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God In Early Latin Theology: Tertullian And The Trinity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter suggests a more contextual reading of Tertullian's account of the Trinity in Against Praxeas. It also suggests aspects wherein Against Praxeas casts divine being and personhood in new and important ways that reflect Tertullian's immediate situation and concerns. First, the way Tertullian deals with the divine ?economy" involves a more historic and dynamic understanding of the Trinity than subsequent use of the static categories of ?person" and ?substance" suggests; it harmonizes with his sense of the place of the New Prophecy and of the work of the Paraclete, even though its significance may not depend solely on these. Second, Tertullian's treatise includes an important metaphorical discussion of trinitarian actions and relations. Third, Tertullian's pneumatology in this treatise deserves particular comment. Like Tertullian, Hippolytus describes God's original self-subsistence, then the generation of the eternal Word. Trinitarian faith and the Holy Spirit are relevant to both doctrina and disciplina.

Keywords: Against Praxeas; divine economy; God; Paraclete; Tertullian's pneumatology; Trinity



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