"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 17, 2011

The Triune God: Oxbridge Contributions

To my mind the finest metered hymn in English on the Trinity comes from, or is certainly attributed to, him whom many Christians (not excluding Eastern Christians--some of whom have produced rather jejune icons of him--and many others besides) celebrate today, viz., St. Patrick: St. Patrick's Breastplate is a majestic and fulsome piece of music.

More recently, another Celt, the great moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, author of many works, but none so important or so influential as After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, rather drolly observed (in a wonderfully ecumenically splenetic essay in which he excoriated the banality, vacuousness, and narcissism of modern theological ethics, both Catholic and Protestant) that "the rumor that the 'members' of the Trinity speak Irish among themselves, although highly plausible, has never been confirmed."* Prescinding from the question of the language the Persons speak en famille, we can turn our attention to the language that we humans speak when trying to discuss this great mystery, a task perhaps greatly to be aided by the forthcoming publication of two books of similar conception, both to be released later this year by those two ancient academic rivals, Oxford and Cambridge:

The first of these, slated for July release, is

The Cambridge Companion to the Trinity (Cambridge Companions to Religion).

This volume, under Peter Phan's editorship, contains a number of interesting essays, including:

  • "The Trinity in the Greek Fathers" by John McGuckin 

    Towards the end of the year--currently projected to appear in October--we have a similar type of volume set to appear under the editorship of the Swiss Dominican Gilles Emery and the young (and astonishingly prolific) American theologian Matthew Levering, whose Christ and the the Catholic Priesthood: Ecclesial Hierarchy and the Pattern of the Trinity I reviewed earlier.

    Their forthcoming contribution to a renewal in Triadology is The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity. This Oxford volume will have even more articles of great interest to Eastern Christians, including:

        Look for both The Cambridge Companion to the Trinity and The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity to be reviewed in 2012 in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies.

        * "Theology, Ethics, and the Ethics of Medicine and Health Care: Comments on Papers by Novak, Mouw, Roach, Cahill, and Hartt," The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 4 (1979): 435-443.

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