Jonathan Edwards' social Augustinian trinitarianism: A criticism of and an alternative to recent interpretations

Steven Michael Studebaker, Marquette University

Abstract

Contemporary Edwards' scholars frequently use the threeness-oneness paradigm to interpret his trinitarianism. The threeness-oneness paradigm maintains that the trinitarian traditions and particular theologians within the traditions reduce to an emphasis on either divine unity/substance or plurality/persons. Eastern Cappadocian trinitarianism and Western theologian Richard of St. Victor use the social analogy and represent the threeness trajectory. The Western Augustinian tradition uses the psychological analogy and represents the oneness trajectory. Amy Plantinga Pauw's writings are the most thorough interpretations of Edwards' trinitarianism in terms of the threeness-oneness paradigm. She concludes that Edwards' employed both the psychological and social models of the Trinity. She argues that Edwards' genius lies in his ability to draw on both the psychological and social models of the Trinity. In contrast, this dissertation maintain that the threeness-oneness paradigm is an over-generalized understanding of the trinitarian traditions and, as such, unsuitable as a template to interpret Edwards' trinitarianism. Moreover, Edwards did not employ two models of the Trinity, but one--the Augustinian mutual love model. Edwards' use of the Augustinian mutual love model reflects his continuity with the dominant Western Augustinian trinitarian tradition and early-Enlightenment apologetics for the traditional doctrine of the Trinity.

Recommended Citation

Studebaker, Steven Michael, "Jonathan Edwards' social Augustinian trinitarianism: A criticism of and an alternative to recent interpretations" (2003). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3093150.
https://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI3093150

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