The Student Room Group

can someone help me answer this a level rs question??

hi, i am currently completing an assignment for my online oxbridge home learning tutor and have been getting good marks in my previous ones in Religious studies, however, im a bit stuck on this and would love to get another good mark because i will get a good predicted grade.
any help will be appreciated or advice :smile:
the exam board is OCR btw

Critically compare the via negativa with symbolic language as ways
of expressing religious beliefs in words.
(40 marks)

- i will also post my answer once i have completed :smile:
(edited 10 months ago)
this is my answer so far (not finished ofc).... it's awful i really struggle with this chapter

Religious language is used for descriptions and ideas about God and to make truth-claims. The via negativa is the idea that the only way of explaining or describing God and religious ideas is that he should be spoken about through negative terms and explain what God is not. If we use positive terms for God then it creates him to look small and we are unable to adequately describe God. The fifth-century Christian writer Pseudo-Dionysius argued that we cannot possibly talk about God and this is because God is beyond our understanding and assertion. Plato influenced him and was about the limits of our senses as well as our language. However, the Jewish philosopher Maimonides (1135-1204) argued for the use of the via negativa in his Guide for the perplexed. He wants to ensure that none of us are disrespectful towards God and also being improper. Maimonides believes that the only positive statement that can be said about God is that he exists, this is because all other descriptions of God must be negative. With his example of a ship he argues that the via negativa allows us to gain some knowledge of God.

The strengths of the apophatic way are that any use of language can reduce God to a human level. The apophatic way prevents anthropomorphic representation of God which means that God is being described within human terms. Furthermore, it can be argued that the apophatic way is hence more respectful in its approach.

Quick Reply