Original Research - Special Collection: God as One

Post-structuralism and the Trinity: A reading of The Brand New Testament

Anné H. Verhoef
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5403 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5403 | © 2019 Anné Verhoef | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2019 | Published: 08 August 2019

About the author(s)

Anné H. Verhoef, School for Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


From a post-structuralist position, it is problematic and seemingly impossible to refer to God as the Trinity. This article describes possibilities for thinking about the Trinity (religion and God) within a post-structuralist context. As an example of such thinking, the 2015 culture-critique film, The Brand New Testament, will be analysed. It is a creative retelling of the Christian story and of the Trinity in a secular and post-metaphysical vein. This ‘Brand New Testament’ reveals God as ‘one’ – as the encompassing love, hope and life which we may experience in this life. The life-giving characteristics of this ‘god’ are surprisingly close to the biblical understanding of the Trinity. In the ‘Brand New Testament’, however, the Trinity is portrayed radically differently than in the Christian tradition. The personae of father, son and spirit are deconstructed in the film, in that a daughter and a mother also form part of the godhead. This deconstruction of the Trinity, which should not be confused with blasphemy, opens up a possible post-structuralist imagining of God. It playfully reveals a powerless god who shares some fundamental characteristics with the Trinity – such as love, joy and life. It allows for the ‘oneness of god’ to include more, and less, than the ‘Holy Trinity’.


Post-structuralism; Trinity; The Brand New Testament; Deconstruction; Faith; Belief; Theology; Philosophy of religion


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