The Concept of Personhood

Paul M. Collins

in Trinitarian Theology: West and East

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780198270324
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683985 | DOI:
The Concept of Personhood

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The different concepts of relationality that may be applied to the Godhead imply differing understandings of the concept of divine personhood. The notion of an event of communion that we are using as a controlling theological concept by which to analyse and interpret Karl Barth's notion of the triune Godhead in the Church Dogmatics is used by John Zizioulas to encapsulate the understanding of the divine personhood and relationality in the tradition of Byzantine Orthodoxy, which is to be traced to the Cappadocian fathers. This chapter examines two different models of divine relationality: first, the relationship between the Godhead and the creation, in particular the human creature, and second, any relationship that may be said to exist within the Godhead itself. These two models of divine relationality are by no means mutually exclusive. Indeed, it might be argued that any inner divine relationality almost necessitates an outer relationship with something other than the divine. When either of these two models of relationality is taken to an extreme, however, the implications for divine personhood are considerable.

Keywords: Church Dogmatics; Karl Barth; divine personhood; divine relationality; Godhead; communion; creation; divine; John Zizioulas

Chapter.  23192 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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