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