Trinitarian Hermeneutics in Hilary of Poitiers’ Commentary on the Psalms

Rebecca Burgess, Lecturer, Bishopdale Theological College. PhD Candidate, Otago University.

Abstract: Hilary of Poitiers shares an interest with the Cappadocian and Alexandrine Fathers in his focus on the Psalms and the doctrine of the Trinity. His chief works, De Trinitate and Tractatus Super Psalmos, show striking similarity theologically to these Eastern Fathers. He is also called the ‘Athanasius of the West’ for his public campaign against Arianism. His clearly expressed lens for interpretation is that the Psalms – and indeed the whole of the Old Testament – witnesses to Christ. I will begin by providing a brief outline of Hilary’s Trinitarian theology before proceeding to show how this functions as a hermeneutical framework for his reading of the Psalms. I will then claim that Hilary offers modern Christianity a model of a Trinitarian hermeneutic through which to reappraise the witness of the Old Testament to the revelation of God.