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A Trinitarian Christology of the Fourth Word from the Cross
The Commmunicatio Idiomatum, the Modal Distinction, and the Forsakenness of Christ

BRAND, THOMAS (2020) A Trinitarian Christology of the Fourth Word from the Cross
The Commmunicatio Idiomatum, the Modal Distinction, and the Forsakenness of Christ.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Tom Brand Durham Ph.D. Thesis) - Accepted Version


The fourth word from the cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ is the focus of this work. I exegete the fourth word in the context of the crucifixion narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark and define έγκατέλιπές (forsaken) as left undefended. I describe the Christological doctrine of the communication of idioms and survey its application to the fourth word in Patristic, Scholastic, and Reformed writing, and wider literature up to the nineteenth century. I then argue for a modal distinction between person and nature in the Trinity with a focus on the theology of Thomas Aquinas. The Trinitarian and Christological explorations enable me to construct the following argument to which this thesis is a response. If Christ is forsaken by the Father, through the communication of idioms, God the Son is forsaken. The person of the Son is modally distinct from the divine nature. Therefore, the divine nature is forsaken at the fourth word. In my threefold response to the above argument I argue first that persons experience in and according to natures, and that persons, not natures, relate because divine persons are subsistent relations. Secondly, I argue that the mutual indwelling of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in perichoresis continues unbroken at the fourth word. Thirdly, that according to the unity of the works of God ad extra, the Triune persons are united in will at the fourth word. My argument is chiefly built on arguments from Cyril of Alexandria, Bonaventure, and Aquinas. I defend my thesis in light of the Reformed doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, against charges of Nestorianism, and against a counterargument from Social Trinitarianisms. My thesis aims to uphold historic orthodoxy in opposition to contemporary trends towards divine passibility.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Trinity, Christology, Forsaken, Communication of Idioms, Modal Distinction, Patristic, Scholastic, Reformed
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:30 Jun 2020 12:55

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