By Valentina Izmirlieva

Christians face a conundrum by way of naming God, for if God is unnamable, as theologians retain, he is also referred to as through each identify. His right identify is hence an open-ended, all-encompassing record, a secret the Church embraces in its rhetoric, yet which many Christians have came upon tough to just accept. To discover this clash, Valentina Izmirlieva examines lists of God’s names: one from The Divine Names, the vintage treatise through Pseudo-Dionysius, and the opposite from The seventy two Names of the Lord, an amulet whose historical past binds jointly Kabbalah and Christianity, Jews and Slavs, Palestine, Provence, and the Balkans.

This unforeseen juxtaposition of a theological treatise and a paranormal amulet permits Izmirlieva to bare lists’ rhetorical capability to create order and to operate as either instruments of data and of energy. regardless of the 2 various visions of order represented by way of every one record, Izmirlieva reveals that their makes use of in Christian perform element to a complementary dating among the existential want for God’s safety and the metaphysical wish to undergo his limitless majesty—a compelling declare absolute to impress dialogue between students in lots of fields.

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John the Baptist in Patmos. Courtesy of Avery Library, Columbia University. by misrepresenting himself as Dionysius the Areopagite, who was the first Athenian converted by St. 3 Whoever the man behind this pseudonym really was, he could not have chosen a better guise. While effectively concealing from posterity his true identity, the pen name granted his work a near-apostolic authority and placed it at the head of the patristic tradition. Luck was on his side as the divine names and dionysius the areopagite 19 well, for he not only managed to fool everyone with his mystification, but even benefited from the unintended consequences of assuming the name of Dionysius.

27 The sixth-century man behind the pseudonym, however, was much better positioned than his first-century prototype not only to make such a meeting a reality that lasts, but also to make it less asymmetrical. 28 Whatever his true intentions, I believe the result was a double gain: he salvaged the Platonists for the Christians, and enriched them both. 29 To turn this intuition into a scholarly hypothesis, however, goes beyond both my objectives in this chapter and my expertise. For the purpose of my current project, the synthesizing tendencies of Dionysius and the remarkable dialectical flexibility of his theological propositions interest me only with regard to his views on divine names, and I restrict my argument to this specific arena.

But then the commentators stepped in. 31 This symbiosis between text and exegesis was a most productive collaboration indeed. 33 Still, the major consequence was political. The continual interpretive effort of Christian thinkers who labored in the margins of the Areopagitical corpus shifted this once “marginal” work to the center of Orthodoxy, and its unknown author was crowned for at least a millennium with an authority second only to Scripture itself. Fig. 2. Marginal drawing of St. Dionysius Areopagite in a Greek manuscript of the Areopagite Corpus from the Monastery of St.

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