The Via Negativa

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  • Created by: Vez97
  • Created on: 18-02-16 18:34

What is THE VIA NEGATIVA?

Also called the 'apophatic' way, the via negativa deals with issues of talking about God.  It recognises that we are limited in how far we can use language to describe God...

  • It states that we cannot talk about God in positive terms (via affirmitiva), e.g. God is omnibenevolent, as this is misleading and confusing.
  • Instead, we can talk about God negatively/deny what He is, e.g. God is not mortal (via negativa)

It accepts that statements about God cannot be accurately made as God is utterly different to, and beyond, human comprehension (transcendent).  However, we can accurately say what God is not.  If we did not do this, we could only talk about God using analogical language.

POSITIVE & NEGATIVE LANGUAGE

Theologians believe we should...

  • not use positive language as it is flawed and capable only of encompassing what we already understand.  We risk limiting the human understanding of God and undermining

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