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Hegel and Christian TheologyA Reading of the Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion$
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Peter C. Hodgson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199273618.001.0001

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Trinity: God as Absolute Spirit

Trinity: God as Absolute Spirit

(p.127) 6 Trinity: God as Absolute Spirit
Hegel and Christian Theology

Peter C. Hodgson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The specifically Christian idea of God is as absolute spirit, which means that the divine life takes on a trinitarian structure: immediacy or self-identity, self-differentiation or positing of otherness, and self-return or consummation. This is the life-process of spirit itself. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity articulates this insight in representational language that introduces numbers (three-in-one) and persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). In Hegel’s speculative reconstruction, God is to be understood not as three persons but as infinite personality or subjectivity, which constitutes distinctions within itself but suspends these distinctions and remains in unity with itself. Life, love, and friendship all exhibit this dialectical structure. Traces and anticipations of the Trinity are to be found in everything and everywhere—an insight grasped by a heterodox tradition going back to Pythagoreans, Neoplatonists, Gnostics, and German mystics such as Boehme.

Keywords:   absolute spirit, Trinity, Father-Son-Spirit, personality, life, love, friendship, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Boehme

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