Definition of cataphatic in English:



  • (of knowledge of God) obtained through affirmation.

    The opposite of apophatic
    • ‘It is from within this christological context that Maximus's understanding of the relationship between apophatic and cataphatic theology is most profitably interpreted.’
    • ‘Some may wonder at her somewhat facile distinction between apophatic and cataphatic prayer, as well as her surprising omissions.’
    • ‘That, I think, is the point of those who hold that apophatic theology (negative theology) and cataphatic theology (positive theology) are really two sides of a single coin.’
    • ‘Anselm's theology is excessively cataphatic (affirmative or positive) and rationalist.’


Mid 19th century: from Greek kataphatikos ‘affirmative’, from kataphasis ‘affirmation’, from kata- (as an intensifier) + phanai ‘speak’.