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Milton and the Ineffable$
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Noam Reisner

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572625.001.0001

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Silence and presence: ineffability in ancient and medieval Western thought

Silence and presence: ineffability in ancient and medieval Western thought

(p.14) 1 Silence and presence: ineffability in ancient and medieval Western thought
Milton and the Ineffable

Noam Reisner (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines a number of key stages in the development of speculative ideas about the ineffable, from the Exodus account of Moses' prophetic appointment by the burning bush, through Greek and early Christian philosophical reflections on the logos, to late medieval philosophical theology and its attempts to formulate a semiotics and grammar for and about divine ontology. The chapter proceeds in discrete sections, arranged in a chronological and conceptual order. It begins with an overview of ineffability in the Hebrew Bible, and then proceeds to examine the development of related ideas about the ineffable in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, the philosophical theology of Philo and Clement, the mystical philosophy of Plotinus and the emerging theology of St. Augustine, the negative theology of Gregory of Nyssa and the Pseudo-Dionysius, and finally, the peripatetic logic and theology of Maimonides and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Keywords:   ineffable, burning bush, logos, Plato, Aristotle, Philo, Clement, Plotinus, St. Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius

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