You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Religious Language – Negative, Analogical and Symbolic

3. Cataphaticism (Via Positiva)

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we examine the cataphatic tradition, focusing in particular on (i) talking about God by identifying divine attributes (ii) religious language beginning with the cataphatic and giving way to the apophatic (iii) Dionysius the Areopagite’s ‘triplex via’, or threefold way of talking about God (iv) the meaning of perfection terms in theological language.


In this course, Professor Simon Oliver (University of Durham) explores negative, positive, analogical and symbolic religious language. In the first module, we consider the problem of talking about an infinite God as finite creatures. In the second module, we examine the apophatic tradition, and how negative language can provide a sense of transcendent divine attributes. In the third module, we look at the cataphatic tradition and its relationship with the apophatic. In the fourth module, we explore Aquinas’ analogy as a way of talking about God, before moving on to look at Paul Tillich on sign and symbol in the fifth module. In the sixth module, we examine further theological and philosophical implications of religious language, paying special attention to the metaphysics of ontology.


Professor Simon Oliver is a lecturer of Theology and Religion at Durham University. His research interests are in Christian theology and metaphysics, in particular the doctrine of creation. His published works include Creation: A Guide for the Perplexed (2017) and Philosophy, God and Motion (2005)

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Oliver, S. (2022, June 15). Religious Language – Negative, Analogical and Symbolic - Cataphaticism (Via Positiva) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Oliver, S. "Religious Language – Negative, Analogical and Symbolic – Cataphaticism (Via Positiva) ." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Jun 2022,