Author Topic: Trinitarian theology  (Read 1425 times)

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Offline Daedelus1138

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Trinitarian theology
« on: May 11, 2013, 08:07:46 AM »
   I'm interested in comparing and contrasting Trinitarian theology East and West.  I'd like to read some of the critiques of Western Trinitarian theology by the Orthodox, and vice-versa.  I also want to know how important most Orthodox feel the distinctives of Orthodox Trinitarian theology really are.  I'm looking for a charitable discussion, nothing overly polemical.

  Believe it or not, this might actually be an issue I would find worth becomming Orthodox over, because I'm finding alot of Western attempts to rationalize the Trinity problematic, especially the tendency towards modalism and to emphasize the strict oneness of God.  I believe this is due to an attempt to force Greek philosophical assumptions onto the Biblical revelation of God.  

  Do you think such Western phrases as "One God in Three Persons" or "Three Persons in one God" are in keeping with the Orthodox understanding?   I also notice that the Orthodox themselves more frequently address God as "The Trinity" much more than in Western religious practice (at least modern practice).  Is the western Athanasian Creed Orthodox in its description of God- I have heard accusations that it is "quasi-modalist".
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 08:12:13 AM by Daedelus1138 »

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 08:14:18 AM »
  Is the western Athanasian Creed Orthodox in its description of God

No.

"The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten but proceeding."
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 08:14:32 AM by Cyrillic »
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2013, 11:10:38 AM »
 Do you think such Western phrases as "One God in Three Persons" or "Three Persons in one God" are in keeping with the Orthodox understanding?
Within the greater context of Orthodox Trinitarianism, yes. But out of context they can be modalistic. Another element of confusion is that "Theos" in Greek is used to mean "God" proper, and also used to mean "Divine", as in the quality of being Divine/the divine nature.

Here is a brief and basic critique of an erroneous understanding of the source of God's unity that focuses on Western sources:

http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/media/documents/filioque.pdf
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2013, 02:46:35 PM »
  Is the western Athanasian Creed Orthodox in its description of God

No.

"The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten but proceeding."

That's not the original text. The filioque is a later addition to the Athanasian Creed, just as it was to the Nicene Creed.
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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2013, 02:53:01 PM »
  Is the western Athanasian Creed Orthodox in its description of God

No.

"The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten but proceeding."

That's not the original text. The filioque is a later addition to the Athanasian Creed, just as it was to the Nicene Creed.

Never heard of that one before. Do you have a source?
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2013, 02:54:42 PM »
  Is the western Athanasian Creed Orthodox in its description of God

No.

"The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten but proceeding."

That's not the original text. The filioque is a later addition to the Athanasian Creed, just as it was to the Nicene Creed.

Never heard of that one before. Do you have a source?

Well, the Athanasian Creed comes from 5th century southern Gaul, so it's from a time and place unknown to filioque.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2013, 01:00:49 AM »
Quote
Another element of confusion is that "Theos" in Greek is used to mean "God" proper, and also used to mean "Divine", as in the quality of being Divine/the divine nature.

Not quite. Theios, not Theos, means divine in Greek.
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2013, 01:20:06 AM »
Quote
Another element of confusion is that "Theos" in Greek is used to mean "God" proper, and also used to mean "Divine", as in the quality of being Divine/the divine nature.

Not quite. Theios, not Theos, means divine in Greek.
I'm pretty sure Theos can also have a qualitative sense.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 01:23:03 AM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2013, 04:31:42 AM »
  Were Augustine's Trinitarian views every anathematized in any council?  Are western trinitarian theologies (there are many models of the Trinity) formally heretical (they have been anathematized), or is this a matter of disagreement about an inessential.

  I'm very comfortable with the Cappodocia emphasis on the Threeness of God with the subordination of the Son and the Spirit, but I don't completely understand how the western emphasis on the oneness of God is "wrong".

   Jesus said "The Father is greater than I", and I can't help but think that means the Son is subordinate to the Father.  Not necessarily in an Arian way, but it does fit with the Cappodocians, and I have only entertained the interpretation that it meant Jesus was only speaking of his humanity in doing so- which just doesn't seem to sit as well in comparison.  I have no idea how other Protestants understand this verse, as Trinitarian theology is not something people often think about or discuss, for good or ill, probably mostly ill.

   I've head arguments sometimes, for instance in the Anglican diocese of Syndey (which is the opposite of the Episcopal Church on many issues, but still considered just as much a troublemaker by many), a few people have criticized their theology for subordinating the Son and the Spirit and a religion commentator there thought that was unprecedented and strange; they also have used that theology on occasion to justify their subordination of women in their churches.

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2013, 05:43:42 AM »
Quote
Another element of confusion is that "Theos" in Greek is used to mean "God" proper, and also used to mean "Divine", as in the quality of being Divine/the divine nature.

Not quite. Theios, not Theos, means divine in Greek.

That's what I thought as well.

Still, I remain unconvinced that the "and the Son" is a later interpolation in the Pseudo-Athanasian Creed. I'd need to see some scholarly work to be convinced on this one, especially since the Athanasian Creed is Latin poetry which makes interpolating hard.

« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 05:56:08 AM by Cyrillic »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2013, 06:45:49 AM »
Quote
Another element of confusion is that "Theos" in Greek is used to mean "God" proper, and also used to mean "Divine", as in the quality of being Divine/the divine nature.

Not quite. Theios, not Theos, means divine in Greek.
I'm pretty sure Theos can also have a qualitative sense.

I'm afraid it doesn't, as it is a noun, not an adjective.
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Offline Romaios

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2013, 07:42:28 AM »
Quote
Another element of confusion is that "Theos" in Greek is used to mean "God" proper, and also used to mean "Divine", as in the quality of being Divine/the divine nature.

Not quite. Theios, not Theos, means divine in Greek.
I'm pretty sure Theos can also have a qualitative sense.

I'm afraid it doesn't, as it is a noun, not an adjective.

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.

It's a predicate noun here and it's used as a qualifier for the Logos, as Nicholas says.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 08:00:23 AM by Romaios »

Offline LBK

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2013, 08:25:48 AM »
Quote
Another element of confusion is that "Theos" in Greek is used to mean "God" proper, and also used to mean "Divine", as in the quality of being Divine/the divine nature.

Not quite. Theios, not Theos, means divine in Greek.
I'm pretty sure Theos can also have a qualitative sense.

I'm afraid it doesn't, as it is a noun, not an adjective.

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.

It's a predicate noun here and it's used as a qualifier for the Logos, as Nicholas says.

The Word was God:
God is still a noun here. Any Greek speaker could tell you that.
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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2013, 08:31:43 AM »
Theos in John 1 doesn't have a definite article.
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Offline Romaios

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2013, 08:32:05 AM »
The Word was God:[/i] God is still a noun here. Any Greek speaker could tell you that.

I mentioned that it was a predicate noun.

Offline LBK

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2013, 08:39:35 AM »
Theos in John 1 doesn't have a definite article.

A common occurrence in Greek.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Trinitarian theology
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2013, 03:51:13 PM »
Quote
Another element of confusion is that "Theos" in Greek is used to mean "God" proper, and also used to mean "Divine", as in the quality of being Divine/the divine nature.

Not quite. Theios, not Theos, means divine in Greek.

That's what I thought as well.

Still, I remain unconvinced that the "and the Son" is a later interpolation in the Pseudo-Athanasian Creed. I'd need to see some scholarly work to be convinced on this one, especially since the Athanasian Creed is Latin poetry which makes interpolating hard.



Well, it would be a miracle of going back in time, then. Whatever.
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