Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
P. Travis Kroeker
This thesis offers a close reading of Augustine's De Trinitate that is aimed at addressing the vexed question of the unity of the work. The most influential 20th century interpretation of De Trinitate holds that Augustine moves from a theological examination of the nature of the Trinity based on scripture to a philosophical investigation based on the structure of the human mind. This interpretation has led to the misconceptions that Augustine espouses a form of natural theology and separates theological doctrine from the concerns of the practical life. This thesis shows that De Trinitate is unified around the methodological rule that only the mind that loves God is capable of knowing him. This means, first, that Augustine's procedure is improperly characterized as natural theology; and, second, that, in making love a prerequisite for, and means to, knowledge of God, the ethical question of the ordering of love is inseparable from doctrinal concerns. This thesis shows that De Trinitate offers a coherent and compelling moral ontology in which the perceived tensions in Augustine's theology of love can be reconciled.
Westerholm, Martin, "Love and the Knowledge of God in Augustine's De Trinitate" (2009). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4557.
McMaster University Library