Philosophy and the Trinity

Richard Cross

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195379488
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Philosophy and the Trinity

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The Christian doctrine of the Trinity raises some formidable philosophical problems. The most well known can be expressed in the following mysterious bit of theological arithmetic: there are three divine persons, Father, Son and Spirit; each person is God; but there is only one God. This article argues that medieval views of the Trinity attempt to show how the tools of metaphysics can be imported to the world of theology with minimal need for adaptation and thus provide cases in which thinkers attempt to provide metaphysical theories of maximal generality. In the case of Duns Scotus, some of the metaphysical distinctions are worked out most fully in the case of the Trinity.

Keywords: Augustine; metaphysics; theology; Duns Scotus; sameness; Trinity identity; Christian doctrine; one God

Article.  13678 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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