Trinity, Holy

views updated


Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the one God in three Persons that is the object of the Christian confession concerning the deity. This article will look at how the doctrine of the Holy Trinity came to be articulated in the early Church, then consider the development of Trinitarian theology, and conclude with an examination of contemporary approaches to this central mystery of the faith.

Gradual Evolution of the Fourth-Century Dogma

It will be convenient first to trace the gradual development of a Trinitarian consciousness from the end of the NT period to the late 4th century and relate this evolution to the elemental Trinitarianism of the primitive sources.

History of doctrine to Constantinople I. If God is one but also three, it follows necessarily that the sense in which He is one differs from the sense in which He is three. Otherwise, there would be in God's self-revelation not only mystery, but contradiction. Historically, however, this is said in retrospect, looking back from the moment when Christian intelligence was at least well on the way toward a Trinitarian solution. But before there could be any question of solution, a Trinitarian problem had first to be put into focus, and even this required time.

To End of 2d Century. Among the Apostolic Fathers, clement of rome, for instance, writing to the Church of Corinth in the final decade of the 1st century, bears witness to God the Father, to the Son, to the Spirit, and mentions all three together (ch. 58, ch. 46). Some few years later, ignatius of antioch portrays in a famous passage (Eph. 9) the Christian's incorporation into the divine temple as becoming one with Christ in the Spirit unto sonship of the Father. Yet, neither Clement nor Ignatius nor any other writer of this most ancient period raises the question that would turn out to be decisive: precisely how are Son and Spirit related to the Godhead? Before the 2d century had run its course, however, this question, and with it the Trinitarian problem, began to take form. It happened quite naturally.

With the Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius certainly, the center of gravity in the Christian message had ever been Christ; in this, if O. Cullmann is correct (The Christology of the New Testament ), they did no more than preserve the authentic rhythm of the New Testament. With their successors, the great Apologists, however, the proclamation of Christ and the defense of the Christian gospel had first to contend with pagan polytheism. The God of the Christian, like the God of the Israelite, was unequivocally one. Nevertheless, if, as Justin notes (1 Apol. 13), Christians worship Christ in the second place and the Spirit in the third place, there is still no inconsistency; for Word and Spirit are not to be separated from the unique Godhead of the Father.

But why not? The apologists at least attempted a reply. For Justin, the Godhead was very clearly a Triad, though it was Theophilus (Ad Autol. 2.15) who first introduced this expression. For Justin, the Word is no less than something numerically other (Dial. 128) in relation to the Father, and also, though more loosely affirmed (e.g., 1 Apol. 6063), to the Spirit. In the very same passages, however, neither Word nor Spirit, the former more explicitly, are to be separated from the Father, from the being of the Godhead, since both Word and Spirit are God.

To explain how this can be, to give at least an incipiently theological account of how the Word can be one with the Father but still other, Justin pictures the preexistent Word as the Father's rational consciousness (1 Apol. 46; 2 Apol. 13), as emerging, therefore, from the interiority of the Godhead while nevertheless remaining inseparable from the Godhead. Tatian employs much the same explanatory machinery (Orat. 5), likewise Theophilus (Ad Autol. 2.10; 2.22). So also does Athenagoras (Legat. 10), who extends the imagery to the third member and speaks of the Spirit here as God's effluence.

irenaeus, writing at the same time, presents a paradox. This great pastor of souls reflects indeed the theological heavy print of his day, but has far less confidence than the apologists in the mind's ability to explore the Godhead through finite analogies (e.g., Adversus haereses 2.28.6). On the other hand, with a better recognition of the Spirit's role in the economy of salvation, and a rather more emphatic insistence on the coeternity of the Word with the Father, it may well be, as J. N. D. Kelly suggests (Early Christian Doctrines 107), that Irenaeus's understanding is the most complete, and the most expicitly Trinitarian, before that of Tertullian.

To Eve of Nicaea I. In the last analysis, the 2d-century theological achievement was limited. The Trinitarian problem may have been clear: the relation of the Son and (at least nebulously) Spirit to the Godhead. But a Trinitarian solution was still in the future. The apologists spoke too haltingly of the Spirit; with a measure of anticipation, one might say too impersonally. The emerging-thought figure as employed by them to explain at once the unity and otherness of Father and Son was little more than suggestive. The device, in fact, closed only partially with the problem of otherness. The Word existed before all creatures. But the Word came forth within the Godhead as the Father's agent with a view to creation. Is the Word's distinct existence, then, unequivocally eternal?

A generation later, however, with Hippolytus of Rome and still more with his African contemporary Tertullian, the image would sharpen, and theological insight into the eternal plurality would make notable advances. At the same time, to the carry-over from the apologists of the monotheistic emphasis would now be added the dialectical influence of an antipluralist reaction. The net result would be a synthesis of sorts, pointing the way toward the 4th-century dogma.

hippolytus, in his refutation of Noetus and the exaggerated identification of Christ with the Father, insists that God was multiple from the beginning. Tertullian, combating the same attitude (Adv. Prax. 5), all but explicitly personalizes this eternal multiplicity. The Word stands forth and is other than the Father though still within the Godhead in the manner suggested by human reflection, as internal discourse is in some sense another, a second in addition to oneself, though yet within oneself.

Next, as both theologians, especially tertullian, shift their focus from the absolutely eternal moment to that in which the divine plurality becomes manifested in creation and redemption, the personalist idiom intensifies, though not without presenting a difficulty. The divine unity, Tertullian writes (ibid. 2), is "disposed [distributed] into trinity," the Latin expression trinitas being the term Tertullian has now come to use. From the same passage, it is clear that he thinks of the three as three individuals. Elsewhere, to designate the proper and distinct reality of both Son (ibid. 7) and Spirit (ibid. 11), he introduces the word "Person" explicitly. There is a problem, however. As Kelly (Early Christian Doctrines 114) observes, both Hippolytus and Tertullian recognized, on the one hand, that the plurality manifested in the salvific economy reached back, so to speak, into the immanent life of the Godhead. On the other hand, neither would apply at this primordial level the overtly personalist language. In fact, even Tertullian seems to think (Adv. Hermog. 3) that God is neither Son nor, in the strictly personal sense, Father until "after" the coming forth of the Word with a view to creation. Side remarks in his treatise against Praxeas show more conclusively still that a concept of truly eternal generation or nativity was not yet current.

Nevertheless, at least for a Trinitarianism of the economy or dispensation, Tertullian's grasp of the sense in which God is one and the sense in which God is three was impressively clear and systematic. On the one hand, against Sabellius's moralism and other extremes of monarchian ("unitarian") perspective (see monarchianism), the distinction is not of mere words, or aspects, or modalities. The Persons differ one from the other really; in fact (ibid. 2), they can be enumerated. On the other hand, as the painstaking qualifications in the same passage bring out, there is no tritheism here, no compromising of the divine unity. God is indeed three: in grade or order, in appearance or aspect, but with a realist connotation, and in manifestation; but in substance (granting an indecisiveness in Tertullian's use of the term), in status or condition of being, and in power, God is perfectly one. If (ibid. 9) in the Godhead there is distribution, distinction, there is yet no diversity, no division, certainly no separation.

By the middle of the 3d century, as one may see reflected in Novatian's treatise De Trinitate, the Roman Church, originally cool toward this stress on otherness and plurality, had come to incorporate Tertullian's main insights. Novatian, moreover, insists (ch. 31) quite frankly on the unequivocal eternity of fatherhood and sonship in the Godhead.

In the East, however, and closer in time of writing to Hippolytus and Tertullian, the theologians of the great school of Alexandria had incorporated a concept of eternal generation, one might say from the start, beginning with Clement (e.g., Strom. 7.2.2). origen, Clement's successor, envisioned the universe of being along Neo-platonist lines of hierarchical extrapolation. At the utterly transcendent apex, there is God the Father (De princ. 1.1.6.), alone source without source or, to use Origen's favorite term (e.g., In Ioan. 2.10.75), ungenerate (γέννητοϚ). But (De princ. 1.2.3) the Father has from all eternity generated a Son, and (In Ioan. 2.10.75) through this Son, the Word, He has brought forth the Holy Spirit.

The three, Origen maintains in the same passage, are three distinct individuals or hypostases. On the other hand (Frag. in Hebr. ), with explicit reference here to Father and Son, they share together a "community of substance." For the Son, he adds a moment later, is "of the same substance" [homoousios (μοούσιος)] as the Father.

At this point, however, a problem arises, and it sets the stage from a 100 years' distance for the decision at nicaea i. For if Origen did not fail to include a oneness of substance, his emphasis was nevertheless on the otherness and plurality of the three as really distinct Persons or hypostases. The oneness of substance may even be subordinationist, may indicate that Word and Spirit, while not strictly creatures, are nevertheless separated from the Father by an essential inferiority (see subordinationism). For only the Father is "God from Himself" (ατόθεος: In loan. 2.2.17); and in Origen's mind (C. Cels. 5.39) Christians rightly refer to the Son as a "secondary" (δεύτερος) deity. Nor is affirmation of co-eternity decisive, since Origen (e.g., in De princ. 1.2.10) postulated eternal creation. Still, theological idiom in the pre-Nicene period was far from established. Justin, to take but one example, had spoken similarly. The question can always be asked: is this the strictly subordinationist inferiority in quality, so to put it, of being, or merely an inferiority in order, anticipating later and orthodox processionalism?

In any case, the need for clarification soon began to be felt. By the middle of the century, Dionysius of Rome, locked in a controversial exchange with his namesake the bishop of Alexandria, demanded (apud Athan., De decr. Nic. syn. 26), and to some extent received (apud Athan., De sent. Dion. 1418), assurances that the Origenist insistence on three hypostases neither implied separation nor compromised coeternity.

Final period: Nicaea I to Constantinople I. On the eve of Nicaea I, the Trinitarian problem raised more than a century earlier was still far from settled. It was the problem of plurality within the single, undivided Godhead. In what sense is God one? In what sense, a necessarily different sense, is God yet three?

The more serious half of the problem, it was now turning out to be, was the first: in what sense is God one? The proper designation of the divine unity had already been suggested: God is one in power, being, and community of substance. On hasty examination, it might appear that the dogmatic formulation arrived at toward the end of the 4th century did little more than sanction these same terms. In the meantime, however, a gap had been closed. With Nicaea I's determination of the divinity of the Son as consubstantiality with the Father (μοούσιον τ[symbol omitted] πατρί) and the extension by constantinople i of the device to the divinity of the Spirit, the earlier terms would take on a far greater degree of theological precision. Historically, it was this twofold determination of codivinity that would prove decisive for the formulation of the Trinitarian dogma.

From the logical point of view, it could probably be said that the heresies of this time (perhaps of any time?) have as a common note oversimplification: the selection of a single alternative in despair of synthesis. arianism was no exception. The plurality, the real otherness of Father, Son, and Spirit, was considered beyond challenge. But so also was the unique transcendence of God the Father. If Son and Spirit can be called "God," it must be an improper sense; or to put it bluntly, they must be creatures.

The Father alone, Arius argued (apud Athan., De syn. 16), up to this point echoing the best Origenist tradition, is ungenerate, source without source, self-existent. Therefore the Father alone is truly eternal, all-wise, all-good. The divine being, moreover, utterly immaterial and indivisible, cannot be communicated. Hence it follows that whatever else has come into existence from this uniquely transcendent source, beginning with the Word, is necessarily made, created. In short, there was when He was not. And if He is yet to be called God (apud Athan., Or. 1 C. Arian. 6), this is in the improper, extended sense based on His extraordinary prerogatives of creation and grace.

This speculation was not original. Some of its more blatantly subordinationist features are found, for instance, in Eusebius of Caesarea (e.g., Dem. evang. 5.1, 20). But the popularization did much to spread disunity throughout the East and force the decision at Nicaea in 325.

The history of the council, the condemnation of Arius, and the endless controversies that were to follow can only be mentioned here. For what is of immediate pertinence is not the solemn declaration of Christ's unequivocal divinity, but rather the contribution of this decision to the slowly emerging Trinitarian dogma. In this connection, however, the nicene creed, preserved in a letter of the reluctant Eusebius (Eng. tr. Hardy, 338), must at least be looked at.

Subordinationist theology as it had come full turn in Arianism identified unbegotten (ungenerate) with self-existent, and emphatically asserted that consequently whatever was generated could not possibly be self-existent, but had to be creature. On this point, the reaction of the Fathers of Nicaea I could not have been more clear. It was the neat antithesis: the Son is indeed begotten, but begotten, not made; He is of the substance of the Father, true God of true God; He is uncreated, eternal, nor was there ever when He was not.

Against the sophisms of subordinationist speculation, the Fathers of the Council of Nicaea insisted that the message of the apostolic revelation, and particularly of the Johannine Prologue, be taken seriously. Yet, they went further. To preclude once and for all the Arian equivocation on the concept of true divinity, they introduced a speculation, an explanatory device, of their own. This was the famous μοούσιον: the Word is truly God in the sense that He is consubstantial, that He is of the same substance as the Father. The expression (Tertullian's Latin, Origen's Greek) was not new; but it might just as well have been. For in historical context, with coeternity now unequivocally asserted, all manner of creaturehood definitively excluded, eternal generation firmly established, the term at least took on a far more precise significance and assumed in the process a new pregnancy.

From this juncture until the end of the 4th century, investigation into the origins of the Trinitarian dogma must weave its way through two closely interlocked questions. The first concerns the very meaning of the μοούσιον formula on subjection to further critical and theological analysis. The second, more clearly marked by historical signposts and permitting of merely summary treatment here, refers to the longstanding resistance to the formula among Arians and orthodox alike.

Compared with the imprecision that had gone before, Nicaea I's "of the same substance" left little undecided. A difficulty remains, however. Is "same" used here in the generic or numerical sense? Is the Word of the same substance as the Father in the way that John is of the same substance as Paulas both belong to the same species? Or is He of the same substance as the Father in the way that cannot be extended to John and Paul, or to any finite being, the way of simple identity? In terms of objective implication, of course, Nicaea I's "sharing the same substance" has to be the latter. The Godhead is not a species, nor a general class admitting distribution among individuals. Unless the Son possesed the entire Godhead, the (quasi-) numerically and identically same Godhead, as the Father, He would not be truly God; and to define His unequivocally true divinity was precisely Nicaea I's purpose. As Kelly (Early Christian Doctrines 233237) argues, howeverand he concedes that this is the minority viewit is more than possible that the Fathers of the council were not quite conscious of this implication and were content for the moment to affirm a looser, though still metaphysically serious, substantial oneness. B. Lonergan (De Deo trino 1.114) is of the same view, and his care not to overstate the objectively historical evidence at this crucial point is to be borne in mind if his nonetheless highly intellectualist interpretation of the Nicene achievement should give rise to a suspicion of reading a 4th-century text through the eyepiece of a much later scholasticism.

The μοούσιον formula, in any event, and carrying the intention of at least specific identity, encountered so much opposition that more than once in the half century prior to its final reassertion at Constantinople I, in 381, it appeared close to being abandoned. To not a few even among the fiercest anti-Arians, introduction into the confession of faith of a non-biblical device, albeit to articulate a biblically inescapable conclusion, was for a long time unacceptable.

In the ensuing debacle, fortunes alternated, more often as a consequence of political shifts and civil patronage than theological argument. But the doctrinal issues were also clarified. Identity of substance was the emphasis in the formula (apud Theod., Hist. eccl. 2.8.3752) drawn up by the Westerners at Sardica in 342 or 343. A still more theologically precise recognition of the fact that the same one divinity and being of the Father is the divinity and being of the Son became the urging of Athanasius (e.g., C. Arian. 1.61; 3.6; 3.41). And in his letter promulgating the Alexandrian synod of 362 (Tom. ad Antioch. 5, 6), Athanasius not only went far to reconcile conflicting terminologies, but for all practical purposes anticipated the definitive formula of Constantinople I: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one in being, three hypostases.

By this time, moreover, the irenic gestures of such avowed supporters of Nicaea I as Athanasius and Hilary of Poitiers toward the great compromise faction known as the Homoiousians had begun to bear results in the direction of a new unity. These menMeletius of Antioch, Cyril of Jerusalem, Basil of Ancyrawere by no means Arians, but they were dissatisfied with the μοούσιον. Instead of saying that the Son was of the same substance (μΟύσιον) as the Father, they preferred to say that the Son was of like substance (μΟΙούσιον) to the Father. As Athanasius had the insight (De syn. 41) to realize, however, the position, once allowed to explain itself, was basically orthodox. On the other side, as a consequence, reluctance to accept Nicaea I's formula gradually dwindled; in another 20 years, this reluctance to accept the formula would have vanished.

The historian's access to what transpired at Constantinople I in 381 is unfortunately indirecta summary of its doctrinal tome contained in a synodical letter of the following year, this letter itself preserved by Theodoret (Hist. eccl. 5.9.1013; Eng. tr. Hardy, 343345). Nicaea I's teaching was in any case solemnly re-enthroned. And this time, against Eunomians, so-called Macedonians, and others, some Arians some not, who made a creature of the Spirit (Pneumatomachians), it extended to define the true divinity of the Third Person as well.

The tome of Constantinople I expressed in sufficiently clear and simple language what would forever afterward stand as the Trinitarian dogma. What the formulation really amounted to was a solution to the problem of plurality within the unique, undivided Godhead. After so long a reflection and contest, the sense in which God is one had become fixed in the Christian consciousness: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are consubstantial, one Godhead, one power, one substance, of equal dignity and majesty; but in three perfect hypostases or Persons. The other and different sense in which God is yet three had also become fixed by this time, due largely to Athanasius and the Cappadocians.

Further Development and Influence of the Dogma

Subsequent history of trinitarian doctrine. It is in the writings of the Cappadocian Fathers (basil, gregory of nazianzus, gregory of nyssa) that one can see already in motion the ideas of procession, property, and relation around which still further development was going to settle.

Concepts of Procession and the Filioque. The concept of procession was not entirely new. In Jn 8:42, for instance, there is the saying attributed to Jesus according to which He referred to Himself as having proceeded or come forth (έξ[symbol omitted]λθον) from the Godhead of the Father. Taken in context with the later discourses in the same Fourth Gospel and Jesus' reference to the procession (verb έκπορεύεται) of the Paraclete in 15:26, the manner of speaking at least shows the primitive availability of such a concept to grasp the eternal origins of Son and Spirit. To this extent, procession was not the fruit of subsequent reflection, but part of the immediate NT teaching. Nevertheless, the notion would reenter now at a different, rather more technical or theological, level.

The Cappadocians, while defending identity of substance, put their main emphasis on the three distinct hypostases. This element of the composite dogma, moreover, they not merely affirmed, but endeavored to explore in theological understanding. What was distinctive, other, plural, hypostasis or Person in the Deity, the Cappadocians beginning with Basil (e.g., Adv. Eunom. 1.19) explained, was not what made Father and Son God, but what made Father precisely Father and Son precisely Sonthe properties or marks of identification (διότητες) peculiar to each, "ungenerateness" and "generateness." These properties, as Gregory of Nyssa (Ad Ablab. 133M; ed. Jaeger 3.1:5556) brought out more clearly, were entirely a matter of origin or procession, of the unique way in which the undiminished Godhead was communicated from the Father to both Son and Spirit. In a later day, Thomas Aquinas would discover in a still more refined understanding of immanent procession the key, insofar as the human mind is capable of one, for penetrating into the mystery of the divine plurality. But even with the Cappadocians, origin or procession was not simply a statement of the truth of plurality, but an incipient explanation of the how.

Mention should also be made, at least briefly, of the long and painfully divisive controversy over the filioque. Gregory of Nyssa, in the passage just cited, had spoken of the Son as proceeding directly from the Father, but of the Holy Spirit as proceeding from the Father through the Son as intermediary. From the Father through the Son became the accepted manner of conceiving the procession of the Spirit in the East. But from the Father and the Son (filioque) is the formula one sees becoming standard in the Western creeds, beginning at least as far back as the 5th-century Quicumque (H. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum 75).

To Photius in the late 9th century, and to like-minded theologians of the East rather generally for several centuries following, filioque was a heretical addition splitting the second Trinitarian procession into two. Western theologians, however, felt that the Greek intention (if not words) was actually to exclude the Son and conceive the Spirit's procession as from the Father alone. At the two famous Councils of reunion, Lyons II (cf. ibid. 850) in 1274 and Florence (cf. bull Laetentur caeli, ibid. 130002) in 1439, an attempt was made to heal the wound, one side accepting filioque, the other concurring in explicit rejection of the split feared by Photius and in affirmation of the utter oneness of the Spirit's procession: from the Father and the Son, but as from a single source. Unfortunately, however, theological misunderstanding was neither the only nor the greatest obstacle to a lasting reunion.

Property and Relation. The concepts of property and relation rounded out Trinitarian doctrine. The dominating influence of the 4th-century dogma on later Trinitarianism is quickly recognizable in the fact that all subsequent doctrinal articulations of the triadic mystery were aimed at amplification and understanding precisely of the dogma "one God in three Persons," and not of other elements in the Father-Son-Spirit revelation. The only serious exceptions would be the doctrine of the filioque just mentioned, and perhaps, but only with qualification, the doctrine of the missions to be discussed later in this article.

God is one in substance or being, three in Person or hypostasis. But why is this not a contradiction? The "answer," the explanation eventually assimilated into Christian life and teaching and affixed, so to speak, to the dogma, was that whatever is distinct, other, personal in the Godhead is exclusively proper and relative. As noted above, this explanation was already operative in the Trinitarianism of the Cappadocians. It was, moreover, at least vaguely implicit in the decision of Constantinople I; otherwise, there would have been no point to the substance-Person distinction upon which the council's dogmatic formula pivots.

The divinity of the Son, as athanasius (Or. 3 c. Arian. 4) had written earlier, is the divinity of the Father, one and indivisible. Son differs from Father, therefore, not as God, but as He who is begotten, In Athanasius' thought, this is the only thing special about the Son. And on the other side, everything that can be said of the Father can be said also of the Son, the name Father alone excepted. For this name and what it implies is the only thing special about the Father. To differ from another as a distinct Divine Person, then, means to differ only in what is peculiar to oneself as being either the source from whom another originates (Father), or the one who originates (Son). With the Cappadocians, as already noted, the same line of reasoning was continued and extended. Thus came into being the doctrine of relative properties to explain in some measure the noncontradictory plurality of Persons in the one unique Godhead.

In the West, however, during roughly the first two decades of the 5th century, augustine was putting together the treatise on the Trinity that was destined to control Trinitarian theology from then until the time of Aquinas. But this would seem to be the place to introduce an important observation. As elemental Trinitarianism of the NT period has to be distinguished carefully from the gradually emerging Trinitarian dogma, so must Trinitarian dogma (doctrine in the strictest sense) be distinguished carefully from Trinitarian theology. The dogma in its preparatory stages had been merely theology: efforts on the part of individuals and schools to interpret and understand revealed mystery. Then, as certain of these efforts became assimilated through authoritative decision into the teaching of the Church, some of what had heretofore been theology was from now on also dogma of faith. But note some, for much elsein Tertullian and Origen, Athanasius and the Cappadocians, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinaswould never receive such ratification, never attain such clear-cut status as Christian doctrine.

In the present account, it is not possible to examine minutely each point of Christian Trinitarianism and determine precisely what is dogma of faith, what is Church teaching in a lesser or modified sense, what deserves at least peculiar reverence as patristic tradition, what is verifiably a so-called theological consensus implying a measure of authoritative sanction, and what is, on the other hand, only theological understanding and synthesis. A good beginning, however, would be to look briefly at some of the creedal formulas extending from the late 4th century to the 15th century. In these formulas, one can see reflected assimilation into Church teaching of at least the basic features of the theology of property and relation as developed in the East by the Cappadocians and in the West by Augustine.

The doctrinal tome of Constantinople I in 381 had already declared against the Sabellian tendency to take away from the three Persons their distinguishing properties (διότητες). The language of the 5th-century Quicumque (H. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum 75), and the 5th-or 6th-century Clemens Trinitas (ibid. 73), is at least suggestive of similar doctrinal consciousness. Letters of three 6th-century pontiffs, Hormisdas (Inter ea quae. ibid. 367), Vigilius (Dum in sanctae, ibid. 412415), and Pelagius I (Humani generis, ibid. 441), explicitly inculcate the doctrine of personal distinction through personal properties. So likewise does the Trinitarian Preface of the Roman Missal, though this possibly 7th-century creation is not strictly a creedal formula. All of these documents at least infer, moreover, that what is significant about the personal property is the element of the relative. What is proper or characteristic of each Person is simply and exclusively the relationship each bears to the others in terms of eternal origin.

In 1215, the fourth lateran council (ibid. 800) solemnly ratified the doctrine of personal properties. At the Council of Florence in 1442, in the bull Cantate Domino (ibid. 1330), the ratification was extended to the doctrine of relations. This did not mean, of course, that the entire and complex scholastic theology of the Trinitarian relations was incorporated into official Church teaching. It meant only that sanction was now given at least to the Anselmian dictum (De proc. Sp. Sanc. 1; ed. Schmitt 2:181) to the effect that whatever is other, distinct, plural, personal, and proper in the Godhead is exclusively a matter of relationship. Father, Son, and Spirit do not differ as God, but in the way each is God with respect to the others. Each has and is the divine nature, but each has it differently: the Father from Himself, the Son from the Father, the Spirit from both the Father and the Son. God, then, is one in substance, three in Person; and what is significant about this distinction, what makes it noncontradictory, is that what is personal in the Godhead is not something absolute, but something purely relative.

Further exploration, synthesis of Aquinas. Space does not permit even a survey coverage of Trinitarian speculation and explanatory theory. And if a selection has to be made, there are good reasons why it should be in favor of the Thomist synthesis. First, this is the particular theological tradition that has been most influential until comparatively modern times. Second, this tradition continues to be spoken for by some leading contemporary theologians; hence it is the tradition most immediately involved in tension with today's return-to-the-sources movement mentioned at the beginning of this article.

In several respects, including the very ideal of theological understanding, it was Augustinian Trinitarianism that lighted the way for Aquinas's achievement. For Augustine, as even the introductory first two chapters of De Trinitate make evident, the starting place in Trinitarian theology is not the Father exactly, but the divine nature or essence. It is the very nature of God to be triune. Thomas will maintain and extend the same perspective. Again, to penetrate in some limited way into the mystery of this triune essence, Augustine (ibid. 9, 10, 14) appealed to analogies drawn from the spiritual operations of the human mind. With significant differences in the precise points of comparison, this too would become an essential feature, in fact the essential feature, of the Thomist synthesis.

Early in his career (In Boeth. de Trin. 1, 2, 6), Aquinas laid out the canons of his own ideal of rational or scientific theology. The object was not to demonstrate the truths of faithhe considered this impossiblenor even to corroborate what was known and had to be known only from revelation by means of some sort of purely rational flashback (the truth had to be revealed, but reason can then show that it is what one should have expected all along). The object was rather to accept the truths of faith, and with these same truths as basic premises, to discover what human intelligence, enlightened by faith, might conclude as to their further understanding.

Book 4 of C. gent, applies this ideal to the mystery of the Trinity. Aquinas begins with what he considers the biblical proclamation of generation, paternity, and sonship in God. But, he asks, how is this to be taken? How is it to be understood? Chapters 4 to 9 examine and reject all the classical heterodox understandings. Then in chapter 11 he offers what he believes to be the only understanding of the matter reconcilable with revealed truth.

The Son is born of the Father, generated. The Son's eternal origin, therefore, is a mode of emanation, or coming forth. But is there in the universe of creatures, Aquinas asks, any comparison or analogy that might give some glimmer of understanding of this emanation? In the material, vegetable, and sensory worlds, really no. In the sphere of intellectual activity, however, yes. Men can and do think of their own minds; and when the human intellect reflects upon itself, understands itself, there comes forth within the intellect, in consequence of the act of understanding, the concept or interior conceptualization of the intellect itself so understood. This, moreover, is the only type of generation or coming forth that is possible in the immaterial and infinite Godhead. As God understands Himself, there issues forth from God Understanding (the Father) God Understood (the Son). In terms of this psychological analogy, then, the three Persons are both immanent to the undivided Godhead and yet distinct as Personsas God Understood in God Understanding, and as God Beloved (the Spirit, ch. 19) in God Loving (the Father and the Son as single source).

In Aquinas's theology, the ultimate reason, insofar as the mind is capable of determining one, for the divine plurality is immanent procession. The divine essence is utterly simple and immutable; nevertheless, theological understanding, guided by faith at every step of its analysis, is led to postulate in the divine essence the twofold activity and twofold procession of intellect and love. For such, the generalization can now (Summa theologiae 1a, 27.1) be made, is of the very nature of spiritual being, beginning with God Himself.

In Summa theologiae 1a, 2743, then, St. thomas sets out to restructure and coordinate all the elements of Trinitarian revelation, doctrine, and theology in an impressively unified synthesis at the apex of which stands precisely this theological generalization. It is not that from this universal principle of immanent procession in spiritual reality, he will deduce the relations, the three distinct Persons, their terrestrial manifestation and activity in the missions of Son and Spirit; it is rather that by understanding the total revelation as expanding from this principle and quasi-cause, he will attempt to give to the Trinitarian mystery some true measure of intelligent order and understanding. There is, first of all, procession in the Godhead; concretely, the two processions of intellect and love. Upon these two processions are grounded the real and subsistent relations. Finally, it is these subsistent relations that constitute the three distinct Persons, the three Persons whose salvific activity in the world of men is manifested through the Incarnation of the Son and the imparting of the Spirit.

In this way, the Trinitarian synthesis of the Summa returns to what had been immediate in the NT message. The detailed exposition of this message would occupy Thomas the theologian as Thomas the prolific biblical commentator. The movement of Aquinas's thought, therefore, is not further and further away from the sources of revelation. The movement is circular: from the sources through analysis to synthesis; then back again to the sources for a second and more theologically enlightened assimilation. Imitations of the Thomist approach, however, would tend more and more to forget this all-important return. Today, and partly as a consequence, even the successful imitation is apt to be received with impatience.

Contemporary Approaches

Recent theology has attempted to recoup the doctrine of the Trinity, especially by adverting anew to its character as a mystery of salvation. Previously, the doctrine retained its august role in Christian thought but was handed on in an unquestioned way in a spirit of dogmatism, i.e., in terms of the dogmatic formula "three persons of one divine substance." The dogma expressed in propositional form overshadowed the revelation that was its source and whence came its salvific relevance for Christian life. Paradoxically, this issued in both a fideism that confessed the doctrine in an unexamined way and a rationalism that deployed it as offering grounds for other beliefs logically derived from it. By the time of Friedrich Schleiermacher (d. 1834), the doctrine had been reduced to a mere appendix in his The Christian Faith, and Kant was able to remark that from it "taken literally, nothing whatsoever can be gained for practical purposes, even if one believed that one comprehended it."

Neo-modalism. After centuries of benign neglect, a new beginning was made to restore the doctrine to its traditional place of primacy by the Reformed theologian Karl barth (d. 1968) in his Church Dogmatics, and on the Catholic side by Karl rahner (d. 1984). Barth conceived of God as event, that event which is revelation, whose very structure in turn is trinitarian: God is the subject (Father), the content (Son), and the very happening (Spirit) of revelation. Rahner's version of this same insight conceives God as self-communicating and is encapsulated in his axiom "the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity." A major reservation on this achievement is that it allows a concept of revelation to determine the understanding of God's inner reality. Its lasting gain, however, was in establishing that faith in God as a trinity was grounded in Christology, and not vice versa. Consequently, the point of departure for understanding God as triune is only the economy of salvation.

Rahner's axiom is misunderstood, however, if it be taken to imply an absolute identity, i.e., one that would reduce the immanent Trinity to the economic Trinity, or allow that the former could be deduced from the latter. What it does make clear is that in the historical Jesus, God Himself is present in the world as he is in His own inner divine reality; the immanent Trinity is present in a new way in the economy and not merely behind it. Still, the Barthian/Rahnerian approach seemingly reintroduces a modalistic understanding of the Trinity. God is ultimately grasped as uni-personal; the plural term "persons" (Greek: hypostases ) in the confessional formula signifies "three distinct modes of existing" (Barth), or "three distinct modes of subsisting" (Rahner), of the one Godhead.

Neo-economic trinitarianism. Building on the works of Barth and Rahner, subsequent thinkers sought an advance over their implicit neo-modalism by moving beyond theories of revelation to the concrete historical events themselves as recounted in the New Testament. Eberhard Jüngel pioneered this approachin which it is maintained that history ultimately is our history with God and His history with uswith the thesis that "God's being is in becoming." The becoming in question is not that of a transition from potency to act within divinity, whereby God, in dependence upon the world, acquires something previously lacking to Him. But it does mean that God's being is intrinsically oriented to the world and involves His entrance into the order of temporality. Traditional notions of divine immutability and eternity are thus displaced in favor of God's self-revelation by way of a self-reiteration that is precisely the trinitarian event. This grounds God's being-for-us in God's being-for-himself. The ontological locus of God's being is thus in becoming, so that there is "no being of God in-and-for-itself without man." There is no Logos asarkos in God, no Word other than the enfleshed Word; there is no Pneuma other than the Spirit at work in the community of believers. Incarnation and Pentecost constitute the history of God, i.e., His coming to man; the doctrine of the inner-divine Trinity constitutes God's historicality, i.e., His "Being-in-coming." For Jüngel, the inner structure of God's being as a Trinity makes His relationship to time and humanity something intrinsic and essential to him. At the same time, Jüngel insists that God remains ontologically independent of the temporal order; in the inner divine processions God comes forth eternally from God. But God freely wills that this not be otherwise than in virtue of His coming into humankind's history. The Christian God cannot be conceived then except as Trinity, which means He cannot be conceived of apart from humanity. This in turn renders man intrinsic to the definition of God as He has manifested Himself in revelation. The unresolved problem that remains, however, is whether this explanation does not compromise God's freedom in choosing to become man.

This understanding of the Trinity was further radicalized by Jürgen Moltmann. Arguing that faith in God cannot be vindicated until the Eschaton, he contends that the focus of history is the Cross of Jesus, which means that God is with us in our suffering. That event, the death of God, is to be interpreted in a strictly trinitarian way. It is an inner-trinitarian mystery that transpires not between God and man but between God and God. The Father suffers in abandoning His Son, and the Son suffers that abandonment by the Father. Thus the Cross differentiates the Father and the Son eternally within the Godhead, but in function of the economy of salvation. This "separation" is then overcome by the Holy Spirit, who reunites Father and Son in raising Christ from the dead, and (because Christ has become one with all mankind in the Incarnation) brings back alienated humanity to the Father.

God thus enacts Himself, i.e., comes to the fullness of His divinity, in relationship to the world. This is not because God by nature needs the world over which He ever exercises sovereignty, but solely because out of uncreated love He chooses in absolute freedom to need the world in coming to Himself. He chooses not to be God apart from humankind: "He does not will to be Himself in any other way than He is in this relationship [to mankind]" (Jüngel, The Doctrine of the Trinity, 67). Moltmann calls the sending of the Logos (in creation and in the death on the Cross) "seeking love" and the sending of the Pneuma (in resurrection and sanctification) "gathering love." God's reality is thus a trinitarian history, and the resurrection of Jesus is not the terminus of this history but its mid-point as a promise of what is to come in the future. What logically follows from this is that the consummation of the missions of Son and Spirit (when all is handed over to the Father in the achievement of the Kingdom) is not only the fulfillment of earthly history but simultaneously of that history constituting deity. God acquires something new, then, in the consummation of history which is ultimately an inner-trinitarian fulfillment. Traditional notions of divine immutability are thus jettisoned in favor of a panentheism in which God enters into composition with, and so dependence upon, creatures.

What is pivotal in Moltmann's thought, however, is that this is not something ontologically necessitated by God's nature but something freely willed by Him on no other motive than His uncreated love, which takes the suffering of the creature upon Himself to overcome it by transforming it within Himself. Operative here is an understanding of love as a freely chosen vulnerability to the evils that oppress the beloved. Only God offers a final answer to innocent suffering, but that awaits the Eschaton when God's sovereignty will assert itselffor now, His love demands a self-effacing impoverishment. But it can be asked in what sense God remains God if His will to create implies His being conditioned by the world and so diminished in His own being and Lordship. Creaturely love, of course, in its finitude is ultimately impotent in its attempts to overcome the suffering of the beloved and can only in the final analysis assume vicariously the evil by sharing it in genuine compassion. But is this true of uncreated love? If so, does it not call into question the truly redemptive power of divine love, and God's genuine lordship over evil? Christian theology has traditionally identified God's omnipotence precisely as love; it is because God is transcendent to evil (and thus ontically immune to suffering) that He is able to overcome it. Moltmann's thought is not entirely free of the implication that ultimately God himself is responsible for evil, and second that His transformation of it is part of a process of self-actualization.

Hans Urs von balthasar represents a modified version of Moltmann's trinitarian thought from a Catholic standpoint. His strong endorsement of the doctrine of preexistence safeguards him from introducing temporality into the Godhead and collapsing the immanent Trinity into the economic Trinity as Moltmann appears to do. Yet the identity of the Second Person in God is that of Son, of a filial relationship of obedience to the Father. And in the Incarnation, the humanity assumed is that of a sinful, alienated humanity. The suffering on the crosscaused by the evil already unleashed in the world by men and nowise attributable to Godis Jesus' obedience to the Father seeking to reconcile mankind to himself. As such, it is a reflection of the eternal Sonship within the Trinity. The temporal event of the Cross is in this sense a "separation" of Father and Son in the economya "separation," however, that is intelligible only in the context of their mutual love who is the Holy Spirit, the spirit who raises Jesus from the dead, thereby reuniting mankind and God.

Trinity as community. A quite different development begins with plurality in God as a given, simply confessing the Three who are revealed in the New Testament as there for us in the economy of salvation, and conceiving of them as relatively autonomous centers of divine consciousness. Initial probings in this direction came from Heribert Mühlen, who sought to exploit the "discourse situation" rooted in man's linguisticality as an analogy for understanding the Trinity in which the divine Persons are seen as constituting an "I-Thou-We" relationship. Later thinkers construed the unity, which is the divine nature, as logically subsequent to the Persons and constituted by their mutual self-surrender.

This trinitarian concept of the divine Persons as three independent subjects (which owes much to Hegel) does away with any notion of the divine unity as numerical in favor of an organic unity that results from "the coworkings of the three divine subjects" (Moltmann). Clearly, this is a social model of the Trinity, which unavoidably runs the risk of tritheism. Father, Son, and Spirit are three "non-interchangeable subjects" whose unity is rooted, not in an identity of substance, but in a common history. Moltmann appears to view traditional monotheism as inimical to trinitarianism, even suggesting that the former gives theological warrant to totalitarianism in the political order. Joseph Bracken argues boldly that the Persons "possess separate consciousnesses which nevertheless together form a single shared consciousness" (The Triune Symbol, 25). This extreme view should not be confused with the position that argues for three relatively distinct centers of a single divine consciousness identical with the one divine substance (cf. W. Hill, The Three-Personed God 1982). Bernard de Margerie (The Christian Trinity in History 1982) attempted to rehabilitate the familial model in which father/mother/child is seen as remotely analogous to Father/Son/Spirit (an analogy rejected by both Augustine and Aquinas on the grounds that then the individual would image, not the Trinity, but one of the divine Persons) by exploiting the value given to intersubjectivity in contemporary thought. This led him to explore also the ecclesial model in which baptismal generation is seen as analogous to the procession of the Word and communion of the faithful in love is analogous to the procession of the Spirit. In this ecclesial model "the reciprocal immanence of the Christians who are equal among themselves is the analogical image of the circuminsession of the divine Persons" (p. 295). Following the lead of Bernard lonergan, the psychological model, which remains basically intra subjective in Augustine and Aquinas, is recast by De Margerie in a psycho-social context and thereby given an inter subjective dimension.

"Persons" in God. Wolfhart Pannenberg has also called for reconceiving the meaning of "person" as predicated of God, and thus as a trinitarian category. He opposes any analogical transfer of human personality onto the divine where it becomes (as in the atheist claim) a mere anthropomorphic projection. An analogical transference of the I-Thou relationship between fellow humans to the relationship between God and man would attribute personhood to God only in a mythic sense. Rather, a religiously determined experience of reality issues in a conception of God, not as the ground of the cosmos, but as the free origin of contingent events. It is these events, in their contingency and non-manipulatableness, that are perceived as personal acts and explain how the power that determines all reality can be thought of as a person. Human personhood is derivative from this.

The trinitarian implication of this is that the unity and distinction between Jesus and the Father, which is personal, is established historically. But that relationship belongs as such to the divinity of God. The concern here is not with the relationship between divinity and humanity in Christ but with that between the Father and Jesus as His Word of revelation, which occurs as a dialectic within history. Jesus is thus no longer the preexistent Logos existing as a distinct hypostasis alongside the Father. As for the Spirit, He "shows himself to be personal reality by not extinguishing the personal character of human action through his activity" (Jesus, God and Man, 177). He is not to be conceived as a third preexistent and distinct hypostasis in God. Indeed, one cannot claim "a similar personal uniqueness for the Spirit from the personal uniqueness of the Son" (ibid., 178).

Process trinitarianism. Attempts to adapt the philosophy of Alfred Whitehead with its markedly panentheistic world view in which God and world are correlates, each existing in dependence on the other, to Christian theology by such thinkers as Charles Hartshorne, John Cobb, Shubert Ogden, Lewis Ford, Langdon Gilkey, and a host of others, seemingly reduces the Trinity to a Dyad; trinitarianism becomes binitarianism. Here, God's being is at once absolute and relative, and this dipolarity prevails over the Christian notion of triunity.

Father is a symbol for God in His absoluteness; Logos and Pneuma rather express two distinct modes of His relationality to the cosmos. God is named Father as in His primordial nature He lures the world forward, making available to it values otherwise inaccessible. Logos symbolizes God as He is present within Jesus, supplying him with special initial aims so that He re-presents objectively God's purposes for the world. Jesus prehends not only these initial aims but their divine origin as well and that prehension forms the very center of His consciousness, constituting his unique personhood, on which basis He is called the Son of God. Pneuma conveys God's universal immanence in all actual entities, His direct relation to, and so presence in, everything operative in a non-coercive way in the structures of both nature and history.

Filioque. Little progress of any efficacious kind has been made recently in resolving the question of whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone as maintained in the Orthodox Church of the East, or from the Father "and the Son" (filioque) as professed in Christianity in the West. This seemingly minor doctrinal differenceoriginating in the different approaches of the Cappadaocians and Augustine in the late 4th and early 5th centuries, developing into bitter controversy with Photius in the 9th century, and assuming the formal status of a schism in the 11th centuryactually articulates major differences in soteriology and ecclesiology but especially in the concept of deity itself. In 1978, the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches addressed the question at a conference of Eastern and Western theologians convened just outside Strasbourg, France. At its conclusion, two proposals were advanced: first, the Filioque was to be dropped from the official Nicene-Constantinople Creed because this had been added in the West without the acquiesence of the Eastern Churches for whom the clause continued to cause deep offense; second, this was not to be understood as an abandonment of the filioquist theology in favor of Eastern trinitarianism. Instead, the real intent of the Filioque was to be retained, namely that the Spirit was also the Spirit of Christ. This was to be secured with the formula that "the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone who is already the Father of the Son." This grants to the Son a role in the procession of the Spirit from the Father, one that cannot be understood only in terms of the temporal mission of the Spirit.

Some clarification of the theological difficulties that remain has come from disseminating the ideas of the renowned Orthodox theologian Paul Evdokimov (d. 1970). He has suggested that what is to be sought ecumenically is a unity of the three Churches (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) that reflects the plurality within unity of the three divine Persons, a unity without confusion or subordination (L'Esprit saint dans la tradition orthodoxe, 111). Moreover, he sees the Filioque as entailing also a doctrine of Spirituque in which the Spirit plays a role in the generation of the Sonnot only in the economy of salvation but within the immanent Trinity. This latter understanding is possible only if the relations between the divine Three are non-causal in kind. Undergirding this is the famous distinction of Gregory palamas (d. 1359) between the divine essence and the uncreated divine "energies." The former cannot be shared by creatures, whereas the latter can because they are communicated hypostatically, i.e., they involve communion with God on the level of the threefold personhood. Obviously, the communion achieved here is not substantial as in the Incarnation but accidental as in sanctification by grace.

Pneumatology. Other developments have centered on recovering the forgotten Person, the Holy Spirit. Emphasis has shifted in soteriology from created grace to the gift of the Holy Spirit as co-founder of the Church (Yves Congar). Some theological speculation wishes to recognize the Spirit as the "person" of the believing community analogous to the way in which the Word is the person of Jesus' humanity (Heribert Mühlen). By this is meant something more than is conveyed in the doctrine of "appropriation"; indwelling the souls of the just is proper to the Spirit in his role, and indeed his hypostatic identity, as unitive love within the Trinity.

Last may be noted an increased recourse to the doctrine of the Trinity in ecumenical discussions on world religions, where the Trinity is "the juncture where the authentic spiritual dimensions of all religions meet" (Raimundo Panikkar). The Christian symbol of Father finds some resonance in the apophatic Absolute of Buddhism; that of Word is not entirely alien to the kataphatic God of Israel and Islam; and Spirit bespeaks some approximation to the All that is immanent in everything of Hinduism.

See Also: god, articles on; trinity, holy, articles on; trinitarian controversy; god (father); paternity, divine; god (son); word, the; logos; generation of the word; god (holy spirit); acts, notional; circumincession; missions, divine; nature; person (in theology); person, divine; processions, trinitarian; properties, divine personal; relations, trinitarian; sabellianism.

Bibliography: Evolution of 4th-century dogma: history. g. bardy, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant (Paris 190350) 15.2:15451702, still useful for systematically complete coverage; bibliog. 16991702 includes all important studies prior to 1939. h. de lavalette et al., Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 3:543560, a more recent but much briefer account of the hist. development. p. hughes, The Church in Crisis (Garden City, N.Y. 1961) and his more satisfactory A History of the Church (New York, v. 12, rev. 1949; v. 3, rev. 1947); v. 1 provides introd. hist. background. j. n.d. kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (2d ed. New York 1960), a detailed account of the gradually emerging dogma. b. lonergan, De Deo trino, v. 1 (new ed. Rome 1964), presents the same material as Kelly in a more synthetically interpretative fashion. Many of Lonergan's central insights, in addition to the author's own, can be seen reflected in j. c. murray, The Problem of God (New Haven, Conn. 1964) 3176. b. altaner, Patrology (New York 1960) in notations on Fathers and documents of the early period, mentions what is of Trinitarian significance, supplying extensive references to the best texts and studies. Evolution of 4th-century dogma: question of continuity. On the pertinent material from the investigation of the primitive creedal forms, v. h. neufeld, The Earliest Christian Confessions (Grand Rapids 1963), with full bibliog. for the field. c. h. dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and Its Developments (London 1936; repr. 1963). o. cullmann, "Les Premières confessions de foi chrétiennes," La Foi et le culte de l'église primitive (Paris 1943; repr. 1963). j. n. d. kelly, Early Christian Creeds (2d ed. New York 1960). On the theory of doctrinal development with respect to the primitive sources in this area, j. h. newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, ed. c. f. harrold (New York 1949); more recently, k. rahner, "The Development of Dogma," Theological Investigations, tr. c. ernst, v. 1. (Baltimore, Md. 1961) 3977. b. lonergan, De Deo trino, v. 2 (3d ed. Rome 1964) 764. From the perspective of biblical theology, a. w. wainwright, The Trinity in the New Testament (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London 1962). By way of important tangential comment, o. cullmann, The Christology of the N. T., tr. s. c. guthrie and c. a. m. hall (rev. ed. Philadelphia, Pa. 1963). Further development and influence: subsequent history. a. michel, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant (Paris 190350) 15.2:17021830, treats the early period from the focus of pre-scholastic Trinitarian theology. b. lonergan, De Deo trino (3d ed. Rome 1964) 1:178215, analyzes the doctrinal development of properties and relations. Further development and influence: explorations, synthesis of Aquinas. For Augustine's specific contribution to the scholastic Trinitarian synthesis, reference is still made to m. schmaus, Die psychologische Trinitätslehre des hl. Augustinus (Münster 1927). h. paissac, Théologie du Verbe: Saint Augustin et saint Thomas (Paris 1951). For Anselm's role in the same tradition, r. perino, La dottrina trinitaria di Sant'Anselmo (Rome 1952). c. vagaggini, "La Hantise des rationes necessariae de saint Anselme dans la théologie des processions trinitaires de saint Thomas," Spicilegium Beccense (Paris 1959) 103139. For the Trinitarian theology of Aquinas, r. richard, The Problem of an Apologetical Perspective in the Trinitarian Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas (Rome 1963), a different interpretation from Vagaggini's, perhaps useful as restating in Eng. the main lines of the Thomist Trinitarian synthesis. More thorough is B. lonergan De Deo trino (3d ed. Rome 1964) v. 2. Also valuable, p. vanier, Théologie trinitaire chez saint Thomas d'Aquin (Montreal 1953). g. emery, La Trinité créatrice: Trinité et création dans les commentaires aux Sentences de Thomas d'Aquin et de ses précurseurs Albert le Grand et Bonaventure (Paris 1995). On the missions, b. lonergan, De Deo trino (3d ed. Rome 1964) 2:216258. Contemporary approaches. k. rahner, "Bemerkungen zum dogmatischen Traktat De Trinitate, " Schriften zur Theologie (Einsiedeln 1954) 4:103133. w. j. hill, The Three-Personed God (Washington, D.C. 1982). b. de margerie, The Christian Trinity in History (Still River, Mass. 1982). e. jÜngel, The Doctrine of the Trinity (Grand Rapids, Mich. 1976). j. moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom (San Francisco 1981). j. j. o'donnell, Trinity and Temporality (Oxford 1983). j. a. bracken, The Triune Identity (Philadelphia, Pa. 1982). g. h. tavard, The Vision of the Trinity (Lanham, Md. 1981). w. kasper, The God of Jesus Christ (New York 1984). d. brown, The Divine Trinity (LaSalle, Ill. 1985). k. rahner, The Trinity (New York 1970). h. u. von balthasar and a. grillmeier, "Le Mystère Paschal," Mysterium Salutis, v. 12 (Paris 1972). h. mÜhlen, Der Heilige Geist als Person (2d ed. Münster 1966). w. pannenberg, "Die Subjektivität Gottes und de Trinitätslehre," Kerygma und Dogma 23 (1977) 199213. r. panikkar, The Trinity and the Religious Experience of Man (New York 1973). g. o'collins, The Tripersonal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity (New York 1999). c. lacugna, God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (San Francisco, Cal. 1991). e. johnson, She Who Is (New York 1993). d. coffey, Deus Trinitas: The Doctrine of the Triune God (New York 2000).

[r. l. richard/

[w. j. hill/eds.]

About this article

Trinity, Holy

Updated About content Print Article


Trinity, Holy