How can the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be distinct and yet identical? Prompted by the doctrine of the divine Trinity, this question sparked centuries of lively debate. In the current context of renewed interest in Trinitarian theology, Russell L. Friedman provides the first survey of the scholastic discussion of the Trinity in the 100-year period stretching from Thomas Aquinas' earliest works to William Ockham's death. Tracing two central issues - the attempt to explain how the three persons are distinct from each other but identical as God, and the application to the Trinity of a 'psychological model', on which the Son is a mental word or concept, and the Holy Spirit is love - this volume offers a broad overview of Trinitarian thought in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, along with focused studies of the Trinitarian ideas of many of the period's most important theologians.
Review of the hardback: 'This brilliant book uncovers a key phase in the history of Trinitarian doctrine, from ca. 1250 to 1350. It discusses a number of thinkers whose works have remained largely unknown outside of a small group of specialists, and in doing so dispels the view that there was no significant Trinitarian development after Bonaventure, Aquinas and Duns Scotus. Friedman combines outstanding scholarly knowledge of primary texts with utmost readability, revealing the extraordinary diversity, coherence, and vitality of later-medieval theology of the Trinity. This book is a marvellous achievement, and essential reading for anybody who has an interest in Trinitarian theology.' Rik Van Nieuwenhove, University of Limerick Review of the hardback: 'With his clear presentation of background philosophical categories and his selection of texts from well-known and, happily, not so well-known theologians, Friedman has achieved a three-fold project ... To have achieved each of these projects in so short a volume reveals the author's acumen and expertise. To have done so in such a readable style reveals his pedagogical gifts. The volume is suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Complete with a helpful appendix, bibliographies ... and index.' Mary-Beth Ingham, Heythrop Journal Review of the hardback: 'In this highly specialized yet decidedly accessible work, Friedman ... provides an overview of Trinitarian thought in the Latin West during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries ... For those interested in learning about or deepening their understanding of later-medieval Trinitarian thought, this is a crucial resource ... Summing up: essential. [4 stars].' F. A. Grabowski, Choice Review of the hardback: 'Russell Friedman has succeeded in writing a book on an abstruse area of medieval scholastic theology that is at once sophisticated and user-friendly ... [He] does the introductory reader to the field a double service in creating an extremely readable account and in introducing one to an incredible spectrum of opinions on Trinitarian theology during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.' Jonathan Warren, Reviews in Religion and Theology Review of the hardback: 'It is hardly possible to imagine a book that could better lead its reader to the very heart of medieval culture than Russell Friedman's study ... The book is a perfect starting point for any reader interested in how medieval theologians coped with the most difficult conceptual problems, using not only theological but also metaphysical, logical, and psychological analyses.' Pekka Karkkainen, Speculum '... a welcome addition to academic discourse exploring medieval theologians' understanding ... clear and concise when dealing with complex ideas and intricate arguments ... includes an appendix ... The book delivers a detailed exposition of the different ways the two schools of thought approach the construction of the doctrine of the Trinity and the roles which 'the psychological model', 'opposed relation' and the interplay of faith and reason have in the development of these constructions ... the reader is provided with a detailed analysis of these different 'takes' on Trinitarian doctrine.' Paul M. Collins, Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology