Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Donald J. Keefe

Second Advisor

Joseph A. Murphy

Third Advisor

William S. Kurz

Fourth Advisor

William J. Kelly

Fifth Advisor

Carol L. Stockhausen


The similarity in the "shape" of Paul's understanding of the divine Triad and the "shape" of his discussion of Christian community provides the scriptural basis for examining whether a communitarian analogy could be constructed for the Trinity as Augustine constructed a psychological analogy. The method of procedure, then, is to examine the Pauline letters for what Paul says about or associates with each member of the Triad. Then a consideration is made of what Paul says or implies about marriage insofar as communal issues are manifested. A comparison between the two treatments is then made and an analogical triad is set forth. The criteria for a theologically useful analogy are then considered and the Pauline triad is developed in terms of these criteria. Finally, an attempt is made to situate this discussion within the broader discussion of analogy and to suggest ways in which a communitarian analogy could be integrated into a theological system. The Pauline understanding of God, Christ and the Spirit states that the Father is the one God, the creator, who creatively bestows oneness in giving the body. The Son, for Paul, is the new Adam who stands at the center of cosmic order. The Spirit, in Pauline thought, brings death and, through death, life and is manifestly seen at work in the holiness and charismatic activity of the community. It is not difficult to establish that Paul's understanding of marriage manifests the three "divine" poles of oneness, order and love. However, Paul's comments on marital order have come under criticism and many simply discount this aspect of Pauline thought as culturally determined. Augustine's De Trinitate is examined and some twenty criteria for a theologically useful analogy of the Trinity is extracted. Augustine rejected a communitarian analogy and chose to move in a psychological direction. The Pauline communitarian terna is then considered from the persepective of the sociologists to ensure that this analogy is not isolated from other discussions of community. Finally, the communitarian analogy is developed in the light of the Augustinian discussion. A brief outline of a trinitarian ontology is offered as a way of showing how the communitarian and other human analogies can function in theology.



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