Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Holy Trinity - again!

I am very happy to commend Stephen Holmes book, The Holy Trinity: Understanding God's Life.
Pub: Paternoster 2012
200 pages, xix introduction, 30 pages biblography and index
Price: see amazon!

There are a number of good books that cover this story, the development of the Christian understanding of the Trinity. Steve mentions almost all of them in his footnotes and often through direct engagement with them in the text.

What makes Steve's book different is the clarity with which he draws together the threads of Trinitarian debates from the 4th Century to the time of the Reformation. As Steve shows what he calls 'The Harvest of Patristic Trinitarianism', pp. 144-46, stands for the Medieval and Reformation period scholars also. For this summary alone the book is worth having.

In his opening and closing chapters Steve engages with 20th Century Trinitarian scholarship and boldly shows where these have departed from the Ecumenical settlement of Trinitarian study. Steve offers an historical study to show that the older tradition has strong exegetical roots. He limits his study in this way, 'Nothing I have written excludes that possibility [that this settled doctrine was always wrong]; I do, however, attemnpt to show just how strongly exegetical the traditional presentations of the doctrine were.' page xvi.

For those seeking a brief introduction to the history of Trinitarian thinking within the church and an engagement with 20th Century contributions Steve's book is a good starting place. The footnotes and bibliography will guide you to many other valuable resources. And Steve's writing about the Cappadocian Fathers will have you rushing out to buy English versions or learning Greek to read them for yourself.

Thanks to Steve for this book. And thanks to Paternoster for what promises to be a very helpful series. The series is entitles: Christian Doctrine in Historical Perspective. Coming volumes:
Andrew McGowan, The Person and Work of Christ
Robert Pope, The Church and the Sacraments
Andrew Kirk, The Church and the World

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