Paul Thom

in The Logic of the Trinity

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823234769
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823240746 | DOI:

Series: Medieval Philosophy: Texts and Studies


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Abelard introduced a distinction between sameness or difference in essence and sameness or difference in definition. He distinguishes two types of identity statements, depending on whether they express an identity of essence or an identity of property. The divine Persons differ from one another, not essentially, but in their Properties. The personal properties are identified with the divine attributes of power, discernment and bounteousness. This enables Abelard to give a non-relational account of the Trinity, whereby the distinction of the Persons is based on the distinction between three divine attributes. However, because divine simplicity requires that the divine attributes be identical with God, Abelard's account seems to be internally inconsistent. It also appeared to Bernard and others to be in conflict with Church doctrine, and as a result Abelard was censured by ecclesiastical authorities. In Abelard's model of the Trinity there is just one substance (God, divinity) and 6 nonsubstances (the 3 Persons and their 3 distinctive properties).

Keywords: Attributes; Bernard; Difference; Matter; Properties; Relations; Sameness; Simplicity; Three Gods

Chapter.  6052 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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