Saying the unspeakable. Denial and transcendence in the Periphyseon of John Scotus Eriugena


  • Giovanni Zuanazzi Pontificia Università Lateranense



The thought of John Scotus Eriugena can be interpreted on the whole as one of the most rigorous efforts to express that which in itself is absolutely transcendent, and therefore unthinkable and inexpressible. “Negation” (negatio, ὰπόφασις), understood in the global sense of a way of access to the super-existent nothing, is a key concept for understanding the theoretical framework of the Periphyseon, Eriugena’s principle work; and it is a theme that runs throughout his writings. However tied he is to the long tradition of apophatic theology, it is safe to say that Eriugena is the first Western philosopher to draw out all of the implications of the “via negativa”, and in a more radical way than even the ps.- Dionysius, giving it a fully central place in the presentation of his thought.



How to Cite

Zuanazzi, Giovanni. “Saying the Unspeakable. Denial and Transcendence in the Periphyseon of John Scotus Eriugena”. Acta Philosophica 12, no. 1 (March 1, 2003): 89–121. Accessed May 30, 2024.




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