The Divine Names is a seminal text in western thought. It cemented our relationship with the Neo-Platonic impulse, and gave it new meaning in the context of Christian theology. Writers such as Pico di Mirandolo and Marsilio Ficino during the Renaissance are heirs to this impulse. The writings of Dionysius and their mystical teaching was to open the way for such theologians as Duns Scotus Erigena and John of Roosbroec to invigorate Christian thought during the medieval period.
Dionysius paved the way for light to become the first principle of metaphysics in medieval Christianity. Reading Dionysius, we find ourselves drawn into a world where metaphysical entities abound. It is a world that we should respect as representing the beginning of our own journey into the very essence of God.
This newly presented version of Dionysius’ Divine Names comes with a specially written Foreword from James Cowan.
The author of Divine Names calls himself Dionysius the Areopagite, yet this title is somewhat misleading and should not be confused with the Dionysius who was a judge at the court Areopagus in Athens who lived in the first century AD. In the early 6th century, a series of famous writings of a mystical nature, employing Neoplatonic language to elucidate Christian theological and mystical ideas, was ascribed to a Dionysius the Areopagite, who is the author of the works in this book. This author is reputed to have been a Syrian monk and is now sometimes called ‘Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.’