Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology

Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology

Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology

Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology

Synopsis

Lewis Ayres offers a new account of the most important century in the development of Christian belief after Christ. He shows how the doctrine of the Trinity was developed, and in particular argues that a conception of God's mysteriousness and spiritual progress towards understanding is central to that doctrine. He also proposes that modern theologies of the Trinity fail to appreciate the depth and power of Nicene trinitarianism.

Excerpt

I did not know that I would produce this book when I did. I had intended to finish a book on Augustine's Trinitarian theology first and then to turn to this project. Eventually it became apparent that this book was nearer completion and would provide a context for the appearance of my more detailed treatment of Augustine. I would like to offer very special thanks to those who read drafts of various chapters and who have been willing to talk through my sometimes idiosyncratic ideas and prose at length. I think especially of Michel Barnes, Roberta Bondi, Catherine Chin, Brian Daley SJ, Stephen E. Fowl, Stanley Hauerwas (who suggested I should write the book), Brooks Holifield, Luke Johnson, Andrew Louth, Bruce Marshall, Daniel H. Williams, and Rowan Williams. Their advice, theological wisdom, and sometimes their sheer skill at punctuation has been invaluable. Without the excellent editorial help of Brooks and Roberta in the final months readers would have been subjected to considerably more text.

I owe much to many others who have offered their support and advice in many ways during the writing of the text. In particular my parents have always offered their unconditional support as I pursue what must at times seem an odd career choice. I would also like to mention Jonathan Beswick, Frank Black, Lenny Briscoe, J. Patout Burns, Robert Dodaro, Mark Eliott, Carol Harrison, Stanley Hauerwas, Stephen Hildebrand, Augustine Holmes, Gareth Jones, John Lee, Mary Mclintock-Fulkerson, Ian Markham, Robert Markus, Tom Martin, John Milbank, Rik van Nieuwenhove, Jeffrey Steenson, Vincent Twomey, and Robert Wilken. They are not all named here, but among those to whom I owe a debt are my former friends and colleagues at Trinity College Dublin and at the Pontifical College of Maynooth for providing an environment in which much of this text was thought through.

I am especially grateful to Michel Barnes for discussing all the topics covered in this book with me over the past few years and for reading the manuscript closely in earlier drafts. His knowledge has made this a far better book than it could otherwise have been and it should be read as a product of our ongoing conversation. Michel's understanding of the necessity of television, film, and Coca-Cola products to the good life has also shaped me in ways that must,

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