Subject Code THL316 (Also available as postgraduate subject THL468)

Subject Name The Triune God

Duration One semester

Availability Semester 1; Every second year (odd years)

Level Advanced

Subject Units 8

Core/Elective Elective

Delivery Mode Face to face at St Francis College – the Brisbane Campus for CSU School of Theology and Canberra Internal

Student Workload

Contact hours 3 hours per week Reading, study and preparation 3-4 hours per week Assignment preparation 3-4 hours per week

TOTAL: 160 hours in the semester

Prerequisites Students are recommended to have prior knowledge equivalent to or studied THL111, THL113 and THL215

Incompatible Subjects Not available to students who have completed subject THL468.


This subject explores the development of the Christian understanding of God as Trinity, from the biblical origins of the doctrine to key historical and theological developments in the first five centuries, in the medieval and reformation periods and the rejuvenation of the doctrine in recent decades. It considers the implications of renewed trinitarian thought for theology, Christian anthropology, eccelesiology, worship, ethics, mission and interfaith dialogue.

Prescribed Texts Nil


This subject will cover the following topics:

• Biblical foundations

• The philosophical, Christological and political underpinning of trinitarian theology

• The Arian controversy

• Pivotal thinkers: Church Fathers, the Cappadocians, Aquinas, Calvin

• The loss of trinitarian consciousness

• The contemporary renewal of trinitarian theology

• Modern thinkers: Barth, Rahner, Moltmann, Gunton

• The social Trinity

• Implications of trinitarian thought for Christian theology, Christian anthropology, ecclesiology, worship, ethics, mission, ecology and interfaith dialogue

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

• be able to demonstrate familiarity with the biblical origins of the Christian understanding of God as Trinity;

• be able to critically reflect on the early emergence of trinitarian themes in Christian debates about God;

• be able to discuss classical developments in trinitarian doctrine, with special reference to Athanasius, the Cappadocian theologians and Augustine;

• be able to critically review recent developments in trinitarian thought and their contemporary implications, particularly in the Australian context;

• be able to analyse various critiques of trinitarian theology; and

• be able to demonstrate self-guided learning, including advanced research, writing and communication skills.

Assessment Tasks

Task 1: Short essay - Critical analysis of a text from the Church Fathers

Word length: 2500 words, Weighting: 40%

Task 2: Long essay - Choice from a number of topics

Word length: 3000 words, Weighting: 60%