"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).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Arabic Trinitarianism?

It's a bit of a commonplace that Islam and Christianity sharply differ on the question of the Trinity. But as with most commonplaces, it obscures some important details. A book published this summer takes us into the world of Early Arabic Christian Contributions to Trinitarian Theology (Fortress Press, 2013), 160pp.
Authored by Thomas Ricks, the volume is a revision of his doctoral dissertation under the great Sidney Griffith. About this book the publisher tells us:
The doctrine of the Trinity is the keystone of Christian faith and teaching, yet most of the secondary accounts on the development of this crucial doctrine do not extend beyond Nicaea and pay scant attention to vital cultural traffic. In this volume, the author examines the exposition of the doctrine of the Trinity in a set of texts from key Arabic Christian thinkers from the eighth and ninth centuries and demonstrates that fresh thinking of this cornerstone doctrine occurred in the new context of a regnant Islamic culture; in this context, Christian theologians discovered the salience of the Nicene doctrine while engaging a new religious partner. The author provides an overlooked angle on the history of Trinitarian theology and brings attention to several profound Christian figures rarely found in Western accounts.

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