In November 2017, the American Academy of Religion met in Boston, MA. During the annual conference, the Schleiermacher Unit hosted a panel discussion with recent authors of monographs in Schleiermacher Studies. Shelli M. Poe’s Essential Trinitarianism: Schleiermacher as Trinitarian Theologian (2017) was featured during that session. The discussion was led by Dr. Paul D. Jones and Dr. Paul T. Nimmo, the editors of the new T&T Clark series, Explorations in Reformed Theology. Jones and Nimmo asked questions of the panelists, yielding a fruitful discussion between Poe and audience members. This AAR session included 56 participants on a late Saturday afternoon.
Essential Trinitarianism explores the claim that Friedrich Schleiermacher relegates the doctrine of the Trinity to an appendix at the end of his magnum opus, The Christian Faith (1830/31). His alleged disregard for the Trinity is the supposed death knell for serious consideration of his work within the history of Christian thought. Against this line of thought, Poe argues that Schleiermacher not only calls for the doctrine's revitalization, but also makes it the centrepiece of Protestant Christianity. Following Schleiermacher's own thought experiment, Poe presents his doctrine of God in reverse order of its original presentation. Her examination centres on the Trinity, treating it as the keystone of the entire work, while analysing the divine attributes: love and wisdom, justice and holiness, eternity, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. When viewed from the standpoint of the conclusion, the Trinitarian shape of Schleiermacher's theology comes to the fore. What emerges is a middle way between merely economic Trinitarianism and a full-fledged development of immanent Trinitarianism.