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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 60, Issue 1, March 2020

Alexander Earl
Pages 37-55

Lovable and Love and Love of Himself
Intimations of Trinitarian Theology in the Metaphysics of Plotinus

Current trends in scholarship—epitomized in the works of, inter alia, Lewis Ayres, Adrian Pabst, and Rowan Williams—argue for a metaphysics of relationality at the heart of Christian thought that is at its root Platonic. This metaphysic is in turn typified by its commitment to divine simplicity and its corresponding apophatic grammar, which serve as useful points of contact with Plotinus’s own thought. Examination of key texts in Plotinus’s Enneads demonstrates a shared trinitarian grammar when speaking about the first principle. These connections prompt a need to articulate trinitarian dogma as an important step in the history of philosophy, and not just theology, especially for resolving the perennial problem of the one and the many. This “Christian Platonism” has been in a necessary process of recovery and re-articulation, of which the above is put forward as a contribution.

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