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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In opposition to Aquinas, Scotus takes God's infinity, not His simplicity, as the starting point for his account of the Trinity, infinity being characteristic not only of God but also of his attributes. The names we apply to God and creatures are univocal, and as applied to God they name several distinct attributes. He rejects Aquinas's double-aspect account of the divine relations as self-contradictory. He sides with Albert, not Bonaventure, in holding that abstraction is irreflexive. The Persons, while really identical with the divine essence, differ from it by a formal distinction which is prior to any act of the understanding. Scotus considered abandoning the traditional relational account of the Persons in favour of a nonrelational account, but in the end did not do so. On his account there is one substance (God), and formally there are 7 non-substances (divinity, 3 Persons and 3 Personal properties), and 2 additional non-substances for each of the divine attributes (e.g. the perfectly good and perfect goodness). The Persons are interconnected as correlatives. Abstract and concrete are always formally distinct. The divine attributes are formally distinct from God.

Keywords: Abstract; Aquinas; Attributes; Categories; Essence; Formal distinction; Infinity; Person; Relation; Simplicity

Chapter.  6475 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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