from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pertaining to knowledge of god obtained through negation rather than positive assertions.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. 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')


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ἀποϕατικός ("negative").


  • Lawrence I reccommend you look up the term apophatic theology as that is the basis for not only my, but for many of the early "Church Fathers", theological arguements.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • It's called apophatic theology and can be applied to both secular and religious ideas.

    Frank Schaeffer: Changing the Conversation on Religion (Before it Kills Us All)

  • Quantum Mechanics might be described as the apophatic science of uncertainty.

    Frank Schaeffer: Changing the Conversation on Religion (Before it Kills Us All)

  • In fact, a whole anti-theology came to be called apophatic theology, or the theology of not knowing, or negative theology.

    Frank Schaeffer: Changing the Conversation on Religion (Before it Kills Us All)

  • So, just to ensure this is understood, the cataphatic is *both* statements God is light, God is darkness and the apophatic is the paradox *beyond* the statements, that state of understanding or enlightenment when the soul has absorbed or developed the truth about God.

    Dust and bones

  • Self describing as the apophatic of an Anglican cleric MacCulloch is incredibly tolerant in his judgements on all forms of Christian ideas.

    Mac Uaid

  • This is the "apophatic" tradition, in which nothing about God can be put into words.

    Religious Experience Can't Be Discussed

  • Negative theology I seem to recall a seminary professor using the term "apophatic" is the practice of discovering God by figuring out what God isn't.

    Archive 2005-02-01

  • So first there is the cataphatic response to the question, and there is an overflowing abundance of language referring to God, eg saying 'God is light' and then, in dialectical movement, there is the negation of this, eg saying God is darkness this is STILL the cataphatic, NB, and then - *and this is the key 'apophatic' moment* - this distinction of positive and negative is itself negated by saying 'God is dazzling darkness'.

    Dust and bones

  • In its place, she promotes an "apophatic" theology which claims that God so far surpasses our understanding that we can say nothing definite about him at all.

    Planet Atheism


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  • This appears to be related to the Egyptian demon Apophis.

    February 19, 2007

  • "Isn't God the endpoint of the apophatic project, just as Buddha nature and emptiness is of Buddhist meditation? The season strains toward its apophatic culmination."

    Paula's House of Toast

    February 19, 2007