Eckhart’s Apophatic Theology: Knowing the Unknowable God

By Vladimir Lossky

Vladimir Lossky’s posthumously published masterwork is now made available in English for the first time.



Vladimir Lossky’s posthumously published masterwork is now made available in English for the first time. Eckhart’s Apophatic Theology is the culmination of a long process, whereby the renowned Orthodox philosopher and theologian embraced the ways of thinking of a thirteenth-century German mendicant and mystic. While refusing to simplify Eckhart’s theology to a system or single motif, Lossky explores in detail the various ramifications of Eckhart’s insistence on the ineffability of God.

Is God to be regarded as ‘being’, or the ‘One’, or ‘Intellect’? Does God’s pure expression of each of these preclude the others? Framed by six key statements about God’s essence, Lossky lays out Eckhart’s approach to this dilemma. His understanding of the problem, guided by careful engagement with a multitude of sources, is exhaustive. Scholars will welcome this eagerly-anticipated translation.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 152 mm
Pages 540

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Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Vladimir Lossky (1903-58) was an influential Eastern Orthodox theologian. Born in Germany, he grew up in St Petersburg, Russia, but spent most of his adult life in exile in Paris, where he taught dogmatic theology at the St Dionysus Institute in Paris and the Orthodox Institute of St Irene. Among his best-known works is The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, also published by James Clarke & Co.


A Note from the Society
Foreword to the English Translation, by Rowan Williams
Foreword to the First Edition, by Maurice de Gandillac
Preface to the First Edition, by Étienne Gilson

1. Nomen Innominabile
2. Nomen Omninominabile
3. Ego Sum Qui Sum
4. Regio Dissimilitudinis Infinitae
5. Splendor in Medio
6. Imago in Speculo

List of Abbreviations
Index of Names


Endorsements and Reviews

Theologians have always insisted that God is ineffable. But what does it mean to say this? One of the premier explorations of this paradox is Vladimir Lossky’s Eckhart’s Apophatic Theology. Written more than sixty years ago, and now made available in this accurate and elegant English translation, this classic work will inspire renewed attention to the German Dominican and to the problem of unsaying God.
Bernard McGinn, Neomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor emeritus Divinity School, University of Chicago

This first, fine and accurate English translation of Lossky’s very important study of Eckhart’s Theology is a milestone in the recovery of this medieval Dominican reliance on the Greek Christian and Islamic philosophical tradition. What had been a textbook in its German version is finally available to the English speaking readers who will thoroughly enjoy to discover a side of Eckhart that has only recently been rediscovered.
Markus Vinzent, King’s College London (ret.) and Director of the Eckhart-Research-Centre, Max-Weber-Centre, University of Erfurt