Book Series Mediaeval Sources in Translation, vol. 42

Peter Lombard

The Sentences - Book 1:

The Mystery of the Trinity

  • Pages: 278 p.
  • Size:150 x 230 mm
  • Language(s):English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2007

  • ISBN: 978-0-88844-292-5
  • Paperback
  • Available


Peter Lombard’s major work, the four books of the Sentences, was written in the mid twelfth century, and as early as the 1160s, the text was glossed and commented on in the schools. There is hardly a theologian of note throughout the rest of the Middle Ages who did not write a commentary on the Sentences. Yet in spite of its importance in Western intellectual history and its capacity to excite many generations of students and teachers, the Sentences has received little attention in more recent times. Indeed, it has been called ‘one of the least read of the world’s great books’.


This volume makes available for the first time in English a full translation of Book 1 of the Sentences. It consists of forty-eight Distinctions, the bulk of which deal with God in his transcendence and with the mystery of the Trinity. The person of God the Father is the topic in Distinction iv, that of God the Son in v-ix, that of God the Holy Spirit in x-xviii. Distinctions xix-xxxiv are deeply concerned with the language that can be used in describing the Trinity and the relations among the divine persons. The remaining distinctions deal with the divine attributes as they become manifest in God’s action towards creatures. An important concern is the preservation of God’s sovereign freedom and the avoidance of any confusion regarding the absolute transcendence of God, despite his graceful self-disclosure in creation and revelation.


The volume contains an introduction to Peter and to the Sentences and its first book, a list of the major chapter headings, and a bibliography.