Richard of St. Victor’s argument from love and contemporary analytic theology of the Trinity

Dennis Bray*

*Corresponding author for this work

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In his De Trinitate (c.1170) Richard of St Victor gives one of the more intriguing examples of trinitarian philosophical theology. Beginning with our common beliefs about and experiences of love, he argues for the existence of three, and only three, divine persons (call this The Argument). My goal in this essay is to explore several points of interaction between The Argument and current discussions in analytic theology of the trinity. In part one I briefly survey Richard’s views on three topics of interest to philosophical trinitarians, namely, the distinction of divine persons, his model of the trinity, and intra-trinitarian love. In part two I look at some work in these areas by analytic thinkers. My intention here is to apply some elements of The Argument and to show how its appeal may go beyond that of social trinitarians. I propose that Richard’s argument cannot receive unqualified adoption by social trinitarians and, alternatively, is more appealing to non-social trinitarians than has thus far been recognized.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalTheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2022


  • Richard of St. Victor
  • Trinity
  • Social Trinitarianism
  • Non-social Trinitarianism


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