"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, June 3, 2022

Ps-Denys the Areopagite Unmasked at Oxford!

Freshly released last week from the world's oldest and most prestigious academic press is The Oxford Handbook of Dionysius the Areopagite, eds. Mark Edwards, Dimitrios Pallis, and Georgios Steiris (Oxford UP, 2022), 752pp. It concerns the life and work of one of the oldest and most mysterious figures in antique Christianity. The publisher further tells us this:

This Handbook contains forty essays by an international team of experts on the antecedents, the content, and the reception of the Dionysian corpus, a body of writings falsely ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite, a convert of St Paul, but actually written about 500 AD. The first section contains discussions of the genesis of the corpus, its Christian antecedents, and its Neoplatonic influences. In the second section, studies on the Syriac reception, the relation of the Syriac to the original Greek, and the editing of the Greek by John of Scythopolis are followed by contributions on the use of the corpus in such Byzantine authors as Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus, Theodore the Studite, Niketas Stethatos, Gregory Palamas, and Gemistus Pletho. In the third section attention turns to the Western tradition, represented first by the translators John Scotus Eriugena, John Sarracenus, and Robert Grosseteste and then by such readers as the Victorines, the early Franciscans, Albert the Great, Aquinas, Bonaventure, Dante, the English mystics, Nicholas of Cusa, and Marsilio Ficino. The contributors to the final section survey the effect on Western readers of Lorenzo Valla's proof of the inauthenticity of the corpus and the subsequent exposure of its dependence on Proclus by Koch and Stiglmayr. The authors studied in this section include Erasmus, Luther and his followers, Vladimir Lossky, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Jacques Derrida, as well as modern thinkers of the Greek Church. Essays on Dionysius as a mystic and a political theologian conclude the volume.

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