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Title page for ETD etd-09192011-123740

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Axelson, Derek Willis
Author's Email Address derek.w.axelson@gmail.com
URN etd-09192011-123740
Title The Liturgical Sense: The Trinity, Scripture and Popular Piety in Augustine's De Trinitate
Degree Master of Arts
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
J. Patout Burns Committee Chair
Paul DeHart Committee Member
  • Scripture
  • De Trinitate
  • Trinity
  • Augustine
  • Epistemology
  • Piety
Date of Defense 2011-08-20
Availability unrestricted
One of the fruits of Augustine’s labor in De Trinitate, his seminal work on the Christian doctrine of God, is that he explains how Christians encounter God in the common experience of the liturgy in synthetic concepts crafted from Christian doctrines, neo-platonism and the liberal arts. This thesis argues in four steps that Augustine develops a Christology upon the edifice of the Trinity that legitimizes and activates a mediatorial role in scripture when it is read and heard in the liturgy of a church meeting. First, Augustine’s decision to treat the Trinity as a problem for contemplation requires him to assign scripture the role of helping the Christian faithful overcome a barrier to the contemplation of God that he calls “materialism.” Second, his contention that scripture’s doctrine of God is Trinitarian requires an exegetical proof; his proof issues in a proto-Chalcedonian Christology. Third, he uses this Christology to shape a metaphysics of participation in Christ that opens a special kind of epistemology unique to the Trinity called “faith”; faith is the path that overcomes materialism. Fourth, “faith” allows Christians to treat scripture as the surrogate for Christ’s presence; scripture serves this role during the public reading during the liturgy.
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