Professor Dr. Bruce L. McCormack

Alfried Krupp Senior Fellow
(Oktober 2019 - September 2020) 

  • Born 1952
  • Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology at the Princton Theological Seminary, New Jersey

Fellow project: „The Self-Humiliating God: the Being of the Triune God in Modern Reformed Perspective“

My project will constitute the second volume of a trilogy of works on Christ and God in Christian theology.  The first volume laid the foundation for the succeeding volumes through consideration of Christology in the strict sense, i.e. the ontological constitution of the “person” of Christ. The most significant outcome of that volume lay in a model of the uniting of divine and human being in Christ on the basis of an “ontological receptivity” which is eternally constitutive of the identity of the eternal Son (the second “person” of the Christian Trinity).  “Ontological receptivity” refers to the activity of the Son in taking into his own being that which comes to him from the lived existence of Jesus of Nazareth.  Receptivity also guarantees that Jesus will be the performative agent of all that is done and experienced by the incarnate Son.  Thereby the unity of the “composite person” is also secured.  The Krupp project on God will inquire into the implications of this Christology for the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.  The theme of a “suffering God” has been the centerpiece of modern German theology.  In recent years, it has lost its prestige in an English-speaking world now enraptured by the patristic doctrines of divine simplicity and impassibility (and the ancient metaphysics which made those ideas possible).  My goal in this second volume will be to show that there is a way to unite divine immutability with divine passibility, so that the twin doctrines of simplicity and impassibility are negated negated anew - this time without offending ecumenical sensibilities.  My central questions include: 1) Can one speak coherently of “personal properties” of the “persons” of the Trinity?; 2) can the trinitarian axiom opera trinitatis ad extra sunt indivisa be modified so as to accommodate these “personal properties”?; and 3) what happens to the relation of the lived existence of the triune God to the divine “essence” when the needed modifications are made?