Crossing the Boundary between Heaven and Earth: Theodore Abu Qurrah’s Philosophical Argument for a Trinitarian God

  • Oskari Juurikkala (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Abstract: The Syrian bishop Theodore Abu Qurrah (c. 750 – c. 825) was a leading early exponent of theological exchange between Christian and Islamic cultures and faiths. Rooted in Byzantine orthodoxy, Abu Qurrah was nevertheless original in his attempt to render his Christian faith intelligible and attractive to Arabic listeners and readers, both Christian and Muslim. In his apologetic piece Theologus Autodidactus, he develops a peculiarly modern and personalistic argument for the Trinity, building on the idea that a communion of persons is something greater than a lonely Oneness. Abu Qurrah’s writings have attracted very little scholarly attention (partly for having been translated into English only recently), but they are interesting both historically and in terms of contemporary religious dialogue. This paper critically examines his trinitarian argument, evaluating its prospects and problems in terms of Christian-Muslim dialogue. The paper especially highlights the consequences of the way in which Abu Qurrah crosses the usual boundaries of the divine-creature distinction.
Period14 Apr 2021
Event titleAnnual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Theology: Theology at the Borders
Event typeConference
LocationUnited KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Trinitarian ontology
  • Muslim-Christian dialogue