Jane Ellingwood

Discipline: Theology and Religion

Project Summary

Dissertation Abstract (from my completed dissertation):

     My primary argument in this thesis is that creation theologies significantly influenced early developments in the doctrine of the Trinity, especially in Augustine of Hippo’s theology.  Thus this is a work of historical theology, but I conclude with proposals for how Augustine’s theologies of creation and the Trinity can be read fruitfully with modern theology.

    I critically analyse developments in trinitarian theologies in light of ideas that were held about creation.  These include the doctrine of creation ‘out of nothing’ and ideas about other creative acts (e.g., forming or fashioning things).  Irenaeus and other early theologians posited roles for God (the Father), the Word / Son, the Spirit, or Wisdom in creative acts without working out formal views on economic trinitarian acts.  During the fourth century trinitarian controversies, creation ‘out of nothing’ and ideas about ‘modes of origin’ influenced thinking on consubstantiality and relations within the Trinity. Basil of Caesarea and others also presented ideas about trinitarian acts of creation and the Trinity in hexaemeral works.  

    I will argue that in Augustine’s views of trinitarian acts of creation, he attributes roles to God (the Father), the Word / Son, and the Spirit.  In his mature theology, he attributes the giving of formless existence, differentiated existence, and perfected existence to the three Persons respectively, while depicting shared roles.   He also attributes to the Spirit the giving of the capability of ‘dynamic abiding’ to creatures, which gives them agency in continuing their existence.  Augustine’s theologies of creation and the Trinity were significantly influenced by his exegesis of Gen. 1, John 1. 1-3, Wisdom, and other scriptures, and his ideas resonate with the hexaemeral works of Basil and Philo of Alexandria. I argue that scholars should examine these sources and Augustine’s own hexaemeral commentaries to gain a deeper understanding of his trinitarian theology.


Supervisory Team

My primary supervisor was Professor Morwenna Ludlow, University of Exeter, and my secondary supervisor was Dr. Najib Awad, Hartford Seminary.  My mentor was Dr. Siam Bhayro, University of Exeter.


Wider Research Interests

I have a particular interest in how theological and biblical ideas about creation and God understood as Creator and Trinity can be drawn upon in eco-theology today, or in understanding creation theologies in new ways.  I also seek to make theology, whether historical or modern theology, relevant and interesting for laypeople and clergy in church or local community settings.


Authored Publications/Reports

Jane Ellingwood (January 2008) 'The Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA): An Evolutionary Perspective', The Muslim World, Volume 98, Issue 1, 72-94

Jane Ellingwood and Uriah Y. Kim (September 2007) Review essay: 'The Vitality of Enjoyment in Qohelet's Theological Rhetoric – By Eunny P. Lee, Walter de Gruyter', Reviews in Religion & Theology, Vol. 14, Issue 4, 474-478