I will address some of the broader issues relating to method and traditional theological readings in another post—I don’t want my approach to be understood as anti-trinitarian; I don’t think it is, fundamentally, anti-trinitarian.
I am saying to myself the same thing as you as I read your - in my thinking, very helpful - posts on this topic, but in a context of being in relationship with my Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Unitarian friends.
The question that comes to my mind, if we are to keep the narrative-historical reading of scripture as the reading that is most faithful to the text, what right did anyone subsequent to this context have in imposing another framework on it and therefore arrive at understanding(s) that fundamentally take us away from these scriptures’ focus, whether Arius or Athanasius? Could they have just answered “We don’t do Greek Philosphy; this is different.”
I see it in the interaction between commenters like Jaco over Cherylu and JT from previous posts. As long as later theological reflection holds precedence over the text, and the questions brought to the text are, for example, “what is Jesus made of so that he can do the work of atonement;” or, “what is he made of so that we can explain incarnation,” don’t these questions obscure what the scriptures want to tell us and where they want to move us, and more fundamentally, what we really do need to believe to enter into this redemptive stream of history?
When Jesus tells me “You will know them by their fruits,” and, “Those who do the will of the Father will enter the Kingdom,” I am at a loss to see how Orthodoxy will ever make it, especially as I see it in relationship to others actually bearing the kind of fruit Jesus requires, but residing outside of it. I actually wonder most times if Servetus isn’t with Jesus, and Calvin isn’t in hell (just using the familiar understanding to make the contrast).
I am not “anti-Trinitarian.” When I am with my Muslim friends, I realize I cannot have the kind of reaction they do to the doctrine. However, the pressing issue for me in my context has been: has the church and its “orthodoxy” actually kept those outside it from seeing where our revelation focuses, because they have real concerns about the doctrine arising out of the kind of history that produced it?
All in all, I am very interested in how you’ve done your “project” Andrew, for very important reasons. The prophetic voices of the church have been constantly squelched in history, sometimes in very violent ways - ways that don’t show that Orthodoxy knows what Jesus is even about (to be fair, if any other entity had power it would probably do the same). However, I do wonder what “council” you would have to justify yourself before if the circumstances in which you and I live were like those of Christendom when it had the power to enforce creedal assent.