Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.


  1. “GOD” and other “gods” – Dale Tuggy’s recent definitions | Cognitive Resonance
    June 7, 2014 @ 12:53 am

    […] “god” (I think he treats “God” as a proper name). I first encountered these terms in his response to a previous post of mine. I’ve already interacted with them a bit in this past post (and also […]


  2. Reply to Dale Tuggy regarding ancient Jewish monotheism | Cognitive Resonance
    December 24, 2013 @ 12:53 am

    […] couple weeks ago Dale Tuggy did a post critiquing some of my blog posts on monotheism and the Trinity. I was quite excited about this because Dale is […]


  3. Ben Nasmith
    December 6, 2013 @ 11:11 am

    Thanks Jaco, that’s helpful and I’ll take a look.


  4. Jaco
    December 6, 2013 @ 9:24 am


    But YHWH is not a person of the Trinity. YHWH is called the Father, but “the Father” is not YHWH in any exclusive sense. What is true of Jesus in the scriptural witness is that God became incarnate.

    The designation “Father” had a special place in charismatic Judaism. Its Sitz im Leben is with the charismatic figures of the time, in particular Hanina ben Dosa and Honi the Circle-drawer. “Abba” was the way the charismatic addressed God. And, as Geza Vermes pointed out,

    It is essential, however, to stress that one meaning is never attested because it is incompatible with Jewish monotheism. This is the non-metaphorical, indeed literal, employment of ‘Son of God,’ implying not so much the holder’s closeness to God owing to election, but his actual participation in the divine nature. Such a notion…was and has always remained anathema for the Jews of all ages, from biblical times to the present day.

    It is also evident that to the NT writers, Father and YHWH was one and the same (Ac. 2:22, 3:13, 17:31, etc.).


  5. Jaco
    December 6, 2013 @ 2:53 am

    Hi Ben,

    You can consider James McGrath’s contribution in his Only True God, pp. 13-15, 56-58. Also Creatio ex nihilo by Gerhard May. Another great contribution, especially to the whole “worship” issue, is presented in “The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism” by several contributors. See esp. those by Margaret Barker and Crispin Fletcher-Louis. The idea of fuzziness in distinction has also been presented by Dunn, Christology in the Making, where he describes the Logos as that which brings people into God’s presence and which makes God present with humans. As the pioneer of New Creation humanity, where God can be truly encountered in His image (Man), Jesus displayed superbly how the humanity he was ancestor of would also be the arena where God could be encountered.


  6. Ben Nasmith
    December 5, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

    I’m interested in what convinced you that divinity is better thought of as a gradient (or continuum) rather than a distinct (discrete) category (as Bauckham argues). Any resources that you find particularly helpful that you could point me to? More specifically, what makes you think that second Temple monotheism regarded divinity as a continuum rather than a discrete (in or out) category, contrary to Bauckham? What makes you think this is a later development?


  7. Jaco
    December 5, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    Great post, Dale

    I also have some reservations on Bauckham’s clear divide between GOD and CREATION. This clear divide only emerged in later centuries, so that the poles between GOD and CREATION was more like a continuum than a clear and distinct categorical chasm. Jesus (and many other intermediary figures) is presented as the “phase” where GOD and CREATION come together, which is also indeed the kind of glory held out to every other Christian (Ro. 8:29, 2 Cor. 3:18, Eph. 3:14, 2 Pet. 1:4). Bauckham’s proposal is inadequate precisely since his categorization process is faulty.


  8. John
    December 4, 2013 @ 11:11 pm

    Are we not confusing ‘nature’ with ‘identity’?
    Nature is ‘what we are”
    Identity is ‘who’ we are.
    If I say that I am John and have a human nature – and that Adolf Hitler had a human nature, does not make me Adolf Hitler.!
    God has a divine nature.
    Christ had a human nature – and a divine nature by inheritance
    Believers have a human nature – but scripture tells us that we share that divine nature.

    Christ’s identity shows that he was not ‘God’
    Our identity shows that we are neither Christ nor God
    The Trinitarians can talk till KIngdom come – but all their search for ‘nuances’ and ‘subtleties’ is in vain since -to be quite blunt, there are NO ‘proof texts’ which support the Trinity.
    Trinitarians see only what they want to see!


  9. Ben Nasmith
    December 4, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

    Thanks for taking a look and responding Dale! I appreciate it. Two comments:
    A. “Jewish monotheism is, true, compatible with there being other “gods” (elohim); and in general, all the Abrahamic monotheisms allow any number of lesser gods, deities, or divine beings.” Here’s where I’ve started to use the word “divine” very carefully. As I understand Bauckham, Jewish monotheism will not tolerate a scale of divinity stretching from the most divine being(s) to the least divine beings. One either is or is not divine. Any extra “gods” are not divine (i.e. they don’t create, ought not to be worshipped, etc). Bauckham uses the unfortunate phrase “unique divine identity” to express this idea. I prefer just to reserve the word “divine” for that task. So I suppose in your lingo, a GOD would be a divine person (or maybe also a group of divine persons). But no god (that is not also a GOD) is divine.

    B. The second argument seems closest to what I’m getting at:
    1. Any agent of creation (or sovereign rule, or rightful object of worship) is a divine agent (in this absolute sense)
    2. Jesus the agent creates (etc)
    3. Jesus the agent is a divine agent.
    Can 1 and 2 be fair to scripture? I think so, but it is of course a matter for exegesis which is another story. And it could still go either with respect to Clarke’s subordinationism or Bauckham’s (implicit) ST.


  10. Johnny Walker reviews The Only True God
    December 4, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

    […] on the subject of monotheism and Christology, Dale Tuggy interacts with Ben Nasmith on ancient Jewish monotheism. And if you don’t own a copy of Alan Segal’s book Two Powers in Heaven, you might win […]


  11. Matthew Frost
    December 4, 2013 @ 8:27 am

    This is part of the problem we get, as Trinitarians (and post-Trinitarians, if I have to acknowledge any legitimacy there), when we equate the person of the Father with the appelation “Father” given to YHWH. It’s the root of the monarchical heresy by which the alternatives come to be either subordinationist or tritheist. But YHWH is not a person of the Trinity. YHWH is called the Father, but “the Father” is not YHWH in any exclusive sense. What is true of Jesus in the scriptural witness is that God became incarnate. YHWH, who for the covenant people is the Father, becomes father and son in a quite literal sense. But YHWH, who for the covenant people is the Father, has also always been Spirit. Of course, in this direction lies modalism—unless we affirm the full validity of each of these existences of the one God. If these modes of being are eternal realities, acts of being to which God is eternally faithful, we must affirm that YHWH is these three.

    The problem appears when you try to work backwards from the presupposition that these three are ontologically distinct and separate. Your attempts at arguing monotheism from this presupposition just demonstrate how ridiculous it is. You can’t get one from three. You can only do it if you get three from one, and hold on to the one who is these three. And you can’t do that, at all, if you take the Hebrew assertion that YHWH is the Father and cram it into one third of the Trinitarian logic by which Father, Son, and Spirit are YHWH.


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