chapter  6
46 Pages

Appendix 6 Person and God-image

I want to set this chapter in the context of the vision of the three ages of the Calabrian abbot Joachim of Fiore (ca. 1132-1202). This vision presents us with an understanding of Christianity as a religion that is inherently destined to go through radical transformations. For this reason it influenced many radical minds, from the Franciscan vision of an ‘ecclesia spiritualis’ (see Benz 1934), to the idea of the ‘friendship with God’ in German mysticism, the reformation and revolutionary social and political movements, and the philosophies of Hegel and Schelling. For Jung and Berdyaev, too, it provides a template for their creative appropriation of Christian symbols. The Trinity, according to Joachim ‘manifests itself progressively in three successive periods of the history of salvation’ (ibid: 37): those of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Joachim writes that

in the first period learning prevails, in the second one partly completed wisdom, but in the third one the fullness of knowledge . . . The first one has the servitude of slaves; the second one the servitude of sons; the third one will bring freedom.