Original Research

Engaging Klaus Nürnberger’s interpretation of the doctrine of the Trinity

Rian Venter
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 39, No 1 | a1871 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v39i1.1871 | © 2018 Rian Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 2018 | Published: 31 July 2018

About the author(s)

Rian Venter, Department Historical and Constructive Theology, University of the Free State, South Africa


This article discusses the interpretation of the doctrine of the Trinity by K. Nürnberger from the perspective of an appreciation of his intellectual and theological accomplishment, especially as expressed in the publication of his systematic theology in 2016. Nürnberger’s distinct understanding of the Trinity is mapped with reference to five perspectives: the structural place in the overall treatment of the Christian faith, an estimation of Patristic theology, the relative importance of the doctrine, the category for interpretation and, finally, the ‘point’ of the Trinitarian confession. To establish some form of evaluative frame of reference, the so-called Trinitarian Renaissance is briefly described. The article concludes with a preliminary evaluation, expressing concern about Nürnberger’s negative view of the Patristic interpretation, the shift from a focus on God’s nature and identity to human experience, a modernist conception about intelligibility and the dismissal of mystery and a general truncation of the heuristic potential of the doctrine.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article is an intra-disciplinary study. It addresses the view of a fellow systematic theological scholar (K Nürnberger). At stake is the impact of different research paradigms within the same discipline. In this case, the engagement is between the paradigms of realist-experiential versus critical-metaphysical. Different results emerge from this.


Nürnberger; Patristic Theology; Trinitarian Renaissance; Trinity


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