To Be or Not to Be: Aquinas or Pseudo-Dionysius?

Eclectic Orthodoxy

The Maverick Philosopher writes:  “My question for Fr. Kimel: Do you side with the doctor angelicus, or do you go all the way into the night of negative theology with Pseudo-Dionysus?”

Succinct answer: I haven’t decided, partly because my acquaintance with Pseudo-Dionysius is so limited and partly because I have long been persuaded that something along the lines of St Thomas’s understanding of analogical language is necessary to account for the linguistic usage of the Church.

But I agree with both Pseudo-Dionysius and Aquinas, and the Church Fathers before them, that God is ineffable, incomprehensible mystery. As a preacher of the gospel, I do not feel a need to make a definitive judgment between Byzantine apophaticism and Latin apophaticism. Underlying both sides, I suggest, is a common apprehension of the radical difference between the eternal Creator and the creatures he has spoken into being (see my article summarizing Kathryn Tanner’s…

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