The Cloud of the Impossible: Embodiment and Apophasis

Catherine Keller

in Apophatic Bodies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230815
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235087 | DOI:

Series: Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

The Cloud of the Impossible: Embodiment and Apophasis

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Apophatic theology has little to (un)say about bodies, whereas it speaks volumes about that which it deems worthy of unsaying. It treats bodies generally not as wicked or repulsive, but as sites of obstruction, suffering, distraction. Since feminist theology as a collective comprises a critical mass of that body-affirming movement, and since some are also dangerously attracted to the apophatic way, the cloud of the impossible engulfs the present exploration from the start. Nicholas of Cusa oddly appears as a mediator both of method and of content. He would plunge one not into an empty chasm but into the “cloud of impossibility”. The necessity of entering the “cloud of impossibility” is no mere metaphysical inevitability, but an all too familiar experience. If we do not cling to a certainty whose oppositional purity we doubt anyway, we enter the Cusan cloud. Then we may relinquish the binary structure of the impasse itself. This chapter examines the cloud of the impossible and the relation between deconstruction and negative theology.

Keywords: feminist theology; oppositional purity; Nicholas of Cusa; cloud of impossibility; deconstruction; negative theology

Chapter.  7802 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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