Kant and the Negative Theology

Don Cupitt

in Is Nothing Sacred?

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780823222032
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235322 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Kant and the Negative Theology

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This chapter describes Donald MacKinnon's inference that Kant's religious thought was a negative theology because its doctrine emphasizes God's superiority and that he must be removed beyond the reach of descriptive language. Kant fully accepted the idea that the old doctrine had collapsed and for him it was God's existence rather than his nature that was unknowable and God's nature that was not mysterious. It seems that Kant was deliberately setting out to contradict the element of authoritarian appeal to mystery in the old negative theology. Thus, Kant continued the themes of the old negative theology, and he even changed it considerably in order to make it intellectually and morally more acceptable. Though, Donald MacKinnon takes a very different view, still he insists on sticking to a more descriptive and realist interpretation of the major themes of traditional Christian theology because he thinks one should stay and endure the strange inflexible intellectual difficulties that such a position involves.

Keywords: negative theology; doctrine; God; existence; nature; mysterious; Christian theology

Chapter.  5425 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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