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You searched for +publisher:"University of Notre Dame" +contributor:("Fr. Brian Daley, SJ, Committee Member"). One record found.

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University of Notre Dame

1. Beau Branson. The Logical Problem of the Trinity</h1>.

Degree: PhD, Philosophy, 2014, University of Notre Dame

The doctrine of the Trinity is central to mainstream Christianity. But insofar as it posits “three persons” (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), who are “one God,” it appears as inconsistent as the claim that 1+1+1=1. Much of the literature on “The Logical Problem of the Trinity,” as this has been called, attacks or defends Trinitarianism with little regard to the fourth century theological controversies and the late Hellenistic and early Medieval philosophical background in which it took shape. I argue that this methodology, which I call “the Puzzle Approach,” produces obviously invalid arguments, and it is unclear how to repair it without collapsing into my preferred methodology, “the Historical Approach,” which sees history as essential to the debate. I also discuss “mysterianism,” arguing that, successful or not, it has a different goal from the other approaches. I further argue that any solution from the Historical Approach satisfies the concerns of the Puzzle Approach and mysterianism anyway. I then examine the solution to the Logical Problem of the Trinity found in St. Gregory of Nyssa’s writings, both due to his place in the history of the doctrine, and his clarity in explicating what I call “the metaphysics of synergy.” I recast his solution in standard predicate logic and provide a formal proof of its consistency. I end by considering the possibilities for attacking the broader philosophical context of his defense and conclude that the prospects for doing so are dim. In any case, if there should turn out to be any problem with the doctrine of the Trinity at all, it will not be one of mere logical inconsistency in saying that “These Three are One.” Advisors/Committee Members: Richard Cross, Committee Chair, Fr. Brian Daley, SJ, Committee Member, Peter van Inwagen, Committee Member, Ted Warfield, Committee Member.

Subjects/Keywords: Philosophical Theology; Analytic Theology; Patristics; Trinity; Gregory of Nyssa; Logic

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APA (6th Edition):

Branson, B. (2014). The Logical Problem of the Trinity</h1>. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Notre Dame. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Branson, Beau. “The Logical Problem of the Trinity</h1>.” 2014. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Notre Dame. Accessed November 12, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Branson, Beau. “The Logical Problem of the Trinity</h1>.” 2014. Web. 12 Nov 2019.


Branson B. The Logical Problem of the Trinity</h1>. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Notre Dame; 2014. [cited 2019 Nov 12]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Branson B. The Logical Problem of the Trinity</h1>. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Notre Dame; 2014. Available from: