CLEMENT ALEXANDRINUL ŞI ILUSTRAREA MATEMATICĂ A VIA NEGATIVA
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA AND THE MATHEMATICAL ILLUSTRATION OF THE VIA NEGATIVA
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion
Published by: Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai
Keywords: Middle Platonism; Clement of Alexandria; Albinus; via negativa; negative theology; transcendence; negation; abstraction; aphairesis; analysis.
Summary/Abstract: Clement of Alexandria and the mathematical illustration of the via negativa. Clement of Alexandria was the first Christian exponent of the via negativa. Clement’s illustration of the negative method is not a form of negation, but a form of abstraction. In Greek Philosophy, abstract thinking was specifically linked to a negating procedure. The negative aspect of abstract thought has quite a specific definition: it requires a removal of attributes. Clement applies the word analysis, but he indicates abstraction, and says that contemplation involves abstracting depth from bodies, then breadth and length. Clement uses the traditional mathematical model: we start by abstracting the surface, and we are left with the line; we abstract the line, and we are left with the point; we abstract the point, or strictly speaking the monad, and we are then precipitated into “the greatness of Christ” (Stromateis V.11.71.2). Here there is an attempt to take abstraction beyond its range of application, and this is the principal differentiation between traditional Academic abstraction and that of the later Platonists, since the discussion of the method by Aristotle and Sextus Empiricus reveals that the end of the process lay with the discovery of the monad. Being precipitated into the greatness of Christ implies being thrown into the realm which is beyond language, and beyond being: it is a transcendental experience.
- Issue Year: 56/2011
- Issue No: 2
- Page Range: 137-148
- Page Count: 15
- Language: Romanian