Divine Non-Existence: Linguistic Means For Expressing Uncertainty In God Cognition In Areopagitica


The paper raises the question of the category of uncertainty in the discourse of theology and religious philosophy – in the context of the idea of God cognition. The paradox of the interlinking between the cognition of the Divine with His incomprehensibility is resolved in the constructive conflict of cataphatic and apophatic methods, which have found a high level of implementation in the Corpus Areopagiticum, pseudoepigraphs associated with the name of the apostle Paul’s disciple – Dionysius Areopagite. The authors analyze the linguistic reflection of the category of uncertainty, which manifested itself in the linguistic innovation of the anonymous creator of Areopagitica: we have performed an in-depth analysis of the lexical, word-forming, morphological and syntactic means used by him to express uncertainty. The set of methods used by the authors is based on an inductive methodological approach: through the selection and description of specific linguistic facts to comprehension of the essence of the phenomena behind them. A complex analysis of the examples allowed to conclude that while lexical and morphological means are preferred in the cataphatic approach, syntactic and word-forming means are chosen in the apophatic method to convey uncertainty and indeterminacy of the Divine existence. A conclusion is made about the accomplishment of an important objective of a mystical text in the treatises – that is to hide the sacred from the uninitiated and reveal it to the elite.

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