Strolling with maimonides on the via negativa

Kenneth R Seeskin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper argues that negative theology is a direct consequence of monotheism. In so doing, it argues that monotheism is not so much a claim about the number of God “one as opposed to a multiplicity — as it is a claim about the nature of God ” unlike anything else in the universe. In short, God is unique. But uniqueness presents a special problem. The concepts and categories that make up our conceptual scheme are derived from normal experience. To say that God is unique is to say that God cannot be grasped by these concepts or categories. But then we face a dilemma: to preserve uniqueness we must sacrifice intelligibility. Mythology represents the opposite pole: a god who is perfectly intelligible but for that reason ordinary. It follows that in addition to being a claim about God, monotheism is a claim about the limit of human knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationModels of God and Alternative Ultimate Realities
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9789400752191
ISBN (Print)9789400752184
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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