This unit will explore the origins and contemporary significance of the doctrine of the Trinity. Key historical developments in the Eastern and Western traditions will be surveyed. Against this historical background, the re-emergence of the doctrine of the Trinity in the twentieth century will be explored. Attention will be paid to the role which this doctrine is playing in the global church’s encounter with modern atheism, religious pluralism, and theological discussions of gender and sexuality.

Unit code: CT9000P

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

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


Understand the different trajectories, and assess 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

Indicative Bibliography

  • Boff, Leonardo. Trinity and Society. Maryknoll:Orbis, 1988.
  • Coakley, Sarah. God, Sexuality and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Emery, Giles and Matthew Levering (eds). The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • LaCugna, Catherine Mowry. God For Us: The Trinity and Christian Life. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.
  • Ogbonnaya, A. Okechukwu. On Communitarian Divinity: An African Interpretation of the Trinity*. New York: Paragon House, 1994.
  • O’Collins, The Tri-personal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity. 2nd edn. New York: Paulist, 2014.
  • Moltmann, Jürgen. The Trinity and the Kingdom of God: The Doctrine of God. London: SCM, 1981.
  • Pannikar, Raimundo. The Trinity and the Religious Experience of Man. New York: Orbis, 1973.
  • Rahner, Karl. The Trinity. Translated by Joseph Donceel. Introduction by Catherine Mowry Lacugna. New York: Herder and Herder, 2005.
  • Tonstad, Linn Marie. *God and Difference: The Trinity, Sexuality, and the Transformation of Finitude*New York: Routledge, 2016.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Variant 1

Seminar or Tutorial - Document analysis

Presentation of a critical review of a selected key text on trinitarian theology.

1400 20.0
Essay - Research Essay

Research essay on the trinitarian theology of a selected theologian

2800 40.0
Essay - Research Essay 2

Research essay on the contribution of trinitarian theology to one key contemporary issue

OR Research essay on an aspect of the historical development of the doctrine of the Trinity.

2800 40.0

Variant 2

Seminar or Tutorial - Document Analysis

Presentation of a critical review of a selected key text on trinitarian theology

1400 20.0
Essay - Research Essay

Research essay on the trinitarian theology of a selected theologian

2800 40.0
Learning Resource - Group Learning Resource

A group study resource on the contribution of Trinitarian theology to one key contemporary issue.

2800 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 17 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-17 15:57:37 +1000