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Jewish Philosophical Polemics Against Christianity in the Middle Ages: With a New Introduction$
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Daniel J. Lasker

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113515

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113515.001.0001

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(p.45) Chapter Four Trinity
Jewish Philosophical Polemics Against Christianity in the Middle Ages: With a New Introduction

Daniel J. Lasker

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses Jewish philosophical arguments against the Christian doctrine of Trinity. Though not all Christians with whom the Jews were familiar agreed on all the detail of the Trinitarian doctrine, most followed the formulation of the Quicumque (Athanasian) Creed. A number of concepts are presented in this formulation of faith. First, there is only one God, who is one substance or divine nature. Second, this one God has three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Third, the Father was not begotten, the Son was generated from the Father, and the Spirit proceeded from the Father and Son. Fourth, all three Persons are coequal and coeternal. The Jewish polemicists disagreed with the division of God into three Persons and with the assumption that the three Persons were apparently causally connected. The Jews rejected this Christian concept of a triune God as being incompatible with the principles of God's unity, which even the Christians claimed they maintained. The chapter then details the four major categories of Jewish philosophical arguments against the Trinity: (1) Trinity implies matter; (2) the divine attributes are not Persons; (3) generation disproves unity; (4) syllogistic logic refutes the Trinity. It also considers (5) images of the Trinity.

Keywords:   Jewish philosophical arguments, Christian doctrine, Trinity, Quicumque Creed, one God, Jewish polemicists, triune God, divine nature, syllogistic logic

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