Bonds of Love: Augustine, Dionysius, and Aquinas


in Eros Unveiled

Published in print April 1996 | ISBN: 9780198267669
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683336 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Bonds of Love: Augustine, Dionysius, and Aquinas

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St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas were dealing with relationships within the Trinity, and it remains unclear how one should decide whether the bonds or relationships are essential to love within the Trinity; but this much is clear already, that the kind of love which causes bonds of affection should be distinguished from the individual bonds that result. Aquinas, it seems, fails to allow that the inclination to form loving relationships is love; hence he takes over the phrases in Augustine and Dionysius that imply that love is a kind of force that brings about union and bonding, and infers that love is the bond that results from such a force, rather than the cause of that bond. Whether or not Aquinas correctly represents Augustine and Dionysius the Areopagite, it remains to be considered whether love is a helpful notion when applied to the Trinity.

Keywords: St Augustine; St Thomas Aquinas; Trinity; bonds; relationships; union; love; Dionysius the Areopagite

Chapter.  7865 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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