American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 95, Issue 4, Fall 2021

Dennis Bray
Pages 617-650

Bonaventure’s I Sentence Argument for the Trinity from Beatitude

Bonaventure’s Sentence Commentary provides the most comprehensive set of trinitarian arguments to date. This article focuses on just one of them, the one from beatitude. Roughly, beatitude can be thought of as God’s enjoyment of his own, supreme goodness. After a brief rationale of Bonaventure’s speculative project, I assay the concept of beatitude and exposit his four-stage argument. Bonaventure reasons: (i) for a single supreme substance; (ii) for at least two divine persons; (iii) against the possibility for an infinite number of divine persons; (iv) for at least three, and against the possibility of four (or more) divine persons. I show how this line of reasoning is significantly more complex than Bonaventure’s terse summaries initially indicate. My main goal is to explicate the four steps and unpack their main support. Along the way I attend to the argument’s sources, logical progression, and I respond to several concerns.

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