Volume 2 of Matthias Joseph Scheeben’s Handbook of Catholic Dogmatics treats the Doctrine about God. It consists of perennially important topics such as the natural knowledge of God, analogical discourse about God, the divine perfections, and the trinitarian nature of God. Especially notable is Scheeben’s identification of God’s absolute beauty as a discrete attribute. His treatment of the divine life (intellect and will) is similarly rewarding and serves as the transition point to the Trinity of persons. Scheeben’s treatise on the Trinity begins with an overview of Magisterial definitions as well as a survey of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity in the Ante-Nicene Patristic tradition. What follows is another noteworthy aspect of Scheeben’s theology proper. His careful treatment of the Spirit’s procession enables a fruitful attempt at reconciling the divergent Western and Eastern Patristic conceptions thereof that underlie later disputes about the Filioque.
Matthias Joseph Scheeben (1835–1888) was a German priest and scholar whose theology points to the inner coherence of the Christian faith and its supernatural mysteries. Notable in his own time, Scheeben later received praise from Pope Pius XI, who in 1935 encouraged study of the late theologian’s works, reflecting: “The entire theology of Scheeben bears the stamp of a pious ascetical theology.” Hans Urs von Balthasar credited Scheeben as “the greatest German theologian to date.” Scheeben’s works include Nature and Grace, The Mysteries of Christianity, and the unfinished Handbook of Catholic Dogmatics.