cataphatic theology with an apophatic approach
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cataphatic theology with an apophatic approach a critique of the spiritualty of Thomas Merton. by Diana Brighouse

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Published .
Written in English


  • Merton, Thomas, -- 1915-1968.

Book details:

Edition Notes

Thesis (M.A.) - King Alfred"s College, 1997.

The Physical Object
Number of Pages89
ID Numbers
Open LibraryOL17187024M

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Apophatic theology, also known as negative theology, [1] is a form of theological thinking and religious practice which attempts to approach God, the Divine, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God. [web 1] It forms a pair together with cataphatic theology, which approaches God or the Divine by affirmations or positive statements about. Cataphatic theology or kataphatic theology is theology that uses "positive" terminology to describe or refer to the divine – specifically, God – i.e. terminology that describes or refers to what the divine is believed to be, in contrast to the "negative" terminology used in apophatic theology to indicate what it is believed the divine is not. The terminology of “apophatic” and “cataphatic” theologies, that is, the use of negation (apophasis) and affirmation (kataphasis) in our ways of talking about God, was introduced into Christian theology by the probably early-sixth-century author who wrote under the pseudonym of the Apostle Paul’s convert, Dionysius the Areopagite (generally referred to as Pseudo-Dionysius).Cited by: 5.   The most influential proponent of apophatic theology was Pseudo-Dionysius (who was quoted many times in the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas). Apophatic theology is also prevalent in Eastern Orthodox Christianity and is seen as superior to positive (or cataphatic) theology.

Both an apophatic approach and a cataphatic approach can be helpful. God is revealed in Christianity and desires to be known. He is also beyond our comprehension. It is appropriate to speak both of what God is and of what He is not. When emphasis is put on one approach .   Not only is apophatic spirituality seldom preached about or introduced in religious formation, but books on apophatic spirituality can, at first glance, seem hopelessly obscure. J.P. Williams’s Seeking the God Beyond: A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Apophatic Spirituality is a notable exception and a welcome companion for those who feel.   Words cannot, therefore, be applied univocally to God and the Cataphatic Way fails to support any true understanding of God’s actual nature and attributes. Because of this, in the 11th Century Moses Maimonides argued that the only credible approach to religious language was the very reverse of the cataphatic way, the apophatic way. Religious Language- Apophatic and Cataphatic Ways: A2 Philosophy On Janu Febru By Aimee Horsley In Philosophy New Spec Preview of Lesson Plans.

The Apophatic approach in theology is not a mere intellectual ascent into ideas, but a constant enquiry of the absolute – negating each stage of knowledge acquired through the enquiry. The concept of the negation of knowledge for acquiring something higher is explained by Dionysius in his treatise, ‘The Mystical Theology’, as follows. ‘Following an earlier argument for an apophatic approach to theologizing about judgment, this essay investigates some theological resources for imagining judgment.’ ‘Because we know God as unknowable through Jesus Christ, the apophatic aim of theology is necessarily and irrevocably anchored in this bit of historical particularity.’.   Cataphatic theology is all about what we can say of God, what language and theological grammar is appropriate. Apophatic theology is all about the limitations of language: the way that human words fail to describe a God who is totally other, utterly beyond human comprehension.   Apophatic theology—also known as negative theology—is a theology that attempts to describe God by negation, to speak of God only in absolutely certain terms and to avoid what may not be said. In Orthodox Christianity, apophatic theology is based on the assumption that God's essence is unknowable or ineffable and on the recognition of the inadequacy of human language to describe God.