This unit will explore the controversial developments which led from early Christian proclamation of Jesus as Messiah and Lord to the later trinitarian doctrine of God as one substance in three persons. The foundations of this development and the controversies which accompanied it will be studied. Against this historical background, the re-emergence of the doctrine of the Trinity in the twentieth century will be explored through reference to several contemporary texts. Attention will be paid to the role which this doctrine is playing in the church’s encounter with modern atheism, religious pluralism and theological politics.

Unit Code: CT9000P

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit Discipline: Systematic Theology

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning Outcomes


Identify the key developments in the emergence of the doctrine of the Trinity.


Articulate the sense(s) in which the doctrine can be described as ‘biblical’.


Understand the different trajectories, and explain the significance, of the doctrine in the classical Eastern and Western traditions of Christianity


Identify and articulate the reasons for the re-emergence of this doctrine in the twentieth century, including in the theologies associated with ‘world Christianity’.


Explain and assess the potential contributions of this doctrine to the church’s dialogue with one or more of modern atheism, religious pluralism or politics


Evaluate the role of the doctrine of the Trinity within the wider matrix of Christian doctrines.

Unit sequence

CT8000P (Christianity’s Big Ideas) or CT8010P (Culture, Beliefs and Theology)


Lectures will introduce the key themes and ideas of the unit. They will be accompanied by tutorials in which key critical issues and background readings will be discussed


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

Essay or group study resource on the ‘biblical’ nature of the doctrine of the Trinity

3200 40.0

Essay on either the trinitarian doctrine of a designated twentieth-century theologian OR an essay on the contribution of trinitarian doctrine to Christianity’s encounter with one of atheism, religious pluralism or politics.

4800 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 17 Oct, 2019

Unit Record last updated: 2019-11-19 09:20:23 +1100