Negation as Infinite Affirmation
The Apophatic Theology of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite
The purpose of this paper is to identify the meaning of negation in Dionysius the Areopagite’s apophatism: how and towards which reality does it orient contemplation and what does it actually say about God who reveals Himself? My fundamental thesis is that, in fact, apophatic negation in Dionysius the Areopagite’s teachings, as well as in those of other Eastern fathers conceals a super-affirmation, it indicates an infinite affirmation, beyond any determination. The meaning of the apophatic negation can be grasped at the confluence of three specific supra-intelligible terms: the alterity, the transcendence and the excess (the infinity).
Keywords: apophatic theology, Dionysius the Areopagite, Eastern Orthodox Tradition, alterity, transcendence, infinity