Gilbert of Poitiers

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

Gilbert of Poitiers

Show Summary Details


As a commentator on Boethius's theological treatises, Gilbert of Poitiers elaborated an original ontology which formed the basis for several novel positions regarding the Trinity. In Gilbert's ontology, concrete subsistents (things that are) are distinguished from abstract subsistences (that in them, by which they are). Subsistences may also be accompanied by accidents. In the created world, things that are really distinct are also substantially distinct, e.g. distinct human subsistents have distinct subsistences by virtue of which they are what they are. But this principle does not hold in the Godhead, where the distinct Persons are what they are by virtue of a sing subsistence. Gilbert held that God was distinct from divinity, and the Persons were distinct from the relational Properties which characterised each one of them. Gilbert's novel ideas, like those of Abelard, attracted censure from Bernard and others. Gilbert agrees with Augustine that there is only one substance in the Godhead, (namely God, the divinely great etc), and that the Persons are interconnected as correlatives. However, he holds that divinity, divine greatness etc are distinct from God and the divinely great. The Personal properties are also distinct from the Persons.

Keywords: Abstract; Bernard; Boethius; Divinity; Properties; Simplicity; Subsistences; Subsistents; Substantial

Chapter.  5586 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.