Chapter

The Cloud of Forgetting

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/9780823220748.003.0003
The Cloud of Forgetting

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This chapter considers the paradoxical statement that, on the one hand, God cannot be known, and on the other hand, He can be known by unknowing. It notes three things based on the doctrine of apophatic mystics: first, that Dionysius recognizes the validity of reason and theology; second, he asserts that reason and philosophy give very inadequate knowledge of God; third, his “unknowing” or ignorance means that one must abandon human, conceptual knowledge for the reception of the divine knowledge in times of prayer. Conceptual knowledge may only be abandoned if there are clear signs that the Good Shepherd is issuing an invitation to a higher level of knowledge.

Keywords: negation; Dionysius; negative knowledge; unknowing; conceptual knowledge; apophatic mystic

Chapter.  7364 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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