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apophatic Line breaks: apo|phat¦ic
Pronunciation: /ˌapəˈfatɪk/

Definition of apophatic in English:


(Of knowledge of God) obtained through negating concepts that might be applied to him. The opposite of cataphatic.
Example sentences
  • Denys Turner, for one, claims these apophatic experiences are not inner experiences at all but rather category mistakes generated by construing critiques of positive theology as religious experiences.
  • Like Dionysios, John Damascene understood that our ideas and concepts of God fall short of him and that, in the end, we honor God most appropriately by the silent denial of our concepts in apophatic theology.
  • Eastern Orthodox Christianity emphasizes apophatic theology - the Western equivalent is sometimes called ‘negative’ theology.


Mid 19th century: from Greek apophatikos 'negative', from apophasis 'denial', from apo- 'other than' + phanai 'speak'.

Definition of apophatic in:
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