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Re: Re : RES: RES: RES: RES: [neoplatonism] Interesting paper on Pseudo-Dionysius

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  • John Dillon
    ... of ... in ... be ... fine ... Maria ... at ... thesis ... Athenian ... with ... version ... Terms ... is ... That’s a rather nice analogy, Marco! A lot
    Message 1 of 40 , Jan 12, 2012
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      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > This is quite an interesting discussion, but from my humble point of view it
      > is not so much showing anything positive but rather how much there is we do
      > not know.
      > If I had to draw a portrait of Dionysios, I would scetch him simply as a
      > platonic scholar who changed his mind, who gave up the platonic framework for
      > the christian one. And once he started writing, he could not avoid using all
      > the things he had learned form platonists within his new framework.
      > The same type of thought can be found a lot in the academic world. Just
      > imagine someone growing up in an Heideggerian academic environement. After a
      > while, maybe because he simply couldn't get a job in this world, he converts
      > to Analytic Philosophy. But even after having learned the basic rules of this
      > new paradigm, his mind keeps reproducing the old Heideggerian images which he
      > now tries to express in a new language. And sometimes something like this
      > proves to be very productive.
      >
      > Marco
      >
      >> >________________________________
      >> > De : Baracatjr <baracatjr@... <mailto:baracatjr%40hotmail.com> >
      >> >À : neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >> >Envoyé le : Jeudi 12 Janvier 2012 6h28
      >> >Objet : RES: RES: RES: RES: [neoplatonism] Interesting paper on
      >> Pseudo-Dionysius
      >> >
      >> >
      >> > 
      >> >Michael,
      >> >
      >> >Let me make clear that I am not defending neither alternatives. And I don’t
      >> think that a Christian origin is unacceptable, as I don’t think that a
      >> Neoplatonic one is either – also, after reading Tuomo Lankila’s paper, I
      >> don’t think the latter is desperately contrived and implausible.
      >> >
      >> >Lankila’s paper is far more complex, nuanced, and intelligent than anything
      >> I said or may have suggested here. The paper is definitely worth reading,
      >> even in order to refute it.
      >> >
      >> >Here is the link to the paper again: <http://tinyurl.com/7v6p6wp>
      >> http://tinyurl.com/7v6p6wp
      >> >
      >> >And here is a provocative passage from it – evoking Jim Schumacher’s message
      >> (the problem of the Christian access to Proclus’s PT):
      >> >
      >> >“István Perczel has recently proved Dionysius’ great dependence on Proclus’
      >> Platonic
      >> >
      >> >Theology. The transmission of the Platonic Theology, according to its
      >> authorities,
      >> >
      >> >Father Saffrey and Leendert Gerrit Westerink, tells us that
      >> >
      >> >‘The Platonic Theology was almost unquestionably Proclus’ last work. It was
      >> definitely
      >> >
      >> >edited long after Proclus’ death, during the last years of the Athenian
      >> Academy (that is
      >> >
      >> >to say not long before 529, possibly by Simplicius ), and the magnum opus of
      >> Proclus
      >> >
      >> >was never explicitly cited by and possibly not even known to the
      >> Neoplatonists of
      >> >
      >> >Alexandria and Gaza.’
      >> >
      >> >In fact, along with Damascius and Simplicius, Dionysius is the only
      >> late-antique
      >> >
      >> >philosopher who extensively utilizes Proclus’ Platonic Theology. No work of
      >> Proclus
      >> >
      >> >was as important for Dionysius as the Platonic Theology, Perczel writes.
      >> Damascius
      >> >
      >> >assumed his position as head of the school at the latest in 515. Dionysius
      >> could not
      >> >
      >> >have done without the Platonic Theology, and yet this text was then
      >> available only to
      >> >
      >> >insiders at the Academy. Mazzuchi’s argument about the relations between
      >> Damascius’
      >> >
      >> >Philosophical History and Dionysius, and my own readings thus far, convince
      >> me to
      >> >
      >> >think that the Corpus’ author was aware of the Damascian works. If these
      >> findings
      >> >
      >> >are connected to Perzel’s findings regarding the importance of the Platonic
      >> Theology
      >> >
      >> >for Dionysius and to Saffrey’s and Westerink’s on the editorial history of
      >> that work,
      >> >
      >> >then for me the obvious conclusion is that the author of the Corpus was
      >> someone who
      >> >
      >> >belonged to the inner circle of the Academy during the time of Damascius.”
      >> >
      >> >Best,
      >> >
      >> >José Baracat Jr.
      >> >
      >> >De: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >> [mailto:neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >> ] Em nome de Goya
      >> >Enviada em: quarta-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2012 22:15
      >> >Para: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >> >Assunto: Re: RES: RES: RES: [neoplatonism] Interesting paper on
      >> Pseudo-Dionysius
      >> >
      >> >Seems unlikely to me.
      >> >
      >> >The whole hypothesis seems to me wildly improbable and contrived. Let's
      >> >compare the Islamic situation once again: Here, Plotinian and Proclan
      >> >theses were indeed preserved by being reworked and put together into new
      >> >compositions falsely ascribed to Aristotle. But this was done, not by
      >> >pagans in order to safeguard pagan works, but by sincere Muslims like
      >> >Al-Kindi who were looking for a philosophical system that would be (a)
      >> >compatible with their faith, and (b) would provide what the "real"
      >> >Aristotle did not: a philosophical description of the nature and activity
      >> >of a supreme principle situated higher than the Intellect.
      >> >
      >> >It seems to me overwhelmingly likely that this is precisely what happened
      >> >in the Greek-speaking world with the constitution of the Corpus
      >> >Dionysiacum. A Christian or group of Christians thought Christianity
      >> >lacked a philosophically adequate metaphysics, and so went to Proclus
      >> >(and, quite possibly, Porphyry) in order to find it.
      >> >
      >> >What is there unacceptable about this analysis of the historical
      >> >situation, which would oblige us to have recourse to a (desperately
      >> >contrived and implausible) alternative? I don't get it.
      >> >
      >> >- MC
      >> >
      >>> >> Couldn’t it be the case that, after the closing of the Athenian School
      >>> >> – which meant for Neoplatonists not only the prohibition of Platonic
      >>> >> studies, but also the prohibition of the preservation of truth, the end
      of
      >>> >> the true and virtuous way of living; which certainly aroused the fear of
      >>> >> being arrested, killed etc., and/or having true wisdom (in the books of
      >>> >> Plato, Proclus, Iamblichus, Plotinus) burnt –, some very learned
      >>> >> Neoplatonists thought it was a good idea to safeguard Neoplatonic
      >>> >> principles under a Christian disguise?
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >> That it seems to have been a shot that backfired, we know now….
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >> Best,
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >> José
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >> De: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>> [mailto:neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> ] Em
      >>> >> nome de John Dillon
      >>> >> Enviada em: quarta-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2012 16:16
      >>> >> Para: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      >>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>> >> Assunto: Re: RES: RES: [neoplatonism] Interesting paper on
      >>> >> Pseudo-Dionysius
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>>> >>> As a follow up to your question and John's point that a convinced
      >>>> >>> Hellene
      >>>> >>> wouldn't probably be all that interested, ("It is just that the
      >>>> mind-set
      >>>> >>> of
      >>>> >>> a convinced philosophic Hellene who could so immerse himself in the
      >>>> >>> details
      >>>> >>> of the Christian faith is
      >>>> >>> something I find hard to comprehend or believe in."), I note that
      >>>> >>> Porphyry
      >>>> >>> seems to have quite detailed and sophisticated knowledge of the Bible
      in
      >>>> >>> his textual-critical criticisms of Christianity and there was Celsus
      >>>> >>> too.
      >>>> >>> Thomas
      >>>> >>> On Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 11:33 AM, Jim Schumacher <
      >>>> <mailto:JimHydePark%40aol.com> JimHydePark@...
      >>>> <mailto:JimHydePark%40aol.com>
      >>>> >>> < <mailto:JimHydePark%40aol.com> ">mailto:JimHydePark%40aol.com>
      >>>> <mailto:JimHydePark%40aol.com> >wrote:
      >>>> >>>
      >>>>> >>>> I understand that the supposed pagan forgery is just too perfect to
      be
      >>>>> >>>> believable, but what bothers me is Christian access to PT. If the
      >>>>> >>>> Dionysian Corpus is derived from the Platonic Theology, which was
      >>>>> >>>> edited for publication in the early fifth century, how did a
      >>>>> >>>> hypothetical Christian have PT long enough to digest the ideas and
      >>>>> >>>> then write out this sophisticated document?
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>> Jim Schumacher
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>> On Jan 11, 2012, at 3:24 AM, John Dillon wrote:
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> To be honest, Professor Dillon, I too think that a Christian
      >>>>>> >>>>> origin for the
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> Corpus is much more probable (though my opinion is absolutely
      >>>>>> >>>>> unimportant).
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> That is why the paper‚s hypothesis is interesting.
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> It could be the argument for a novel by Umberto Eco!
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> Best,
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> José Baracat Jr.
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> De: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto: <mailto:%0b>
      >>>>>>> <mailto: >
      >>>>> >>>> neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> [mailto:neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:
      >>>>> >>>> neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> ]
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> Em nome de John Dillon
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> Enviada em: terça-feira, 10 de janeiro de 2012 20:59
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> Para: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto: <mailto:%0b>
      >>>>>>> <mailto: >
      >>>>> >>>> neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> Assunto: Re: RES: [neoplatonism] Interesting paper on Pseudo-
      >>>>>> >>>>> Dionysius
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Thanks, Thomas, it was me.
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> What I found interesting about the paper (besides being a
      fine
      >>>>>> >>>>> piece of
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> scholarship: learned and pleasant to read) is the hypothesis
      >>>>>> >>>>> that the
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Dionysiac Corpus was the disguised work of pagan
      >>>>>>>>> neoplatonists
      >>>>>> >>>>> to protect
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Proclus' work, what sounds like some "Proclus Code". But the
      >>>>>> >>>>> paper is
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> serious and very well-documented.
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> This hypothesis, tells the author, was advanced by Carlo
      Maria
      >>>>>> >>>>> Mazzucchi
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> (and by many others I think); the paper's novelty (for me I
      at
      >>>>>> >>>>> least) seems
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> to be the shift of emphasis:
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> "The article agrees with Carlo Maria Mazzucchi’s general
      thesis
      >>>>>> >>>>> that the
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Corpus was a creation of pagan philosophers in the
      >>>>>>>>> Neoplatonic
      >>>>>> >>>>> academy of
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Athens after Proclus. However, it argues that Mazzucchi
      >>>>>> >>>>> misjudged the
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> perspective regarding the future that prevailed in the
      Athenian
      >>>>>> >>>>> school and
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> in particular Damascius’ willingness to accept a compromise
      with
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Christianity at the cost of polytheism as articulated in
      >>>>>> >>>>> Proclus’ theology
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> of the classes of the gods. As a result a more credible
      version
      >>>>>> >>>>> of the
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> crypto-pagan hypothesis could be developed, namely to see the
      >>>>>> >>>>> Corpus
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Dionysiacum as a purely instrumental stratagem aiming to
      >>>>>> >>>>> protect Proclus’
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> works in order to resurrect more easily the polytheistic
      >>>>>> >>>>> religion in better
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> times, which accordingto the Neoplatonists’ cyclic view of
      >>>>>> >>>>> history were
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> destined to return one day".
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Best,
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> José
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> -----Mensagem original-----
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> De: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto: <mailto:%0b>
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto: >
      >>>>> >>>> neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>>> >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>> >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> [mailto:neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>> >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>> >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>> >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> ]
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Em
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> nome de Thomas Mether
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Enviada em: terça-feira, 10 de janeiro de 2012 19:52
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Para: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto: <mailto:%0b>
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto: >
      >>>>> >>>> neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>>> >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>> >>>>>>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Assunto: Re: [neoplatonism] Interesting paper on
      >>>>>>>>> Pseudo-Dionysius
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> I believe it was Jose.
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> On Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 2:04 PM, Dan Hartjes <
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com> dhartjes@...
      >>>>>>>>> <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> < <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com>
      >>>>>>>>> ">mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com> <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com>
      >>>>>>>> >>>>>>> < <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com> ">mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com>
      >>>>>>>> <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com> < <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com>
      >>>>>>>> ">mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com> <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> < <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com>
      >>>>>>>>> ">mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com> <mailto:dhartjes%40yahoo.com> > wrote:
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>> **
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>> Khem Caigan
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>> What did you find interesting about the paper?
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>> Dan Hartjes
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
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      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> ------------------------------------
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Yahoo! Groups Links
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> I have to say I find this hypothesis much less probable than that
      >>>>>> >>>>> of a
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> highly-sophisticated Christian student of Proclus, though I
      >>>>>>> don’t
      >>>>>> >>>>> suppose it
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> can be definitely disproven.
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>>> >>>>>>
      >>>>>> >>>>>
      >>>>>> >>>>> Right, José. It is just that the mind-set of a convinced
      >>>>>> philosophic
      >>>>>> >>>>> Hellene
      >>>>>> >>>>> who could so immerse himself in the details of the Christian faith
      is
      >>>>>> >>>>> something I find hard to comprehend or believe in. JMD
      >>>>>> >>>>>
      >>>>>> >>>>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>>>>> >>>>>
      >>>>>> >>>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>> ------------------------------------
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>> Yahoo! Groups Links
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>>> >>>>
      >>>> >>>
      >>>> >>>
      >>>> >>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>>> >>>
      >>>> >>>
      >>>> >>>
      >>>> >>> ------------------------------------
      >>>> >>>
      >>>> >>> Yahoo! Groups Links
      >>>> >>>
      >>>> >>>
      >>>> >>>
      >>>> >>>
      >>> >> Well, that's true enough, but Porphyry was amassing data in order to do a
      >>> >> hatchet job on the Christians, which he duly does - and the same goes for
      >>> >> Celsus, to a lesser degree. To immerse oneself in Christian theology in
      >>> >> order to impersonate one seems a step farther again. And then, what
      >>> really
      >>> >> would the point of this exercise have been? It certainly didn't do
      >>> Proclus
      >>> >> or the Athenian School any good.
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >>> >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>> >>
      >>> >>
      >> >
      >> >Michael Chase
      >> >CNRS UPR 76
      >> >Paris-Villejuif
      >> >France
      >> >
      >> >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >

      That’s a rather nice analogy, Marco! A lot of the evidence actually fits
      reasonably well with a chap called Severus, who later became Bishop of
      Antioch, and a monophysite, but one can’t quite pin anything on him. He
      probably knew who ‘Dionysius’ was, though.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Thomas Mether
      Bart Ehrman argues (actually summarizing in polpular form New Testament Higher Criticism views and early Church history in light of them) that modern
      Message 40 of 40 , Jan 15, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        Bart Ehrman argues (actually summarizing in polpular form New Testament
        Higher Criticism views and early Church history in light of them) that
        modern Christianity is neither as diverse as early christianities nor as
        "con-federated" as medieval Christianity.
        The Hindu analogy of a confederacy is a single culture sharing a number of
        religions recognizing they share commonalities and shared origin.
        Repeating the views of the above, Ehrman would probably say we have a
        rather anarchic and growing spectrum of christianities in the contemporary
        world that are much narrower in scope than ancient christianities because
        they more or less share the same New Testament and are products of Nicea.
        They are not confederated because they do not share the same over-arching
        culture. Hellenistic and Roman religions, the argument runs, were parts of
        the same culture no matter how diverse they were in expression. The gist of
        the argument,

        ancient christianity = more diverse + culturally federated

        than

        contemporary christianity = less diverse + no state of being culturally
        being federated

        On Sat, Jan 14, 2012 at 7:11 AM, <dgallagher@...> wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > Thomas,
        >
        > With reference to your concluding paragraph, might one also reasonably
        > argue that Christianity "is NOT a single religion but a cultural umbrella
        > for a
        > confederacy of kin religions"; the term confederacy taken rather loosely?
        >
        > David
        >
        >
        >
        > In a message dated 1/13/2012 6:08:45 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
        > thomas.r.mether@... writes:
        >
        >
        > Well, I got into this because I got the impression that there was a sense
        > that pagans were not interested or knowledgeable of Judeo-Christian
        > sources. But the recent turn of this thread raises up another question. I
        > remember one of my professors going on about mixed pagan-christian
        > mausoleums indicating, perhaps more, than Christians "borrowing" existing
        > art styles since these show up late enough that Christians had their own
        > high quality art styles. There is also in medicine, SS Cosmas and Damian
        > being referred to as the Dioscuri. As I remember it, the debate was whether
        > this was a "syncretism" or Christian apologetic. Roman Larariums from the
        > time show Christ in there with pagan deities. Then there is Ausonius who
        > seems a very devout Christian and Christian physician -- his morning prayer
        > is one incorporated into later Christian liturgy, and yet, his writings are
        > rich in pantheistic and polytheistic expressions. Plus, his villa that has
        > been excavated had "Bacchus Pantheos" (verbatim) as the main shrine. Then
        > there is Maximus of Madaura, who wrote to S. Augustine: "we adore the sole
        > divinity under different names; we render homage to the total divinity
        > under its aspects; we invoke through aspects the father of gods and men,
        > whom all in ways at once different and similar invoke" (Ausonius Opusc. 4,
        > 3: Ep, 23-25: Epig. 30-31; Maximus, Aug. Ep. 16).
        >
        > Considerations like these were why I have raised the question here
        > previously that on a different tack western culture might have become a
        > "western Hinduism" (Hinduism is NOT a single religion but a cultural
        > umbrella for a confederacy of kin religions).
        >
        > Thomas
        >
        > On Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 3:40 PM, vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
        >
        > > **
        >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > > >> >
        > > > >
        > > > > Hardly competent in the Corpus Dioysiacum, but I was wondering in
        > > following
        > > > > this thread, if the example of Syneius is at all relevant here,
        > though
        > > > > obviously earlier? I know he was a pagan who became bishop and at
        > least
        > > > > nominally - or more - Christian. Could we not also have a similar
        > > phenomenon
        > > > > with this corpus? Someone either steeped in pagan Neoplatonism but
        > > Christian,
        > > > > and desiring to do what Michael describes above, or even as I am
        > > suggesting, a
        > > > > true convert, but one who also wanted to merge the two systems?
        > > > >
        > > > > Just a - rather untutored - thought. I have read none of the
        > > scholarship on
        > > > > Pseudo-Dionysius really and there may well be characteristics of the
        > > corpus
        > > > > which would argue against the ideas above.
        > > > >
        > > > > But either would also fit in, I think, with John's point of the
        > > author's
        > > > > possibly being a student of someone like Proclus.
        > > > >
        > > > > Dennis Clark
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > > Yes, Synesius is a good example of this sort of cross-fertilization,
        > > though
        > > > he is probably rather less firmly committed to Christianity than is
        > > Denys.
        > > > He only consented to become a bishop on conditiob that he could
        > > > �philosophize� in private! John
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > > Oh, gosh, trying not now to say here that I guess I took a page then from
        > > Synesius and said 30 years ago - mistakenly now I fear, but realizing it
        > > only after a long, long time - I will work in IT, but only if you let me
        > > philosophize in private...!!!
        > >
        > > Dennis Clark
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
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        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >


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