About The Book


Love is Overflowing CoverRichard of St. Victor is renowned for his unique approach to understanding the Trinity by means of the analogy of love. Love by definition requires one to whom it is given, and thus if God is to have the fullness of love- or more accurately, to simply be the perfection of love- then there must be someone to whom God can give the fullness of his love. Yet who but a divine person could receive the fullness of God’s love?

Under this figure Richard crafts a rigorous argument for the necessity of three divine persons in the one substance of God, an argument which does not cite scriptural references or proceed from creedal pronouncements but rather sees just how far experience and reason can go into plumbing the depths of the mystery of God’s eternal being.

For Richard of St. Victor, loving God cannot occur without knowing God. Theology is not a stuffy exercise of the intellect but is the overture of a heart aflame with love. Doctrine is indispensable, and the Scriptures are the Word of God, but for Richard the mind simply cannot be content to assent to that which it cannot hope to obtain. If loving God means leaving the mind out in the cold bereft of understanding, then the very doctrines which form the ground of faith are ultimately of no value.

Richard thus pursues an utterly practical and holistic theology which takes seriously every avenue of human knowledge, in full confidence that the consonance between each approach to reality is, in the final analysis, absolutely harmonious.

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Love is Overflowing closely follows the argument from love for the necessity of the Trinity that Richard of St. Victor presents in his masterpiece De Trinitate. Yet Love is Overflowing does not seek to be a running commentary nor a modern paraphrase, although there are certainly elements of both throughout.

Rather, since De Trinitate is a rather short work and tightly woven together, the reader has the fascinating ability to follow a great mind as it reasons from the most common of life experiences to the most lofty of theological propositions. Far more articulate scholars can articulate the historical context of Richard’s thought and trace its themes to other sources and inspirations, and while those types of works are of immense interest, this present work is less concerned with the ‘what’ of Richard’s argument and more with the ‘why.’ The journey and struggle of the mind is on full display, and it is in the wrestling and questioning and turning back upon itself to find new paths forward that a great drama is unfolded, for this is a struggle that we all share in one way or another.

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My hope is that the full strength of Richard of St. Victor’s intellect and ardor for knowing God finds some resonance in the reader, perhaps propelling him or her into a deeper longing to know God and enter deeper into the unfathomable mystery of God’s love.

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