from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pertaining to the expression of God in terms of what God is, rather than (apophatic) in terms of what God is not.

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

  • adj. of or relating to the religious belief that God can be known to humans positively or affirmatively


From Ancient Greek καταφατικό ("affirmative"). (Wiktionary)


  • So to explain some of the core sense of that, I'll need to use two words 'cataphatic' and 'apophatic'.

    Dust and bones

  • For the humor impaired, that was a joking jab at cataphatic theology.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Pi Day

  • The former is the cataphatic God about whom we may talk, debate and theologize, while the latter is the apophatic God that so utterly transcends our categories that the most we can say about it is what it is not.

    Freud made the "big discovery"

  • So when I say 'God does not exist' I'm using the _first_ bit of cataphatic language ie I'm denying 'God exists'.

    Dust and bones

  • 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

  • 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

  • The cataphatic answers the question positively, saying that there are things which can truly be said about God - so the language used in the Bible to talk about God is meaningful language.

    Dust and bones

  • It is the difference between knowing nothing (the state of innocence) and knowing that you know nothing (the state of wisdom) - and the mystical tradition is a way of enabling the journey from the one to the other, _through_ the dialectic of cataphatic and apophatic.

    Dust and bones

  • [For the humor impaired, that was a joking jab at cataphatic theology.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Pi Day

  • The suspension of all cognitive, cataphatic activity culminates in hesychia, that is, the silent inner concentration, the gathering together of one's inner forces where peace goes beyond all peace. "

    The Guardian World News


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