Book Chapter: Hidden God and Hidden Self: The Emergence of Apophatic Anthropology in Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGinn

In Histories of the Hidden God: Concealment and Revelation in Western Gnostic, Esoteric, and Mystical Traditions,
edited by Grant Adamson and April D. Deconick (Acumen Publishing, 2013), pp. 87-100.  Here’s an excerpt from McGinn’s introductory section:

It is important to note that apophatic theology comes in many varieties and that not all forms of insisting that God is unknowable also claim that the human self is incomprehensible.  All Christian theologians pay homage to the divine mystery, insisting that God is in some sense beyond the human mind, but there is an important difference between “soft apophatism,” that is, an admission of general divine unknowability, and the various forms of “hard apophatism” that develop full-fledged accounts of speaking about God designed to subvert all human modes of conceiving and predicating.  It is among the more rigorous forms of apophatic theology that the possibility of apophatic anthropology emerges.  I will take a brief look at five examples of such hiddenness in the Christian tradition.

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