Katherine Sonderegger follows her monumental volume on the doctrine of God with this second entry of her Systematic Theology, which explores the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Locating her analysis first in the Hebrew Scriptures, Sonderegger examines the thrice-holy God that is proclaimed to Isaiah in the sanctuary and manifested in the sacrifice of the temple. The book of Leviticus, read in conversation with Exodus, unfolds the doctrine of the Trinity under the character of holiness. In the One God, Trinity speaks of the life, movement, and self-offering of God, who is the eternal procession of goodness and light. In Israel’s sacrificial covenant, the Triune God is perfect self-offering: the eternal descent of the Father of Lights is the offering who is Son, eternally received and hallowed in the one who is Spirit. Anchoring the theology of the Trinity in Israel’s Scriptures in this way elevates the processions over the persons, exploring the mystery of the Divine Life as holy, rational, and good. The Divine Persons, named in the New Testament, cannot be defined but may be glimpsed in the notion of perfection, a complete and perfect infinite set. In all these ways, the Holy Trinity may be praised as the deep reality of the life of God.
Explore the first volume Systematic Theology, Volume 1: The Doctrine of God
“I believe it vital to return the Old Testament to its traditional seat as magistra in matters of Christian doctrine” (Page xxvi)
“Kant taught a generation of Protestant and Catholic academic theologians to repudiate” (Page xvi)
“Silence, we might say, is the music of the temple. The free will offerings, the cereal and sin and well-being offerings, the whole pungent and blood-soaked work of sacrifice are made in silence; the inner courtyard is bathed in blood and in silence.” (Pages 2–3)
“To encounter this holy place where the Glory of the Lord dwells is to be undone, made anew. In the temple, filled with smoke and with glory, the priest and the prophet Isaiah can only cry out in awe: ‘Woe is me!’” (Page 2)
“Rather, Barth and Rahner identify the Immanent Trinity with the economic so that the God encountered in Holy Writ just is the Eternal, Holy, and Living God.” (Page xvii)
“Katherine Sonderegger continues to believe in and trust the intellectual coherence of Christian doctrine in its deepest claims. Here she continues her daring work of rethinking the mystery of the Trinity and shows us how to go about a fresh articulation of that claim. While she is intimate with Thomas, Barth, and Tillich, she does her own hard work and invites the reader to join her in that hard work. She upholds the deep claims of that doctrine and shows how they matter to the practice of the church. She refuses both the dumbed-down casualness of domesticated faith and reductionist confessionalism that is easy and safe. Her book is a welcome witness for confident faith that has no interest in accommodation to the whims of the day. Her book will have a durable life in the company of the great thinkers of the church; it will also give courage in a time when the gospel is so urgently required and so easily distorted. Much thanks to her!
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Seminary
Katherine Sonderegger’s magnificent second volume of systematics on the doctrine of the Trinity marches against all current theological fashion and provides an impenitent defense both of the fundamental unity of God (as witnessed throughout the Scriptures) and of the church’s necessary speculation about God’s eternal Trinitarian ‘processions’ and ‘persons.’ This will offend not only the ‘social Trinitarians’ who have dominated the theological scene for some decades but also those who now deny, in riposte, that we can say anything at all about God’s ontological makeup. This is a bold and exhilarating text—poetic, profound, and richly demanding spiritually.
—Sarah Coakley, Cambridge University
Katherine Sonderegger is one of the freshest and most distinctive voices in contemporary systematic theology, bringing together Scripture and Trinitarian dogmatics in unpredictable ways. She is learned, robust, lyrical, challenging. Her writing not only stimulates the mind, it also stirs the spirit and touches the heart.
—Walter Moberly, Durham University
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