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Persons in Relation

An Essay on the Trinity and Ontology

by Najib George Awad

Publication Year: 2014

The recent ‘turn to the Trinity’ in modern and contemporary systematic theology has been inundated with models and proposals for construing the concepts of personhood, persons, and relations in connection to a proper understanding of the Trinity. These proposals have at the same time involved borrowing and applying philosophical and anthropological notions in the construction of a doctrine of the Trinity. Tracing out the origins of the Trinitarian ‘revivial’ in the modern era, particularly on account of the influence of Schleiermacher, Tillich, Barth, Rahner, and Pannenberg, through to the destabilizing effects of postmodernity on Trinitarian discourse, the author provides a critical hermeneutic for the evaluation and implementation of thoughtful Trinitarian theology in the contemporary world. Within this frame, the author argues for viewing the Trinity as the intellectual and conceptual context and interdisciplinary arena of interaction between theology and other forms of intellectual inquiries to generate a robust, multifaceted, and historically fluent doctrine of the Trinity.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

The idea of writing this book goes back to 2005. At that time, I finished writing my doctoral dissertation on the personal individuation of the Holy Spirit (published later as God Without a Face? On the Personal Individuation of the Holy Spirit, [Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011]). In order to pursue my doctoral research...

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pp. 1-16

The Christian church acknowledges its historical and contextual nature, and it commits itself to the call of imaging God’s people in every historical era, as well as to be the servant of those who exist with the community of the triune God in the same, current living context. It believes that the gospel of its Lord...

PART I: The Roots: Theology and the Question of Self in Modernity

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1: The Modernist Condition

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pp. 19-34

The first reason is philological. The word “person” as such is not clearly monolithic in meaning or conception, neither in today’s scholarship nor in antiquity’s. From the time of the Stoics and the Presocratic philosophers onwards, the term was linguistically used in a variety of ways and was applied...

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2: Theological Conditioning?

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pp. 35-94

In this chapter, I endeavor to show that theology responded to the modernist emphasis on understanding “self” and “personhood” as expressive of an individual, rational subject (e.g., Descartes, Kant, Locke, Hume, Nietzsche, etc.1) by speaking about God as an ideal, criterial definition of the state of being a dynamic and relational subject. Theologians stressed that God is not...

PART II: The Challenge: Trinitarian Theology and/in Postmodernity

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3: The Postmodernist Conditioning

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pp. 97-140

The second half of the last century witnessed the birth of an intellectual phenomenon called “the postmodern condition,” a condition that has deeply shaped today’s intellectual scene. Opinions oscillate between belief in the possibility of a fixed definition of “postmodernity,” or argue instead that it is

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4: The “Trinity” and the Evaluation of the Theological Re-Conditioning Ambition

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pp. 141-200

A careful reading of the trinitarian theologies of numerous twentieth-century theologians shows that they were clearly energized by a strong investment of the notion of “relation” in the doctrine of God, in such a manner that overrides another essential notion in the doctrine of the Trinity, the notion of “person.”...

PART III: The Proposal: Trinitarian Theology and Postmodernity:In Correlation?

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5: Correlation and/as Hierarchism, or What We Do Not Need

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pp. 203-238

According to George Hunsinger, one of the trends that offer a promising theological relationship with postmodernity is that which calls for a dialogue between theology and secular inquiry from the standpoint of the doctrinal and confessional claims of the Christian faith.1 The relevance of this dialogical...

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6. Correlation beyond Hierarchism

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pp. 239-258

In contrast to the intent of postmodern theologians such as David Tracy, Gordon Kaufman, and Mark Taylor to prove that “correlation” is key to theology within a postmodern context, I will show in this chapter that there is another understanding of correlation that is more suitable for construing the...

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7. Perichoresis of “Person” and “Relation”and Trinitarian Theology

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pp. 259-290

One of the main characteristics of modern trinitarian theology lies in the important emphasis it places on the ontological and epistemological unity between the immanent and the economic Trinities. Both Karl Barth and Karl Rahner, as two major theological voices in the modern age, emphasize that the...

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8. Correlation as Relationship Model in/with the World

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pp. 291-302

In the previous two chapters, I showed that contemporary theology offers a co-relational model representing a balanced interaction between theology and forms of epistemological inquiry that can maintain the integrity and particularity of both. This form of correlation says that: 1) theology should...

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Conclusion: When Theology Stands in History

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pp. 303-308

With regard to the relation between theology and other forms of cognitive inquiry, I proposed that the correlation between theology and the contemporary intellectual conditions should not be a one-direction track. A correlation wherein postmodernity asks the questions and theology provides...


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pp. 309-332

Index of Names

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pp. 333-336

Index of Subjects

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pp. 337-341

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781451484250
E-ISBN-10: 1451484259
Print-ISBN-13: 9781451480375
Print-ISBN-10: 1451480377

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2014