Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Richard of Saint Victor deliberately constructs his treatise De Trinitate with trinitarian structures to sustain the hearts and shape the minds of his readers with the contemplation of the Trinity. His work fits within a genre of writing in the Middle Ages where the formation of the theological apprentice was at the heart of crafting one’s theological work. The dissertation consists of three sections: Section I, “Introduction & Background,” establishes the context for the thesis. Chapter one fits Richard’s De Trinitate within the theological heritage of Augustine and Anselm of Canterbury. Chapter two describes aspects of the liturgical and educational dimensions of life at the abbey of St. Victor and the formative chronology of Richard’s works culminating with De Trinitate. Chapter three provides a taxonomy of Richard's religious epistemology and describes his use of ‘ratio’ in trinitarian contemplation. Section II, “Articulating the Trinity ‘Trinitarianly’ for the Formation of Souls,” argues the main thesis. Chapter four argues for the structural dimension of the thesis, showing Richard’s widespread and intricate use of trinitarian patterns to organize his arguments. Chapter five demonstrates how Richard used these patterns to shape the trinitarian consciousness of his readers and consummate trinitarian love within his community. Section III takes up objections to the thesis and provides a fitting conclusion. Chapter six describes and responds to potential objections, concluding that neither forms of meditative practice in the 12th century nor borrowing paradigms from theological predecessors accounts for the trinitarian structuring of De Trinitate. The dissertation then closes with a summary of the important discoveries and a meditative reflection on the craftsmanship and artistry of Richard as a “constructive theologian.”

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.