Description : N eoplatonism begins explicitly with Plotinus in the third century of our era. The later Neoplatonism of the fifth and six century schools at Athens and Alexandria was both the continuation of the philosophy of Plotinus and also a pagan ideology. When these schools were closed, despite attempts at compromise at Alexandria and as a result of direct and indirect political pressures and actions, pagan ideology died. Many philosophers, such as Isidore, Asclepiodotus, Damascius, and Olym piodorus, must have foreseen the danger to philosophy, and their extant writings are sprinkled with forebodings. Would the death of pagan ideology, in the form of pagan worship and the Homeric and Orphic traditions, bring about the death of all genuine philosophy as well? One answer to this great question is found in the enigmatic writings of Ps. -Dionysius the Areopagite. Purposing to be the writings of the Athenian convert of St. Paul, they fall within the province of a multitude of so-called "pseudepigraphic" Christian writings. 1. GENERAL ARGUMENT I embarked on the study of Ps. -Dionysius' Letters with two goals in mind: (r) to grasp in clear detail the unknown author's philosophic intentions in writing his famous Corpus and the way in which he set about writing, and (2) to attempt to see with precision the reason for the absence of a political philosophy in Christian Platonism. The Letters provided a richness of detail and information bearing on the first subject which was wholly unexpected.
Description : "Dionysius the Areopagite" is the biblical name chosen by the pseudonymous author of an influential body of Christian theological texts, dating from around 500 C.E. The Celestial Hierarchy, The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, The Divine Names, and The Mystical Theology offer a synthesis of biblical interpretation, liturgical spirituality, and Neoplatonic philosophy. Their central motif, which has made them the charter of Christian mysticism, is the upward progress of the soul toward God through the spiritual interpretation of the Bible and the liturgy. Dionysius continually reminds his readers, however, that all human concepts fall short of the transcendence of God and must therefore be abandoned in negotiations and silence. In this book, Rorem provides a commentary on all of the Dionysian writings, chapter by chapter, and examines especially their complex inner coherence. The Dionysian influence on medieval theology is introduced in essays on specific topics: hierarchy, biblical symbolism, angels, Gothic architecture, liturgical allegory, the scholastic doctrine of God, and the mystical theology of the western Middle Ages. Rorem's book makes these texts more accessible to both scholars and students and includes a comprehensive bibliography of secondary sources.
Description : Addressing questions of faith, revelation, and more, renowned religious educator Gabriel Moran follows the thinking of Isaiah and Jeremiah, Mark and John, Augustine and Aquinas, Luther and Calvin. These theologians of the past testify to an understanding of divine revelation we must recapture in response to the present dismissal of religion and the apocalyptic violence perpetrated in its name. The future role of Christianity in the world and in individual lives may well hang in the balance.
Description : Angels have fascinated people for millennia because they point to an invisible dimension that parallels our own. This book examines the different ways that angels have been portrayed at certain key points in biblical and theological history. By tracing patterns in the appearance of higher-order beings from their ancient Near Eastern origins, the Hebrew Scriptures, the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius, Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth, and even modern New Age writers, Angelology demonstrates that angels allow various authors to emphasise divine transcendence, immanence, and creativity. Identifying the theological purpose underlying the depiction of angels at certain key points in the history of their use raises new questions about how angels are to be understood by people today.
Description : The intellectual history of the Middle Ages involves many earlier traditions and developments from them, but just as many completely new lines of thought. The influence of Classical Antiquity is always present: in the continuation and adaptation of late antique forms of education and intellectual training, but also in the works of the Latin Church Fathers and of the major ancient philosophers whose works were passed down and built upon in the Middle Ages. From the 12th century onwards Arabic-Islamic learning, which bore the clear stamp of Greek philosophy and science, became known in Latin-speaking Europe and was a catalyst for many new developments. In keeping with the educational system of the period, theology and philosophy, the latter being seen as a universal science, were the main vehicles of intellectual life. In logic, ethics and natural philosophy as well as in scientific theology, medieval scholars attained standards, which in some cases have not even been equalled today. 'Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters' aims to address itself to this cultural plurality with a correspondingly broad publication programme. It is open to specialist research into the influence of Classical philosophy, to text editions, to monographs on the history of various intellectual problems, to examinations of hitherto undiscovered or undervalued contributions by medieval thinkers to the development of thought. Conceived as an hommage for Edouard Jeauneau - maitre par excellence - the volume is introduced by a reconstruction of the Creation on the North portal of Chartres Cathedral, followed by a section on the transmission of significant texts, such as Plato's Timaeus, through the manuscript tradition. The chapter on later Greek philosophy contains studies on Plotinus and Augustine, Proclus, and Pseudo-Dionysius. A separate section interprets the thought of Johannes Scottus Eriugena, whose connections with earlier authors and influence on medieval neoplatonists constitutes a leitmotiv throughout the volume. The twelfth century is represented by articles on Gilbert of Poitiers on matter, Adelard of Bath, Honorius of Autun, Abelard's ethics and theology, monastic asceticism, Hildegard of Bingen's allegories, allegorical zoology, Alan of Lille's anthropology, the role of the Muses, and the Hermetic Asclepius. The particular usefulness of this study is its presentation of neoplatonic thought in its historical unfolding from Antiquity to the Later Middle Ages through a wide range of disciplines, focused on specific ideas and metaphors.