“The Trinity” surveys the development of trinitarian doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church from the 1st century to the present, beginning with doctrinal precursors found in holy Scripture, early liturgical practices, and early writings of the Church Fathers, and ending with mature Roman Catholic trinitarian doctrine. The course has two distinct foci, first, the development and defense of basic trinitarian doctrine in the 2nd-5th centuries, from the writings of the early Christian apologists through St. Augustine’s De Trinitatis, and second, the detailed explication of Trinitarian doctrine in the middle ages, as exemplified in Part I of the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas.
“The Trinity” also touches upon doctrinal differences between the eastern (Orthodox) and western (Roman Catholic) Church (as these differences developed and how they now stand), the thinking of 16th century Protestant reformers about the Holy Trinity and the diversification of Protestant thought thereafter, and current directions in Trinitarian theology.
The design of the course assumes that students believe in the Triune God and seek greater understanding of the central mystery of the Christian faith. Students who take this course are expected to have, at minimum, a firm grounding in the study of holy Scripture and a cursory knowledge of Christian history from apostolic times to the present.