According to the doctrine of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Spirit are supposed to be distinct from each other, and yet be one and the same God. As if that were not perplexing enough, there is also supposed to be an internal process of production that gives rise to the Son and Spirit: the Son is said to be 'begotten' by the Father, while the Spirit is said to 'proceed' either from the Father and the Son together, or from the Father, but through the Son.
One might wonder, though, just how this sort of divine production is supposed to work. Does the Father, for instance, fashion the Son out of materials, or does he conjure up the Son out of nothing? Is there a middle ground one could take here, or is the whole idea of divine production simply unintelligible?
In the late 13th and early 14th centuries, scholastic theologians subjected these questions to detailed philosophical analysis, and those discussions make up one of the most important, and one of the most neglected, aspects of late medieval trinitarian theology. This book examines the central ideas and arguments that defined this debate, namely those of Henry of Ghent, John Duns Scotus, and William Ockham. Their discussions are significant not only for the history of trinitarian theology, but also for the history of philosophy, especially regarding the notions of production and causal powers.
this slim but clearly written and often insightful book builds upon the work of Richard Cross. ... Whatever one might think about the utility of Trinitarian metaphysics and the dawn of modern science that gave us acute observation and experimentation, this book attests to the sheer joy of the schoolmen in pure, abstract thought, a joy reflected in the author's sure handling of his presentation. * Gerald Christianson, Journal of Ecclesiastical History *
This is a focussed, well-written, and informative book, detailing a one-way discussion between three of the greatest medieval thinkers. ... Paasch's book is a real step forward in understanding later-medieval trinitarian theology, and the Aristotelian philosophy that forms one of its foundations. This is good news both for historians of medieval thought and for contemporary systematic theologians interested in trinitarian theology. * Russell L. Friedman, The Expository Times *
Part I: How a Divine Person is Produced
2: Change and Production
3: Henry of Ghent
4: Scotus against Henry
5: Scotus on the Son's Production
6: Ockham against Scotus
7: Ockham against Henry
Part II: How a Divine Person is a Producer
8: Action and Producers
9: Henry of Ghent on Powers
10: Henry of Ghent on Powers in the Godhead
11: Scotus against Henry
12: Scotus on Power and Perfection
13: Ockham against Henry
14: Ockham on the Source of Divine Production