Friday, September 27, 2013

Apophatic Theology according to Christos Yannaras

 “The Church uses two ways to describe the Mysteries and the Truths relating to the ontology of God, the one is the cataphatic, where it explains what, for example God is; whilst apophatic theology does not exhaust knowledge on theological topics.

The apophatic attitude leads Christian theology to use the language of poetry and images for the interpretation of dogmas much more than the language of conventional logic and schematic concepts. The conventional logic of everyday understanding can very easily give man a false sense of a sure knowledge which, being won by the intellect, is already exhausted by it, completely possessed by it. While poetry, with the symbolisms and images which it uses, always exhibits a sense from within the words and beyond the words, a concept which corresponds more to common experiences of life and less to cerebral conceptions”[1].  

[1] Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith – An Introduction to Orthodox Theology, (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1991), p.17

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