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Dionysius Reading Group

Wednesday Fortnights Michaelmas Term

The recent upsurge of interest in “apophaticism” has contributed greatly to the contemporary “Dionysian turn” in philosophy of religion. Yet to some, the Corpus Dionysiacum seems suspect of introducing an oppressive hierarchy and ecclesial structure to Christian theology.

The writings of the Corpus Dionysiacum have exercised an enormous influence on Medieval Christian thinkers in both East and West, fascinating the likes of Maximus the Confessor, Thomas Aquinas, and many others. The purpose of the writings as well the identity of the author, that mysterious early sixth century philosopher, mystic and theologian known to us only through his nom de plume as “Dionysius the Areopagite,” have given rise to endless debates between modern historians and theologians.

The aim of the group is to meet fortnightly during this Michaelmas term to discuss the contemporary relevance of the Corpus Dionysiacum to philosophy and theology, starting with the Divine Names and focusing on the issues that interest most its participants.

The only kind requirement is to have read, if possible, the relevant parts of the treatise in advance, so that we may engage in a fruitful discussion. 

Meeting 1 (October 19): Divine Names Chs 1-3, scope, background & methodology
Meeting 2 (November 2): Divine Names Ch. 4, the Good and the problem of evil
Meeting 3 (November 16): Divine Names Chs 5-9, being, life, truth, power, identity & difference
Meeting 4 (November 30): Divine Names Chs 10-13, time, eternity and perfection

Text available online
a) C. E. Rolt: 
b) John Parker:

Meeting place: Pembroke College (J2). 

Meeting dates: October 19, November 2, November 16, November 30

Meeting time: 20:00

Everyone is welcome. Snacks will be provided. If you want to attend (or would simply like to join the mailing list) please email Barney (bjra2@) or Isidoros (cik22@) so that we make sure there is enough food and drink for everybody.