Apophasis has become a major topic in the humanities, particularly in philosophy, religion, and literature.
This two-volume anthology gathers together most of the important historical works on apophaticism and illustrates the diverse trajectories of apophatic discourse in ancient, modern, and postmodern times.
William Franke provides a major introductory essay on apophaticism at the beginning of each volume, and shorter introductions to each anthology selection.
Franke is an excellent guide. In the introductions to both volumes, he traces ways in which the selections are linked by common concerns and conceptions, rhetorical strategies, and spiritual or characteristic affinities.
The selections in both volumes explore, in one way or another, a fundamental challenge: how can human beings talk about a God who defies language, and more generally, how can they use their limited language to express the unlimited, open nature of their existence and relations to others?
In the first volume, ""Classic Formulations"", Franke offers excerpts from Plato, Plotinus, Damascius, the Bible, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Maimonides, Rumi, Thomas Aquinas, Marguerite Porete, Dante, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross, among others.
The second volume, ""Modern and Contemporary Transformations"", contains texts by Holderlin, Schelling, Kierkegaard, Dickinson, Rilke, Kafka, Rosenzweig, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Weil, Schoenberg, Adorno, Beckett, Celan, Levinas, Derrida, Marion, and more.
Both volumes of ""On What Cannot be Said"" underscore the significance of the apophatic tradition.
Scholars and students in all branches of the humanities will find these volumes instructive and useful.