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Pseudo-Dionysius : A Commentary on the Texts and an Introduction to Their Influence - Paul Rorem

Pseudo-Dionysius

A Commentary on the Texts and an Introduction to Their Influence

Hardcover

Published: 25th February 1993
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Pseudo-Dionysius is the name given to the author of an influential body of theological texts, dating from around 500 C.E. For centuries, the works were falsely attributed to "Dionysius the Areopagite," the biblical name chosen by the pseudonymous author - that of the Athenian who was converted to Christianity by St. Paul in Acts 17.
Written some five hundred years later than the biblical account, The Celestial Hierarchy, The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, The Divine Names, and the Mystical Theology offer a synthesis of biblical interpretation, liturgical spirituality and Neoplatonic philosophy. Their central motif, which has made them the charter of Christian mysticism, is the upward progress of the soul toward God through the spiritual interpretation of the Bible and the liturgy. Dionysius continually reminds his readers, however, that all human concepts fall short of the transcendence of God.
In this book, Rorem provides a commentary on all of the Dionysian writings, chapter by chapter, paying special attention to their complex inner coherence. The Dionysian influence on medieval theology is introduced in essays on specific topics: hierarchy, biblical symbolism, angels, Gothic architecture, liturgical allegory, the scholastic doctrine of God, and the mystical theology of the western Middle Ages. Rorem's book makes these important texts more accessible to both scholars and students and includes a comprehensive bibliography of secondary sources.

"This magisterial work by Rorem will serve excellently anyone who is interested in knowing better a major molder of Christian thought."--Religious Studies Review "An excellent book....A major piece of scholarship. We are all in debt to the author for giving us a deeper appreciation of the shadowy figure who so prominently shaped our common Christian tradition."--Augustinian Studies "The intellectual apparatus of the study is first rate: extensive notes accompany each chapter, and the bibliography is impressive. The lucid style makes difficult concepts accessible. Pseudo-Dionysius: A Commentary on the Texts and an Introduction to Their Influence is a major contribution to the study of Christian mysticism."--Cross Currents "This commentary is a welcome and authoritative contribution to Dionysian studies. It makes these important texts more accessible to scholars and students. The author's style is engaging and lucid, illuminating a complex subject with clarity and sound scholarship....Rorem has established himself as a foremost authority on Dionysius in our time."--Theology Today "With this book, Paul Rorem further establishes his reputation as one of the leading experts on Pseudo-Dionysius."--Calvin Theological Journal "This magisterial work by Rorem will serve excellently anyone who is interested in knowing better a major molder of Christian thought."--Religious Studies Review "An excellent book....A major piece of scholarship. We are all in debt to the author for giving us a deeper appreciation of the shadowy figure who so prominently shaped our common Christian tradition."--Augustinian Studies "The intellectual apparatus of the study is first rate: extensive notes accompany each chapter, and the bibliography is impressive. The lucid style makes difficult concepts accessible. Pseudo-Dionysius: A Commentary on the Texts and an Introduction to Their Influence is a major contribution to the study of Christian mysticism."--Cross Currents "This commentary is a welcome and authoritative contribution to Dionysian studies. It makes these important texts more accessible to scholars and students. The author's style is engaging and lucid, illuminating a complex subject with clarity and sound scholarship....Rorem has established himself as a foremost authority on Dionysius in our time."--Theology Today "With this book, Paul Rorem further establishes his reputation as one of the leading experts on Pseudo-Dionysius."--Calvin Theological Journal "A landmark in English Dionysian scholarship."--Modern Theology "Paul Rorem has done major work on Dionysius....A valuable addition to the literature on this enigmatic, influential "igure."--Speculum [Rorem] sets the Dionysian texts in their sixth-century historical context, he elucidates them clearly and accessibly without minimizing any of the considerable difficulties of interpretation that they present."--The Way Heythrop College

Abbreviations
The Letters as Introductionp. 3
Orientationp. 3
Reading Method for "An Obscure Style"p. 5
Letters 1 Through 6 as a Previewp. 7
Letter 7 to Polycarp, a Hierarch: The Questions of Authorshipp. 12
Letter 8: Issues of Hierarchy and Authorityp. 18
Letter 9: Biblical and Liturgical Symbolismp. 24
Letter 10: Summaryp. 27
Influence in the Middle Agesp. 29
The Celestial Hierarchyp. 47
Introduction: Chapters 1 Through 3p. 49
Presentation of the Heavenly Hierarchy: Chapters 4 Through 10p. 60
Specific Problems: Chapters 11 Through 14p. 68
The Biblical Descriptions of the Angels: Chapter 15p. 72
The Influence in the Middle Agesp. 73
The Ecclesiastical Hierarchyp. 91
Chapter 1 as Introductionp. 91
Chapter 2: Baptism, or "The Divine Birth"p. 96
Chapter 3: The Synaxis or Communionp. 99
Chapter 4: The Consecration of the Ointment (Myron)p. 104
Chapter 5: The Clergy and Their Ordinationsp. 107
Chapter 6: The Lay Orders, Including Monastic Tonsurep. 111
Chapter 7: Funerals, and Conclusionp. 114
The Medieval Genre of Liturgical Commentariesp. 118
The Divine Namesp. 133
Chapter 1 as Introductionp. 133
Chapter 2p. 137
Chapter 3p. 145
Chapter 4p. 148
Chapters 5, 6, and 7 on Being, Life, and Wisdomp. 153
Chapters 8 Through 12 on Various Namesp. 158
Chapter 13 and Conclusionp. 162
The Medieval Influence of The Divine Namesp. 167
The Mystical Theologyp. 183
Chapter 1p. 184
Chapter 2p. 193
Chapter 3p. 194
Chapter 4p. 205
Chapter 5p. 210
Influence in the Middle Agesp. 214
Afterword On the Question of Influence in the Middle Agesp. 237
Appendix: Overview of the Dionysian Writingsp. 241
Bibliographiesp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195076646
ISBN-10: 0195076648
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 25th February 1993
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.77 x 16.2  x 2.39
Weight (kg): 0.57