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An comparison between Aquinas' Analogical view with Dionysius' Via Negativa.

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Introduction

An comparison between Aquinas' Analogical view with Dionysius' Via Negativa. Via Negativa was a theory which was first used by Dionysius, and it is a theory which looks at how we can go about describing God. God is not an object in the universe and, therefore, it is not possible to describe God through words and concepts which are necessarily limiting. It is, instead, better to talk about God based upon what God is not, in other words we can deny God the sort of qualities, and, therefore limitations that might apply to other beings. The via negativa is a means of coming to know God and what God is through negation. ...read more.

Middle

But Aquinas says that we only have our everyday language to talk about God. Through the use of Analogy Aquinas believes that we can reach an understanding of what God is. He based his theory on these two analogous techniques. * An analogy of proportion occurs when a word is employed to refer to a quality that a thing possesses in proportion to the kind of reality it possesses. E.g. dogs are loyal in the way in which dogs can be loyal, and humans are loyal in proportion to the loyalty of the human being. Similarly one can understand God as all powerful, as we have a human understanding of power. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dionysius would combat the analogy of attribution by saying that you cannot love God as two humans love each other, because God doesn't have a body or an existence as humans know, so then you cannot move this 'upwards,' and apply It to God. He would criticise the analogy of proportion through this statement. 'God is beyond all Power.' Through this statement Dionysius is saying that God is so great that we cannot have an understanding of just how powerful, intelligent etc he really is. The only information we know about God is in the Bible, through attributes of God, such as God is just. However such knowledge is within limitations of human understanding, and is symbolic. But humans can be just to each other, so Dionysius then goes on to state that 'God is beyond goodness,' so then to keep that barrier between God and humans. ...read more.

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