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Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Khaled Anatolios, a noted expert on the development of Nicene theology, offers a historically informed theological study of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, showing its relevance to Christian life and thought today. According to Anatolios, the development of trinitarian doctrine involved a global interpretation of Christian faith as a whole. Consequently, th ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Baker Academic (first published August 1st 2011)
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Brent McCulley
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Very very good. The author writes quite perspicuously, and frames his thesis as a reconception of the movement and dialectic of the fourth century trinitarian debates. He wants to reconceive in two categories, namely, Unity of being and unity of will. He is convincing and his argumentation, selective in his use of Gregory, Augustine, and Athanasius, yet outlines all of the aforesaid in his introductory methodology which ultimately makes for an extremely readable, accessible, and cogent book that ...more
Samuel Parkison
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very dense. Very rewarding. Anatolios does the hard work of tracing the development of Nicene theology on Nicene's own (variegated) terms. The clear and balanced approach of these church fathers is incredibly refreshing. While reading this work, I most appreciated about their approach to theology (1) the functional humility that accompanies a clear Creator-distinction (and the epistemological implication that exhaustive knowledge of the Trinity is impossible for finite creatures, but true knowle ...more
Chris Little
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is quite a book, even though I am certain my comprehension of it is far from complete. In other words: be ready for technical detail and argument.

My summary of the aim of Retrieving Nicaea is that Anatolios wants his readers to engage with fourth century Trinitarian theological grammar, rather than to memorise theological terminology. The why of the orthodox position (ontological unity between divine persons Father, Son, and Spirit) is his interest.

To get there, he starts with an overview b
G Sutherland
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to the Trinitarian theology of the Fathers, primarily through the perspectives of Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Augustine. One of the merits of this work is Anatolios' careful attention to the wider biblical and theological domains within which these thinkers developed their understanding of the Trinity, including in his account the connection of Trinitarian theology to their anthropological and soteriological questions. ...more
Andrew Talbert
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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Amy Hughes
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Anatolios's aim is to bring the historical theological and systematic into conversation. This involves a "retrieval" that leaps right over the oft assumed boundary of "what it meant then" and "what it means now." He focuses on two principles that he argues are fundamental to the historical development of trinitarian doctrine and that make it particularly coincident with systematic concerns: the primacy of Christ, as it applies to the whole Christian narrative, but especially with regard to divin ...more
G Walker
Very helpful book. Worth reading (and studying). Shows how vitally important a proper Christology is in developing an "orthodox" Trinitarianism... and why the perichoretic relationships DO indeed matter. Handles Athanasius quite well as he does Gregory of Nyssa. He is also fair with Augustine too, though I perhaps would be more critical of his understanding of the Trinity. Wish he would have engaged the other two Capadocians, but I understand that this would have make a much larger, denser and p ...more
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
An important contribution to the understanding, development, and recovery of classical Nicene theology. Requires a long-term commitment unless you're a speed-reader. ...more
Adam DeVille, Ph.D.
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A deeply learned, carefully written work by one of the leading patrologists of our time. It's not for the uninitiated, but if you have patience with it, it pays rich dividends. ...more
Michael Philliber
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent piece on three major theological giants from the earlier years of Christianity.
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Khaled Anatolios (PhD, Boston College) is professor of historical theology in the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He is the author of Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine and two volumes on Athanasius.

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41 likes · 6 comments
“When the meaning of trinitarian doctrine is located principally in some particular creaturely analogue, it becomes separable from other aspects of the Christian mystery. Instead of trinitarian meaning being embedded in the whole nexus of Christian faith, it tends to be reduced to the features of the analogue itself.” 0 likes
“Surely Rahner is right: the meaning of trinitarian doctrine must have a more intrinsic connection to the structure and texture of the whole of Christian life and faith.” 0 likes
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