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Beyond the Filioque Disputes? Re-assessing the Radical Equality of the Spirit through the Ascetic and Mystical Tradition

Friday, November 11, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Power Center Ballroom
Duquesne University

Lecturer: Sarah Coakley

Sarah Coakley, 2016 Holy Spirit Lecture Speaker

Sarah Coakley is the Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. She previously taught at Lancaster, Oxford and Harvard Universities (where she was Mallinckrodt Professor of Divinity, 1995-2007), and she has been a visiting Professor at Princeton University (2003-4). She is a philosopher of religion and systematic theologian with strong interests in interdisciplinary engagement and in the reassessment of historical theology for contemporary life. She is currently at work on a four-volume systematic theology, the first volume of which has been published as God, Sexuality and the Self: An Essay 'On the Trinity' (Cambridge, 2013), which engages specifically with questions of pneumatology. Her Aberdeen Gifford Lectures ('Sacrificed Regained: Evolution, Games and God') will be published in revised book-form next year (Oxford and Eerdmans) and represent the 'apologetic' off-shoot from her systematics.

Sarah Coakley is an Anglican priest of the diocese of Ely and an honorary canon of Ely Cathedral.

Lecture Abstract

The project of this lecture is a bold one: it argues that the divisive problems over the filioque might never have arisen if the Holy Spirit's radical equality with the Father and Son had not been already implicitly undermined by the historic, conciliar treatment of the Holy Spirit as 'third'. But another approach had always stood over against this, one in which a priority given to the Spirit in ecstatic, charismatic or contemplative prayer resisted such subordination of the Spirit, and so cut behind and beyond what would later become an entrenched division between 'East' and 'West'. Extending and enriching her earlier work on this theme, Sarah Coakley presses key questions about a distinctive 'participative' trinitarianism in the monastic and ascetic traditions of the medieval and early modern periods, and about its contemporary ecclesiological and personal significance.

The Annual Holy Spirit Lecture and Colloquium is an expression of Duquesne’s mission and charism as a University founded by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit and dedicated to the Holy Spirit.

This ongoing series of lectures and colloquia encourages the exploration of ideas pertaining to the theology of the Holy Spirit within an ecumenical context and in dialogue with contemporary issues. Lectures are published and mailed out gratis, while also being available on this website.