Skip to main content
“Aporetic Possibilities in Catherine Keller’s Cloud of the Impossible”
Zygon (2016)
  • Carol W. White, Bucknell University

In stressing the beauty of ignorance, of not knowing (self, other, or anything that exists) in the usual manner, Catherine Keller’s Cloud of the Impossible evokes the death of a metaphysical (A)uthorial presence and the dissolution of closed systems of meaning. In this article, I view her text as part of a crisis of modernity that challenges dominant theological pathways, on which certain problematic views of the human have been constructed. In my reading, Keller's Cloud enriches humanistic thinking in the West and I explore the themes it shares with my own work in religious naturalism: there is no escape from the radical relationality and the irreducible materiality that structure human existence. I also emphasize that such strategies are mere seductive, disembodied abstractions without acknowledging the force of materiality. Materiality matters; and I explore ways in which religious naturalism demonstrates how it does. In light of Keller’s rich analysis, I focus on a “learned ignorance” that accompanies all of our limited interpretations emerging from our shifting, precarious positionalities as we rethink our relationality to each other and to all that it is.
  • apophatic tradition,
  • chiastic thinking,
  • deconstruction,
  • evolutionary biology,
  • humanism,
  • religious naturalism,
  • logocentricism,
  • Catherine Keller,
  • materiality,
  • relationality
Publication Date
Fall September, 2016
Citation Information
Carol W. White. "“Aporetic Possibilities in Catherine Keller’s Cloud of the Impossible”" Zygon Vol. 51 Iss. no. 3 (2016) p. 765 - 782
Available at: