Sunday, December 03, 2006


Via Negativa

Patrick Kurp discusses the via negativa - "Those following the via negativa attempt to express knowledge of God by describing what He is not."

One way to do this is to use asyndetic, privative adjectives to describe God, as we find in 1 Timothy 1.17:
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

τῷ δὲ βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων, ἀφθάρτῳ, ἀοράτῳ, μόνῳ θεῷ, τιμὴ καὶ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων· ἀμήν.
I have combined examples of asyndetic, privative adjectives from all my previous posts into a single web page. This page contains some new examples as well, many of them borrowed from Detlev Fehling, Die Wiederholungsfiguren und ihr Gebrauch bei den Griechen vor Gorgias (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1969), II (Die einzelnen Wiederholungen und Figuren in systematischer Anordnung), D (Wortteilwiederholungen), 1 (Mehrer Adjektive mit α privativum zusammengestellt), on pp. 235-241. Fehling mentions asyndeton (pp. 235, 237, 239), but in general does not distinguish examples joined by conjunctions from those with asyndeton. He discusses combinations of privative adjectives under the following headings:

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