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Catherine Keller, "The Apophasis of Gender: A Fourfold Unsaying of Feminist Theology," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 76, no.
Unsaying, apophasis, is a key element of mystical poetry, and can be glimpsed at work in poems by Rumi, Donne, and Baudelaire.
There still remains the problem of squaring the circle between apophasis and cataphasis: If we cannot say that God is ontologically trinitarian, can we say that God is ontologically singular?
10) Apophasis is the process of "unsaying" everything that has been said about God.
This in turn is related to apophasis whereby one pretends to deny what is actually affirmed.
This paper examines the basic differences between Dionysius' two principal terms for negation, aphairesis and apophasis, expounding most of the passages in which these terms appear in order to support the claim that aphairesis functions as Dionysius' method of hymning the hyper-being God through the removal of "beings" (by means of narrow-scope predicate-term negation), while apophasis constitutes Dionysius' logic of interpreting these removed beings excessively rather than privatively.
So apophasis does not seem to come naturally to those of us formed in English.
Still it is interesting to note that at one of the most crucial moments of Ed's characterization, Dunbar's narrator describes Ed through a gesture of apophasis.
The "doubling" strategies of apophasis not only help to generate the famous ambiguities of the Jamesian text but also have the effect of directing the reader beyond them to a hypothetical space outside of language where the "truth" that so resists representation can be found: the (impossible) space of the unspeakable.
Apophasis (denial, perhaps) admits that language is not privy to the boundless magnitude of divine creation and can therefore only define His nature by saying what He is not.
Like a renewed negative theology, Althaus-Reid's reflections about the experience of foot fetishism in her article "Feetish-ism" leads her to affirm the necessity for theology to subject itself to a permanent process of "othering," (42) or apophasis and displacement, in order to avoid the fossilization of thought and structure which has made of theology a discourse of power, and not of liberation.
Instead of starting with divine apophasis applied to bodiliness, she begins with sensible bodily experience as such and explores its own mystery, finding there an analogy for human experience of the divine.
To extend the definition beyond where a small dictionary takes it, we can add that apophasis can also be a negation used to formulate what cannot be stated in any positive terms--especially Christian theological utterances such as that of Dionysius the Areopagite that God "has no body nor form nor image nor quality nor quantity nor mass.
He then invokes the Aristotelian term apophasis 'negation' and gives Aristotle's definition: "a negation.
Keller, Catherine, December 2008, "The Apophasis of Gender: A Fourfold Unsaying of Feminist Theology," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 76.
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