Friday, 10 April 2015

Audio lecture: early trinitarian theology

Here's an audio snippet from this week's class on the Trinity. It's a 20-minute summary of the past few weeks of the course, which have focused on trinitarian theology in the second and third centuries. This summary is pretty sketchy, but I try to identify four general themes in early trinitarian theology:

1. Historical theme (Irenaeus)
2. Psychological theme (Tertullian)
3. Educational theme (Clement)
4. Participatory theme (Origen)

At the end of the clip I try to explain how the two most important themes (1 and 4) can go together, as I think they do in Athanasius.



Incidentally, I also wonder if these four themes might be helpful for explaining Augustine's theology of the Trinity. The significance of Augustine isn't that he represents a monolithic western approach, nor that he is simply a speculative innovator. Instead I think Augustine takes the least significant pre-Nicene theme, the psychological, and synthesises all the other themes around it. Thus Augustine still has a strong salvation-historical emphasis (De Trin. books 2-4) as well as a large preoccupation with the educational and participatory themes (De Trin. books 13-15); but these major pre-Nicene themes are subsumed within the vast architecture of what had until then been only a minor experimental theme, the psychological.

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