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Document Details :
Title: Henry of Ghent on Real Relations and the Trinity
Subtitle: The Case for Numerical Sameness without Identity
Author(s): WILLIAMS, Scott M.
Journal: Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Volume: 79 Issue: 1 Date: 2012
I argue that there is a hitherto unrecognized connection between Henry of Ghent’s general theory of real relations and his Trinitarian theology, namely the notion of numerical sameness without identity. A real relation (relatio) is numerically the same thing (res) as its absolute (non-relative) foundation, without being identical to its foundation. This not only holds for creaturely real relations but also for the divine persons’ distinguishing real relations. A divine person who is constituted by a real relation (relatio) and the divine essence is numerically the same thing (res) as the divine essence without being identical to it. Further, I compare Mark Henninger’s and Jos Decorte’s interpretations of Henry’s general theory of real relations and show that Henninger’s is to be preferred and how it is consistent with my interpretation. I argue that the difficulty with Decorte’s interpretation stems, in part, from his misrepresentation of Henry’s Trinitarian theology. Subsequently, I fill in some missing pieces to Decorte’s presentation of Henry’s Trinitarian theology, and this in turn shows why Henninger’s interpretation in conjunction with mine is to be preferred.