Negative theology for the 21st century



On June 3 and 4, Rome will host an international conference on negative (apophatic) theology. The conference is organized by the Pontifical Theological Academy and the Theological Faculty of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

Olga Sakun – Vatican City

“Negative theology,” the organizers said in the informational message, “characterized the approach of the Church Fathers to dialogue with the philosophy and culture of the era. In light of Pope Francis’s teaching, this approach can offer valuable insights for interfaith and interdisciplinary dialogue, putting reality before ideas. Jews, Christians and Muslims share the understanding that God is unknowable and His deeds are inscrutable. It can help overcome fundamentalism by leaving a sense of mystery intact and promoting dialogue, religious freedom, tolerance and respect. Negative theology also offers a useful framework for overcoming the linguistic and epistemological closeness of various disciplines, making interdisciplinary work possible. ”

The conference will feature Professor John Milbank of the University of Nottingham with a talk “The Significance of Apophaticism for Contemporary Theology”; prof. Riccardo Chiaradonna from the University of Rome “Roma Tre” with the report “Apophatic statements about God in the Platonic tradition: Plato, Philo and Plotinus”; prof. Bart Kuth of Tilburg University on “Apophatic Narrative Theology in the Scriptures”; prof. Robert Wozniak from the University of Krakow with a talk “Negative Theology in the Middle Ages” and others.

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