Defining and Supplementing Conciliar Trinitarianism
A response to Timothy Pawl
This article constitutes a brief reply to Timothy Pawl's clear and insightful article on Conciliar Trinitarianism (defined as the Trinitarian theology of the Ecumenical Councils from Nicaea I to Nicaea II). The two basic arguments of that article (regarding the relationship between divine persons and divine nature and the debate over possible subordinationism) are celebrated rather than challenged. I instead offer three short comments. The first concerns the limited nature of the conciliar texts for the articulation of highly developed Trinitarian theology, and thus the question of methodology as it applies to Conciliar Trinitarianism. The second comment argues that the question of strict identity in the Godhead can be extended beyond the relationship of divine person and divine nature to the question of divine nature and divine power, will, and energy. The third comment argues that Pawl gives undue weight to a line from Cyril of Alexandria for a discussion of the Holy Spirt's mode of origination, and not enough weight to the clause related to the Holy Spirit articulated at the First Council of Constantinople, which recurs in one way or another at each of the subsequent Ecumenical Councils, up to and including Nicaea II. These three comments serve more as a supplement than a challenge to Pawl's original article, providing three further avenues for scholarly deliberation on the matter of Conciliar Trinitarianism.
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