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6/18/13

defil

ON DIVINE FILIATION
(De filiatione Dei 1445)
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(2)

Translated by H. Lawrence Bond
2000

51 To his confrere Conrad of Wartberg, devout priest and canon at the monastery of Meinfelt (1) where Nicholas of Cusa had been provost (2)

On the Filiation of God

At long last, the ardor of your zeal has compelled me finally to respond to your frequent reminders. It seems that you, with good reason, demand from me what I conjecture about the filiation of God, which that loftiest theologian John reveals as given to us from the eternal ray of light, when he says: "But as many as received him he gave to them power to be made children of God, to them who believe in his name." (3) Take, Right Reverend Confrere, what occurs here with this agreement that you do not suppose that I am adding anything new to what you have read in my past conceptions. (4) For nothing has remained, even in the inmost heart, that I have not committed to these writings, which express my general conjectures (5) of whatever sort.
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that is. which in Greek is also called theosis. Therefore. (9) Afterwards. the filiation of the many will not be without mode. Therefore. to the apprehension of truth. will. or intellect. Moreover." (8) gave rational light to the human being when the Logos transmitted to the human a spirit according to the Logos' own likeness. (19) mind. one has judged oneself unable to ascend. Therefore. we will be set free (22) also from these obscuring modes so that our intellect. when we will have been loosed from this world. but by closing off the path (15) for oneself. holds from God. which is without mode in the identity of nature with the father. (23) For the theologian (24) says that the light of reason has the power of attaining filiation of God in all who receive the Word and believe. various in every single thing." namely. obtain as its happiness the divine life in which the intellect. will be retracted to phantasms according to the condition of this world. our intellectual faculty is not exhaustible this side of theosis. of self-intuition or some other concept can lack a restrictive mode. (13) And this is the sufficiency that our intellectual power. in summary. For a multiplicity participates unity variously. Yet this intuition will not be without the mode of that world. For nothing in this world is able to enter into a human being's heart. by its intellectual light. therefore. liberated from these subtracting modes. nothing is attained without faith.appstate. as if the intellect were a divine seed whose power in a believer could ascend to such a degree that it attain to "theosis. if we have received the divine Word. But you yourself know that theosis is ultimacy of perfection.6/18/13 defil Perhaps you will experience this in what will be stated. is the superabsolute filiation. actualized among believers by the divine Word's rousing. will be raised to intuition of the truth. although without the enigmatic contracted things of the sensible world. (18) 54 And since this filiation is the ultimate of all power." (25) But the filiation of the OnlyBegotten.htm 2/15 . of truth. the power of filiation arises in believers. in various otherness. But I believe that this deification exceeds every mode of intuition. (21) And this mode. if faith is present. however high and elevated. 52 I. to the ultimate perfection of the intellect. by various admonitions of visionary prophets and finally by the Word. I believe it is the view of the theologian John that the Logos or Eternal Reason. Thus. is in another differently than in itself. (26) www. can climb upward to the perfection of the intellect so far as it believes. which "in the beginning" was God "with God. the filiation will be in many children by whom it will be participated in various modes.edu/~bondhl/defil. (7) Indeed. which appeared in the world. (17) which first sets the wayfarer on the journey. of power. (16) Indeed. of gladness. of necessity. nor does it attain that which is its ultimate perfection at any level this side of that stillness of filiation's perpetual light and life of eternal joy. and this mode can perhaps be named the "participation of adoption. since every existing thing. but that it remains within a contracted mode. (6). the Logos declared that this light of reason is the life of the human spirit (10) and that in this our rational spirit. (14) For whoever does not believe will not ascend at all. (11) 53 This is an exceedingly wondrous participation of divine power so that our rational spirit holds this potency in its intellectual faculty. of essence. I consider filiation of God to be reckoned as nothing else than deification. which is called both knowledge of God and of the Word and also intuitive vision. not as truth is veiled in image and enigma and various otherness in this sensible world (12) but as truth is intellectually visible in itself. ascent even to the filiation of God is not prohibited. Our faculty of soul. (20)so that no concept of joy. in which and through which all children of adoption obtain filiation.

therefore. by which the intellectual faculty has been vivified. You should heed this in attentive meditation. We are brought from the sensible world of particulars over to the universal art. (27) However. who is numbered among the servants. The boy and the man are the same. then eventually the student is brought from the level of the school to that of a master. (34) and finds itself to be similar to him (35). (28) but rather in an adult state. to be the art of truth. as the theologian says. when the intellect is itself that divine art in which and through which all things are (36). 57 A painter teaches a student to produce many particular figures with a stylus.edu/~bondhl/defil. as a sinful human being. namely truth. which attain only to particulars. the study of life and perfection and every motion of the intellect comes to rest when the intellect finds itself to be in that realm where the Master of all workable works is. that is. we will be teachable by God. which is the intellect's life. the duty of the purest minds.htm 3/15 . 58 And this is the mastery that the intellect seeks in the study of this world: namely. draws by faith the light's continual influx. For the intellectual faculty. But we study. Therefore. so that it may grow into a complete man. by means of the senses. to possess mastery of truth.6/18/13 defil 55 II Now it seems that you want me to lead you in whatever way to where you can see what that ineffable joy of filiation is.appstate. to understand truth. (33) nay more. For in the various particular objects the intellect has sought. in very brief form what I now conjecture. which are works of art. I fear to be branded with presumptuous audacity by taking on myself. For the filiation of God is then in the intellect when the art is in it. in its universal receptiveness knowledge embraces all knowable things. In this world we study by means of the senses. For the universal exists in the intellect and belongs to the intellectual realm. nay more. but to the world of completion. In it the intellect possesses a universal mastery. (30) The one who now is in school in order to progress is the same one who afterwards attains to the office of master. namely the Son of God. 56 I do not believe we become children of God in such a way that we would then be something other than we are in the present mode. God and www. the truth itself. when it is itself God and all things in accord with that mode in which it has attained mastery. Take. Here we study. because we receive his word and believe. there we are made master. But the filiation is not apparent in the boy. nay more. Yet the great desire to please you does not allow me to remain silent. in the mode that we receive the word of reason from a master whom we believe because he is a truthful master and teaches us rightly. nay more. But the intellect is brought from the school of this world over to the realm of mastery and is made a master or art of the works of this world. Although you do not expect that this joy. which excels every mind. (31) and we are confident that we can progress and. that Word through which the heavens and every creature were formed. can be sufficiently expressed. nothing in this world but its own life and its life's food. which exists in the intellectual world. 59 For indeed. In the intellectual world there is only one object of the intellect. manhood does not belong to the world of childhood where a person is still growing. namely. But we will then be in another mode that which we are now in this mode. which receives the actual divine light. (29) when he reigns together with the father. In this world our study occupies itself with various particular things as with various books. But mastery is moving past the knowledge of particulars to a universal art and between the two there is no proportion. to be a master of truth. especially since we cannot leap over the encumbering modes of enigmas by means of conjectures. (32) Thereby the power arises in us to be able to attain to that mastership which is filiation. nay more. but the intellect does not find that art but rather those particulars.

or citharists. in a perfunctory way. for intellectual study. singers. when the intellectual life. it is necessary that its study not adhere to the temporal shadows of the sensible world. who has obtained a mastery of universal knowledge. (39) as if through them the Master of truth were speaking to us and they were books containing the expression of his mind. (37) Therefore.appstate. which we hungrily desire. (38) but rather use them. a learned scribe. (41) when we comprehend through the intellectual faculty of taste that we have attained incorruptible life. his intellect embraces God and all things in such a way that nothing escapes the intellect and nothing lies outside it. And then in sensible things we shall contemplate intellectual things. but because of our infirmity thus to use them without being contaminated by adhering to them. But if there are those who are delighted rather in these signs. he lives in misery with weariness. has a treasury from which he can bring forth the new and the old. Therefore. but since the liveliness of his sense of taste does not sense the sweetness of the flavor. according to the mode of mastery.htm 4/15 .6/18/13 defil everything that is. to the unremitting joy of the children of God. in another learned scribe and so in all scholars. 61 By such a likeness we who aspire to the filiation of God are admonished not to adhere to sensible things. and hardship. This bears a certain. whose being is in unstable flux. painters. pain.edu/~bondhl/defil. 60 The mastery that we are seeking and in which the happiness of intellectual life consists is a mastery of what are the true and eternal. This is also the case. because of its incorruptible nature. and we shall ascend. so that in it all things are the intellect. from transitory and fleeting temporal things. For a sick person with an infected palate eats very savory foods. III www. orators. by which the intellect senses that it lives in true intellectual life. Hence. as those who are ignorant. so that freed from this and with ardent desire for the study of this Master (40) we can enter into that life by attainment of the mastery. and we shall be free for the contemplation of the true. intellectually and not sensibly so that through these vocal signs they attain to the mind of their master. which pure truth eternally refreshes. just. Moreover. not only is not corrupted in annihilation. just as boys in the schools use material and sensible writings. the more perfectly one will obtain mastery. to eternal things. as if when with the soundest sense of taste we taste the food of life. but also lives on through intellectual tasting. if our intellectual spirit should come to be a perfect master. This is the joy of the Lord that no one will be able to take away. by a certain unproportional comparison. in its manner. And this is indeed that highest delight. they do not attain to mastery of philosophy. will degenerate into writers. by which they are instructed. (42) and it is punishment to chew his food. Thus they also use spoken words. which are enigmatic signs of the true. but. and joyous life and keep ourselves separate from every defilement that would drag us downwards. the more diligently someone in this school of this sensible world exercises oneself in intellectual study in the light of the Word of the divine Master. where all succession has been carried off into a steadfast permanence of rest. But whoever is hungry and has a pure and healthy palate eats his food with delight and enjoyment. so that in itself it would possess eternally the most delectable intellectual life. though remote likeness. For their study is not occupied with the material forms of the letters but with their rational meaning.

I am saying: one mirror brightness shines forth in various ways in all the mirror reflections. therefore. then the way of the enjoyment of being and life in truth. when the spirit is filled full with this appearance of the glory of God. when knowing that its beginning. straight mirror of truth. and end surpass all its height of apprehension. as it can be seen with material mirrors when they are turned toward each other in an anterior circle. but rather God precedes every intelligible thing as the sole most simple principle. that the reflection were a mirror of truth. But it receives www. 63 I would like you to notice how the coming to rest of all intellectual motion is objective truth. in which all the mirrors shine forth truly as they are without defect. Hence. but rather according to the condition of the receiving mirror. and to the intellect this is a clear and face to face vision. without blemish. in the empyrean heaven (48). without whom the intellect could not be happy. into the intellectual. 64 Therefore. (47) so in this way God is not found in the intellect's realm or heaven.htm 5/15 . which are contracted and curved. namely with a diminishment because of the receiving mirror's departure from straightness. For as triumphant in Godself God is neither intelligible nor knowable. I would like to provide a likeness to guide you. namely the way of the highest rapture of our spirit. absolutely straight. boundless. then the truth is not God. to straighten. which is the apprehension of truth. 65 However. is God. which holds in itself the truth of all mirrors. intellectual. that all creatures were mirrors that were more or less contracted and differently curved. (49) is attained with peace and rest. And this means it apprehends itself in truth in such excellence of glory that it understands that nothing can be outside itself but in it all things are it.6/18/13 defil 62 Perhaps what has often been heard troubles you: that God is incomprehensible (43) and that filiation. any intellectual. which is God. living mirror will have been brought to the first. outside its realm of truth no intellectual vestige is found. imagine that there were a highest reflection of our Beginning. middle. nor can God be attained by the intellect in that heaven of being. then the mirror of the truth transmits itself. nor is God. since it is the ultimate vital happiness of an intellect thus enjoying truth. and this intellectual mirror receives into itself that mirror radiance of the mirror of truth. (44) But since these theophanic modes are intellectual. I know that you are not in the least unaware that forms of equal size in straight mirrors appear less equal in curved mirrors. conceive them to be able to curve. Therefore. Since such mirrors were living.edu/~bondhl/defil. with every reception from all the mirrors. although God is not attained as God is. all the mirrors do not appear as they themselves are. cannot be attained. without any enigmatic phantasm.appstate. of glorious God. namely in pure truth. since in such way God surpasses every intellect. you give most subtle attention. But if. and that among them the intellectual natures were mirrors that were living and clearer. in which God were to appear. (45) will however be seen in the purity of the intellectual spirit. But in all the other mirrors. as God is triumphant in Godself. the intellect contemplates in its proper object. but it is a mode of God. and to cleanse themselves. straightest mirror brightness all the mirrors shine forth as they are. I believe that you have sufficiently understood that truth in something other can be comprehended only in another way. then God. And in this is the highest intellectual joy. since God cannot be attained outside the intellectual realm except negatively. and straighter. 66 Therefore. (46) This mode of the appearance of absolute truth. through which God is communicable to the intellect in eternal life. nor by the judgment of the intellect can there be anything outside the heaven of truth. and most perfect. as we have expounded in our other books. and free. living mirror. and in the first. neither is God truth nor life. 67 When.

therefore. For.edu/~bondhl/defil. which understands nothing as able to exist except the intelligible. except the intelligible nothing is understood. Confrere. living according to all the force and nature of intellectual vigor.appstate. and we know to be true that which reason shows us. therefore. Truth will not be something other from the intellect. joyously. that intellect does not understand the intelligible as another nor will its understanding be something other. and it knows that it has life of such superabundance that in itself all things live eternally in such a way that no other things whatsoever confer life to it. the more just. truth alone is the intelligibility of every intelligible thing. Indeed. For every otherness and every difference are inferior to filiation. Therefore. so that all things are that which they are.sees itself as it is and in itself sees. since in that intellect every intelligible thing is the intellect itself. the purer. however. 68 For this reason. all [the mirrors]. as if a living eye. in such a way that it perceives that nothing lives outside itself and that alone those things are living that in it are it itself. when in it all things are it. in its own mode. therefore. which is to understand. which embraces all things in accord with itself and makes itself all things. For the purest intellect makes every intelligible thing to be the intellect. nothing will remain except the pure intellect in itself. since this is so. the intellectual mirror attains filiation so that it is all things in all things and all things are in it. but it itself is the life of living things. which can also be called the Word. the brighter. Therefore. and truly will it see in itself the glory of God and all things. the straighter. nor different. or Son of God. the more clearly. then we are rightly deified when we are exalted to the extent that in the one we are the one in which are all things and are the one that is in all things.6/18/13 defil in its own mode that living mirror. and the truer the intellectual mirror will have been. And this is theosis. Therefore. Logos. when in the intellect the truth itself is the intellect.htm 6/15 . (51) and its kingdom is the possession of God and of all things in a life of glory. is the ablation (52) of every otherness and difference and the resolution of all things into one. Transfer. 70 Filiation. Therefore. nor will the divine reason be other. 69 For to this spirit God will not be other than this spirit itself. which is also the transmission of the one into all things. nor will the life by which the intellect lives be other from the intellect. but in a unity of essence there is that which understands and that which is understood and the act itself that is the understanding. Therefore. nor the Spirit of God other. and in the intellectual intuition there coincides being one in which are all things and being all things in which there is one. nor distinct. Everything true. which is also the transmission of one into all things. For the simpler. the more absolute. it --in that same mirror of truth-. the intellect will always be understanding and living. nor the Word of God other. the abstracted and most pure intellect makes the truth of every intelligible thing to be intellect so that it lives by an intellectual life. since God is the one in which all things are as one. Therefore. is true and intelligible through the truth itself. in which and through which our spirit lives and understands that it lives. But in the intellect every intelligible thing in the intellect is the intellect. which in the intellect is the intellect. For by means of a certain hidden intuition you will be able to foretaste that filiation is nothing other than conveyance from the shadowy vestiges of images to union with Infinite Reason. what was stated previously by our example to the intellectual realm. it does not understand that which is another from itself when it understands truth. in order that by such guidance you can elevate yourself nearer to catching sight of the filiation of God. www. take away the quantitative contractions of sensible mirrors and free your concept from place and time and from all sensible things by elevating yourself to the rational mirror brightnesses where our mind gazes at truth in clear reason. For we are investigating the lurking places of uncertain things with the brightness of the rational mirror. in the same true moment (50) of eternity when at the reception of light from the first mirror's reflection. in that first mirror of truth.

sensible entities. and negations when through a transcendence of all proportions. For ten has all that it is from the unit. it is the one that is attained in all attainable things. the middle. without which ten would be neither one number nor ten. rational. and thus is signified in every sign. which is free of all the considerations and is the beginning. will be transformed into life. I am also saying that the analytic schools will free us from various entanglements if we will regard the one and the modes of the one. I will strive to explain the matter further. but every elocution declares what is ineffable.htm 7/15 . There is no coordination or proportion of the numerable to the innumerable. but it remains innumerable to ten as it is also to any number. by means of a profound meditation. therefore. so that in this way he elevates the www. affirmations. And for this time let this be a kind of conjecture. as if some being besides the unit could suit it. Hence. ten is neither that which is other than the unit nor that which receives something from the unit. regarding theosis. disjunctions. which. indeed which in all things is all things and in nothing is nothing. comparisons.edu/~bondhl/defil. is in any way coordinated with intelligible. since it is the beginning of all effable things. and at the same time. Therefore. figures. unit. It as if one might call unit (54) innumerable. however remote. since I have no doubt that you greatly wish me to reveal to you the concept of the path by which I conjecture. and ratiocinations into pure. which is the simple and perfect word of mastery or the perfect art of the master. as you can. For every number cannot be other than the unit. etc. to go on with the pursuit of filiation. although it remains unattainable. (53) For one cannot arrive at the simply maximum in the ascent or descent of things. it is not that the one.appstate. For the ineffable is that one. and the end of all things. beyond othernesses. 74 And also that I may guide you by another example: a master's intellect is entirely unattainable in the rational and intellectual realm. For in these nothing is found except the unit in a variety. these two numbers will be different. Therefore. The master wants this art to inspire the minds of the students. Therefore. in the flux of this time. the unattainable one is attained in all things. is all that which is verbalized in every word. although six's unit is not one thing and seven's unit another. but all that it is is the unit. in On Learned Ignorance. times. as child of life. you need to be elevated. And since six is not seven. of the absolute to the modally contracted. whatever description there could be of its highest profundity: surmise. in a simple purity. as I have explained elsewhere. since this innumerable unit is exalted above every number. Indeed. Let these thus be the things that have been stated about this matter. beyond that which is explicable with any signs. places. as it presents itself. he inhales air and from it produces a vocal sound. the one will be that which is also all things. images and contractions. Nevertheless. Yet the number ten does not count the unit. but unity is in number numerally and in the unit innumerably. 73 Thus it is fitting that you conjecture that that one which is the beginning of all things is ineffable. however. intellectual life you. beyond all contrarieties. is the father or begetter of the word. conjunctions. and this innumerable unit is counted in every number.6/18/13 defil 71 Do not consider these words to be precise because ineffable things are not attained by words. which he gives form to and expresses in various ways. 72 IV However. This intellect is moved out of the fullness of its mastery and of its power or goodness in order to unite others to a likeness of itself. cannot be found in number. From itself it generates the mental word. having to ascend above reason to something higher. But since it can enter into the mind only through sensible signs. is every number. For what ten is it holds entirely from the unit. which is the beginning of number. but rather the maximum remains superexalted above all order and gradation. all that which can be spoken do not express the ineffable.

the intellectual word is the intellectual reception of the ineffable word. Consequently. all sensible things are the utterances of various expressions unfolded from God the Father through the Son the Word in the Spirit of all things to the end that by means of sensible signs the teaching of the highest mastery would transmit itself into human minds and effectively transform them into a similar mastery. 77 Therefore. 78 Therefore. the ineffable can neither be named nor attained in any way. and that in an imparticipable way the one is the fount of intelligible being and is all that which it is. and it does so in his pronunciation and in various ways according to the various modes of his expression.htm 8/15 . Therefore.appstate. and the glorious God the beginning. Therefore. For this reason I conjecture that the pursuit by which in this world we endeavor to ascend to the attainment of filiation can perhaps be in something other so that our speculation occupies itself with the one and the mode of the one.edu/~bondhl/defil. (55) But all the master's words can in no way manifest the author of the words. But in this way what is ineffable is effable. every intellectual word remains intellectual. the pursuit of those striving toward the filiation of God is this: to learn that every effable thing stems from the incoordinate and superexalted ineffable. and the end of every intelligible thing. and speech and pronunciation with all their possible modes cannot express the intellectual mastery. created this sensible world for the sake of intellectual spirits and created its matter as if it were the voice by which the Beginning made the mental word shine forth in various ways. that is. this entire sensible world would exist in this manner for the sake of the intellectual. which is the image of the intellect. www. the naming would be in an absolute way since the intellectual mode is absolute in relation to sensible contractions. although in all speech nothing other exists or is signified than the manifestation of that mastery for the purpose of transformation into a similar mastery. and all the modes of speech do not attain the concept. that the ineffable is established above every intellectual thing and is the beginning.6/18/13 defil students' minds to an equality of mastery. and the human being would be the end of the sensible creatures. and end of all God's activity. and what is beyond all mode modifiable. in no way names God. from goodness belonging to the Beginning. Nevertheless. apply the one and the mode to something that you will experience to be present and to flourish in all things. All the modes of pronunciation fail to attain the affection. who is unnameable. an absolute name. for the mind cannot be participated or in any manner attained by the vocal word. what is imparticipable participable. the middle. the intellect. but rather it expresses the unnameable God in various intellectual modes. since it is so great that it cannot be pronounced sufficiently. 79 V. and there also shines forth the mastery from which his so fecund and so masterful concept emanates. except through the mental concept or the intellectual word. you may taste in an example what I intend. (56) 76 In such likeness our triune Beginning. whether being or deity or goodness or truth or even power or any other. free of every sensible contraction. who in the one and the mode of the one presents Godself as participable. middle. Therefore. However. since it is the art of mastery. if the ineffable is named by the intellect. Therefore. That the word may bear fruit the concept of the master's affection shines forth in the signification of the words. And so in order that by my speaking in a more contracted way. (57) But the intellectual intellectually holds that which it is from the ineffable. just as the mental word is the fount of the vocal and all that which it is and is signified by the vocal word without intermixture and partition of itself. God is the beginning above one and mode. 75 The master's affection shines forth in such an expression of the master's teaching. which is of inexpressible fecundity.

the most prudent lawgiver Moses says that God created all things and formed the human being. which in all things is all things. one should observe that God. yet they attempted to unfold only that one. 83 That I may explain to you more sufficiently what I am conjecturing: it is one that all the theologians and philosophers attempt to express in a variety of modes. which participate it in their own mode. in the potency of this spirit's power is enfolded every power of the heavens and of those things that are under the spirit. One is the kingdom of heaven.appstate. etc. in all things. Therefore. Therefore. For although their modes of speaking are contrary and seem incompatible. which is established unattainably above every contrariety. 82 Therefore. or any others different things. in minerals minerally. various good things arise.htm 9/15 . which is able to be unfolded only in a variety of modes. www. and as disjunctive. For theology is one: as affirmative. Plato. you will find power and its mode. 80 Next. For this reason the absolute power of the intellectual world is contracted in the sensible world in a variety of participating modes: in the sky celestially. is attained as God not by any highest absoluteness (58) but with the absolute mode. Nor did Zeno transmit something about truth and Parmenides. But Moses attempts to convey how all come forth into being through participation of God's power in the mode in which it is variously participable. there is only the one thing.edu/~bondhl/defil. existing beyond every absolute and every contracted thing. neither denying nor affirming. of which there is also one likeness. if you pay attention. For without mode the absoluteness is not participable. Therefore. which the intellectual world participates intellectually. Therefore. in the mode in which God is variously participable. and as unitive. Therefore. as the Master of Truth shows (61). Therefore. Thus all possible modes of speaking in theology are those which attempt in some way to express the ineffable. goodness. 81 Now you see how great is the intellectual spirit's potency. For God is not power but the lord of powers. But the absoluteness of power has modes. (59) as though God were the creative or formative power. there are various intellectual spirits participating power in various modes of absoluteness so that all absolute spirits participating the one power variously are not other than absolute power participated in various modes.6/18/13 defil We experience that a certain power dwells in all things. as dubitative. that one negatively. For being is this one thing. In this way he says that God saw that all things were good (60) and shows that God is the fount of goodness from which. which cannot be participated without mode. let power be freed by the intellect in order to consider power in an absolute way. so that they are powers elevated above every contraction of power. in vegetative things vegetatively. For this reason the absoluteness of power manifests various participating powers in a variety of modes. because it is a power exalted above every power of the sensible world. this one affirmatively. as negative. the absolute power will be a certain coordinate maximumness holding in itself all grades and modes of power in a universal height and in a unity of intellectual simplicity and the highest mode by which the superexcelling ineffable and entirely unattainable cause of all power is intellectually attained. denying all things of the same one. You may also conjecture in this way about being. In this absolute mode the intellectual natures participate the imparticipable intellectually. although God is beyond all these. and another dubitatively. in living things vitally. power is one. as power itself is veiled in shadow in the sensible world. and truth as about power. joining opposites affirmatively or negatively entirely rejecting the opposites unitively. in sentient beings sentiently. but all who were looking on the one expressed it in various modes. and it is likewise with both goodness and truth. affirming all things of the one. For this reason. so that every power that is in them is a certain unfolding of the power of the intellectual spirit. And each attempted this in one's own mode. affirming one thing and denying another. which all things that exist participate. But this sensible world participates sensibly and in a variety of modes the one power.

observes how the one. the intellectual power. is a living likeness of God. when the power is actualized through reasoning and liberated from the vivification of the body. but when mastery is attained. whether he says that he is speaking or whether he says that he is not. and becomes at one with itself as living intellect. then it is manifest to the pursuer that the power of the ineffable embraces every sayable thing and that nothing can be said in which in its mode the cause of every saying and of everything said does not shine forth. and that what anyone is saying of God is not other than a certain mode by which the one who is speaking speaks of the ineffable. But this takes place when God in the intellect is the intellect. whatever any one might be saying.edu/~bondhl/defil. it. to know all things is nothing other than for the intellect to see itself as a likeness of God. as God is the essence of all things. is a likeness of all things. separated and united in itself in a living and converted way.6/18/13 defil 84 VI. when it knows itself. when it sees itself in God as it is. Therefore. is unable not to be expressed in every expression. to which it made itself participable. just as these two species the human being and the ass express the genus of animality in a varying mode. indeed.appstate. so also the intellect. a likeness of God. which rationally and sensibly extends itself in its hunt in this world. and. by a subtle consideration. For this reason. But knowledge takes place through likeness. In accordance with the expression of the human species rationality then seems to fit animality. since one knows that God is ineffable. which is the cause of all things. To such a theologian someone who says that nothing at all exists does not say less than one who says that all the things exist that appear to. those contrary expressions of the contrary differential modes do not impede whoever is looking on the one superexalted genus. but in accordance with the expression of the asinine species irrationality seems to fit. then in the heaven of pure intelligence all things are known in the one. 86 For just as God is the actual essence of all things. this is the pathway of pursuit of those who strive toward theosis: to perceive the one in the diversity of any modes whatsoever. 85 It is necessary then that the pursuer not neglect that in this school of the sensible world the one that is all things is sought in a variety of modes.htm 10/15 . But how this happens you may conjecture from what has already been stated. Therefore. since the intellect is a living intellectual likeness of God. Consequently. For this reason the scholar theologizing truly will find nothing in all the variety of conjectures that would disturb one. For when any pursuer. For the intellectual powers that are participated in the sensory and rational organs will www. Therefore. exalted above the differences. but since the mind intellectually participates absolute power in such a way that in accord with the superabundant power of its nature there is a certain notion of all intelligible things. knows all things. none of the differences fit it. so also the intellect. But whoever looks on the genus. Afterwards. it sees all things in one simple cognitive intuition. beyond every affirmation and negation. But the intellect knows itself. that it is exalted in such way above these differences (63) and that. However. For then the mind is moved to apprehension not by any discursive reasoning from things sensibly received. recollects itself when it transfers itself from this world. the asinine species irrationally. Consequently. It is likewise with the asinine species. the human species rationally. perceives that the expression of the species is a certain differential mode of the genus. and this is filiation. (62) just as a word is unable not to be spoken with everyone who is speaking. consequently. it discovers that it is a power that is also the actual notion of things. But here it seeks the one in a variety of modes. in itself as one thing. It is this potency of power that the mind as in this world strove to elevate to actuality through sensible incitements. Nor does someone who says that God is all things speak more truly than the one who says that God is nothing or is not.

4Cusa is apparently referring to what he has written in philosophical-theological writings prior to De filiatione Dei [1445]. it exerts an understanding of this or that thing. when in the intelligible heaven it knows itself as a likeness of all things so that the intellect is actually an intellectual university of all things when it is a discriminative notion of all things. is afterwards transferred to actuality completely and to the perfect art of mastery. the more and to a much greater extent does the intuitive knowledge of the other world surpass the knowledge that there is of this world. therefore. and. the more certain and clearer the knowledge generated through sight is than the knowledge of the same thing produced through hearing. Streifzüge in die Cusanische Theologie (Münster. (65) 1. 1991). "Nikolaus von Kues über dei Gotteskindschaft" in Nicolò da Cusa. divisible corporeality but rather in the indivisible point in which there is the intellectual enfolding of all continuous quantity. brought in this way to actuality in particulars. Relazioni tenute al Convegno interuniversitario di Bressanone nel 1960 (Padova 1962) 29-46. intellectual. De docta ignorantia [1440]. and it assimilates itself to particular forms.edu/~bondhl/defil." since the knower regards the reason for a thing. If at another time God provides something more excellent. Therefore. and obscuring mode. I beseech you."Mitteilungen und Forschungsbeiträge der CusanusGesellschaft 2 (1962) 15-66. It sees the whole sensible world not in a sensible mode but in a truer. For from its power. pp. "Die Pfründen des Cusanus. and make me a partaker in your prayers so that when we have become translated from here.6/18/13 defil return to their intellectual center in order to live with intellectual life in the unity of their emanation.appstate.htm 11/15 . On the composition of De filiatione Dei and its relation to sermons preached on similar themes before and at the time of this work. 3John 1:12. Thus the intellect sees quantities not in an extended. mode. 89 Therefore. that is. For it does not see temporal things temporally in a changeable succession but in an indivisible present. by which it intellectually bears in its potency the university of things. of whatever kind it may be. the intellect perceives all things intellectually above every sensible. De Deo abscondito [before www. as well as Haubst's earlier version. (64) 90 Receive graciously. the intellectual nature is a university of things in an intellectual mode. and the knowledge "that something is" is from hearing. De coniecturis [1442-44]. it seeks to bring its potency to actuality. 2See Erich Meuthen. Now farewell. 88 But the intellect does not then see anything besides the intelligible heaven of its own rest and life. 87 It can now be sufficiently clear to you that according to my conjecture. and deficiently. it will not be hidden from you. but is of the intellectual world. just as to know "why something is" can be called "intuitive knowledge. called "intuition" because between the knowledge of that world and that of this sensible world there is almost the difference that there is between the knowledge that is received through sight and that which is received through hearing. 2. when it actually assimilates itself to the thing understood. while the intellect is engaged in the schools of this world. 3. ever-blessed. This assimilative potency. 4. as time permitted. we may obtain the filiation of God in the only begotten Son Jesus Christ. 89-96 and 405ff. see Rudolf Haubst. 1Now Münstermaifeld in Germany outside Koblenz. For this perfect knowledge is. these things about what we have been seeking that have been written cursorily. very beloved Confrere. distracting. For the present or now that enfolds all time is not of this sensible world. Nor does the intellect see the othernesses of things in a variety of numbers but intellectually in the simple unit enfolding all number. Cf. since it cannot be attained by sense.

hier.appstate. 1:26. 13:12 and James 1:17. 7374). 14. 11:6. the use of "to deify" and "deification"in Pseudo-Dionysius. in the present tense. 19Cf. De div. 18Cf. infirmae apprehensionis incertus casus a veritatis puritate positiones nostras veri subinfert coniecturas. 14Cf. I. 2 Cor. 7In De quaerendo Deum (h I. as with the delimitation of a universal so as to be this or that. 13. 10. 2-7). 12Sensibili here means perceptible to the senses or subject to the evidence of the senses.6) he speaks of attaining the generalem coniecturandi artem. 8." from contracta . Cusanus speaks of the Spirit's working a perfection in things so that omnis creatura per perfectionem propinquius ascendat. Later in Prol." which. metaphorically. quantum naturae suae patitur condicio. 18. 3:5. 2:9. occasioning or making. 12. 19. the spirit given to the human being. 20"Contracted. Gen. Cf. 16. 2 (h III. Later in De dato patris luminum (h V. 11. 16Cf. 5In his De coniecturis Prol.124 A. Is." We can never attain the precision of truth. e. De quaerendo Deum II. 15. 64: 4 and 1 Cor.. 5. 6. Gal. the perf.70. in an extended analogy. 3-6). www. 20. 17. 7. nom.3 (PG 3. The increase of the apprehension of the true is inexhaustible. hoc est ad quietis terminum.113. and our actual knowledge bears no proportion to maximum knowledge. Cf. the way of ascent.4) Cusa designates as coniectura "every human positive assertion of the true. and De quaerendo Deum [beginning of 1445]. 4 (h III. Heb. i. which is humanly unattainable. 1 Cor.6/18/13 defil 1444] .edu/~bondhl/defil. Dionysiaca 1161) and De cael. 11Cf. "to draw together. e.37. Hinc ipsam maximam humanitus inattingibilem scientiam dum actualis nostra nulla proportione respectet. John 1:1-17. 6See below III.htm 12/15 .26. that of simply bringing about. Cusanus.649 C. has the intellectual natures designate their "King" as Theos for to them this "God" is the ultimacy of every perfection that is intuitive of all things as if speculationem seu intuitionem ipsam in suo complemento perfectionis omnia videndi. 15I. 10I. ad deificationenm. pass. Dionysiaca. individuated and differentiated. e. 17Cf. part. 13Cf. II. of contrahere. 9Cf.. 3:25-26. 8John 1:1. John 3:18. 9. for Cusa often means the action of reducing to smaller compass by constricting or limiting in extent and.11 (PG 3.

23 and Eph. 27. 2:12. 29. 43. Eccles. 13:11. John 16:22. 29Cf. 41. 37. 27Cf. 33Cf. 28. 35. 22Relevatus in the text seems to be a mistake and perhaps should have been relevati. 44That is. 4:4-5 and Col. 44.edu/~bondhl/defil. 21I. 2 Peter 2:20. 42Cf." 23. John 1:1-3. Eph. 25Cf. 39Cf. 4:13-15 and 1 Cor. 36Cf. e.htm 13/15 . 33. 4:11. 37Cf. 1-16. 1:5. a mode of constriction and delimitation. 34Cf. Rom. 22. 32:19.appstate. 42. 1 John 3:2. 30Cf. 1:16. 3:16-17. 2 Tim. 4:1. 40The antecedent of ipsum (in the phrase cum ardenti desiderio studii circa ipsum) is unclear here. 31Cf. 38.6/18/13 defil 21. www. 43Cf. Matt. 4:13. in line 4 of the Latin text. Gen. 7:1 and Wisdom 2:5. 13:52. John 6:45. 35Cf. 8:6 and Rev. 32:6. 23In contrast with this world of ours on earth. 22:16. 25. Col. 22:16. 8:15. 38Cf. 34. 40. 32. Gal. 32Cf. Matt. truth in another than itself can be comprehended only in an another way than it is in itself. Jer. 41Cf. 26Cf. Eph. 1 Cor. John the Gospeler. Matt. Ps. I take it to refer to magister veritatis above. 31. Gal. 24. 28Cf. 36. 39. 26. otherwise it refers to intellectus noster and should read "our intellect will be set free also from these obscuring modes. 24St. 30.

Cf." or possibly "Therefore.htm 14/15 . the removal or taking away. 48Literally the "fiery heaven. 63Differentiae [differentiarum] here suggest what distinguish one species from another in a genus. 59Cf. 1:31. 63. 13:12. 62Cf. Figuratively. 46Cf.89b." sometimes called simply the empyreum. Gen. class. Matt.5. differences in some respects but not in all respects. is the differentia that sets apart the human being from other members of the genus animal. 55. 53. 56Its purpose is to transform the mind of the students into a like mastery. the state or condition of being absolutus. 57.13-14 (h I. 52. to equal mastery with the master. 51Cf. Cf. 54. Philip. unit. 58Absolutio. that is.1. 47Cf. the highest heaven where God and the angels dwell. 60. 54Originally from . 64Propter quid as distinct from quia. 1 Cor. so as to differentiate one type. 53See DDI I. 49. 56. monad. 49Cf. unconditional. 15:28. 47. 61Wilpert in the documentation accompanying the Latin text cites the Kingdom parables of Christ. In Latin the synonyms of "absolute" are abstractus and separatus. e. 57Or "Therefore. Gen. 60Cf. literally of being freed or cut off. 11-13). 3:18. 51. Mark 4. 2 Cor. it can mean unqualified.appstate. 46. www. for example. 2:1-7. 4:7. Acts 4:20. Rationality. every word free of every sensible contraction remains intellectual. 61. a distinction from Aristotle's Analytica posteriora II. 48. 45Contrast with 1 John 3:2. 50. 55I.24-25. or a unity. every intellectual word remains free of every sensible contraction. which disclose the "mysteries" of the Kingdom by considering the "one" Kingdom of Heaven in a variety of images. 64. 52That is. independent.6/18/13 defil 45.edu/~bondhl/defil. or species from another." 58. and Luke 8. 50The printed Latin text should read momento in place of momenot. and separate from what is composite. 12:2. pure-and-simple. 62. 1 Cor. 59. 2 Cor. 13.

" St. Pantaleon July. an early fourth century martyr. www. Pantaleon. 65Note that the explicit in codex Trevirensis 1918/1466 reads "Finished in the year of the Lord 1445 on the day of St.appstate.6/18/13 defil 65.edu/~bondhl/defil. was said to have been a court physician to the emperor Galerius in Nicodemia and was executed there during Diocletian's purge.htm 15/15 . He came to be considered a patron saint to physicians and his feast day is July 27.