apophatic

English translation: God can be known to humans only in terms of what He is not

14:21 Mar 11, 2000
English to English translations [PRO]
Tech/Engineering
English term or phrase: apophatic
The word occurs in a book "Science and Religion" byJohn Haught which seeks to refute scientific reductionism as an all-embracing explanation of reality.
John Geary
English translation:God can be known to humans only in terms of what He is not
Explanation:
Overview for "apophatic"
The adjective "apophatic" has 1 sense in WordNet.

1. apophatic -- (of or relating to the belief that God can be known to humans only in terms of what He is not (such as `God is unknowable'))
http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn?stage=1&word=a...

Negative theology, also known as the Via Negativa (Lat. for "Negative Way") and Apophatic theology, is a theology that attempts to describe God by negation, to speak of God in terms of what may not be said about God. In brief, the attempt is to gain and express knowledge of God by describing what God is not, rather than by describing what God is.

Adherents of negative theology hold that God, by definition, is that which is utterly beyond this universe and outside the bounds of what humans can understand. Rather than producing straightforward, positive assertions about the nature of God, it speaks by way of negation. Examples of statements made by those adhering to negative theology include:

One should not say that God exists in the usual sense of the term; nor should we say that God is nonexistent. We can only say that neither existence nor nonexistence applies to God.
One should not say that God is One, but rather one can say that there is no multiplicity in God's being.
One should not say that God is wise, but we can say that God is not ignorant.
God is not a creation (i.e. God is uncreated).
God is not conceptually definable in terms of space and location.
God is not conceptually confinable to assumptions based on time.
In other words, God's essence cannot be spoken of, and may be described as ineffable. It can only be compared to what it is not. In this view, it is not necessary or even possible to know the essence of God; knowledge of God is true knowledge, when it is limited to what is revealed, and does not presume to venture beyond this.
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Robert Donahue (X)
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3 +2God can be known to humans only in terms of what He is not
Robert Donahue (X)


  

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1936 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
God can be known to humans only in terms of what He is not


Explanation:
Overview for "apophatic"
The adjective "apophatic" has 1 sense in WordNet.

1. apophatic -- (of or relating to the belief that God can be known to humans only in terms of what He is not (such as `God is unknowable'))
http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn?stage=1&word=a...

Negative theology, also known as the Via Negativa (Lat. for "Negative Way") and Apophatic theology, is a theology that attempts to describe God by negation, to speak of God in terms of what may not be said about God. In brief, the attempt is to gain and express knowledge of God by describing what God is not, rather than by describing what God is.

Adherents of negative theology hold that God, by definition, is that which is utterly beyond this universe and outside the bounds of what humans can understand. Rather than producing straightforward, positive assertions about the nature of God, it speaks by way of negation. Examples of statements made by those adhering to negative theology include:

One should not say that God exists in the usual sense of the term; nor should we say that God is nonexistent. We can only say that neither existence nor nonexistence applies to God.
One should not say that God is One, but rather one can say that there is no multiplicity in God's being.
One should not say that God is wise, but we can say that God is not ignorant.
God is not a creation (i.e. God is uncreated).
God is not conceptually definable in terms of space and location.
God is not conceptually confinable to assumptions based on time.
In other words, God's essence cannot be spoken of, and may be described as ineffable. It can only be compared to what it is not. In this view, it is not necessary or even possible to know the essence of God; knowledge of God is true knowledge, when it is limited to what is revealed, and does not presume to venture beyond this.


    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophatic_theology
    Reference: http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn?stage=1&word=a...
Robert Donahue (X)
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