"Jordan Barrett offers a compelling account of the contemporary theological debate about divine simplicity set against the historical developments of the doctrine. He clarifies what is at stake, and demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of present-day defenders, revisers, and opponents of the doctrine. If he had done no more than this, we would be enormously in his debt, for bringing order out of much chaos. But he does more: offering a reading of Biblical themes that should inform a doctrine of simplicity, he presents a nuanced and original account of the doctrine that is resistant to many criticisms. Anyone interested in this fascinating area of theology will want to study this book carefully."
The Christian church has consistently confessed that the triune God of the gospel is simple and therefore beyond composition. The various divine attributes do not represent parts of God that, when combined, make up God’s nature. However, what was once part of the theological tradition from Irenaeus to Jonathan Edwards can now be said to have nothing to do with Christian theology. Divine Simplicity engages the recent critics and addresses one of their major concerns: that the doctrine of divine simplicity is not a biblical teaching. By analyzing the use of Scripture by key theologians from the early church to Karl Barth, Barrett finds that divine simplicity developed in order to respond to theological errors (e.g., Eunomianism) and to avoid misreading Scripture. Through close attention to Scripture, the work also argues that divine simplicity has two biblical roots: the names of God and the indivisible operations of the Trinity ad extra. After clarifying its biblical origins, the volume then explains how divine simplicity can be rearticulated by following a formal analogy from the doctrine of the Trinity—the analogia diversitatis (analogy of diversity)—in which the divine attributes are identical to the divine essence but are not identical to each other.
- Publisher Fortress Press
- ISBN 9781506424828
- Format Hardcover
- Dimensions 6 x 9
- Pages 240
- Publication Date December 1, 2017
1. Divine Simplicity in Contemporary Theology
2. Early Christian Approaches to Divine Simplicity
3. Divine Simplicity in Medieval Theology
4. Divine Simplicity from the Reformation to Karl Barth
5. Biblical Roots of Divine Simplicity
6. A Trinitarian Account of Divine Simplicity
Anyone interested in this fascinating area of theology will want to study this book carefully.
Barrett combines exhaustive erudition and balanced judgment with an unusually clear and accessible writing style
Is the doctrine of simplicity a biblical doctrine? In this illuminating study, Barrett shows that it is not only biblical, but also that we cannot understand or rightly praise the holy Trinity without affirming the Persons' divine simplicity. Barrett combines exhaustive erudition and balanced judgment with an unusually clear and accessible writing style, which makes this book especially attractive for undergraduate and graduate courses on the triune God.
Barrett's diligent attention to Scripture's direct witness for the elaboration of a doctrine of divine simplicity brings to bear considerable exegetical resources previously neglected.
"Barrett's work is a helpful contribution to the ongoing task of the critical retrieval of the doctrine of divine simplicity, with a definite emphasis on 'retrieval' over 'critical.' In order to put this classical doctrine back to work in the Christian theological system, Barrett canvasses recent objections and then draws on trinitarian conceptual resources to solve some of simplicity's alleged problems. Barrett's diligent attention to Scripture's direct witness for the elaboration of a doctrine of divine simplicity brings to bear considerable exegetical resources previously neglected."