Apophasis and Pseudonymity in Dionysius the Areopagite: "No by Charles M. Stang

By Charles M. Stang

This ebook examines the writings of an early sixth-century Christian mystical theologian who wrote less than the identify of a convert of the apostle Paul, Dionysius the Areopagite. This 'Pseudo'-Dionysius is known for articulating a magical theology in elements: a sacramental and liturgical mysticism embedded within the context of celestial and ecclesiastical hierarchies, and an austere, contemplative routine within which one steadily negates the divine names in hopes of soliciting union with the 'unknown God' or 'God past being.'

Charles M. Stang argues that the pseudonym and the impact of Paul jointly represent the easiest interpretive lens for realizing the Corpus Dionysiacum [CD]. Stang demonstrates how Paul animates the complete corpus, and exhibits that the impact of Paul illuminates such valuable subject matters of the CD as hierarchy, theurgy, deification, Christology, confirmation (kataphasis) and negation (apophasis), distinct similarities, and unknowing. most significantly, Paul serves as a fulcrum for the expression of a brand new theological anthropology, an 'apophatic anthropology.' Dionysius figures Paul because the optimal apostolic witness to this apophatic anthropology, because the ecstatic lover of the divine who confesses to the rupture of his self and the indwelling of the divine in Gal 2:20: 'it is not any longer I who dwell, yet Christ who lives in me.'

Building in this thought of apophatic anthropology, the ebook forwards a proof for why this sixth-century writer selected to write down lower than an apostolic pseudonym. Stang argues that the very perform of pseudonymous writing itself serves as an ecstatic devotional workout wherein the author turns into break up in and thereby open to the indwelling of the divine. Pseudonymity is in this interpretation indispensable and inner to the goals of the broader mystical firm. hence this ebook goals to question the excellence among 'theory' and 'practice' via demonstrating that damaging theology-often figured as a speculative and rarefied idea concerning the transcendence of God-is in reality most sensible understood as one of those asceticism, a devotional perform aiming for the whole transformation of the Christian topic.

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As we have seen, scholars have by and large assumed that the pseudonym was an elaborate ruse on the part of the unknown author to win a wider readership for his heterodox collection. None of these scholars, however, has thought to consider the pseudonymous character of the CD in light of scholarship on Jewish and Christian pseudepigrapha in this period. To survey that vast literature and situate the CD therein would be an enormous endeavor—indeed, too enormous for me to undertake here. However, I suggest that before we pass judgment on the pseudonym, we consider the various scholarly theories as to the aims and purposes of pseudonymous writing.

None of these scholars, however, has thought to consider the pseudonymous character of the CD in light of scholarship on Jewish and Christian pseudepigrapha in this period. To survey that vast literature and situate the CD therein would be an enormous endeavor—indeed, too enormous for me to undertake here. However, I suggest that before we pass judgment on the pseudonym, we consider the various scholarly theories as to the aims and purposes of pseudonymous writing. In the first part of this chapter (I), therefore, I chart various modern accounts of pseudonymity in the ancient and late ancient worlds.

98 The specific pagan wisdom that helps the author rebut the monastic presumption is the conviction of the late Neoplatonists Iamblichus and Proclus, contra Plotinus and Porphyry, that the human soul is too weak to ascend to the divine of its own and requires the aid of divinely revealed “theurgic” rites. ” 177. D. 431. ” 178. 97 Ibid. 98 Ibid. 0/), which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work is properly cited.

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