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. Mike
    July 29, 2006 @ 1:14 am

    Great blog! And, I would agree with others that any Torrance book would be of great reading value. What follows are affirmations from your top 10 list, some “don’t bothers,” and some others worthy of consideration.

    Barth, Rahner, Jenson, Pannenberg: good reading, good-not always brief-awareness of who preceded them, and each “broke some new ground”, if I can use that imprecise idiom here! LaCugna is good, but she follows the trail-blazing that Rahner initiated: a good path.

    “Don’t bother”: but that is only based upon your “life is too short” comment, although none of these are bad books either…Moltmann, Pannenberg, Juegel, Molnar, and, of course, Hegel. I’m sure others reading this will howl (cover your ears): none of them are bad, only the ones above are sooo good, as are the following:

    John Zizioulas, “Being as Communion”: Everyone everywhere engages with Zizioulas; he’s Orthodox, and about as clear as one could be speaking into the 21st Century from a distinct tradition rooted in the early (Eastern) church. A must read!

    Lesslie Newbigin, “The Open Secret”: Newbigin served with the Reformed Church of England in India for over 40 years. Perhaps the singular reason for paying attention to this text (and many pastors & missionaries do to this day) is that Newbigin wrote from a missional engagement of the church with a culture of extraordinary religious plurality…a way that parallels the origins of trinitarian doctrine. Newbigin, it should be added, was a contemporary and colleague of Barth…



  2. Rod
    July 28, 2006 @ 10:58 pm


    What philosophers have you been reading? You said, “Philosophers however know how to say things precisely and with clarity.” My experience is that philosophers tend to verbose and obscure. It makes them appear to be more intelligent. 🙂



  3. Dale
    July 28, 2006 @ 7:13 pm

    Guys – thanks for the advice. Looks like I may plunk down some $ for one of the Torrance books.

    Raj – congrats, man. Where will you be going?

    Blake – Torrance: thumbs up or thumbs down?

    Maybe some day, when I really feel like suffering, I’ll try the Hegel. 😉


  4. Blake
    July 28, 2006 @ 4:40 am

    Dale: Thanks for the in-site! BTW I have read several of the books on the list. I suppose I prefer philosophical theology to theology proper for the same reasons you do. What I have read is a model of muddle. Indeed, it’s easier to make sense of the phone book as a novel than to fathom just what the trinity could be in many of these works.


  5. axegrinder
    July 28, 2006 @ 3:37 am


    I’d like to suggest a different TF Torrance work, “The Trinitarian Faith.”

    Also, Colin Gunton’s works are especially good. “The One, The Three and The Many” is an excellent theological work that seems to handle related philosophical issues well. However, it is not a systematic treatment of the Trinity.


    Jason Kranzusch


  6. Raj Rao
    July 28, 2006 @ 2:12 am

    Well I am going to be a theology-degreed in 3 or so years, since I just accepted into divinity school. Anyway…

    I’ve got 3 of those books, and havent read any of them. In fact I have not read any of the books on the list. Everything I know, I know from reading articles on the internet and one book on the Trinity by Phillip W. Butin which I would recommend for all beginners.

    That said, I wanted to make another comment. I think that philosophers and theologians need to work together. Theologians generally know what Scripture says as regards a certain matter. However they multiply paragraphs, one on top of another. Philosophers however know how to say things precisely and with clarity, its just that what they write might not be biblically warranted.

    I think that this is generally true – not true always.

    – Raj Rao


  7. Ben Myers
    July 27, 2006 @ 11:44 pm

    G’day Dale — I really appreciate your point about the divide between philosophers of religion and theologians.

    You ask “which, if any, of these books are really essential reading?”

    Well, the three that have most radically shaped modern theological discussion of the Trinity are Hegel, Barth and Rahner (the first two are admittedly difficult, but Rahner’s book is short and accessible).

    But if you want to read just one book that expresses the main themes of modern trinitarian theology in a nice, accessible way, then I’d definitely recommend Torrance’s book — it’s concise and beautifully written, and Torrance has a masterful knowledge both of ancient and modern trinitarian theology.


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