Reply to Dale Tuggy regarding ancient Jewish monotheism

Ben Nasmith discusses Richard Bauckham’s analysis of Jewish monotheism in relation to the doctrine of the Trinity. He hits the nail on the head when he writes, “divinity is an absolute category.” Exactly!

The great contribution of the Cappadocian Fathers was to liberate the Church, finally and definitively, from the Hellenistic ontology of subordination, thus allowing Christians to proclaim the equal divinity of the trinitarian persons (see “Nazianzen and Zizioulas on the Divine Processions“). In the words of St Gregory the Theologian: “When I say ‘God,’ I mean Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Or. 38.8).

Nasmith’s article (combined with his earlier articles on God) also illustrate some of the dangers in attempting to formulate the trinitarian doctrine with the Bible in one hand and a textbook of analytic philosophy in the other. But that is by the by. I’m enjoying reading his blog articles.

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7 Responses to Reply to Dale Tuggy regarding ancient Jewish monotheism

  1. Ben Nasmith says:

    Glad to have you reading! I’m definitely open to feedback regarding dangers in analytic theology. Interestingly, an analytic approach has pushed me significantly “East” in my understanding of the Trinity. All the best,


    • Analytical philosophy focuses solely on the basis of throwing out logic arguments back and forth with a basic failure to understand the history or purposes of the logic. One such usage to refute the Trinity focuses entirely on the use of analytical logic. It can be found here on RationalWiki.
      The problem is that Aristotelian logic isn’t even present on this argument against Trinitarian theology. Aristotelian logic basically notes that there are distinctions and classifications that some things don’t follow the rules (e.g. from modern science, all mammals sweat, all reptiles are cold-blooded).
      Thus, you see from the analytical philosophers their usage of logic is entirely unfortified and they even they receive failure points for asserting that the cosmological argument somehow is “special pleading” on behalf of God (go back again to that mammals and reptiles biological classification where analytical philosophy ends up failing the user).


      • Ben Nasmith says:

        My background, before theology, is in math and physics so I have a hard time leaving analytic thinking behind. And I don’t see why I should. All I’m doing is trying to think clearly. Aren’t we all? As long as I use the right (intellectual) tool for the right job, I think things will go well. Poor attempts to think clearly (poor analytic thinking) don’t discourage me from trying to do better myself. One essay that I found encouraging in this regard was Dallas Willard’s “Jesus the logician” in his book “The Great Omission”. Jesus was actually quite logical and provides a wonderful example of how to use logic well. If you can’t find the book, here’s what I learnt –


        • I don’t think anyone’s saying to leave analytic reasoning all behind. Analytic reasoning certainly has its place and time.

          I just know what I’ve read about Aristotle right now and am speaking as one considering pursuing a minor in philosophy (I’m majoring in history and religion right now). The acknowledgement of the limitations of analytic reasoning should definitely be kept in mind.


  2. JessicaHof says:

    Dear Fr Aidan – it feels almost presumptuous to nominate you for an award, but this:
    is just my way of saying in public how much I benefit from what you write – and of directing others here. Do forgive me if you don’t accept these things. xx Jess


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