New History of the Filioque

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While doing my doctoral work, I was disappointed that there was no treatment of the history of the filioque controversy (in English) written since H. B. Swete’s 1876 work entitled, On the History of the Doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit From the Apostolic Age to the Death of Charlemange. (And of course, Swete’s book only takes us up to the ninth century!)

“Filioque aficionados” can now be grateful that A. Edward Siecienski has produced a new work entitled, The Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy (Oxford University Press, 2010). So far I’ve been very impressed with it –very readable and accessible, probably even for non-specialists. (I will be doing a print review of the book for Pro Ecclesia later this year.) Siecienski believes closer attention to the work of Maximus the Confessor could have done much to avoid the later controversy. That’s an interesting thesis in light of T. F. Torrance’s belief that closer attention to Athanasius could have also helped to avoid the debate altogether!

I’ve been spending the last day reading through Siecienski’s book while working at Princeton Theological Seminary, awaiting the beginning of the Karl Barth Conference. By the way, I believe that W. Travis McMaken over at Der Evangelische Theologe is planning to do some conference blogging, so you might want to follow him there. The theme this year is Karl Barth as Missional Theologian.

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