Chapter

The Problem of Unknowing

William Johnston

in The Mysticism of the Cloud of Unknowing

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2000 | ISBN: 9780823220748
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236824 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823220748.003.0002
The Problem of Unknowing

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The author of The Cloud constantly plays on the paradoxical theme of “knowing” and “unknowing”. Since God cannot be known by any activity of the reasoning power, the author tells his disciples to bury all conceptual thinking and rational discourse beneath a cloud of forgetting. Sometimes, God may pierce the cloud with a beam of “ghostly light” filling the contemplative with inexpressible joy, knowledge, and love. Against the background of 20th-century thought, his words are open to a variety of interpretations. This chapter presents some of these interpretations and outlines the traditional doctrine in which the author must have been educated.

Keywords: paradox; unknowing; education; forgetting; interpretations; knowing

Chapter.  5165 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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