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Augustine and the Trinity Paperback – January 30, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reissue edition (January 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107689287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107689282
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #983,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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'Thorough and illuminating as well as refreshing.' Theology

Book Description

This new treatment of Augustine of Hippo's theology of the Trinity defends one of the most influential figures in western religious thought against the long-held assumption that he over-emphasized the unity of God. Culminating recent research, Ayres argues that Augustine actually offered one of the most sophisticated early Trinitarian theologies.

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Grant Hemingway on November 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Lewis Ayres' is a well respected theologian and for good reason, he has taught at Emory University in the United States and now at Durham University in the United Kingdom. He is well known for his book Nicaea and its legacy, a study of the Council of Nicaea. This book studies Augustine's Trinitarian theology, most widely expounded upon in Augustine's On the Trinity. Ayres addresses the common accusation that Augustine was heavily influenced by Neoplatonism in his theology and shows how this influence is often overstated while recognizing the areas where the influence is present. I recently completed a dissertation examining the correspondences between Neoplatonic cosmology and Christian Trinitarian thought and this book offered some valuable insight on the subject. While this book might be a little strenuous for a novice on the subject it is readable and Ayres' style is engaging. I would perhaps recommend reading Henry Chadwick's, Augustine: A Very Short Introduction first which would offer a good foundation to move on to this work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not for the faint-hearted, this is a very detailed translation with notes of the weighty and startlingly brilliant De Trinitate or The Trinity by Augustine of Hippo. The early church fathers truly were remarkable scholars. Despite its vintage and subsequent interpretation by Aquinas, this text remains insightful and profound to this day, not to mention its seminal role in influencing later scholars, saints, creeds and discussions. I found it slow reading due to the detail and reflective nature of the text. The notes, comments and introduction are very helpful to gain an entry to Augustine's monolithic work. It stands long side City of God in importance.
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on March 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Continuing the argument in his Nicea and its Legacy, Ayres wants to posit Augustine as a faithful exponent of the "pro-Nicene" tradition. In order to do so, he must rescue Augustine from the charge that Augustine simply framed Trinitarian theology around explicitly neo-Platonic categories. Thus, Ayres argues that Augustine used a number of non-Christian sources ranging from Platonic to neo-Platonism; therefore, a 1:1 parallel between Augustine and Plotinus is unwarranted, or so Ayres argues. Ayres continues with a Latin context for Augustine, and here we are treated to some excellent expositions of Hilary and Ambrose.

Pro-Nicene, but...

I grant Ayres' argument that Augustine was not a full-orbed neo-Platonist. Further, I can even agree with him that Augustine did not use the idea of "hypostases" in the Plotinian sense (he may well have, but I lack the ability to judge that topic). Notwithstanding, though, Augustine did say he was heavily influenced by Platonists and did admit he framed his doctrine of simplicity around Platonic categories (City of God, books 8 and 11). Elsewhere in the book, Ayres routinely says that Augustine's models often follow Platonic categories (Ayres: 209, 314, 316). So, do we see Augustine as a neo-Platonist or not? Why not? Ayres has certainly advanced the scholarship on Augustine and neo-Platonism, but he has come nowhere close to overturning the earlier scholarly consensus. Earlier scholars, therefore, are not off-base for seeing Augustine within at least some category of neo-Platonism.

Ayres also wants to argue that Augustine held to a robust view of the irreducibility of the divine persons: in other words, an emphasis on the "three-ness" of the Trinity.
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9 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Nebridius on December 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ayres has crafted a well argued presentation of Augustine's trinitarian theology. But over all, the book suffers from a lack of bloodshed. Sure, Ayres quotes The Magnificent Seven and The Outlaw Josey Wales, but what fans of Ayres really want is more action. Where is a discussion of the Nazi tank maneuvers in the blitzkrieg? Where are the analytical charts breaking down the comparative advantages of the Panzerkampfwagen E-100 and the Sherman VC Firefly? Where is the extended excursus on Russian mobile artillery entrenchment at the battle of Stalingrad? Nuanced parsing of pro-Nicene grammar is fine and dandy, but we have all come to expect more from Ayres.
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