Apophatic Theology in Pseudo-Dionysius – Chapter 4 of Mystical Theology

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This is from chapter four of ]]’ work, ]], as quoted in Dr. John Tyson’s Book, ]]. This work is the high point of apophatic theology, which is a practice to speak of what God is not.

While not agnostic, it is an approach which could find a home in the philosophy of agnosticism, in that God the Cause of all things, is never really named but described by the negative. ‘It is not…’

So this is what we say. The Cause of all is above all and is not inexistent, lifeless, speechless, mindless. It is not a material body, and hence has neither shape nor form, quality, quantity, or weight. It is not in any place and can neither be seen nor be touched. It is neither perceived nor is it perceptible. It suffers neither disorder nor disturbĀ­ance and is overwhelmed by no earthly passion. It is not powerless and subject to the disturbances caused by sense perception. It endures no deprivation of light. It passes through no change, decay, division, loss, no ebb and flow, nothing of which the senses may be aware. None of all this can either be identified with it nor attributed to it.

I haven’t delved into apophatic theology much, although I do have several of those books on my wishlist and will get to them in time; however, it is an interesting method of speaking of God. For me, I can see a Rabbinic quality to it, although most certainly, it carries with it the Greek school of thought.

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