18 Facts About Apophatic theology


Apophatic theology tradition is often, though not always, allied with the approach of mysticism, which aims at the vision of God, the perception of the divine reality beyond the realm of ordinary perception.

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Apophatic theology took it from Plato's writings, identifying the Good of the Republic, as the cause of the other Forms, with the One of the first hypothesis of the second part of the Parmenides.

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Apophatic theology's conception of an ineffable God is a synthesis of Plato and Philo, as seen from a Biblical perspective.

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Apophatic theology is presented to our minds in His transcendent greatness, as at once known and unknown.

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Apophatic theology found its most influential expression in the works of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a student of Proclus who combined a Christian worldview with Neo-Platonic ideas.

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Apophatic theology is a constant factor in the contemplative tradition of the eastern Orthodox Churches, and from the 9th century onwards his writings had a strong impact on western mysticism.

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Lossky argues, based on his reading of Dionysius and Maximus Confessor, that positive Apophatic theology is always inferior to negative Apophatic theology, which is a step along the way to the superior knowledge attained by negation.

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Negative Apophatic theology has a place in the Western Christian tradition as well.

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Apophatic theology is using apophatic language to emphasise that God is "other".

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Apophatic theology goes on to say we must then refill our minds with the truth about God, untainted by mythology, bad analogies or false mind-pictures.

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Philosopher and literary scholar William Franke, particularly in his 2007 two-volume collection On What Cannot Be Said and his 2014 monograph A Philosophy of the Unsayable, puts forth that negative Apophatic theology's exploration and performance of language's limitations is not simply one current among many in religious thought, but is "a kind of perennial counter-philosophy to the philosophy of Logos" that persistently challenges central tenets of Western thought throughout its history.

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For Franke, literature demonstrates the "infinitely open" nature of language which negative Apophatic theology and related forms of philosophical thought seek to draw attention to.

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Franke therefore argues that literature, philosophy, and theology begin to bleed into one another as they approach what he frames as the "apophatic" side of Western thought.

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Conversely, the perception that deconstruction resembled or essentially was a form of secular negative Apophatic theology - according to Derrida himself - took the form of an accusation from his critics, implicitly positing both negative Apophatic theology and deconstruction as being elaborate ways of saying nothing of any substance or importance.

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Derrida's thought in general, but in particular his later writing on negative Apophatic theology, was highly influential in the development of the Weak Theology movement, and of postmodern Apophatic theology as a whole.

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An expression of negative Apophatic theology is found in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, where Brahman is described as "neti neti" or "neither this, nor that".

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Apophatic theology assertions are an important feature of Mahayana sutras, especially the prajnaparamita genre.

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Apophatic theology is often accused of being a version of atheism or agnosticism, since it cannot say truly that God exists.

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