Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 108

VOLUME 11 NUMBER 2 2016 Systematic Theology, Volume One: The Doctrine of God By Katherine Sonderegger. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2015. 539 pp. $49.00 hardback. In the preface to her Systematic Theology, Volume One, The Doctrine of God, Katherine Sonderegger makes her disdain for the turn to the Trinity for thinking God very clear; she writes: “Perhaps nothing so marks out the modern in systematic theology as the aversion to the scholastic treatise, De Deo Uno (p. xiv). She believes the Trinity, because of Karl Barth primarily, has taken such pride of place as to crowd out the prime reality that Christian theology first and foremost, when it comes to a theology proper, is a monotheistic faith. She regrets the impact that so-called Trinitarian theology has had upon the reality of God’s Oneness; she writes of the De Deo Uno visà-vis De Deo Trino, “It belongs not to the preface but rather the body of the dogmatic work to lay out the broad movement in present day dogmatics that has pressed the treatise De Deo Trino to the fore; indeed, it crowds out and supplants the exposition of the One God” (p. xiv). Throughout the rest of her Systematic Theology, she in various ways will seek to argue for and develop why she believes the Oneness of God ought once again to be restored to the preeminence it once held in the scholastic past. It remains to be seen though if she has left enough space for the Threeness of God to not equally be “crowded” out. One gets the impression, at least from her preface, that she is attempting to correct an imbalance she has perceived by so much focus on the Trinitarian reality of God and its emphasis, as she notes, within modern contemporary dogmatic reflection on a doctrine of God. Has she overcorrected? Chapter One, entitled The Perfect Oneness of God, fleshes out further what we just touched upon in her preface. Now she begins the work of establishing why the Oneness of God should be supreme. She engages in both positive and negative development and critique as she attempts to establish, primarily from the categories of Scripture, where the concept of the Oneness of God comes from, and why Christians when thinking both biblically and theologically should allow that reality of God to impose itself on our thinking in such a way that all else is colored by the singular reality of God, even when we think of God’s multiplicity in the Trinity. She starts with the famous great Shema passage found in Deuteronomy 6:4–5 (p. 3), and argues seamlessly from there, back and forth from the Torah to the Prophets that God reveals himself as De Deo Uno (p. 10). She appeals to the scholastics, particularly Thomas Aquinas (p. 7–8), and the tradition of classical theism established by him, and contrasts him with modern-day narrative theologians DOI: 105