When Aristotle speaks of theologikê, he means not the study of a single God, but the study of gods and divine things in general. He never uses the phrase “the unmoved mover” to pick out just one being (or even to pick out the many movers of the heavenly spheres), and that phrase would not express the essence of the beings it applies to. To see what sort of religious interest there might be in such a being, and how the words “god” and “divine” enter into Aristotle's philosophy, it is best to start with what he says about gods and divine things in moral and political contexts. Guided by his criticisms of Plato on the soul's self-motion, Aristotle sets out, in Physics VIII, to give a revised version of Plato's cosmotheological argument in Laws X. This article focuses on Aristotle's theology and his views about gods, the soul, the cosmos, heavens and heavenly bodies, and the first principle or first cause.
Recent work by analytic philosophers on the Trinity takes a mysterious 5th-century document as its starting point, accepting widespread but inaccurate narratives about the history of Trinity theories. This article summarizes the Platonic influence on ancient theologies and describes the rise of transcendent triads, and eventually the idea of a tripersonal God. Recent Trinity theories (positive mysterianism, Trinity monotheism, relative-identity approaches, and “social” theories) are explained as built to respond in various ways to a type of anti-trinitarian argument. But since each recent application of logic and metaphysics to the theology of the Trinity is problematic, it is argued that another look at the minority unitarian report is warranted.
T. M. Robinson
If in the context of early and classical Greek thought, the term “theology” is taken to mean “of God/gods/the gods and his/their putative relationship, causal and directive, to the world and its operations, and to ourselves within that world,” or something of that order, the first ascription of such a notion to a Presocratic philosopher is to be found in Aristotle's comment that “Thales thought that all things are full of gods”. The Presocratic period ends with no neat causal sequence. If one train of thinking was moving in the direction of a divinely guided, teleologically explicable universe, another was moving in exactly the opposite direction. For the atomists Democritus and Leucippus, the ever-changing universe is an infinity of space in which, across eternity, chance agglomerations of ever-moving atoms produce and will forever go on producing those contents of the universe that we call realities, from gazelles to galaxies.