Functional Monotheism and the Tri-Theism Objection

Dissertation, University of York (2020)
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Abstract

In this thesis, I argue that the Functional Monotheism model is not tri-theistic, but is a model of pro-Nicene Trinitarianism. In establishing this thesis, I focus on countering a specific objection prevalent in the Analytic Theology literature; the Tri-Theism Objection, which has charged the Functional Monotheism model with “tri-theism”. This objection, formulated by Kelly James Clark and Edward Feser, asserts that the Functional Monotheism model is tritheistic and thus should be rejected as a possible model of scriptural monotheism and “orthodox” Trinitarianism. I argue against this objection by demonstrating that the Functional Monotheism model, once certain necessary philosophical clarifications and modifications are made, is not tri-theistic (in the classical sense of the term), but is in fact in line with “strict” (Second Temple) Jewish monotheism and “orthodox” (pro-Nicene) Trinitarianism. The Functional Monotheism model, contra the proponents of the objection, is therefore not subject to a charge of tri-theism, and thus should be taken as a viable model of “orthodox” Trinitarianism that can aid analytic theologians in their Trinitarian theorising.

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Joshua R. Sijuwade
London School of Theology

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