Ineffability

Religious Studies 36 (1):35-46 (2000)
Abstract
Within each of the major world religions a distinction is drawn between the ultimate ineffable Godhead or Absolute and the immediate object of worship or focus of religious meditation. I examine the notion of ineffability, or transcategoriality, in the influential Christian mystic Pseudo-Dionysius, who reconciles the divine ineffability with the authority of the Bible by holding that the biblical language is metaphorical, its function being to draw us towards the Godhead. If we extend this principle to other faiths we have gone half way towards making the global history of religions intelligible. The other half consists in a recognition of the different human conceptualities and spiritual practices that give concrete form to the divine reality within religious experience. However, William Rowe, and Christopher Insole, have criticized this use of ineffability, and their arguments are responded to here
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