Classical Theism and the Doctrine of the Trinity: Charles J. Kelly

Religious Studies 30 (1):67-88 (1994)

Abstract
It is well known that Augustine, Boethius, Anselm and Aquinas participated in a tradition of philosophical theology which determined God to be simple, perfect, immutable and timelessly eternal. Within the parameters of such an Hellenic understanding of the divine nature, they sought a clarification of one of the fundamental teachings of their Christian faith, the doctrine of the Trinity. These classical theists were not dogmatists, naively unreflective about the very possibility of their project. Aquinas, for instance, explicitly worried about and fought to dispel the seeming contradiction between the philosophical requirement of divine simplicity and the creedal insistence on a threefold personhood in God. 1 Nevertheless, doubts abound. Philosophers otherwise friendly to Classical Theism still remain unsure about the coherence of affirming a God that is at once absolutely simple and triune. 2 A less friendly critic has even suggested that the theory of divine simplicity pressured Augustine and his medieval followers away from recognizing that real complexity within the life of God which Trinitarianism expresses. 3
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DOI 10.1017/S0034412500022733
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