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Tomas N Castro


One of the most intriguing characters of Late Antiquity is the author who wrote under the pseudonym ‘Dionysius, the Areopagite’. Although the 19th century German scholarship challenged the authenticity of the Corpus Areopagiticum, interest in this singular synthesis of Greek Neoplatonist philosophy with Christian thought remains significant. Usually, the works of the corpus are organized according to their internal logic: departing from affirmations we find excellent negations, starting with the cataphatic method we prepare apophaticism. It is customary to point the dialectical structure of the areopagitica, for instance in comparison with authors such as Proclus. However, these kind of remarks undervalue the distinctive features of a profoundly ‘work in process’ speculation. This paper aims to describe the Dionysian system and its first principle’s absolute difference, a synonym of God’s ineffability and transcendence, in order to discuss how speech or thought of it still may subsist. Even if this One is ineffable and transcendent, it can nevertheless ‘be’, including to be ‘known’ and ‘said’, but differently from typical assertions of being, intelligence, and speech. This very otherness can be found translated through a positing beyond (ὑπέρ), a linguistic device which translates the author’s whole philosophical thesis on the processes of negation and their overcoming. 

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