The Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith. What can we say about the divine nature, and what does it mean to say that God is Father, Son, Holy Spirit, three persons who are one in being? In this book, best selling author Thomas Joseph White, OP, examines the development of early Christian reflection on the Trinity, arguing that essential contributions of Patristic theology are preserved and expanded in the thought of Thomas Aquinas.
By focusing on Aquinas’ theology of the divine nature as well as his treatment of divine personhood, White explores in depth the mystery of Trinitarian monotheism. The Trinity: On the Nature and Mystery of the One God also engages with influential proposals of modern theologians on major topics such as Trinitarian creation, Incarnation and crucifixion, and presents creative engagements with these topics. Ultimately any theology of the cross is also a theology of the Trinity, and this book seeks to illustrate how the human life, death, and resurrection of Jesus reveal the inner life of God as Trinity.
"It is a massive project to present a biblically and patristically grounded Thomistic analysis of both the De Deo Uno and the immanent and economic Trinity, engaging with modern theologies and their philosophical underpinnings, in order to argue for how these often seen as separate treatise are interrelated. One not only needs a lengthy manuscript as this one but more importantly a thorough knowledge of the biblical and patristic information, a profound access to Thomas’ works and a masterful control of the main modern theologians. Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, has succeeded in giving all this to the reader. Truly a unique achievement."~Jörgen Vijgen, Major Seminary, Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam, Netherlands
"This book will be very helpful to students, and to professors as well. Thomas Joseph White brings together what textbooks too often divide: he offers a study that exposes simultaneously God as One and as Trinity. The patristic and thomistic parts of the book are very well done (with a solid rooting in the Bible); the critical discussion of contemporary currents of Trinitarian theology is well documented and really enlightening. An excellent contribution, in the Dominican tradition, to contemporary theological reflection on the subject."~Gilles Emery, OP
"Thomas Joseph White is an established exemplar of 'Thomistic ressourcement,' the retrieval of Thomistic theology in the mode of modern systematic theology, executed in rigorous, respectful and judiciously critical dialogue with currents in modern theology and philosophy. This book is a spectacular testimony to the depth, breadth and contemplative heights that can be attained through this approach. In this book, White makes a compelling case for Aquinas’s Trinitarian theology as a truly 'catholic' theology that continues to be productively normative, not in the sense that its specific formulations are universally binding in the precise form of their original articulation, but rather in the sense that it affirms and synthesizes key scriptural and conciliar teaching on the Trinity and also has the inherent potential to intervene in illuminative ways in contemporary disputes in Trinitarian theology. The latter task is one that White executes with especial brilliance. One notable achievement among many in this regard is his demonstration of how Aquinas’s 'psychological analogy' can in fact provide the basis for an understanding of the paschal mystery as a manifestation of the life of the Trinity. This book is a theological feast, full of intellectual nourishment and delight."~Khaled Anatolios, University of Notre Dame
"Ask Christians about the Trinity and all too often they respond with ‘It’s a great mystery’ and change the subject! Thomas Joseph White was never one to evade such a challenge, and here he systematically investigates the central mystery of our faith. Just as a person we love is a mystery so deep we can never exhaust who they are and endlessly discover new depths, so ‘Thomas Joseph’ demonstrates that getting to know the Triune God is endlessly fascinating, meaningful, life-changing. To embrace this mystery is to discover the Absolute is personal, the Totally Other is totally for-us. Fr Thomas Joseph faithfully mines two millennia of human contact with the Trinity in Scripture, the Fathers, but especially in the greatest theological master, St Thomas Aquinas. He explains, defends and creatively extends the master’s insights. At the end of this great read you’ll know God better and love God more!"~Anthony Fisher, OP, Archbishop of Sydney
"Fr. Thomas Joseph White is a master of theology sensu eminenti, and this book is a master course on the Trinity from a Thomistic standpoint. What makes it especially valuable, however, is not just how well it serves as a historical and systematic introduction to Trinitarian theology before Thomas--from the biblical witness to the Cappadocians and Augustine to the Fourth Lateran Council--but that it puts Thomas in direct conversation with modern Trinitarian theology (Bulgakov, Balthasar, Moltmann, and others). The result is an impressive renewal of Thomism and a novel restatement--emphasizing the analogy of divine and human natures in Christ--of Thomas's relevance to contemporary Trinitarian theology."~John Betz, University of Notre Dame
"In this book, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, elucidates the doctrine of the Trinity, both in its development and in its great Thomistic elucidation. The book is deep and insightful but nonetheless clear and illuminating in its presentation of one of the great mysteries of the Christian tradition, namely, the three persons in one simple deity. Creation, Christology, the immanent procession of persons, perichoresis, and many other subjects central to Christian theology are treated here with erudition and theological sophistication. This is a magisterial work."~Eleonore Stump, Saint Louis University
"Fr Thomas Joseph's exposition of Aquinas's trinitarian theology is as exegetically probing as it is pedagogically clear. But that is not the main achievement of this remarkable book, which essays a whole new genealogy of trinitarian thought from its patristic sources to its modern reception, and in the process defends afresh the Thomistic heritage of trinitarian speculation about the inner life of God from divergent detractors, both late-scholastic and modern, and both 'East' and 'West'. Learned, wide-ranging, and deeply provocative, this volume is set to be a point of theological discussion for years to come."~Sarah Coakley, University of Cambridge and Australian Catholic University
"Here is a brilliantly clear, encyclopaedic account not only of the trinitarian theology of Aquinas but of the entire shape and structure of classical Christian language about God. There are abundant new insights about divine simplicity and infinity, for example, as well as a deeply illuminating exposition of how to use - and how not to use - the "psychological analogy" in speaking of God's threefold life. This book is in a class of its own as a guide to the central theological affirmations of our faith; and it never forgets that the doctrine arises out of and nourishes the living encounter of humans with the divine love."~Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury
"Trinitarian theology isn’t just for the theologians. It is related to all of human knowledge, to the things about the Christian faith that we hold most dear, as well as what we understand about ourselves and our place within the secular polis. The Trinity, it turns out, is not only relevant, but even perhaps indispensable. We should be grateful that a mind as deep as Fr. White’s, whose prose is always penetrating, has helped remind us of this eternal truth."~Catholic World Report
"Thomas Joseph White has a thoroughly well-deserved reputation as the finest expositor of Thomistic theology in the English-speaking world, and this book will undoubtedly consolidate such a judgment still more fully. For all its formidable length, it is written with unfailing clarity and accessibility, and should become an indispensable point of reference for anyone seeking to understand not only trinitarian theology but the entire approach to the classical doctrine of God that received its most sophisticated statement in the work of Thomas Aquinas."~First Things