Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trinitarian Redactors and Novatian of Rome

One of the most important works on the Trinity
doctrine is Novatian's De Trinitate. This work has
been admired in the western church and became somewhat
of a manual or handbook in ancient times. In English, we
usually call Novatian's treatise On the Trinity. However, one wonders whether Novatian himself appended
the word "Trinity" to the title of this document?
Alternatively, is it possible that early copies of the
text were edited or redacted and the word "Trinity"
was added to Novatian's work?

Russell J. DeSimone (in his translation of De
) points out that we do not know the
original title of what is now known as De Trinitate. He suggests that the "correct title" of the work
appears to have been De regula veritatis or De regula fidei (DeSimone 23). The latter title is probably more likely in view of what Novatian writes in De Trinitate 21 regarding the general thesis of his
work. In any event, Novatian the Presbyter never
utilizes the term "Trinity." DeSimone thus notes that
an amanuensis living after 381 probably altered the
title in view of what transpired in 325 and 381 CE at
the first two ecumenical councils (DeSimone 23).

Joseph M. Hallman (The Descent of God, page 70) similarly observes that De regula fidei may have been the original title of De Trinitate. Again, the possible work of a redactor is acknowledged.

One may also find evidence for Trinitarian redaction in the Latin versions of Origen's Peri Archon. See Basil Studer's Trinity and Incarnation, page 84.


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