1st Edition

Pseudo-Dionysius as Polemicist
The Development and Purpose of the Angelic Hierarchy in Sixth Century Syria

ISBN 9781138259829
Published November 28, 2016 by Routledge
226 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

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.

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.

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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.


’... 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