ineffability

ineffability
   Ineffability is the property of being unable to be truly spoken of. When one describes God as ineffable one means that God surpasses attempts to describe him: with God such sentiments as 'words cannot express our gratitude' are literal truth. Some Christian philosophers affirm that God is totally ineffable, that is, that there is no true description of him. This approach is problematic, however, since 'God is totally ineffable' then appears to be a true description of God. A more moderate doctrine of ineffability is that God cannot be totally described. Almost all Christian philosophers assent to this, but it may well be that mere humans (or even the flavour of coffee) cannot be totally described either. How to strike a happy medium between these two unsatisfactory versions has proved so difficult that some wits have exclaimed that even the very property of ineffability is itself ineffable.
   Further reading: Scharfstein 1993

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ineffability — In*ef fa*bil i*ty, n. [L. ineffabilitas: cf. F. ineffabilit[ e].] The quality or state of being ineffable; ineffableness; unspeakableness. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ineffability — (n.) 1620s; see INEFFABLE (Cf. ineffable) + ITY (Cf. ity) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ineffability — To say that something is ineffable means that it cannot or should not be expressed in spoken words (as with the concept of true love or some taboo). It is generally used to describe a feeling, concept or aspect of existence that is too great to… …   Wikipedia

  • ineffability — ineffable ► ADJECTIVE 1) too great or extreme to be expressed in words. 2) too sacred to be uttered. DERIVATIVES ineffability noun ineffably adverb ORIGIN Latin ineffabilis, from in not + effari utter …   English terms dictionary

  • ineffability — noun see ineffable …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ineffability — See ineffable. * * * …   Universalium

  • ineffability — noun The quality or state of being ineffable …   Wiktionary

  • ineffability — in·ef·fa·bil·i·ty …   English syllables

  • ineffability — (ˌ)iˌnefəˈbiləd.ē, əˌn , lətē, i noun ( es) : the quality or state of being ineffable …   Useful english dictionary

  • ineffable — ineffability, ineffableness, n. ineffably, adv. /in ef euh beuhl/, adj. 1. incapable of being expressed or described in words; inexpressible: ineffable joy. 2. not to be spoken because of its sacredness; unutterable: the ineffable name of the… …   Universalium

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