Heythrop Journal 40 (4):438–455 (1999)

This article takes its starting‐point in the current resurgence of interest in negative theology. Being especially prevalent among postmodern thinkers, this interest coincides with a strong conviction concerning the absence of the divine. In the postmodern context the interest in negative theology leads quite naturally into a debate on negative anthropology, as humanity's increasing awareness of its own finitude appears to reflect a similar break with the metaphysics of being.To analyze the tradition of negative theology, the article goes back to its prime architect, Pseudo‐Dionysius . By comparing him to an author who preceded him, viz. Augustine, and one who followed him, viz. Eriugena, the article aims at giving a ‘thicker’ description of his position by framing it historically. In doing so it draws two conclusions. It first shows that the connection between negative theology and negative anthropology is indeed Dionysian; as such it is rightfully pointed to in postmodern thought. In contradistinction to postmodern applications, however, Dionysius' interest in negativity is shown to reflect before all a desire to wrestle with the overpowering presence of the divine instead of concluding to its absence
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DOI 10.1111/1468-2265.00115
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