The Christian Trinitarian doctrine was understood as Tritheism by the Qurʾān and Muslims, at least during the first centuries of Islamic rule. Producing a huge number of apologetic works, Arabic Christian theologians tried to defend their faith in the oneness of God and to demonstrate to Muslims that the Trinity is not Tritheism. One of the favourite methods used by Arabic Christian authors in their Trinitarian apologetic works was to exploit the Islamic discussion on the divine attributes of God. However, the explanations of some of these Christian apologists were problematic for the Christian doctrine itself, as they reduced the three divine hypostases to three divine attributes, a doctrine which had already been censured during the third century (condemnation of Modalism and Sabellianism), and was again judged as heretical by the Miaphysite Church in the sixth century, that is, after the controversy between Peter of Callinicum and Damian of Alexandria. Abū Rāʾiṭah al-Takrītī, a famous Miaphysite theologian of the eighth-ninth centuries, is considered by some scholars to have applied the Islamic doctrine of the attributes of God to his Trinitarian doctrine. A careful reading of his writings, however, demonstrates the opposite. My study, then, aims to offer new considerations on Abū Rāʾiṭah’s Trinitarian doctrine. Through an analysis of his writings on the Trinity addressed to Muslims, I will try to show that (1) he follows faithfully the official Miaphysite Trinitarian doctrine established during the sixth and seventh centuries and develops it; (2) he tries to demonstrate, through dialogue with the Islamic doctrines on the oneness of God and on the attributes of God, that the Trinitarian doctrine of the Miaphysites is correct and that the Trinity is not in contradiction with monotheism. In doing so, he is careful (3) to avoid this dialogue meaning an identification of hypostases with attributes, but rather (4) a method by which he tries to use Muslim doctrine to imply approval of Christian doctrine.

Abū Rāʾiṭah al-Takrītī’s Trinitarian Doctrine: Between Miaphysite Tradition and Islamic Challenge

bishara ebeid
2021

Abstract

The Christian Trinitarian doctrine was understood as Tritheism by the Qurʾān and Muslims, at least during the first centuries of Islamic rule. Producing a huge number of apologetic works, Arabic Christian theologians tried to defend their faith in the oneness of God and to demonstrate to Muslims that the Trinity is not Tritheism. One of the favourite methods used by Arabic Christian authors in their Trinitarian apologetic works was to exploit the Islamic discussion on the divine attributes of God. However, the explanations of some of these Christian apologists were problematic for the Christian doctrine itself, as they reduced the three divine hypostases to three divine attributes, a doctrine which had already been censured during the third century (condemnation of Modalism and Sabellianism), and was again judged as heretical by the Miaphysite Church in the sixth century, that is, after the controversy between Peter of Callinicum and Damian of Alexandria. Abū Rāʾiṭah al-Takrītī, a famous Miaphysite theologian of the eighth-ninth centuries, is considered by some scholars to have applied the Islamic doctrine of the attributes of God to his Trinitarian doctrine. A careful reading of his writings, however, demonstrates the opposite. My study, then, aims to offer new considerations on Abū Rāʾiṭah’s Trinitarian doctrine. Through an analysis of his writings on the Trinity addressed to Muslims, I will try to show that (1) he follows faithfully the official Miaphysite Trinitarian doctrine established during the sixth and seventh centuries and develops it; (2) he tries to demonstrate, through dialogue with the Islamic doctrines on the oneness of God and on the attributes of God, that the Trinitarian doctrine of the Miaphysites is correct and that the Trinity is not in contradiction with monotheism. In doing so, he is careful (3) to avoid this dialogue meaning an identification of hypostases with attributes, but rather (4) a method by which he tries to use Muslim doctrine to imply approval of Christian doctrine.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/5002932
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