Pseudo-Dionysius as Polemicist: The Development and Purpose of the Angelic Hierarchy in Sixth Century Syria, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Pseudo-Dionysius as Polemicist

The Development and Purpose of the Angelic Hierarchy in Sixth Century Syria, 1st Edition

By Rosemary A. Arthur


226 pages

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The anonymous theologian known as Pseudo-Dionysius, who was responsible for arranging the angelic hierarchy into nine orders, had a significant influence on mediaeval European mysticism. This book places him in his religious and political context in sixth century Syria, and uncovers the hidden agenda which lies behind his writings. New evidence is presented to establish the dating of the corpus more accurately than has been done before. Rather than analysing the minutiae of Dionysius' thought, Rosemary Arthur focuses on his sources for, and treatment of, the Angelic Hierarchy and the Dazzling Darkness, with a view to ascertaining his motive for writing, his relationship with his opponents and his need to hide his identity.


’… a well presented and convincingly argued thesis, in the best tradition of scholarly enquiry.’ The Downside Review ’There are few full studies in English which discuss the question of the historical Dionysius, while keeping in mind the sociology of the sixth-century Church, in such an accessible, creative manner.’ Church History

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Christian and non-Christian sources; The angelic hierarchy; The unknowability of God; The monophysite connection; Summa or polemic?; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Having originally studied chemistry, Rosemary Arthur later became interested in theology, and returned to London University, obtaining a BD in 1992. This was followed by an MA in Mediaeval English in 1993, specializing in the Anglo-Saxon church. Her doctoral research was carried out at King's College London under the supervision of Dr Graham Gould and she was awarded a PhD in 1998.

About the Series

Routledge New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies

The Routledge New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies series brings high quality research monograph publishing back into focus for authors, international libraries, and student, academic and research readers. This open-ended monograph series presents cutting-edge research from both established and new authors in the field. With specialist focus yet clear contextual presentation of contemporary research, books in the series take research into important new directions and open the field to new critical debate within the discipline, in areas of related study, and in key areas for contemporary society.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General