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Education The Faculty Graduate Schools Graduate School Theology and Religious Studies PhD Programme PhD ceremonies Graduations 2006

09-02-'06 | A.C. Meesters

The Cappadocian perspective on the Holy Trinity

At the end of the fourth century AD there were three Church fathers in Cappadocia: Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa. Their concepts of God were decisive in the formulation of the dogma of the Holy Trinity during the First Council of Constantinople in 381. The Latin West quickly replaced this philosophy by that of Augustine (early fifth century), who formulated a more monistic concept of God. PhD student Meesters investigated the more pluralistic God concepts of the Cappadocians. He compared them with those of Augustine and with three modern God concepts, which are clearly Trinitarian in their references to the Cappadocians. A characteristic feature of these concepts of God is that they do not regard God as a Trinity until the End of Days. The Cappadocian God concept offers us a way of speaking and thinking about the one God that does justice to the complete equality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as three divine beings.

Alco Meesters (Hardegarijp, 1970) studied theology at the University of Groningen and conducted his PhD research at the research group Openbaring en Werkelijkheid of the Hervormd Theologisch Wetenschappelijk Instituut (now called the Theologisch Wetenschappelijk Instituut). Meesters works as a minister for the Protestant congregation which is currently being established in Scheemda. /GG

Date and time

Thursday 9 February 2006, 4.15 p.m.

PhD student

A.C. Meesters

PhD thesis

God in drie woorden. Een systematisch-theologisch onderzoek naar de Cappadocische bijdrage aan het denken over God Drie-enig [God in three words. A systematic-theological study of the Cappadocian contribution towards a philosophy of God as a Trinity]


Prof. L.J. van den Brom

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