What is Wisdom? Voices from Psychology and Christian Faith

Throughout history, one tends to find at least two categorically different ways in which wisdom is understood. These might be described as a wisdom of knowing, and a wisdom of unknowing.   In Christian terms, we might call these a cataphatic wisdom, and an apophatic wisdom. A cataphatic wisdom relies on knowledge, texts, and accumulated wisdom – what is known and declared to be known. An apophatic wisdom, which recognises what one cannot know, relies on a direct and open kind of awareness. This is what John of the Cross called “the dark night of the soul”, where one leaves one’s knowing behind and plunges into the darkness of the ineffable. The former wisdom relies on longstanding traditions of meaning and knowledge – it represents a tried and