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

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  • vaeringjar
    ... 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
    Message 1 of 40 , Jan 12, 2012
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      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
      >
      > 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
      >


      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
    • 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
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        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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        >
        > ------------------------------------
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