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Apophatic Theology
(770 words)

[German Version]

In the “Mystical Theology” of Dionysius the Areopagite apophasis or negation (Gk ἀπό + φάναι [apó + phánai]: lit. “speaking away”) is coordinated with kataphasis or affirmation in setting out the twin methods of theology. Since God is the cause of all beings, we may ascribe to God “all the affirmations we make in regard to beings.” But “more appropriately, we should negate all these affirmations,” since God surpasses all being. Indeed we must negate our affirmations and denials alike if we do not wish to…

Cite this page
Farrow, Douglas B., “Apophatic Theology”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 05 December 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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