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Product Details

  • Series: Divine Names and the Holy Trinity
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (September 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664234143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664234140
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A major achievement." Robert W. Jenson, Professor Emeritus of Religion, St. Olaf College

"Soulen proposes a new paradigm for analyzing Trinitarian language.... Highly recommended." --Choice

Kendall Soulen manages both to surprise and confound the reader by showing how much the naming of God matters and why....Even judged by writing style alone, Soulen's felicitous prose and conceptual clarity make this book exceptional." --The Presbyterian Outlook

"The chapters read like a brilliant detective story, with the clues as well documented as the conclusion is revealing." --Christopher Morse, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Theology and Ethics, Union Theological Seminary

"[O]ne of the most important contributions to Trinitarian theology in many years." --Cultural Encounters

"There is a wonderfully creative theological imagination at work here." --David Kelsey, Luther A. Weigle Professor of Theology Emeritus, Yale Divinity School

Soulen's polished style and refined architectonics almost hide the fact that his proposal is as wide-ranging as it is weighty. -- International Journal of Systematic Theology

"Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, this book makes a deeply important contribution to the central question of theology. At once clear, learned, and engaging, Soulen's approach stakes out an original way of understanding that will enlighten interested readers inside and outside the academy. One of the best books on naming God in years." Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., Distinguished Professor of Theology, Fordham University



"Disciplined by careful and acute analysis of the history of Trinitarian theology, there is a wonderfully creative theological imagination at work here." David H. Kelsey, Professor Emeritus of Theology, Yale Divinity School





"The chapters read like a brilliant detective story, with the clues as well documented as the conclusion is revealing." Christopher L. Morse, Professor of Theology and Ethics, Union Theological Seminary





"Few scholars can claim to have discerned a new research paradigm. And few of these have themselves carried it out, with a fully ramified development. Kendall Soulen has done both. A major achievement." Robert W. Jenson, Professor Emeritus of Religion, St. Olaf College



About the Author

R. Kendall Soulen is Professor of Systematic Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.

Customer Reviews

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In my opinion this is the BEST Theology Book of 2011-2012.
Michael D. Jones
At points, like Moses, you might have an urge to take off your shoes...Soulen takes us on a journey that often feels like holy ground.
E. Amanda Sayers
I especially think preachers will benefit from a careful reading of the material.
Matthew Marston

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Jones on November 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For all those interested in Theology or the Message of the Church, this work in Trinitarian Theology is simply a MUST read. The theology of the Trinity has become of central importance in contemporary dialogue. Robert Jenson and Elizabeth Johnson have both produced works that have directed/contributed to his conversation in exciting and dynamic fashion. Jenson reads the Trinity as short-hand for, "Whoever Raised Jesus from the Dead." Johnson has opened our understanding of the Trinity as open signifier of God's inclusivity. Both Jenson and Johnson rightly point to Kendall Soulen's "The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity" as a VITAL addition to Trinitarian Theology. I most heartily and humbly agree with their assessment. Soulen's Trinity redefines the naming relationship of our triune naming and opens the possibility of naming within that Trinitarian relationship by reference to the full Biblical witness of God (particular reference/use is made of the Tetragrammaton.) In the process, Soulen explicates the theological history of the trinity naming which includes special reference to Pseudo-Dionysius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Martin Luther, Karl Barth, Robert Jenson and Elizabeth Johnson. Great and fruitful use is made of Larry Hurtado's contribution to New Testament and Early Church studies. The end-notes are a gold mine of information and perspective areas for continued studies.

In my opinion this is the BEST Theology Book of 2011-2012. For all interested in Systematic, New Testament or Historical Theology this is a MUST READ. Volume 2 is quickly becoming the most anticipated book within Theological Circles. Do yourself or your loved ones a favor and get this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Marston on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For some time, Kendall Soulen has been at work on the problem of supercessionism (the idea that the church has replaced Israel) in Christian theology. In this important book, Soulen turns his attention to the "structural" supercessionism involved in naming the Triune God.

A summary of this structural supercessionsim: now that we know God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we don't need to refer to God, as the Old Testament does, as YHWH, the LORD. Another issue with the Name of God that has come up in recent decades- Is Father, Son and Holy Spirit replaceable with more inclusive renderings (Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, etc.)?

Soulen's solution is exciting: a threefold pattern of naming the Trinity that is an illuminating intervention in the debates around these questions. The book is well-written, full of exegetical insights, and a joy to read. I especially think preachers will benefit from a careful reading of the material.

Soulen's project is full of promise for making the Christian naming of God more biblical and more coherent. I am particularly interested in what this could mean for Christian liturgy. And I join with the other reviewers in looking forward to volume two of The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity. I'm sure it will be worth the wait!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Dubbelman on May 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
R. Kendall Soulen displays in this book a reverence for Scripture, a grasp on historical theology, and is a skilled exegete at work who is willing to propose new, well thought out concepts. Further, his thoughts are understandable, yet theologically mature. He has definitely wrestled with the topic at hand. I often found his thoughts provoking and refreshing, and at times even devotional. Future Trinitarian books will interact with this one, no doubt. I’m not, however, used to a biblical scholar and theologian, familiar with Hebrew, Greek and German and grappling with modern concepts, also using phrases like “hidden truth” or “deeper significance”; e.g., “the deep truth to which [these seven ‘I am statements] point is further signaled by their sevenfold repetition (a sign of divinity, fullness, and perfection) …” But it was refreshing.

Soulen draws deeply from Exod 20:24: “In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you”, for ‘[a]t bottom . . . everything the Christian canon tells us . . . is an elaboration of the patterns encoded in this verse’ (p. 134). He further argues that “the persons of the Trinity work together to declare the name of the Trinity,” each distinctively doing so: the first person “in a way that has a special affinity with the manifestation of divine uniqueness; the second person “with the enactment of divine presence”; the third person “with the bestowal of divine blessing.” (164)

Once this platform is established, he argues that the language of Father, Son, and Spirit “tells the truth, but it does not tell the whole truth.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Waers on September 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Soulen sets out to determine the most appropriate way to name God. In the end, Soulen argues that there are three most appropriate ways to name God: Theological (oblique reference to the Tetragrammaton), Christological (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and Pneumatological (open-ended triadic patterns/ternaries). This work is exploratory. Soulen uses innovative approaches to try to shed light on what are often impasses in Trinitarian discourse: Jewish/Christian relations, women's issues in the church, and the expansion of Christianity into the global South and East. Soulen has undertaken quite a large task in the book.

Soulen's argument is compelling at times, but often leaves something to be desired. One often gets the impression that Soulen is trying to force his sources (Scripture, patristic and medieval authors, and contemporary theologians) into his categories. At points, it feels like Soulen is stretching for things from the Christian (and Jewish) tradition to fit into his triadic paradigm. Unfortunately, these cannot always be found. Because of this, one feels that Soulen's methodology could benefit from refinement. His suggestions can be valuable correctives, but some of his suggestions can be found within the tradition only with a bit of gymnastics.

It should be noted that this is the first of a two-volume work. Perhaps Soulen will tie up some loose ends in the second.

Overall, this is an intriguing proposition that can perhaps start some fruitful conversations. It will be more profitable for those who are moderately conversant in the field of Trinitarian theology.
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