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Indeed, thewhole debate engaged inby Greg ory against Barlaam theCalabrian which resulted in the former's celebrated essence inGod can be said to or debated distinction between energies and have been over the proper interpretation of Dionysius cf. This universal and unequivocal respect must surely have derived frommore than the simple device of a sub-apostolic pseudonym.

I, forone, cannot but hold that itcame ratherfrom thequality and depth of the writings which thatName was chosen to adorn. Graeca Cabasilas, Life in Christ. Patrologia tion by C. New York, Crestwood, Areopagita. CorpusDionysiacum II. Ed by Adolf Ritter andGunter Heil. On theDivine Liturgy. Greek tion by P. New York, Crestwood,. Vita Plotini. Cambridge,Mass: Loeb, The Elements ofTheology.


Ed and transby E. Oxford, Saint Symeon the New Theologian.

Ed by J. Sources chretiennes Secondary Sources Armstrong,A. Bouyer, L. The Spiritualityof theNew Testamentand theFathers. Trans byM. New York: Seabury Pr, Brock, Sebastian. Gersh, Stephen. Leiden: Brill, Golitzin, Alexander. Hathaway, Roland. Love joy,A. The Great Chain ofBeing. New York, Matthews, T. Early ChurchesofConstantinople.

The Foundations. Murray, R. Cam bridge: rep. Noth, Martin. Rist, J. Athens toChartres:Neoplatonism andMedieval Thought.

2 editions of this work

Studies inHonour of Edouard Jeauneau. Ed byHaijo JanWestra. Leiden: E. Brill, Vassociation Guillaume Bude, Paul. Sherwood, Polycarp. In TheMessalian the Earth of the Heart. Areopagita Wiesbaden, "Die. Read Free For 30 Days. Description: Mystical Theology. Flag for inappropriate content. For Later. Related titles. Carousel Previous Carousel Next. Frederic M.

Apparent Dionysian Themes in Luther’s Theology

Jump to Page. Search inside document. In addition to their obviously-or ostensibly-Christian setting, theseworks also make clear use of lateNeoplatonist thought and language. I will add that I think this approach the best one for the following reasons: a 1 Dionysius's own background was thatof Greek-speaking Christianity a in Greek philosophy, especially with its from dialogue beginnings engaged Platonism. John of Scythopolis noted recent scholarship problems with the reception Scythopolis 20AC , and 98 This content downloaded from Dio nysius is coherent when read in the context of theEastern tradition in away thathe isnot when read ouside of it, i.

Whether as obviously or merely ostensibly on one's attitudes toboth Platonism Christian will thereforedepend largely and mysticism. If the formermeans the acceptance of an ontological kinship one views the Areopagite between the human soul and the divine world such that, as Plotinus puts it inEnneads III. Where union with God is fully a natural process there is obviously no real need for such Chris tian appurtenances as creator and redeemer, word and sacrament.

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And, in deed, according toPorphyry's Life ofPlotinus, thiswas precisely the latter's attitude to the apparatus of contemporary pagan religion Loeb , 32 34 -though, be itnoted, not that of Iamblichus a few generations later des Places , and , cf. There is onlyGod, hidden inhis transcendent being 99 This content downloaded from To be sure,Dionysius uses Proclus's triad of abiding mom , procession proodos , and return epistrophe as the frame work of his system Dodds 63, 38, cf.

That both "ecstasy" and eros are in the Areopagite ascribed to the divinity is surely a sign of his Christian inheritance so Rist and de Vogel Hence the remarkably consistent use of the passive voice which we findwhenever he discusses the process of our return toGod, most notably inhis description of hismaster, Hierotheos, "suffering divine things" Suchla and Armstrong -or towhat we find in, say, theUpanishads Mancaro , , thenDionysius is clearly either amystic or a Christian, not both.

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Dionysius's mysticism cannot be judged by this criterionwith This content downloaded from Second, while we do find one significant reference to a personal experience in his corpus-the only one, in fact,which I am certain we can ascribe to the unknown writer himself as opposed to the various reports of experiences he includes to sup port his pseudonym, for example the account of the eclipse and earthquake at the time of the Crucifixion inEpistle VII,2? My thirdpoint is therefore that, ifwe are able to place his mysticism anywhere, thatplace iswithin theChurch and theChurch's liturgy.

Ecclesiological setting and sacramental practice are not, however, imme diately obvious inwhat is perhaps themost famous passage from theDiony into the darkness ofGod on Sinai in the sian corpus, the ascent ofMoses Mystical Theology. Itmerits quoting at length. His steps This content downloaded from He does, though, seem to go Evagrius one better in describing theunion with God as beyond the intellect and not within.

Dionysius's mys ticism has for these reasons often been presented as ultimately dissolving his Christian position-or pose-in "a metaphysics of the firstprinciple whose roots are deeply imbedded inNeo-platonism" Vanneste , Paul Rorem's Biblical and Liturgical Symbols in thePseudo-Dionysian Synthesis has argued quite convincingly against Jean Vanneste and even Rene Roques , , for the interlocking quality ofDionysian thought, and in particular for the inseparability of the treatises on thehierarchies from those devoted to the intelligible names ofGod and themystical ascent.

Both men note, for example, thatMoses is in fact a type of the Christian hierarch bishop and, in addition, that the two other examples ofmystical union or the vision ofGod which Dionysius provides-his mentor, Hiero theus, whose transport is described inDivine Names II, and the figure of Carpus inEpistle VII-involve bishops and are given a liturgical setting. Further,Moses' three-stage ascent in the passage cited isparalleled by the threefolddivisions of theEcclesiastical Hierarchy: the laitywho are purified, illumined, and perfected; the clergywho purify, illumine and perfect; the sacraments of baptism, eucharist and chrismwhich are purification, illumi nation, and perfection.

The scriptural text itself is,firstof all, quite possibly writ tenwith theTemple in Jerusalem inmind cf. While Dionysius was not, tobe sure, apprised of the latest in twentieth-centurybiblical criticism, it isnot an unreasonable supposition to think him quite capable of drawing a parallel with his own liturgy from the following components: a purified people gather at themountain's base Ex. The whole question ofDionysius's connections with, and pos sible debt to, Syriac Christian literaturehas scarcely been touched. I shall have occa sion to resort to yet another theme from Syriac Christian literature inwhat Louth follows.

Regarding the former, the question iswhether or not the hierarch bishop is the only one privileged to make themystic ascent. Brought into exist ence by the economy of Christ, thework of God or "theurgy"-the term which Dionysius prefers for the Incarnation e. Suchla and never, be itnoted, employs to signifyhuman sacred activity Rorem , -our hierarchy is, to use expressions familiar from theNew Testa This content downloaded from This is a notion whose deep rooting in the philosophy of late antiquity, in particular lateNeoplatonism, has been amply documented e.

Less noted, and noted not at all in reference to possible linkswith Dionysius, is the presence of this idea in, again, the Syriac Christian writers of the fourth century. I have inmind particularly the latters' portrayal of the individual Christian as a "little church," a theme which appears in Chapter 12 of theLiber Graduum and again in theMacarian Homilies cited by Brock and Stewart , , A couple of citations from the , and Murray former and one from the latterwill have to sufficeus here: It is not without purpose that our Lord After its likeness the church on earth came intobeing, along with itspriestsand itsaltar;according to thepatternof thisministrythebody ministers while outwardly, the heart acts as priest inwardly.

Those who are diligent in thisvisible churchbecome likethatheavenlychurchas theyfollow after it. Brock , And we receive themanifest dispensation and administration as an illustra tion [ofwhat is]worked So forDionysius, too, the ecclesiastical hierarchy is the image or icon of This content downloaded from While this remark goes back, of course, to themes present in earlier writers in the ascetic tradition espe cially, again, Evagrius-cf.

This passage also underscores the importance of the notion of icon, or symbol, and the very last line leads us to the second question I raised con cerningDionysian mysticism: the role ofChrist. It is the presence of Jesus, divinity enfleshed, which is discerned in thematerial forms of the sacra ments. It isdifficult,forme at least, to avoid the impression thatChrist's presence here ismeant to be more than This content downloaded from This is the pivot, or hinge, around which all the action of the treatise turns-a styleof literarycomposi tion, i.

The which, readermoves from the doors of the church building in its opening chapters toward the altar, pauses there in chapter IV themiddle of the treatise , then proceeds from itdown the ranks of clerical ordinations, frombishop topriest to deacon, then outside the sanctuary gates toponder monastic tonsure, and finally goes "out thedoors" of theChurch in chapter VIFs concluding medi tation on themystery ofChristian burial. In the process, one is led from the Christian's true birth in Baptism chapter II to his or her departure from this life inhope of theResurrection chapterVII.

At its center is the altar, whose reality in turn is the sanctifying and transfiguringpresence of Jesus. If Sinai in theMystical Theology is a type of theChurch, and ifwe can also say that the "mountain of God" is equally an image of the individual human soul, then Jesus is the cen terof both, the unique "place ofGod," encountered at once at theChurch's altar and in the heart of each.

Moses' ascent in theMystical Theology is thus rightly seen as "mystical," but for Dionysius this also means that it fits squarely within the eccelesial and sacramental tradition, i. What follows in reply is inference, to be sure, but I think it nonetheless based solidly on thewhole structure of the Corpus Dionysiacum. InEpistle III both thedivine transcendence and immanence are brought together, "suddenly," in the person of Jesus: This content downloaded from The word "suddenly" exaiphnes , in addition, has interesting echoes. Where, however, Plato used it to designate the paradoxical and inexplicable in-breaking of knowledge, either knowledge of any kind or the mystical perception of supra-mundane reality, the "timeless" act of realization , citingParmen ides b, Epistle 7 c, and theSymposium e , Dionysius takes itover to express theChristian mystery of the transcendent become manifest in time and space.

On the contrary, Iwould maintain thathe intends it to suggest both the doctrinal mystery ofGod become man and the personal mystery of encoun ter: "suddenly" we meet, in Christ, the transcendent God. That this context is theChurch is suggested by the textof Scripture which Dionysius has chosen as his vehicle. Iwould like todraw attention here to thedifferentpossible senses of theword "temple" naos.

Even This content downloaded from Jesus is therefore, "suddenly," the point where all lines converge: themystical and the sacramental, the personal and ecclesial, our world, the heavenly powers, and the transcendentGod present in the gift of deification. That thismediation of spiritual realities via corporeal signs the basis for the idea of sacraments is temporarydoes not, however, point toward some eventual disincarnation, in the sense of Plato's or ofOrigen's and Evagrius's for thatmatter liberation from the prison of thebody.

Wesche scarcely accidental that chapter VII of theEcclesiastical Hierarchy expounds at length on the general Resurrection. The second sketches This content downloaded from Suchla , and that dynamism in itself, togetherwith the fact that every aspect of the human composite has its place for him in the transfigured life to come, should be enough to persuade us thathere is a thinkerwhose use of the con temporary philosophy was undertaken in the service of the faith revealed in Jesus ofNazareth.

Iwould like to add that thiswas exactly the sense inwhich theCorpus areo successors in pagiticum was interpretedby Dionysius's contemporaries and the Christian East. John of Damascus, especially in his Expositio Fidei Kotter 73, pp. George Pacymeres wrote an important com mentary in the thirteenthcentury PG III, accompanying the corpus which over theAreopagitica in anticipated the heightened interest in and debate the fourteenth.

Meyendorff This content downloaded from Ed by Beate Maria Corpus Dionysiacum English Suchla. PseudoDionysius: The CompleteWorks. Trans byColin Luibheid and Paul Rorem. New York: Paulist Press, Ephrem theSyrian. Ephrem theSyrian:Hymns onParadise. Trans by Sebastian Brock. Crestwood, New York, Germanos of Constantinople. New York, Crestwood, Iamblichus. Les Mysteres John of Damascus. Damaskos Vol. Maximus Plato. Kotter, des Places.

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Jesse Reichelt. Rami Touqan. Petro Vouris. Maria Alejandra Valdez. Flavia Dezzutto. Malena Tonelli. Miriam Blanco Cesteros. Vetusta Sapientia. Alexandra Dale. From the Publisher via CrossRef no proxy doi. Configure custom resolver. David Newheiser - - In J. Baun, A. Cameron, M. Vinzent eds. By Eric D. Dionysius the Areopagite S. Wear, J. Dillon Dionysius the Areopagite and the Neoplatonist Tradition. Despoiling the Hellenes.

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