The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity

Team Members/Contributors

R. Kendall Soulen Wesley Theological Seminary Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

Few things are so vital to Christian life and so mired in controversy (at least in many North American churches) as the language we use to name the mystery of the Trinity. By drawing on new developments in biblical studies, this project offers a fresh mapping of the logic of trinitarian language, one that is simple at heart and yet profound in its implications for theology and practice. I propose that the scriptures gift us with three patterns of naming the persons of the Trinity: a theo-logical pattern characterized by oblique reference to the Tetragrammaton (the divine name); a christo-logical pattern characterized by the kinship vocabulary of Father, Son, and Spirit; and a pneumato-logical pattern, characterized by the open-ended multiplicity of divine names. Moreover, I propose that these patterns relate in a trinitarian way: they are distinct, interconnected, and, above all, equally important.

My project design has three parts. A historical review shows that my project is needed to correct the historic and contemporary tendency of much trinitarian language to privilege some patterns of naming while neglecting others. A survey of scripture shows that my thesis is justified in light of a detailed reading of the Old and New Testaments. Finally, a sampling of practical implications shows how my thesis helpfully reframes a range of contemporary concerns. Parts one and two are substantially complete, and while be published as Distinguishing the Voices, volume one of The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity (W/JKP, under contract). I am applying for this fellowship to work on part three, which, when completed, will appear as Voices in Counterpoint, volume two of The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity (W/JKP, under contract). During the time period of this grant application, I will be on sabbatical leave from my home institution and a Visiting Scholar at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Image Title Year Type Contributor(s) Other Info
The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity: Distinguishing the Voices 2011 Book R. Kendall Soulen