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The Holy Trinity in the Life of the Church

series: Holy Cross Studies in Patristic Theology and History

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In this volume, a noted theologian brings together an ecumenical roster of leading scholars to explore trinitarian faith as it is concretely experienced in the life of the church. Drawing upon and fostering renewed interest in trinitarian theology, the contributors--including Brian E. Daley, John Behr, and Kathleen McVey--clarify the centrality of trinitarian doctrine in salvation, worship, and life. This is the third volume in Holy Cross Studies in Patristic Theology and History, a partnership between Baker Academic and the Pappas Patristic Institute of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. The series is a deliberate outreach by the Orthodox community to Protestant and Catholic seminarians, pastors, and theologians.


Foreword by Father Nick Triantafilou
Part 1. The Trinity in Christian Worship
1. The Baptismal Command (Matthew 28:19-20) and the Doctrine of the Trinity Joseph T. Lienhard, SJ
2. Eucharist and Trinity in the Liturgies of the Early Church Robert J. Daly, SJ
3. The Nascent "Trinitarian" Worship of Martyrdom of Polycarp 14 and Ephesians 1 Paul A. Hartog
4. Gregory of Nyssa on Knowing the Trinity Nonna Verna Harrison
Part 2. Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and Christian Salvation
5. The Holy Trinity as the Dynamic of the World's Salvation in the Greek Fathers John Anthony McGuckin
6. Maximus the Confessor and John of Damascus on the Trinity Brian E. Daley, SJ
7. Deification in Augustine: Plotinian or Trinitarian? Matthew Drever
8. Justification as Declaration and Deification Bruce D. Marshall
Part 3. The Trinity and Ecclesial Being
9. Personhood, Communion, and the Trinity in Some Patristic Texts Khaled Anatolios
10. The Trinitarian Being of the Church John Behr
11. The Relevance of Gregory of Nyssa's Ad Ablabium for Catholic-Orthodox Ecumenical Dialogue on the Trinity and the Church Thomas Cattoi
12. Syriac Christian Tradition and Gender in Trinitarian Theology Kathleen McVey
Conclusion: A God in Whom We Live: Ministering the Trinitarian God Brian E. Daley, SJ


"This book brings together an all-star cast of theologians to explain the role of the Holy Trinity in the life of the church. It also represents the very best of Eastern Orthodox ecumenism. No one interested in the doctrine of the Trinity can afford to overlook this work."

George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary

"In the last thirty years, scholars have revolutionized our understanding of how, over the course of its earliest centuries, the Christian church came to speak of God as Trinity. This wide-ranging collection of essays both catches readers up on the fruits of that research and pushes it forward. Khaled Anatolios has gathered an excellent array of scholars to explore various contours of this most profound mystery of the Christian faith. And they start where they should, with Christian liturgy, for it is out of the experience of worship--of baptism, of meditation on the Scriptures, of Eucharist--that the trinitarian faith of Christians is rooted, is experienced, is savored."

William Harmless, SJ, Creighton University

"It is said that most Christians don't understand the connection between what they believe and how they live. This claim is often true enough, but we need to replace the word 'what' with the phrase 'in whom.' It is not just what we believe, but our faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that should--and does--inform everything we do in worship, life, and ministry. For those seeking to answer the question of how our life in the church and the world grows out of our faith in the Trinity, this book--written by scholars who have listened carefully to those in the early church who were most concerned to make this connection--provides food for deep thought and reflection. It is a pleasure to recommend it."

Donald Fairbairn, Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; author of Life in the Trinity

"In this rich collection of essays, a holy impatience enlists meticulous historical scholarship to articulate the trinitarian dynamics at work, whether recognized or not, in the faith lives of Christian communities. Convinced that ressourcement opens the path to a revitalized trinitarian theology, the authors trace the connections between liturgy, Scripture, theology, and spirituality in patristic literature, offering fresh readings of major figures, in the face of which conventional truisms fall away. Representing Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions, they are no mere antiquarians but write with an eye to the relevance of their research for contemporary theology, ecumenism, and issues of gendered speech about God."

William P. Loewe, Catholic University of America

The Author

  1. Khaled Anatolios

    Khaled Anatolios

    Khaled Anatolios (PhD, Boston College) is professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. He previously taught in the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He is the author of Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian...

    Continue reading about Khaled Anatolios


"An ecumenical collection of contributors--including renowned patristics scholars John Behr, Brian Daley, Nonna Verna Harrison, Joseph Lienhard, and John McGuckin--reflect on the mystery of the Trinity in relation to worship, soteriology, christology, and ecclesiology. . . . The collection will be appreciated by not only students of patristics but also anyone interested in the relevance of Trinitarian theology. The essays are accessible to students but also challenging to scholars. . . . Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals."

J. Gresham,


"The 'personalist' understanding of the Trinity, articulated most influentially in the work of John Zizioulas, has fallen on hard times. Recent scholars have attacked Zizioulas's idea that Cappadocian Trinitarianism represented an ontological revolution, hammering again and again the distinction between divine and human personhood. . . . In his contribution to . . . The Holy Trinity in the Life of the Church, the book's editor Khaled Anatolios acknowledges the critics but argues that they have not made the case they have claimed. . . . Like everything Anatolios writes, this essay is clear, deeply rooted in the tradition, sensitive to contemporary theological concerns without being the least bit trendy, attentive to Scripture. In short, it is stunningly good. Read, and be wise."

Peter Leithart,

First Things blog

"This volume is exceptionally rigorous. Each essay offers a helpful contribution to modern Trinitarian theology. It succeeds in its goal of furnishing a greater understanding of the Trinitarian underpinnings of the church's liturgical life. The book also provides grist for the mill of thinking about the ways the church's life embodies a theology of the Trinity. . . . This volume is a welcome contribution to Trinitarian theology, and hopefully will serve as a template for further reflection on how the church participates in the triune life of God by his benevolent grace."

J. David Moser,

Trinity Journal

"An excellent resource for readers able and willing to traverse the contours of Trinity doctrine amid ecclesial life in the Patristic period. . . . The essays in this volume together form a historically meticulous and ecumenically promising contribution to recent scholarship on the role of 'The Holy Trinity in the Life of the Church.'. . . It will be a demanding but informative read for the lay believer, and, for the Christian well-versed in patristic theology, a most enriching read."

Alexander H. Pierce,

Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology

"[A] rich volume. . . . Anatolios's work does a great favor for those steeped in Western theology by bringing them back to the Greek theologians, perhaps even motivating them to read the fathers for themselves. . . . These specialists in trinitarian studies have analyzed the nuances of Greek terms and have applied their intellectual scalpels to parsing the subtle differences between Eastern and Western conceptions of the Trinity. The book is not a lightweight attempt to simplify doctrine; it is an intensive effort to better understand the God who exists eternally in a mysterious communion of three persons in one ousia. . . . Even as one's mind swirls amidst the profound concepts being considered, the reader also gets caught up in moments of worship as the fathers of Eastern Orthodoxy break out in praise of this ineffable God. . . . If for no other reason, this volume is worthy to be read because its subject is worthy of glory."

Eric Sorenson,

Covenant Quarterly

"This reviewer would, . . . without qualification, recommend this book particularly to theologians and pastors. . . . While it could not serve as a stand-alone textbook on a course on the Trinity, it would be an excellent addition to any such course. . . . This book is meant to be a response to the Trinitarian malaise that grips many Christians, despite what their theologians and pastors might teach them. . . . [The book is] important for those who do theology and lead congregations to read in order to reinvigorate our congregations with the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity."

David Russell Mosley,

Stone-Campbell Journal

"The book provides some reassuring theological insight into the many ways the faithful already participate in the perichoretic relationship of Trinitarian love. However, it is a scholarly work written mainly for the benefit of other theologians and, as such, is highly recommended for seminary and other academic libraries."

Rafael Ubico,

Catholic Library World