Athanasius' 'Letters to Serapion', Resource for a Twenty-First Century Theology of God the Trinity

Denis Edwards
Professorial Fellow
Faculty of Theology and Philosophy
Australian Catholic University
Adelaide Campus

Abstract: The essay is intended as a theological dialogue with the insights into the Trinity found in Athanasius’ Letters to Serapion on the Holy Spirit. Its hermeneutical perspective is shaped by major issues that confront the theology of the Trinity today. The paper begins by outlining these issues. Then it turns to Athanasius’ theology in the Letters, exploring his apophatic stance, his positive biblical theology of the Trinity, his view of the relationship between Word and Spirit, his theology of the Trinity as acting in creation and salvation, his concept of the unity and distinction of the Trinity, and his understanding of the Trinity in the experience of Christian life. The essay concludes by highlighting aspects of Athanasius’ theology that are rich theological resources for dealing with contemporary issues and questions.