THCT301 The Triune God
Teaching organisationThe unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.
Unit rationale, description and aim
This unit investigates the doctrine of the Trinity and its relationship to faith and spirituality. It will address the scriptural foundations and the development of this doctrine in the Christian tradition. Various theological approaches to the revealed mystery of God will be considered in the light of contemporary worldviews and interfaith dialogue.
The aim of the unit is for students to show an understanding of Trinitarian theology by explaining and evaluating significant perspectives, methods, and issues in this area, in the light of contemporary and historical contexts. Moreover, this unit should assist students to develop a critical understanding of the relevance and implications of Trinitarian belief to the life of individual Christians, the church and diverse contexts, particularly with reference to the Catholic tradition.
On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
LO1 - Identify and assess the scriptural origins and main developments of the Christian confession of God as Triune (GA5; GA8);
LO2 - Evaluate classic and contemporary approaches to Trinitarian theology (GA4; GA8);
LO3 - Propose a critical understanding of the practical bearing of Trinitarian faith for Christian spirituality, living and praxis (GA4; GA5).
GA4 - think critically and reflectively
GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession
GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information
Topics will include:
- Questions to do with method in Trinitarian theology, including the use of analogy, critical and constructive hermeneutics;
- The foundations of Trinitarian doctrine in the Scriptures;
- The emergence and historical development of Trinitarian doctrine;
- The development of Trinitarian theology in the Patristic era;
- The Trinitarian theologies of Augustine and Aquinas;
- The Trinity and its interconnection with Christian understandings of creation, Church, grace, and liturgy;
- The Trinity and interfaith dialogue;
- Trinitarian spirituality.
Learning and teaching strategy and rationale
This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, video-conferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.
The unit is normally offered in attendance mode or multi-mode. Students learn through formally structured and sequenced learning activities that support the achievement of the learning outcomes. Students are asked to critically reflect, analyse, and integrate new information with existing knowledge, draw meaningful new connections, and then apply what they have learned. Collaborative and peer learning is also emphasised.
THCT213 emphasises students as active, adult learners. Students are recognised as adult learners who engage best when what they are learning is relevant to them and gives them the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. In many ways, the student is the one who drives the learning forward, and their active participation in this unit is essential. Learning is designed to be an engaging and supportive experience, which helps students to develop critical thinking and reflection skills.
Assessment strategy and rationale
In order to pass this unit, students are required to attempt all assessment tasks and achieve an overall grade of Pass (50% or higher).
The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.
Task 1 asks students to assess a significant aspect of belief in the Trinitarian God and the sources for it, in order to demonstrate achievement of learning outcome 1.
Task 2 asks students to demonstrate knowledge of the sources of Trinitarian belief and evaluate different theological approaches that sought to refine or develop the nature of this belief, so to address learning outcome 2.
Task 3 invites students to analyse and reflect on the practical implications of Trinitarian belief and theology in the life of Christians and the church, especially in the light of contemporary concerns. This task is particularly aimed to address learning outcome 3.
Overview of assessments
|Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment Tasks||Weighting||Learning Outcomes||Graduate Attributes|
Presentation (with written submission): Requires students to assess a significant aspect of Trinitarian belief with respect to its biblical basis and/or subsequent doctrinal developments.
4, 5, 8
Examination: Requires students to demonstrate understanding of the sources of Trinitarian belief and assess specific approaches to Trinitarian theology.
4, 5, 8
Extended Written Task: Requires students to show Trinitarian faith has specific practical implications for Christian spirituality, living and praxis
1, 2, 3
4, 5, 8
Representative texts and references
Anatolios, Khaled. Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011.
Ayres, L. Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Boff, L. Holy Trinity, Perfect Community. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2000.
Downey, M. Altogether Gift: A Trinitarian Spirituality. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, 2000.
Edwards, D. The God of Evolution: A Trinitarian Theology. New York: Paulist Press, 1999.
Emery, G. The Trinity: An Introduction to Catholic Doctrine on the Triune God. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2011.
Hunt, A. Trinity: Nexus of the Mysteries of Christian Faith. Maryknoll: Orbis Press, 2005.
O’Collins, G. The Tripersonal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity. New York: Paulist Press, 1999.
Ormerod, N. the Trinity: Retrieving the Western Tradition. Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 2005.
Phan, Peter C., ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Trinity. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.