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Jonathan Edwards’ Social Augustinian Trinitarianism in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives


The Trinity played a significant role in Jonathan Edwards’ theology. But what was the nature of his trinitarian theology? A common view among Edwards scholars is that he embraced the dialectical psychological and social models of the Trinity. This study suggests that Edwards consistently used one model of the Trinity—the Augustinian mutual love model. Edwards uses the mutual love model to portray the loving relationships among the divine persons and in doing so stands in continuity with other early-Enlightenment apologists for traditional trinitarianism.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-846-6
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 27,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 314
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-59333-846-6
$191.23
$114.74

The Trinity played a significant role in Jonathan Edwards’ theology. But what was the nature of his trinitarian theology? A common view among Edwards scholars is that he embraced the dialectical psychological and social models of the Trinity. Although they recognize that Edwards drew on the Augustinian tradition, they argue that his social model of the Trinity is an implicit rejection of the Western tradition, the heart of his thought, and his primary contribution to contemporary theology.


This study suggests that Edwards consistently used one model of the Trinity—the Augustinian mutual love model. The basis for this reappraisal is the use of a historical-theological methodology in contrast to the predominantly systematic-theological approaches that tend to interpret his thought in terms of popular metanarratives of the history of trinitarian theology e.g., Eastern and Western traditions. This project suggests his trinitarianism has two contextual horizons: 1) the Western Augustinian mutual love tradition and 2) early-Enlightenment deist criticisms of the Trinity and the Trinitarian Controversy.


Edwards uses the mutual love model to portray the loving relationships among the divine persons and in doing so stands in continuity with other early-Enlightenment apologists for traditional trinitarianism.


Steven M. Studebaker is Assistant Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at McMaster Divinity College. He holds an M.A. in Christian Thought from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a Ph.D. from Marquette University. His research interests are in the areas of the Trinity, Christology, pneumatology, and redemption. He is ordained with the Assemblies of God.

The Trinity played a significant role in Jonathan Edwards’ theology. But what was the nature of his trinitarian theology? A common view among Edwards scholars is that he embraced the dialectical psychological and social models of the Trinity. Although they recognize that Edwards drew on the Augustinian tradition, they argue that his social model of the Trinity is an implicit rejection of the Western tradition, the heart of his thought, and his primary contribution to contemporary theology.


This study suggests that Edwards consistently used one model of the Trinity—the Augustinian mutual love model. The basis for this reappraisal is the use of a historical-theological methodology in contrast to the predominantly systematic-theological approaches that tend to interpret his thought in terms of popular metanarratives of the history of trinitarian theology e.g., Eastern and Western traditions. This project suggests his trinitarianism has two contextual horizons: 1) the Western Augustinian mutual love tradition and 2) early-Enlightenment deist criticisms of the Trinity and the Trinitarian Controversy.


Edwards uses the mutual love model to portray the loving relationships among the divine persons and in doing so stands in continuity with other early-Enlightenment apologists for traditional trinitarianism.


Steven M. Studebaker is Assistant Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at McMaster Divinity College. He holds an M.A. in Christian Thought from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a Ph.D. from Marquette University. His research interests are in the areas of the Trinity, Christology, pneumatology, and redemption. He is ordained with the Assemblies of God.

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Contributor Biography

Steven Studebaker

Steven M. Studebaker is Assistant Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at McMaster Divinity College. He holds an M.A. in Christian Thought from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a Ph.D. from Marquette University. His research interests are in the areas of the Trinity, Christology, pneumatology, and redemption. He is ordained with the Assemblies of God.

  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Acknowledgments (page 11)
  • Introduction (page 13)
  • 1. The History of the Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards' Trinitarianism (page 23)
  • 2. Jonathan Edwards and the Social Trinity (page 79)
  • 3. The Augustinian Mutual Love Tradition (page 121)
  • 4. Jonathan Edwards and the Augustinian Mutual Love Tradition (page 147)
  • 5. Jonathan Edwards and the Enlightenment Trinitarian Controversies (page 219)
  • Conclusion (page 267)
  • Bibliography (page 271)
  • Name Index (page 303)
  • Subject Index (page 309)