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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Publication details for Professor Lewis Ayres

Ayres, Lewis (2012). "Where Does the Trinity Appear?" Augustine’s Apologetics and "Philosophical" Readings of the De Trinitate. Augustinian Studies 43(1/2): 109-126.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

One persistent strand of commentary treats Augustine’s de trinitate (trin.) as most significantly an apologetic intended to demonstrate Christianity’s completion of and superiority to the classical philosophical tradition.1 Scholars in this tradition begin by identifying a particular nexus of argument within ancient tradition
as a fundamental aporia and then show how Augustine pushes beyond any earlier
“solution.” In most cases, those who argue thus see Augustine’s success as his development of a “philosophical” foundation on which discussion of God and human selfhood can proceed. In many cases, Augustine’s status as a predecessor of some form of idealist thought is overtly identified as his achievement. In my recent monograph Augustine and the Trinity, I made no comment on this scholarly tradition, largely because I had decided to focus on a positive statement of what I see as Augustine’s Trinitarian vision. In this paper I want to offer some comment
on the tradition I had ignored, but to do so at something of a tangent. At the same time, this paper fills another lacuna by sketching one of the key themes I would use to frame a more extended account of trin. 11–13, books that received little comment in my monograph.