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sábado, 23 de enero de 2016

Apophatic theology (Vía negativa)

Apophatic theology (from Ancient Greekἀπόφασις via ἀπόφημι apophēmi, meaning "to deny"), also known as negative theologyvia negativa or via negationis[1] (Latin for "negative way" or "by way of denial"), is a type of theological thinking that attempts to describe God, the Divine Good, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God.[2] It stands in contrast to cataphatic theology.
An example occurs in the assertion of the 9th-century theologian John Scotus Erigena: "We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being."
In brief, negative theology is an attempt to clarify religious experience and language about the Divine through discernment, gaining knowledge of what God is not (apophasis), rather than by describing what God is. The apophatic tradition is often, though not always, allied with the approach of mysticism, which focuses on a spontaneous or cultivated individual experience of the divine reality beyond the realm of ordinary perception, an experience often unmediated by the structures of traditional organized religion or by the conditioned role-playing and learned defensive behavior of the outer man.[3]



Apophatic description of God


In negative theology, it is accepted that experience of the Divine is ineffable, an experience of the holy that can only be recognized or remembered abstractly. That is, human beings cannot describe in words the essence of the perfect good that is unique to the individual, nor can they define the Divine, in its immense complexity, related to the entire field of reality. As a result, all descriptions if attempted will be ultimately false and conceptualization should be avoided. In effect, divine experience eludes definition by definition:
  • Neither existence nor nonexistence as we understand it in the physical realm, applies to God; i.e., the Divine is abstract to the individual, beyond existing or not existing, and beyond conceptualization regarding the whole (one cannot say that God exists in the usual sense of the term; nor can we say that God is nonexistent).
  • God is divinely simple (one should not claim that God is one, or three, or any type of being.)
  • God is not ignorant (one should not say that God is wise since that word arrogantly implies we know what "wisdom" means on a divine scale, whereas we only know what wisdom is believed to mean in a confined cultural context).
  • Likewise, God is not evil (to say that God can be described by the word 'good' limits God to what good behavior means to human beings individually and en masse).
  • God is not a creation (but beyond that we cannot define how God exists or operates in relation to the whole of humanity).
  • God is not conceptually defined in terms of space and location.
  • God is not conceptually confined to assumptions based on time.
Even though the via negativa essentially rejects theological understanding in and of itself as a path to God, some have sought to make it into an intellectual exercise, by describing God only in terms of what God is not. One problem noted with this approach is that there seems to be no fixed basis on deciding what God is not, unless the Divine is understood as an abstract experience of full aliveness unique to each individual consciousness, and universally, the perfect goodness applicable to the whole field of reality.[4] It should be noted however that since religious experience—or consciousness of the holy or sacred, is not reducible to other kinds of human experience, an abstract understanding of religious experience cannot be used as evidence or proof that religious discourse or praxis can have no meaning or value.[5] In apophatic theology, the negation of theisms in the via negativa also requires the negation of their correlative atheisms if the dialectical method it employs is to maintain integrity.[6]


Resto del artículo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophatic_theology

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