Transcendentality and conversation: on the Trinity and ‘word-exchange’

King-Ho Leung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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This article considers how the notions of ‘word’ and ‘conversation’ can contribute to contemporary developments in theological metaphysics by drawing on Christoph Schwöbel’s ontological rendition of Martin Luther’s theology. By way of reading Schwöbel’s theological ontology of conversation with reference to John Milbank’s theology of the gift, this article shows that Schwöbel’s conception of the Trinity as an eternal ‘conversation’ can be understood as an ontology of ‘word-exchange’ in a fashion similar to Milbank’s account of trinitarian ‘gift-exchange’. Moreover, the article argues that Schwöbel’s Lutheran construal of creation as God’s ‘created words’ (verba creata) can present a transcendental account of ‘word’ or verbum which complements Milbank’s ontology of the gift or donum. By bringing to light these perhaps surprising convergences between Schwöbel’s Lutheran theology of ‘the word’ and Milbank’s Christian Neo-Platonic theology of ‘the gift’, this article highlights some of the often-overlooked metaphysical insights in Luther’s theology of the word, which can contribute not only to ecumenical theological dialogue, but also foster new perspectives and conversations for contemporary developments and discussions in theological metaphysics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-816
Number of pages21
JournalModern Theology
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


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