Faculty Lecture Series to discuss trinitarian theology

Published 8:14 am Friday, February 14, 2020

MILLIGAN COLLEGE — Milligan College’s upcoming Faculty Lecture Series will focus on how fourth century Christians understood the triune nature of God.

David Kiger, theological librarian and assistant director of library services, will present a lecture, titled “Ephrem of Nisibis and Fourth Century Trinitarian Theology,” on Monday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. in Derthick Lecture Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

In the lecture, Kiger will examine the history and circumstances that led to the creedal affirmations of God as trinity and how this orthodox theology expanded outside of the Latin and Greek speaking world.

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“The fourth century was a fertile ground for reflection on the nature of God,” said Kiger. “The early church focused on questions like, how can Christianity be called monotheistic when Christians worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Early Christians also grappled with the doctrine of the trinity and how it worked. These fundamental questions found diverse answers, but ultimately, a theological consensus was reached.”

Kiger will approach this topic through the writings of Ephrem of Nisibis, a fourth century hymnographer, who is known as the “harp of the Holy Spirit.” Ephrem’s theology provides a unique perspective because the majority of his writings are poems or hymns, and although he remains highly regarded in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, he was not an ordained priest.

Kiger is pursuing a doctorate in historical theology from Marquette University, and his dissertation focuses on the pneumatology of Ephrem the Syrian. His academic interests include patristic and early Christian theology, the writings and thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar, and language learning. Kiger received his bachelor’s degree in theology from Ozark Christian College and his Master of Divinity from Emmanuel Christian Seminary.

The Faculty Lecture Series provides students and other members of the Milligan community a glimpse into the active world of academic research and writing at Milligan.