"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Triadology East and West

A number of books are emerging about Trinitarian theology. The first of these to arrive on the scene, published just before Christmas, is 

Declan Marmion and Rik Van Nieuwenhove, An Introduction to the Trinity (Cambridge University Press, 2010), 262pp.

The publisher provides us the following overview:
Over the last decade there has been a resurgence of writing on the Trinity, indicating a renewal of ideas and debate concerning this key element of Christian theology. This introduction challenges the standard account of a decline and revival in Trinitarian theology, taking into account recent, alternative readings of the theological tradition by Lewis Ayres and Michel Barnes amongst other scholars. By clearly analysing the scope of these new approaches, the authors establish the importance of a sapiential understanding of the Trinity, resisting the notion of separating faith and reason and identifying theology's link to spirituality. Their account also eschews the easy stereotypes of Western Christianity's supposedly more Unitarian approach as opposed to the more Trinitarian view of the East. Offering an overview of the main people and themes in Trinitarian theology past and present, this book thus provides an accessible, comprehensive guide for students and scholars alike.
Perusing the table of contents we see that the book is very much concerned with Western theology, though it does take a brief look at the Cappadocians in the ancient period, and John Zizioulas in the modern.

Another book also published just before Christmas includes a greater sampling of Eastern theology of the Trinity: M. Stewart, ed., The Trinity: East/West Dialogue (Studies in Philosophy and Religion) (Kluwer Academic/Springer, 2010), 280pp.

About this book (which seems to have been published earlier as part of the series Studies in Philosophy and Religion), the publisher tells us:
This anthology presents an excellent blend of philosophical and theological perspectives that keep the doctrine of the Trinity in its crosshairs. While noted analytic philosophers use an array of analytical tools to critique and defend the logical consistency of the Trinity and assess its models, philosophers and Russian Orthodox theologians alike shower us with insights from historical sources such as the Book of Revelation, the Church Fathers, Aquinas, the Cambridge Platonists, and the Post-Moderns. Along the way they remind us that the doctrine of the Trinity is richly rooted in the faith and practices (worship, liturgy, iconography, and missiology) of the Church. The volume demonstrates that philosophers and theologians from different traditions can indeed learn from each other.
This latter book, together with An Introduction to the Trinity and the two other major treatments slated for review later this year, will be examined at length in 2012 in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies.

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