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difference in number among those in the same species is caused by difference in accidents. But there are no accidents in God, since God is pure form without admixture of matter and it is matter that is the substrate of accidents. Like Augustine, Boethius locates the Trinitarian distinctions within the category of relation.

His central argument for why the order of relations within the Trinity does not constitute difference depends on a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic predication. Relation is considered as an extrinsic predication that applies to a comparison between two things without affecting the substance of what is compared: 'It cannot therefore be affirmed that predication of relationship by itself adds or takes away or changes anything in the thing of which it is said.'40 Moreover, he observes, predications of relations apply not only to things that are unlike, such as master-slave, but also to things that are like each other.

At the end of such technical rational manoeuvring, Boethius is nevertheless compelled to conclude on an apophatic note. The likeness between the Trinitarian persons is altogether unique 'because of the otherness natural to all perishable, transitory objects'.41 The human effort to come to some understanding of this transcendent reality involves abstracting from all material images. Boethius' approach is one that focuses on the logical apparatus by which the substance of Trinitarian doctrine can be formulated. His contribution lies in his analysis of key terms that had developed to express this doctrine, such as substance, relation and person, the last famously defined by him as an 'individual substance of a rational nature'.42 Boethius' reflections on Trinitarian relations, which by later standards seem to involve a lack of integration between the categories of'relation' and 'substance', came to be completed and complemented by Aquinas' understanding of the divine persons as 'subsistent relations'.43

The Trinity and the 'Christological' controversies

The distinction between 'Trinitarian theology' and 'Christology' is a relatively modern phenomenon. Within the framework of this distinction, it is customary to speak of the 'Trinitarian controversies' of the fourth century and the 'Christological controversies' of the fifth and sixth centuries. This distinction

40 Boethius, De Trin. 5.17-9; trans. Stewart et al., 27.

41 Boethius, De Trin. 6.22-4; trans. Stewart et al., 31.

42 Boethius, Contra Eutychen 3; trans. Stewart et al., Boethius, 85.

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