me yesterday about works on the Trinity which could be recommended to interested laypeople who have no theological background. I sent her this list of annotated suggestions – but I’d be interested to know if you have any alternative or additional suggestions:

  • Frederica Mathewes-Green, “The Old Testament Trinity,” in God the Holy Trinity: Reflections on Christian Faith and Practice, ed. Timothy George (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 83-90. [The title might sound dull, but this is a very beautiful little essay, written by the popular Orthodox writer. The essay is a brief meditation on Rublev's great icon of the Trinity.]

  • Cornelius Plantinga, “Deep Wisdom,” in God the Holy Trinity: Reflections on Christian Faith and Practice, ed. Timothy George (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 149-55. [Another chapter from the previous book: a rich and moving homily on the Trinity.]

  • Benedict XVI, “Introduction: An Initial Reflection on the Mystery of Jesus,” in Jesus of Nazareth (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 1-8. [A brief discussion of the Father–Son relation as the central dimension of Jesus’ human existence. The basis of the doctrine of the Trinity lies here, in the humanity of Jesus.]

  • Rowan Williams, “A Man for All Seasons,” Chapter 3 in Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007), 57-78. [Like the previous reading, this isn’t strictly focused on the Trinity, but it’s a superb, illuminating, jargon-free account of the relation between Jesus and God – which is the most important thing to grasp when thinking about the Trinity.]

  • Hans Urs von Balthasar, “The Triune Life,” a chapter in Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 177-97. [A moving reflection on the mystery of the Trinity as the heart of ecclesial life.]

  • Vladimir Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction (Crestwood: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1978), 36-50. [An important and accessible passage from one of the greatest modern Orthodox thinkers, focusing on the relation between the Trinity and human personhood.]

  • Kim Fabricius, “Ten Propositions on the Trinity”. I might seem a bit biased here, but you really can’t go past Kim’s post on the Trinity – it’s concise, profound, beautiful, and best of all true.]

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