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The Decolonial AbyssMysticism and Cosmopolitics from the Ruins$
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An Yountae

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823273072

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823273072.001.0001

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The Mystical Abyss

The Mystical Abyss

Via Negativa

(p.25) 2 The Mystical Abyss
The Decolonial Abyss

An Yountae

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines the notion of the abyss as it has been developed within the tradition of Western philosophy and theology. It traces the abyss back to its first inception in Neoplatonic philosophy by Plato and his Timaeus, followed by Plotinus who develops the traces of panentheist mysticism lurking in Plato’s system into the seed of negative theology. In the Neoplatonic tradition and medieval mysticism of Pseudo-Dioysius and Meister Eckhart, the abyss points to the theological crossroad in which finitude and infinity, creaturely vulnerability and divine potency intersect with each other. The paradoxical path of via negativa renders the abyss a site of uncertainty and unknowing in which both God and the self are uncreated (Eckhart). Subsequently, the ethical implication or potential of the abyss is probed via the works of contemporary philosophers (Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Marion, Slavoj Zizek) who engage negative theology from a postmodern perspective.

Keywords:   Meister Eckhart, negative theology, Neoplatonism, Plato, Pseudo-Dionysius

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