The concept of relation is one of the most subtle notions in metaphysics, but also one of the most important for Christian theology, especially because of its use for the understanding of the Trinity and Creation. The goal of this course, then, is to follow the various lines of development of the notion through the history of philosophy, with a special focus on the synthesis of Thomas Aquinas, in order to understand how and why this notion has played such a fundamental role in the history of Occidental Thought.
We will start the study of the relation with some key texts of Plato and Aristotle. Then, we will study how the theologians of Antiquity exploited those philosophical sources, especially Augustine and Boethius. We will then center our study on some key texts taken from the major works of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas, who both exploited the notion of relation as a key element of a united and well-structured description of their theological thought. We will conclude this course with a detailed study of the modern thought about relations, in philosophical and in theological contexts: relational philosophy, process philosophy, theology of communio, trinitarian ontologies, etc.