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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.44 n.3-4 Pretoria Jan. 2010




Doing trinitarian theology: Primary references to God and imagination1


Beoefening van triniteitsteologie: Primêre verwysings na God en verbeelding



R. Venter

Department of Dogmatology, Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, BLOEMFONTEIN.E-mail:




This article explores methodology in trinitarian theology and proposes one possible avenue to the question of how it should be done. The basic argument highlights the multiple functions of references to God in theological discourse. Three of these potential ways are discussed, namely God as Agent, God as Model, and God as Heuristic Principle. The various references are explained with examples taken from Scripture and contemporary trinitarian proposals. A picture emerges of sophisticated rhetorical strategies being employed by theologians. By identifying some of the functions of God-references, the article not only emphasises the imaginative and constructive nature of theological reflection, but also contributes to the question of the possibilities of trinitarian theology and its development.

Key concepts: God, references to heuristics imagination,imitatio Dei, trinitarian theology


Hierdie artikel ondersoek metodologieë van die triniteitsteologie en stel een moontlike weg voor vir die beoefening daarvan. Die basiese argument beklemtoon hoe die verwysings na God verskillende funksies kan hê gedurende teologiese diskoerse.
Drie van hierdie verwysings word bespreek, naamlik God as die Handelende, God as Model, en God as Heuristiese Beginsel. Hierdie verwysings word verduidelik aan die hand van voor-beelde uit die Skrif en in kontemporêre triniteitsvoorstelle. 'n Beeld van gesofistikeerde strategieë wat deur teoloë gebruik word, kristalliseer. Deur van hierdie funksies wat na God verwys, te identifiseer, lig die artikel nie net die verbeeldingsmatige en konstruktiewe aard van teologiese refleksie uit nie, maar dra terselfdertyd ook by tot die vraag na die moontlikhede van triniteitsteologie en die ontwikkeling daarvan.

Kernbegrippe: God, verwysings na, Heuristiek, imitatio Dei, triniteitsteologie verbeelding



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1 Edited version of a short paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for the Study of Theology, Kontakt der Kontinenten, The Netherlands, 30 March-2 April 2009.

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