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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Eric D. Perl Announcing the Divine Silence
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Christian Schäfer The Anonymous Naming of Names: Pseudonymity and Philosophical Program in Dionysius the Areopagite
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The key to understanding Dionysius is the methodical acceptance of the literary fiction involved in reading an author who tries to recreate the immediateness of the first encounter of pagan wisdom and Christian doctrine. Dionysius’s method consists of the presentation of a Platonic ontology by way of biblical theonyms. These theonyms express whatever we can grasp of God by His self-communication toward us, yet they ultimately cannot reveal Him as He is. It is rewarding to compare biblical theonym and author’s allonym at this point: the allonym “Dionysius Areopagita” expresses how the author wants to be read and received but not who he really is. Th us the Dionysian writings present themselves as if they were the communication of an early Christian author whose objective it is to proclaim the “unknown God” to philosophically educated Greeks, naming Him with the biblical theonyms and explaining them in a Platonic way.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Enrica Ruaro God and the Worm: The Twofold Otherness in Pseudo-Dionysius’s Theory of Dissimilar Images
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The aim of my paper is to call attention to Dionysius’s kataphatic theology and, in particular, to an aspect which is not commonly discussed: the dissimilarimages applied to God. More precisely, I will focus on the image of the worm, which Dionysius considers the vilest and most dissimilar image applied to the divineThearchy. I will try to show that the worm, with its multiple and contradictory attributes, is indeed the best example for Dionysius’s “absurd theology” of the dissimilar images, since it perfectly fits the complex and paradoxical Dionysian view of the relationship/non-relationship between God and the world.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Ben Schomakers The Nature of Distance: Neoplatonic and Dionysian Versions of Negative Theology
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In their attempts to come know the first principle of reality, the One, the Neoplatonic philosophers employ a negative theological approach. In the case ofPlotinus, this approach can be described as a “taking away” (aphairesis): as the One is in its purity present to the soul, the task of the soul consists in taking away—that is, removing—all positive approaches. The case of Proclus is different as he departs from a different metaphysical presupposition: taking away will not work, because the One as it is remains distant from the soul. Instead he pleads for an approach by means of negations (apophaseis), which ought to awaken our awareness of the totally different character of the trace of the One in us, but can never lead to an experience of the One as it is. The two approaches function in different metaphysical contexts. Hence it may be surprising that Pseudo-Dionysius, a keen reader not only of Proclus but also of Plotinus, invokes both approaches and thinks them reconcilable. This essay attempts to describe the nature of this compatibility and to reconstruct the metaphysical context that it presupposes.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Timothy D. Knepper Not Not: The Method and Logic of Dionysian Negation
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This paper examines the basic differences between Dionysius’s two principal terms for negation, aphairesis and apophasis, expounding most of the passagesin which these terms appear in order to support the claim that aphairesis functions as Dionysius’s method of hymning the hyper-being God through the removal of“beings” (by means of narrow-scope predicate-term negation), while apophasis constitutes Dionysius’s logic of interpreting these removed beings excessively rather than privatively. It then argues that, although aphairesis “removes” and apophasis “exceeds,” these two types of negation function cohesively in the Dionysian corpus, although in doing so they suggest a different overall picture of Dionysian negation from that which is commonly attributed to Dionysius. It is not the case that Dionysius’s negation of predicate terms should be read propositionally, that is to say, as It is not the case that God is p. Rather, when interpreted apophatically, Dionysius’s not-p signifies more-p-than-most-p.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
L. Michael Harrington Recent Attempts to Define a Dionysian Political Theory
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The Dionysian corpus makes virtually no statement about the authority of kings or the structure of nations, but it has nevertheless repeatedly been the subjectof political analysis. Several scholars have recently sketched out a Dionysian politics by drawing analogies between the Dionysian church and the city, and between the Dionysian bishop and the emperor. These analogies are of limited usefulness. They show that Dionysius does employ Platonic political language to describe the ecclesiastical hierarchy, but they risk overlooking or downplaying the hierarchy’s non-temporal, and therefore non-political, activity. A more fruitful ground for developing a Dionysian politics may be found in his brief discussion of the legal hierarchy, which provides practical instruction for action in the temporal realm without direct reference to the contemplative activity of the church.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
John D. Jones The Divine Names in John Sarracen’s Translation: Misconstruing Dionysius’s Language about God?
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I draw on earlier research to develop contrasts between interpreting the conception of God in the Divine Names in terms of Neoplatonic, Latin Scholastic(specifically Albertinian and Thomistic), and Byzantine / Eastern Christian frameworks. Based on these contrasts, I then explore whether Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas were influenced, and possibly led astray, by John Sarracen’s translation of key terms and phrases in the Divine Names such as (Greek), (Greek)and its cognates, (Greek), (Greek), and (Greek). I conclude that Sarracen’s mistranslation of (Greek) by essentia clearly reinforces an essentialist interpretation of God in the Divine Names—that is, the view that God is an absolutely simple being identical to its essence. It is not clear that his translations of the other terms do the same, although they are most often read in an essentialist fashion by Albert and Aquinas.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Wayne J. Hankey Misrepresenting Neoplatonism in Contemporary Christian Dionysian Polemic: Eriugena and Nicholas of Cusa versus Vladimir Lossky and Jean-Luc Marion
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This paper contrasts the reception of Dionysius in relation to non-Christian philosophy during the Latin Middle Ages with his reception in twentieth-centuryChristian thought. The medievals, including Eriugena, Thomas Aquinas, Nicholas of Cusa, and many others, as a rule refuse to divide religion from philosophy and they distinguish or unite thinkers by their teaching rather than by their confessional adherence. Hence they see no need to set Dionysius in opposition to non-Christian philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Proclus, or to repudiate the latter in favor of the former. By contrast, Vladimir Lossky and Jean-Luc Marion, with their shared background in Etienne Gilson, celebrate Dionysius in opposition to the non-Christian Neoplatonists, whom they polemically misrepresent as reducing God to conceptual categories. These twentieth-century figures evince a sectarian religious narrowness that blinds them to the textual and philosophical community of Dionysius with his non-Christian sources.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
John Panteleimon Manoussakis The Revelation of the Phenomena and the Phenomenon of Revelation: An Apology for Dionysius’s Phenomenological Appropriation
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The present essay is apologetic in as much as it aims to justify as well as to explain the philosophical appropriation of Dionysian metaphysics by contemporaryFrench phenomenology, especially by the work of Jean-Luc Marion. It should be noted that Dionysius serves as the inspiration, direct or indirect, of many authors in the contemporary French school, among whom the most notable are Jacques Derrida, Jean-Louis Chretien, and Jean-Yves Lacoste. The present essaywill focus particularly on the convergence between Dionysius’s theology and Marion’s phenomenology.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Books Received
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