1. Religion & Spirituality

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

The Bible and Suicide

via negativa
<Back to Last Page >     <Glossary Index>

 Related Terms
• religion


The via negativa is a form of apologetics, also sometimes called the via negationis. According to the philosophy behind the via negativa, God is not an object in the universe and, therefore, it is not possible to describe God through words and concepts which are necessarily limiting. It is, instead, better to talk about God based upon what God is not.

The via negativa is, therefore, a means of coming to know God and what God is through negation.

Although the via negativa is often associated with Christianity because it is one of the three ways which Thomas Aquinas describes as coming to understand God, it has also appeared in other theistic religions. Names given to it include neti neti in Hinduism, ein-sof in Judaism and bila faifa in Islam

Also Known As: via negationis

Alternate Spellings: none

Common Misspellings: none

Related Resources:

What is the Philosophy of Religion?
Sometimes confused with theology, the Philosophy of Religion is the philosophical study of religious beliefs, religious doctrines, religious arguments and religious history. The line between theology and the philosophy of religion isn't always sharp, but the primary difference is that theology tends to be apologetical in nature, committed to the defense of particular religious positions, whereas Philosophy of Religion is committed to the investigation of religion itself, rather than the truth of any particular religion.

<Back to Last Page >     <Glossary Index>

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.