“Silence will save me from being wrong (and foolish), but it will also deprive me of the possibility of being right.” -- Igor Stravinsky
Wasn't the Jew Moses Maimonides the first to champion the via negativa, even before St. Thomas Aquinas?
That's a really good point to keep in mind. A big reason for this misconception is that the average person isn't going to learn about this until they get into the more advanced theology classes (or is otherwise well-suited for autodidactic study of God). I've even seen some top, tenured theologians get this one wrong!
Silas, we are agreeing on a point of theology!I guess I picked the wrong week to stop popping pills.
Alan, versions of the via negativa show up in Taoism around 500 BC, and in Zen by what... the 400s CE? Plotinus had a version of it in pagan philosophy around the 200s CE. Some of the Greek fathers were introducing it into Christianity a little after that.So Maimonides and Aquinas were latecomers to this game!