Trinity and Incarnation
from the Origins

The plan:

To read some of the great works of ancient and medieval Christian reflection on, first of all, the Trinity, and inseparably on the Incarnation. To pay special attention to what these ideas might mean, practically and concretely, in the lives of people who enter into them, then and now. Why did they arouse such passion when first under debate? How has it happened that today they are often met with confusion or indifference instead? What can we do to reclaim the passion, or at least the sense that these notions have vitally important practical effects?


Every other week, 1 hour and 15 minutes each time.


Mid-January (likely Jan. 11).


Meeting times:

Likely Wednesday evenings (every other week). Most likely meeting time is 7:00 - 8:15 Eastern, subject to a possible shift if the group would benefit. Let us know when registering if you have preferences!

Amount of reading:

Somewhere around 40 pages every two weeks, adjusted depending on the density of the passage. (That’s three pages a day: it’s manageable!)

The texts:

The Fall 2022 segment of this group read texts dating from biblical times up to the council of Nicea and Athanasius (mid-4th century). Now, having paused at that watershed during the holidays and acquired some new readers (new arrivals are always welcome!), we will resume with the vigorous thinking and writing that took place in the wake of Nicea, encountering such authors as Gregory Nazianzen, Basil of Caesarea, and Augustine. We will try to round out our time in the ancient and Byzantine worlds with a look at St. John Damascene and possibly Maximus Confessor.

Moving into the high Middle Ages, we’ll be careful to focus on authors whose reflections on the Trinity were closely tied to what we would today call their “spirituality” or “mysticism” — that is, to how they thought about prayer, about the love of God, about the concrete details of how a believer changes as she or he enters deeper into the life of God. Writers here will likely include William of St. Thierry, Richard of St. Victor, Hidegard of Bingen, Bonaventure, and, time permitting, Thomas Aquinas.


As elsewhere, you are welcome to come to as many, or as few, meetings as desired - which means for this group that you can join us for one or two of these works, or come along for the full ride.