Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Joel P. Okamoto

Scripture References in this Resource

John 1:1; Hebrews 4:15; Revelation 22:13


Vinzant, Carey B. “Made in each Other: John Scottus Eriugena’s Conception of the Human Person as a Unifying Vocabulary for Trinitarian Metanarrative and Anti-Cartesian Phenomenology.” Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2010. 260 pp.

This study sets forth an account of the human person, drawn primarily from the thought of John Scottus Eriugena, which integrates the metaphysical account of personhood set forth by Trinitarian theology (especially John Zizioulas) with the phenomenological one set forth by certain Anti-Cartesian philosophers (especially John Macmurray, Martin Buber, and Gabriel Marcel). These two schools of thought have in common the conviction that uniqueness and relation to other persons are constitutive of the human person, but this study seeks to provide further common ground for more effective dialogue between them.

Part 1 addresses Eriugena’s use of his patristic sources, especially Augustine, Maximus the Confessor, Gregory of Nyssa, and the pseudo-Dionysius. Chapter One addresses the themes of Trinity, Christology, Eschatology, and Apophaticism as ways to clarify Eriugena’s relation to Christian orthodoxy. Chapter Two addresses the concept of humanity as created in the Image of the Trinity, an idea Eriugena appropriated from Augustine, and suggests ways in which this concept is useful for developing an account of the human person.

Part 2 considers Eriugena’s discussions of what can be known about a human person as raising the question of personal identity. Chapter 3 examines Eriugena’s conception of the human person as an integrated simultaneity of the animal nature (biological embodiedness) and the divine image (personhood), emphasizing the dynamic nature of this integration, the ambiguities introduced by this dynamism, and the significance of these two aspects of the human person. Chapter 4 sets forth Eriugena’s conception of self-awareness and the limits thereof with special emphasis upon his debt to Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and Maximus Confessor. Chapter 5 examines Eriugena’s general epistemology, recognizing that it also emerges in his views of language and theological method. Eriugena’s debt to Augustine, Maximus, Gregory of Nyssa, and the pseudo-Denis in these areas is also considered. Chapter 6 examines the fundamentally interpretive character of Eriugena’s eschatology as an indication of his broader epistemology and the centrality of epistemic responsibility in his thought.

Part 3 develops the ideas of interpersonal encounter, perichoresis, and intersubjectivity as ways in which Eriugena addresses the questions about human identity that have emerged in Part 2. Chapter 7 develops the idea of interpersonal encounter in the contexts of the relation between the moral and the interpersonal, and of the relation of the human person to God in light of the thought of Buber, Macmurray, and Paul Tournier. Chapter 8 examines Eriugena’s eschatology with special emphasis upon the point that it is perichoretic rather than monistic in character. Chapter 9 examines Eriugena’s conception of theosis as divergent from much of the Christian mystical tradition and more consonant with the modern notion of intersubjectivity, especially as it emerges in the thought of Gabriel Marcel and Mikhail Bakhtin.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.