Article: The Deus Absconditus of Scripture: An Apophatic Hermeneutic for Christian Contemplatives, by Vincent Pizzuto

In his article appearing in the May 2014 issue of Biblical Theology Bulletin (v.44,n. 2, pp.100-108), Vincent Pizzuto argues that negative theology can make a valuable contribution to contemporary biblical scholarship. Here’s the abstract:

The profusion of conflicting images of God in the Bible are often effectively categorized and segregated by historical-critical readings of the text in which some images are accepted at the expense of others. The result, however, is the establishment of a “canon within a canon” comprised of more palatable images of the divine while effectively ignoring those deemed to be vulgar or offensive. However, when we read through a hermeneutic rooted in a negative theology (i.e., an “apophatic hermeneutic”), conflicting images of God in the Bible may be understood as a necessary aspect of the verbal profusion that leads the contemplative not to logical contradiction, but to “linguistic self-subversion” (Turner). This can serve to dismantle our secret attachments to our preferred images which are themselves exposed as falling infinitely short of the God revealed in Christ precisely as the Deus absconditus.

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