Mike Aquilina

Danny Does Denis

Saturday May 24th 2008, 9:27 pm

I’ve long suspected that Pope Benedict XVI harvests material from frequent visits to Danny Garland’s blog. I wonder if he saw Danny’s paper on the authorship of the body of work attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite. Danny’s paper is a nice complement to the recent papal address on Pseudo-Dionysius.

Actually, Dionysius (or Denis, or Denys) has lately been a growth industry in the blogosphere. Enter his (pseudo) name in the search block at left, and you’ll find everything from a massive series on D’s thought to a recent archeological find that may have been his home.

I agree with Danny (and the Holy Father) about the late-fifth- or early-sixth-century dating. The later Fathers and scholastics believed they were dealing with a first-century Athenian when they handled Dionysius; and I have friends today who lean the same way. But even putting all language issues aside, the thing that clinches it for me is the absolute absence of references to Dionysius in the Cappadocians. Basil and Gregory studied in Athens, where, if the Dionysian corpus had existed, it would have been revered. Yet, to paraphrase Ray Bradbury, we see it never.