Category Archives: Dionysius the Areopagite

Dionysian Ponderings: Transcending Freedom and Necessity

“There is no evidence in the Dionysian corpus of creatio ex nihilo,” avers Timothy D. Knepper; “rather, the divine names, the properties they source, and the beings that participate in them, all preexist in and process from God” (Negating Negation, … Continue reading

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Dionysian Ponderings: To let be or not let be–that is the question

Did the Lord God Almighty have to create the world? This is the question I now wish to pose to St Dionysius the Areopagite. It is a pressing question for Christian students of the Areopagite because he is so deeply … Continue reading

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Dionysian Ponderings: Creatio ex Nihilo, Divine Energies, and the Erotic God

Did St Dionysius the Areopagite espouse the catholic understanding of the creatio ex nihilo? As noted in the preceding article, this understanding comprised three elements: (1) rejection of pre-existent matter, (2) absolute beginning, and (3) divine freedom. Neither rejection of eternal … Continue reading

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Dionysian Ponderings: Plotinian Emanation and the Creatio ex Nihilo

Did St Dionysius the Areopagite teach the creation of the cosmos from out of nothing? This is a live question for readers of the Corpus Areopagaticum. Dionysius does not explicitly cite the creatio ex nihilo and therefore can easily (some would … Continue reading

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Dionysian Ponderings: The God Who is Theophany

All created being, all that is and will ever be, flows from the one transcendent Deity who is Father, Son, and Spirit. St Dionysius the Areopagite seems to be clear on this point, but it’s difficult to pigeonhole him in one … Continue reading

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Dionysian Ponderings: Emanation, Cosmos, and the Plotinian One

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of The Divine Names by St Dionysius the Areopagite is his discussion of divine creation—or perhaps more accurately (or not), divine emanation. Dionysius was greatly influenced by the writings of Neoplatonic philosophers, particularly, Plotinus and … Continue reading

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Dionysian Ponderings: Beyond the Beyond … and then Beyond

“Dionysius adopts the doctrine of God as ‘nameless,’ ‘unknowable,’ and ‘beyond being’ from the Neoplatonic tradition established by Plotinus,” writes Eric Perl, “and his thought can be understood only in that context” (Theophany, p. 13). We will need to revisit … Continue reading

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