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The Holy Trinity: Understanding God's Life by [Holmes, Stephen]
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The Holy Trinity: Understanding God's Life Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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About the Author

Stephen R. Holmes is Senior Lecturer in Theology, University of St Andrews

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1181 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Paternoster (4 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008CFR8YG
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  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #269,367 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
The Holy Trinity is the first in a new series from Paternoster looking at Christian Doctrines in Historical Perspective. In his introduction Steve Holmes, quoting Chaucer, suggests that this is a 'little book'. It is anything but. At 231 pages it is at least medium-sized book and its content - the history of doctrine of the Trinity - means its a book that covers a large amount of history and ideas. Holmes has recently said in a editorial for the International Journal for Systematic Theology (January 2012) that a lot of theology is about engaging with the history of ideas, that is, its about careful reading of the past and present, rather than doing novel and constructive theology. The Holy Trinity is an excellent example of careful reading.

The book begins with a discussion of the 'revival' of Trinity theology in the twentieth century that was initiated by Barth, Rahner and Zizioulas and developed by Pannenberg, Moltmann, Jenson, Boff and Volf (there are of course others that could be mentioned, e.g. Gunton, Cunningham, Fiddes). Then it travels back in history with chapters on the Trinity in the Bible, in the Early Fathers (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen), and then two chapters on the later Fourth-Century (Arius, Athanasius, Cappadocians, John of Damascus), the West and Augustine, the Medieval period (Anselm, Richard of St Victor, Aquinas), followed by a chapter on Anti-Trinitarianism in the period between the Reformation and the Eighteenth century, and then concludes with a final chapter on the doctrine in the last two hundred years (Hegel, Coleridge, Schleiermacher, Hodge, Dorner).

The book has two aims. First it seeks to provide a book-length (affordable) treatment of the doctrine of the Trinity in the historical tradition.
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Format: Paperback
Stephen Holmes offers an insightful study of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, arguing that the recent so-called `revival' in trinitarian theology is, in fact, not a revival of the Nicene dogma. Until at least the seventeenth century, theologians from East and West upheld one general approach to God as Trinity: that the three divine hypostases (Father, Son and Spirit) are instantiations of the one divine nature, each distinguished from the other two by the relations of origin. But now, in many recent theological writings, it's assumed that the Patristic doctrine is unduly influenced by Hellenism, with its emphasis on substance metaphysics. Instead, it is considered proper to regard God not as a substance but as relational - particularly as a community of divine persons. Thus the term `person', understood as a centre of consciousness or some such notion, is often assumed univocally to apply as much to the divine hypostases as it does to human beings in general. Holmes's point is that the trinitarian thought of people such as John Zizioulas, Jürgen Moltmann and Robert Jenson cannot be understood as a revival of the Nicene dogma (Ch. 1).

To make his case, Holmes first outlines the biblical basis for understanding God as Trinity (Ch. 2) and then shows how the Patristic debates, largely centred on matters of exegesis, gave rise to the dogma encapsulated in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (Chs. 3-6). Following a brief interlude, which summarises the doctrine of the Trinity as received from the fourth century, Holmes examines how the doctrine was upheld in the medieval and Reformation eras, only to be denied later by various anti-trinitarian thinkers (Chs. 7-8). The final chapter (Ch.
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Format: Paperback
This is an important book on a vital doctrine of the Christian Faith, here we find careful scholarship which guides us through the discussions about the doctrine of the Trinity throughout Church history. One of the things that really impressed me about this volume is the way the author treats his primary sources. Stephen Holmes has a firm grasp of the issues and unlike other recent authors I did not find myself having to check out whether somebody was being treated fairly. This is a good example of how historical theology should be done.
In the first chapter Holmes guides us through the twentieth century revival of Trinitarian theology, here we find helpful insights into Barth, Rahner, Moltmann, Jenson and Volf. He raises some important questions about these theologians.
In chapter 2, we find a helpful outline of the Bibles trinitarian theology and he looks at how the Church Fathers treated Scripture again there is much that is helpful and constructive here. This chapter closes with a helpful section on the Development of Christian Worship.
Chapter 3 skillfully guides us through the teachings of the early church fathers, I hope this study will stimulate the reader to go back to the original sources. the section on Irenaeus of Lyons shows the vital contribution this Church Father made to the discussion. He also guides us through the contribution that Origen made, I found this section helpful because he brings out the various strands of Origen's thinking,which is no easy task.
In chapter 4 We get to the heart of many recent discussions of the Trinity because nearly all scholars would agree that the fourth century is the century when serious advances were made in articulating the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
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