Sunday, April 09, 2017

TRIAS, TRINITAS, and Gottschalk

During the medieval period, a monk named Gottschalk begin using the terminology "trine deity" (TRINA DEITAS). What Gottschalk apparently meant is that God is "trine in person and one in nature" (See Jaroslav Pelikan, Christian Tradition, 3:60). This monk from Orbais (north-eastern France) was accused of violating sacred tradition, however, and he reportedly taught that which was at odds with Scripture. In the long run, Gottschalk lost and his adversaries won; the formula "trine deity" was condemned by the Synod of Soissons in 853 (Pelikan 3:61). Nevertheless, this account just goes to show how those who affirm the Trinity sometimes wrangle with one another about what the triune God should be called.

Interestingly, systematic theologian Robert Jenson, who has written much regarding the Trinity has something interesting to say about the doctrine. Quoting from my work Christology and the Trinity:

"Robert Jenson similarly remarks that the Trinity
doctrine is 'less a homogeneous body of propositions
than it is a task.' The ontological dogma of the
Trinity is actually, 'the church's continuing effort
to recognize and adhere to the biblical God's
hypostatic [i.e., personal] being.' See Systematic
(New York and Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1997), 1:90. Jenson's comments suggest that the
formulation of the Trinity doctrine is a perpetual,
ongoing ecclesiastical task."


Matt13weedhacker said...

It's not the wisdom from above (reasonable etc) but from below thus the confusion inherent in it's design. Designed by the heretics (Modalist's, Montantist's, Gnostic's, apostates).

It is not possible (and I mean emphatically "not possible") to work out coherently because it was based on designed confusion. It cannot be worked out without ending up confounding the identities of the Son with the Father (or Son-Father-Spirit).

Confronted with the Orthodox reaction (i.e. ridicule, shock, and horror) to the simplistic version of same identity heresy (i.e. Modalism i.e. designed/deliberate confusion of the identities of the Father and Son) Tertullian devised his theory from and out of the framework of Modalism.

See an example of what I mean in Hippolytus' Against Heresies Book 9, Chapter 5, Section 1, on the origin of the tenets (core framework) of Noetus deliberately designed confusion, taken from Heraclitus "the Obscure."

Note the: "an equality of position and honour" and "are one and the same", or "are one thing" or "are one" scenario's of opposite directly incompatible things in Section 5.

Note the deliberate confusing and blending of opposite and incompatible things as the basis of the theory.

Contributing also was the NATURE of Montantist heresy (not being bound by Scripture revelation alone "do not go beyond what is written") enabled/made Tertullian feel justified in going beyond Apostolic teaching into his own unique speculative theories (legitimized in his eyes by the "inspiration" of "New" Prophecy revelation).

Tertullian devised his theory in reaction to the Modalists. Can't finish this unfortunately. Got to go sorry.

Edgar Foster said...

Good explanation, my friend. Thanks!

In my book on Tertullian, I analyzed Adversus Praxean and concluded that Praxeas thought the TRES PERSONAE were hypostatically identical to one another. Both Tertullian and Novatian fought against this heresy; at least, they tried to defeat the heresy.