Medieval Trinitarian Thought from Aquinas to Ockham

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How can the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be distinct and yet identical? Prompted by the doctrine of the divine Trinity, this question sparked centuries of lively debate. In the current context of renewed interest in Trinitarian theology, Russell L. Friedman provides the first survey of the scholastic discussion of the Trinity in the 100-year period stretching from Thomas Aquinas' earliest works to William Ockham's death. Tracing two central issues - the attempt to explain how the three persons are distinct from each other but identical as God, and the application to the Trinity of a 'psychological model', on which the Son is a mental word or concept, and the Holy Spirit is love - this volume offers a broad overview of Trinitarian thought in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, along with focused studies of the Trinitarian ideas of many of the period's most important theologians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This brilliant book uncovers a key phase in the history of Trinitarian doctrine, from ca. 1250 to 1350. It discusses a number of thinkers whose works have remained largely unknown outside of a small group of specialists, and in doing so dispels the view that there was no significant Trinitarian development after Bonaventure, Aquinas and Duns Scotus. Friedman combines outstanding scholarly knowledge of primary texts with utmost readability, revealing the extraordinary diversity, coherence, and vitality of later-medieval theology of the Trinity. This book is a marvellous achievement, and essential reading for anybody who has an interest in Trinitarian theology.' Rik Van Nieuwenhove, University of Limerick
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521117142
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2010
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Russell L. Friedman is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

List of symbols, abbreviations, and conventions vii

Introduction 1

1 The Trinity and the Aristotelian categories: different ways of explaining identity and distinction 5

Background, and the relation account 6

The emanation account and the foundations of the trinitarian traditions 15

Emerging trinitarian traditions in the late thirteenth century: the case of John Pecham 30

Henry of Ghent and the rejection of the relation account 45

2 The Trinity and human psychology: "In the beginning was the Word" 50

The psychological model of the Trinity and its proper interpretation 52

Concept theory and trinitarian theology 75

3 The Trinity and metaphysics: the formal distinction, divine simplicity, and the psychological model 94

The divine attributes, the search for simplicity, and the possibility of trinitarian explanation 94

Peter Auriol 113

Francis of Marchia 120

William Ockham 124

4 The Trinity, divine simplicity, and fideism-or: was Gilson right about the fourteenth century after all? 133

Fideism, Praepositinianism, and the debate over personal constitution 133

Walter Chatton 146

Robert Holcot 155

Gregory of Rimini 158

Appendix: major elements in Franciscan and Dominican trinitarian theologies 171

Bibliography of primary sources 174

Annotated bibliography of selected secondary literature 178

Index 187

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