A scene from the Leben der heiligen Altväter (1482)

Review of Gunton’s The Triune Creator and Coffey’s Deus Trinitas

Theology Today 59/4 (January 2003), 628-632

If anyone has written prolifically enough on the Trinity to declare with some credibility that the subject is temporarily overexploited and in need of a moratorium, it would be one of these two prolific authors. Both are mature theologians who already have made major contributions to this field. Far from considering the topic depleted, each demonstrates in his own way that trinitarian theology is an apparently inexhaustible source of further insights.

These two works by major trinitarian theologians are very different in many ways, but together they represent the state of the art in this field. Fluent in the history of this oldest official Christian doctrine, both books seek to be judged by how well they function as interpretations of scripture. Both works are concerned to make trinitarianism a central idea that controls the entire field of systematic theology. Finally, it is worth noting that both books contain arguments for the necessity of acknowledging the immanent Trinity, rejecting as shortsighted and naïve the recent tendency in much theology toward reducing this field of doctrine to a merely economic Trinity. In so doing, they move beyond that recent discussion to pursue fruitful research along more traditional lines.