A. General Information
Description: This course is adapted from ST 2315 taught at JST for the students in the Master of Divinity/Sacred Theology Bachelor Program. It attempts a foundational theological inquiry into the nature of God as understood by the Christian community as Three “Persons” in One “Substance.” The Trinitarian understanding of God emerges from sustained reflection on Christian consciousness of experiencing the divine in the person of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. This survey course traces the development of Christian reflection on the Trinity from the scriptural sources through the modern period. In addition to the classical views on the doctrine, reflections by contemporary authors will be considered.
Learning Goals: We shall examine how the divine nature and understood, described, experienced and portrayed throughout the history of Christianity. Course participants will be able to
(1) describe the primary scriptural, liturgical and early Church sources which have shaped the doctrine and understanding of the Trinity;
(2) compare and contrast central theological figures in the medieval and modern period who have reflected on this core Christian mystery;
(3) correlate the doctrine of the Trinity with a pastoral question in which the understanding of God touches on an interreligious, liturgical, counseling, or cultural/social issue.
Total time: 15 sessions of 3 hours each = 45 hours of class.
Prerequisite: New Testament and Ancient Church History
B. Course Assessment and Grade
(1) Class Preparation and Participation (40%): A daily report including (1) a short list of the main points of the reading AND (2) two to three major issues and/or questions that concern you in the reading. Group report is encouraged. Students are expected to come to class with preparation to participate in the discussion.
(2) Midterm project (20%): Presentation of a modern approach to Trinitarian theology (See sessions 11 and 12). Introduce the person, his/her context and your assessment of his/her impact on Trinitarian thought (some extra research might be required).
(3) A Final Exam (40%): Due date to be discussed.
C. Required Texts
- Gerald O’ Collins, The Tripersonal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity (Paulist, 1999) — all chapters
- William Rusch, The Trinitarian Controversy (Fortress, 1980) — all chapters
- Catherine Mowry Lacugna, God For Us: the Trinity and Christian Life (HarperCollins, 1991) – Chapters 2-4 only
- Veli-Matti Karkkainen, The Trinity: Global Perspectives(Westminster John Knox, 2007) [selected chapters: Introduction, 4, 5-11, 13, 18-24]
- Anne Hunt, Trinity: Nexus of the Mysteries of Christian Faith (Orbis, 2005) [selected chapters: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, conclusion]
- All ancient patristic texts regarding the Trinitarian doctrine can be downloaded from various online sites. One of such site is http://www.ccel.org/
Plus selected secondary sources (to be given in pdf or printed version)
- Walter Kasper, The God of Jesus Christ, “Establishment of the Doctrine of the Trinity,” pp. 233-63; “The Holy Spirit, the Lord the Giver of Life”, pp. 198-229
- And other article/book chapters to be determined.