Stephen R. Holmes '' The Quest For The Trinity'

1263 Words 6 Pages
In his book, The Quest for the Trinity, Stephen R. Holmes argues that the so-called “Trinitarian revival” of the twentieth century is not a recovery of the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, but rather a misinterpretation of, and a departure from, the doctrine recognized in the patristic period, agreed upon in the fourth-century debates, and upheld, by all strands of the church, through both the medieval and Reformation periods with relatively minor disagreement (xv). Holmes’s purpose is not to disprove the modern theologians by direct interaction with their claims, but to show that their accounts of Trinitarian theology are at odds with Christian tradition. He sets out on a quest to explain the historical development of the doctrine accurately. …show more content…
According to Holmes, “Rahner’s rule and the desire to find the doctrine of the Trinity in the gospel narratives, and Zizioulas’s focus on the personal nature of God, have alike become almost axiomatic for all the (modern) writers…”(32) Holmes is careful to note in his treatment of both Rahner and Zizioulas that they were attempting to either draw from or correct earlier tradition as they reconstructed Trinitarian doctrine. Rahner believed that Thomas Aquinas had wrongly subordinated the doctrine of the Trinity to the doctrine of God, and that Augustine had wrongly separated God’s inner-life from his economic works (10). Thus, he …show more content…
The doctrine of the Trinity faced opposition during every period that he outlined, but he argues that the major break from orthodox tradition is not found in Arius or the Homoians, nor was it due to the Great Schism, or even the more recent anti-Trinitarians: rather, the break is a modern one. In the wake of anti-Trinitarianism, Romanticism, and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, modern theologians sought to revive the doctrine of the Trinity; however, beginning with Schleiermacher, their desire to reconstruct the inherited doctrine, which they believed was “…infected by Greek metaphysics in the patristic period…”(195), comes from “…a fundamental sense of dislocation.”(195) This sense that the patristic doctrine needed repair was carried on by the theologians of the Trinitarian revival. After once again summarizing the orthodox doctrine settled on in the fourth century and maintained until the nineteenth, Holmes ends with his striking conclusion: “In our accounts of a Trinitarian revival, we wanted little or nothing to do with such strictures. As a result, we set out on our own to offer a different, and we believed better,

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