Manual On the Opinion of Dionysius

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Malachi 3: 1? Unknown from Christian sources contemporaneous with Dionysius the Areopagite. Sosipatrus, Rom. IV, 7. Proclus, in Tim. I , I ,28ff. The Bishop of Smyrna? Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers , Revised texts, etc. London, , p. I ,6. Plato, Rep. VI, b; Proclus, in Tim. I , Maximus, A-C. There are two separate scholia. The second scholion is probably by John of Scythopolis. Horizontal daily motion, 1 rising and 2 setting; vertical annual motion, 3 northerly winter solstice to summer solstice , 4 southerly summer solstice to winter solstice ; annual motion with respect to the fixed stars, 5 through the zodiac.

Maximus, DA. The scholiast gives the implausible interpretation that the five motions are the four components of annual solar motion counting the equinoxes together with the reversal of all of these. Daniel 2: 21? Joshua Letter 11 , from Dionysius to Apollophanes, constitutes an interesting interpretation of the meaning of Let.

Exodus 4: II , Nilus, Epist. The term, however, retains its meaning as the parts of the Platonic soul each doing its own things. Platonic Def. The Platonic phrase is a neoplatonist commonplace cf. Dodds, p. Numbers Unknown reference? C gives Ps. Exodus 4. Job Mark Acts B If some … office? While the One does provide for what he creates, it cannot be argued that the One actually loves his creation. In his Elements of Theology, he speaks of the providence of gods: For all other things which are posterior to the Gods, act providentially through the participation of them: but providence is connascent with the Gods.

For if to impart good to the subjects of providential activ- ity is the prerogative of the providential peculiarity, but all the Gods are goodnesses, either they do not impart themselves to anything, and thus nothing will be good in secondary natures. And whence will that be derived which subsists according to participation, except from those natures which primarily possess peculiarities?

Or, if they do impart themselves they impart good, and because of this providentially attend to all things. Providence, therefore, subsists primarily in the Gods. For where is the activity which is prior to intellect, except in superessen- tial natures? The Gods, therefore, by reason of their essence, and because they are goodnesses, provide for all things, illing all things with the goodness which is prior to intellect. For through this the Gods are united to and Pigler, Plotin, It would be quite unfair to assume that Proclus simply avoids this theme for no speciic reason, or that he did not consider it important, since the dis- course on love deinitely appears in his other works.

The reason stands in his metaphysical system which makes a distinction between participated and un- participated terms, between the One and the henads. It was therefore quite diicult for Proclus to ascribe a providential love to the One. Perl, Theophany, , n.


It is a capacity which preexists through the Beautiful and the Good. It is dealt out from the Beautiful and the Good through the Beautiful and the Good. It binds the things of the same order in a mutually regarding union.

St Athanasius the Great, ON THE OPINION OF DIONYSIUS - Full text, in English - 1

It moves superior to provide for subordinate, and it stirs the subordinate in a return towards the superior. Nonetheless, the free and unselish giving of goodness is at- tributed to the Good, rather than to the Good as Eros. This is shown in the providence lavished by the su- perior on the subordinate. It is shown in the regard for one another demonstrated by those of equal status. And it is shown by the subordin- ate in their divine return toward what is higher. See H.

Nietzsche and Dionysus: Tragedy and the Affirmation of Life

This is why God also goes out of himself in the direction of man, just as man goes out of himself in the direction of God, until the two inally meet and touch, so that one lives in the other. And therefore the Areopagite continues: And, in truth, it must be said too that the very cause of the universe in the beautiful, good superabundance of his benign yearning for all is also carried outside of himself in the loving care he has for everything.

He is, as it were, beguiled by goodness, by love, and by yearning and is enticed away from his transcendent dwelling place and comes to abide within all things, and he does so by virtue of his supernatural and ec- static capacity to remain, nevertheless, within himself. However, these words applied to God do not have the same connotation, or at least not completely the same. If one interprets this pas- sage in an analogy to human love, then the ancient notion of eros as need or lack would come to light.

But God cannot in any way be in need of some- thing, and he lacks nothing. This is a secret of divine love, a mystery by which God goes out of himself by re- maining within himself, and by which he loves his creation but is not in need of anything. Gal In this way he proves himself to be zealous because zeal is always felt for what is desired and because he is zealous for the creatures for whom he provides.

In short, both the yearning and the object of that yearning belong to the Beauti- ful and the Good. They preexist in it, and because of it they exist and come to be. That is how not only Paul, but also every being, can and should claim that it is no longer them who live, but it is God who lives in them. On the one hand he causes, produces, and generates what is being referred to, and, on the other hand, he is the thing itself. He is stirred by it and he stirs it. He is moved to it and he moves it.

He is also a movement, which constitutes the eternal endless circle of love: Osborne, Eros Unveiled, See E. Love is thus identiied as power, manifestation, procession and erotic movement which preexists in the Good, goes out of the Good, and circularly moves therefrom towards beings, and then, in reversion, returns to the Good. As Dionysius claims, all this has been set out by his great teacher, Hierotheus, in his Hymns of Eros.

Hierotheus, according to the Areopagite, describes love as follows: When we talk of yearning, whether this be in God or an angel, in the mind or in the spirit or in nature, we should think of a unifying and co-mingling power which moves the superior to provide for the subor- dinate, peer to be in communion with peer, and subordinate to return to the superior and the outstanding.

These ive appearances of love are artic- ulated through the three movements mentioned already: the providential movement of superior towards the subordinate, the movement of commu- nion between equals, and the movement of return of the subordinate towards the superior. In the following passages, Hirotheus orders multiple yearnings according to procession from the One to the concentration of all the yearn- ings into the single yearning. As the movement of love is circular, so it begins and it ends in singular: I have set out in due order the many yearnings springing from the One and I have explained the nature of the knowledge and power appropri- ate to the yearnings within the world and beyond.

These are surpassed, according to the clear intention of the argument, by the orders and ranks of the intelligent and intelligible yearnings. After them are found the most truly beautiful yearnings which are self-intelligible and divine and which quite rightly are praised by us. But now, once more, let me take all of these yearnings and concentrate them into the single yearn- ing which is the father of all yearnings. First let me divide in two their general powers as yearnings. The irrepressible cause of all yearning has command and primacy over them and is the cause beyond them all and Although this distinction between freedom or will and necessity is often over-simpliied and misconceived,63 some thought should be given to the issue.

Perl, Theophany, 49; A. Golitzin, Et Introibo, 82— This is freedom in the fullest, most positive sense where it coincides with necessity in the fullest, most positive sense. Perl argues that the miscon- ception goes back to the Neoplatonists, and some unreliable interpretations of emanations, i. Although Plotinus does indeed talk about necessity in terms of creation, this does not however mean that there is some higher universal law to which all beings, including the One, are subject.

If something is the only possible thing, than it simply must happen, it must be done, and so allowing it or forbidding it would be absurd: In Christian belief we understand the world as that which might not have been, and correlatively we understand God as capable of exist- ing, in undiminished goodness and greatness, even if the world had not been.

We know that there is a world, so we appreciate the world as in fact created, but we acknowledge that it is meaningful to say that God There is nothing that can compel God to do or not to do something, and nor can there be some sort of internal struggle within God. God does not create simply because he is superabundant of love, or of essence — it does not matter , as if he were unable to contain all that excess, so he outpours it through creation, but he creates out of love, which is the keyword in the entire question.

For freedom does not always include love, but love always presupposes freedom. Besides, as Golitzin has pointed out, Dionysius does make certain distinction between will and nature, between But, to complete their confusions by means of what he wrote in his defense, come, let me set before you his actual words. For from them you will learn firstly that the Arians are malicious, secondly that Dionysius has nothing to do with their error. To begin with, then, he wrote his letter as in Refutation and in Defence. But this means, surely, that he aims at refuting false statements, and defends himself for what he has written; showing that he wrote not as Arius supposed, but that in mentioning what is said concerning the Lord in His human aspect, he was not ignorant that He was the Word and Wisdom undivided from the Father.

Then he blames those who spoke against him for not quoting his language as a whole, but garbling it, and speaking not in good faith but disingenously and arbitrarily. And he compares them to those who used to impeach the letters of the blessed Apostle. But this complaint of his entirely clears him from sinister suspicion. For if he considers the detractors of Paul to be like his own, he shows precisely this, that he wrote as he did in Paul's sense. At any rate, in meeting severally the charges of his opponents, he explains all the passages cited by them: and, whereas in these latter he upsets Sabellius, in his subsequent letters he shows how sound and pious is his own faith.

Accordingly whereas they would have it that Dionysius held that 'God was not always a Father, the Son did not always exist, but God existed apart from the Word, while the Son Himself was not before He was begotten: on the contrary, there was a time when He was not, for He is not eternal but has come later into being,'— see how he replies! Most of what he said, whether in the form of investigations, or collective inferences, or interrogatory refutations, or charges against his accusers, I omit because of the length of his discourses, inserting only what is strictly relevant to the charges against him.

In answer to these, he writes after certain prefatory matter, in the first book inscribed 'Refutation and Defence' in the following terms.

Dionysius I of Syracuse

For it is not to be supposed that God , having at first no such issue, afterwards begot a Son, but that the Son has His being not of Himself but of the Father. For it is by the fact of its shining that the existence of light is perceived, and there cannot be light that does not give light. For let us come back to our examples.

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If there is sun, there is sunlight, there is day. If there is none of these things, it is quite impossible for there to be sun. If then the sun were eternal , the day also would be unceasing. But in fact, as that is not so, the day begins and ceases with the sun. But God is light eternal , never beginning nor ceasing. The brightness then lies before Him eternally , and is with Him without beginning and ever-begotten, shining in His Presence, being that Wisdom which said, I was that wherein he rejoiced, and daily I was glad in his presence at all times Proverbs But if there were not a child, how and of whom can there be a parent?

But there are both, and that eternally. Contrast of the language of Dionysius with that of Arius. Now if the sense of the above statements were doubtful, there would be need of an interpreter. But since he wrote plainly and repeatedly on the same subject, let Arius gnash his teeth when he sees his own heresy subverted by Dionysius, and hears him say what he does not wish to hear: 'God was always Father, and the Son is not absolutely eternal , but His eternity flows from the eternity of the Father , and He coexists with Him as brightness with the light.

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For what have they in common, when Arius says, 'The Son was not before He was begotten, but there was once a time when He was not,' whereas Dionysius teaches, 'Now God is Light eternal , neither beginning, nor ever to end: accordingly the brightness lies before Him eternally , and coexists with Him, shining before Him without beginning and ever-begotten. Dionysius did not separate the Persons of the Holy Trinity. I referred to the Son — and even if I did not also expressly mention the Father , certainly He was to be understood beforehand in the Son.

I added the Holy Spirit , but at the same time I further added both whence and through whom He proceeded. But they are ignorant that neither is the Father , qua Father, separated from the Son — for the name carries that relationship with it — nor is the Son expatriated from the Father.

For the title Father denotes the common bond. But in their hands is the Spirit , who cannot be parted either from Him that sent or from Him that conveyed Him: How then can I, who use these names, imagine that they are sundered and utterly separated from one another? Dionysius did not hold that the Son was not of one essence with the Father.

Next he confutes them upon their charge that he called the Son one of the things originated, and not of one essence with the Father once more in the first book as follows: 'Only in saying that certain things were perceived to be originated and created, I gave them as examples cursorily, as being less adequate, saying that neither was the plant [of one essence ] with the husbandman, nor the boat with its builder.

Then I dwelt more upon more apposite and suitable comparisons, and went at greater length into those nearer the truth , making out various proofs , which I wrote to you in another letter, by means of which proofs I showed also that the charge they allege against me is untrue, namely, that I denied Christ to be of one essence with God.

For I gave the example of human birth evidently as being homogeneous, and saying that certainly the parents only differed from their children in not being themselves the children, else it would follow that there was no such thing as parents or children. And the letter, as I said before, I am prevented by circumstances from producing, else I would have sent you the exact words I then used, or rather a copy of all the letter: which I will do if I have an opportunity. But I know , and recollect, that I added several similitudes from kindred relations.

For I said that a plant, sprung from a seed or root, was different from that whence it sprung, and at the same time entirely of one nature with it: and that a stream flowing from a well receives another form and name — for the well is not called a river, nor the river a well — and that both existed , and that the well was as it were a father, while the river was water from the well. But they pretend not to see these and the like written statements, but to be as it were blind, while they try to pelt me with two unconnected expressions like stones, from a distance, not knowing that in matters beyond our knowledge , and which require training to apprehend, frequently not only foreign, but even contrary examples serve to illustrate the problem in hand.

Who that hears this will not set down as mad those who suspect Dionysius of holding with Arius? For lo! In these words, by arguments based on truth , he tramples upon his entire heresy. For by the simile of the Brightness he destroys the statements that 'He was not before He was begotten,' and 'There was a time when He was not,' as also by saying that His Father was never without issue.

But their allegation that He was made 'of nothing' he destroys by saying that the Word was like a river from a well, and a shoot from a stock, and a child from a parent, and Light from Light, and Life from Life. And their barring off and separating the Word from God , he overthrows by saying that the Triad is without division and without diminution gathered together into the Monad.

While their statement that the Son has no part in the Father's essence , he unequivocally tramples down by saying that the Son is of one essence with the Father. Wherein one must wonder at the impudence of the irreligious persons. How can they, when Dionysius whom they claim as their partisan says that the Son is of one essence , themselves go about buzzing like gnats with the complaint that the Synod was wrong in writing 'of one essence? But if they think that the expression was wrongly used, how can they reiterate that Dionysius, who used it, held with them?

The more so as he does not appear to have written these things merely by the way, but having previously written other letters , he convicts of falsehood those who had charged him with not saying that the Son was of one Essence with the Father , while he refutes those who thought that he said that the Word was originated, showing that he did not hold what they supposed, but even if he had used the expressions, he had done so merely in order to show that it was the Son , not the Father , who had put on the originated, formed, created body; for which reason the Son also is said to have been originated, created, and formed.

Dionysius must be fairly interpreted, and allowed the benefit of his own explanatory statements. Clearly since he had previously used such expressions, while bidding a long farewell to the Arians , he demands a good conscience from his hearers — being entitled to plead the difficulty, or perhaps one may say the incomprehensibleness of the problems concerned — namely that they may judge not of the words but of the meaning of the writer, and the more so as there is very much to show his intention. For instance he says himself: 'I used the examples of such relations cursorily, as being less adequate, the plant and the husbandman for instance; while I dwelt upon the more pertinent examples, and went at greater length into those nearer the truth.

For by the latter the bodily nature of the Lord is denoted, but by the former, the eternity of His Godhead. In the following words, for instance, he maintains, and not only so, but deliberately and with genuine demonstrative force, that they are refuted who charged him with not saying that the Son is of one essence with the Father: 'even if I did not find this expression in the Scriptures , yet collecting from the actual Scriptures their general sense, I knew that, being Son and Word, He could not be outside the Essence of the Father.

For the wider sense of the term Father we will work out in what follows. Neither is the Father a maker, if by maker is meant simply the artificer. For among the Greeks, philosophers are called makers of their own discourses. Of a truth one that hears this is reminded of the divine oracle which says, 'wherever the impious turns, he is destroyed' Proverbs , Septuagint.

Turning subtly in each direction these impious men are destroyed, having even here no excuse as touching Dionysius. For he teaches openly that the Son is not a thing made or created, while he taxes and corrects those who accuse him of having said that God was the creator of Christ , in that they failed to notice that he had previously spoken of God as Father, in which expression the Son also is implied. But in saying thus, he shows that the Son is not one of the creatures, and that God is not the maker but the Father of His own Word.

And since certain had ignorantly objected to him that he called God the maker of Christ , he defends himself in various ways, showing that not even here is what he said open to blame. For he had said that God was the maker of Christ in regard to His flesh, which the Word took, and which was in itself created. But if any one were to suspect that this referred to the Word, here too they were bound to give him a fair hearing. For let not any Arian suppose that he says even anything of the following kind: The Son coexists with the Father , so that while the names are correlated, the things are widely removed; and whereas the Son did not always coexist with the Father , since the Son came into being, God received from that fact the additional name of Father, and His coexistence with Him dates from that time as happens in the case of men.

On the contrary, let him observe and bear in mind what we have said before, and he will see that the faith of Dionysius is correct. For in saying, 'For there was no time when God was not Father,' and again, 'God at any rate is light eternal without beginning nor ever to end, accordingly the brightness is eternally before Him and coexists with Him, without beginning and ever-begotten, shining in His presence,' he should make it impossible for any one to entertain any such suspicion against him.

Moreover the examples of the well and the river, and the root and the branch, and the breath and the vapour, put to shame the adversaries of Christ when they reiterate the contrary against him. But since in addition to all his own iniquities Arius has raked up this expression also as if from a dunghill, adding that, 'The Word is not the Father's own, but the Word that is in God is different, while this one, the Lord, is outside of and has nothing to do with the Essence of the Father , and is only called Word conceptually , and is not by nature and of a truth Son of God , but is called Son, He too, by adoption, as a creature;'— and since saying thus he boasts among the ignorant as though here too he has Dionysius as his partisan;— look at the faith of Dionysius on these points also, how he contradicts these perversities of Arius.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus

For in the first book he writes as follows: 'Now I have said that God is the well of all that is good : while the Son has been described as the river which proceeds from Him. For word is an efflux of intelligence, and, to borrow language applicable to men , the intelligence that issues by the tongue is derived from the heart through the mouth, coming out different from the word in the heart. For the latter remains, after sending forth the other, as it was. But the other is sent forth and flies forth, and is borne in every direction. And so each is in the other, and each distinct from the other: and they are one and at the same time two.

Likewise the Father and the Son were said to be one, and the One in the other. If the Arians agree with Dionysius let them use his language. These things Arius either never heard, or heard and in his ignorance did not understand. For otherwise, had he understood, he would not have so grossly libelled the Bishop, but certainly would revile him also, as he did ourselves, because of his hatred of the truth. For being an adversary of Christ , he will not hesitate to persecute also those who hold the doctrine of Christ , as the Lord Himself has said beforehand: 'If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you' John