Temporality and Trinity

Temporality and Trinity

Temporality and Trinity

Temporality and Trinity


Temporality and Trinity argues that there is deep homology between the roles of temporal problematic in Augustine's On Trinity and Heidegger's Being and Time.Although Heidegger was aware of On Trinity, the claim is not that he writes under its influence. Rather, Manchester moves from the temporal problematic of Being and Time to the psychological explication of the human image of God in On Trinity, schematized as memory, understanding, and will. Formaland phenomenological parallels allow interpretation of that psychological triad as a temporal problematic in the manner of Being and Time. In a sense, this is to read Augustine as influenced by Heidegger.But the aim is more constructive than that. Establishing a link between trinitarian theology and Being and Time opens a more direct way of benefiting from it in theology than Heidegger's own assumptions. It puts philosophy in a position to confront New Testament theology directly, in its ownhistoricality, without digression into anything like philosophy of religion.


Heidegger in BEING AND TIME positions himself in theology expertly, and often profoundly. It is no longer out of the question to look for theological implications in the Heidegger of that period. But it has not yet been widely recognized that the ecstatic-horizonal temporality of chapters 3 and 4 of the second division, which “arrives at the last minute” as Theodore Kisiel puts it, has a theological background, and its particular dogmatic context has hardly been noticed at all.

That background is Augustine’s treatise On Trinity. More precisely, it is the structure of its temporal problematic, which is trinitarian. As early as Confessions, Augustine had an ecstatic understanding of memory (his way of addressing having-been-ness). But in On Trinity, an ecstatic experience of the future, of freedom, of will (voluntas, the voluntary) not only becomes thematic, but also takes on a leading role in the structure or pattern of unity of the phenomenological threesome itself (memoria, intelligentia, voluntas), which has far-reaching implications for the ontologies of human being-toward-God and divine being-towardcreation, above all toward the human within creation.

To put the future in the first place so decisively is Augustine’s way of responding to the apocalyptic character of revelation in the New Testament, and in particular to Paul’s vision of the apocalyptic (1 Cor. 15): “in an instant” (en atomô), “in the twinkling of an eye” (en ripê ophthalmou) “we shall all transform” (taking allagêsometha to be middle

1. Theodore Kisiel, The Genesis of Heidegger’s Being and Time, University of California Press, 1993, 7.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.