The Unnameable Names of God

How then can we speak of the divine names? How can we do this if the Transcendent surpasses all discourse and all knowledge, if it abides beyond the reach of mind and of being, if it encompasses and circumscribes, embraces and anticipates all thins while itself eluding their grasp and escaping from any perception, imagination, opinion, name, discourse, apprehension, or understanding? How can we enter upon this undertaking if the Godhead is superior to being and is unspeakable and unnameable?

-Pseudo-Dionysius, The Divine Names, 5.

Realizing all this, the theologians praise it by every name–and as the Nameless One…This surely is the wonderful “name which is above every name: and is therefore without a name…And yet on the other hand they give it many names, such as “I am being,” “life,” “light,” “God,” the “truth.” These same wise writers…use names drawn from all the things caused: goo, beautiful, wise, beloved, God of gods, Lord of Lords, Holy of Holies, eternal, existent, Cause of the ages. They call him source of life, wisdom, mind, word, knower, possessor beforehand of all the treasures of knowledge, power, powerful, and King of Kings, ancient of days, the unaging and unchanging, salvation, righteousness and sanctification, redemption, greatest of all and yet the one in the still breeze. They say he is in our minds, in our souls, and in our bodies, in heaven and on earth, that while remaining ever within himself he is is also in and around and above the world, that he is above heaven and above all being, that he is sun, star, and fire, water, wind, and dew, cloud, archetype stone, and rock that he is all, that he is no thing.

-Pseudo-Dionysius, The Divine Names, 6.

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