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.




Meeting times:

Determined by group — likely a weekday evening or Saturday afternoon, though other times may be possible. Use one of the buttons below (or “Contact” above) to get in touch so we will know your 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:

We’ll start with some of the scriptural passages that helped inspire trinitarian thinking, reading from a very literal translation. We’ll then move on to some of the most influential works of early centuries. The reading list is still in formation (and will be kept flexible in order to respond to how our conversations go), but it will likely include selections from Origen, Tertullian, Athanasius, Hilary of Poitiers, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, and John Damascene. Or at least from as many of them as we can sensibly manage!

Moving into the 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.