Jump to: navigation, search

Apophatic theology

10 bytes added, 16:39, June 23, 2006
History in the Early Church
One of the first to articulate the theology in [[Christianity]] was the [[Apostle Paul]] whose reference to the Unknown God in the book of Acts (Acts 17:23) is the foundation of works such as that of [[Pseudo Dionysius]]. This is as Pseudo Dionysius so describes. Exemplars of the ''via negativa'', the [[Cappadocian Fathers]] of the [[4th century]] said that they believed in God, but they did not believe that God exists. In contrast, making positive statements about the nature of God, which occurs in most other forms of Christian theology, is sometimes called '[[kataphatic theology]]'. Adherents of the apophatic tradition hold that God is beyond the limits of what humans can understand, and that one should not seek God by means of intellectual understanding, but through a direct experience of the love (in Western Christianity) or the [[Energies of God|Energies]] (in Eastern Christianity) of God. Apophatic theology can be also seen as an oral tradition. "It must also be recognized that "forgery" is a modern notion. Like Plotinus and the Cappadocians before him, Dionysius does not claim to be an innovator, but rather a communicator of a tradition." []
Negative theology played an important role early in the [[history of Christianity]]. Three theologians who emphasized the importance of negative theology to an orthodox understanding of God, were [[Gregory of Nyssa|Gregory the Theologian]], [[John Chrysostom]], and [[Basil the Great]]. [[John of Damascus]] employed it when he wrote that positive statements about God reveal "not the nature, but the things around the nature." In addition, [[Maximus the Confessor]] maintained that the combination of apophatic theology and [[hesychasm]] - the practice of keeping stillness - made [[theosis]] or union with God possible.
It continues to be prominent in [[Eastern Christianity]] and is (see [[Gregory Palamas]]), and is used to balance cataphatic theology. Apophatic statements are crucial to much theology in [[Orthodox Christianity]].
==History in the Western Church==

Navigation menu