Engaging Pseudo-Dionysius

Dionysius the AreopagiteThe Ecclesiastical Hierarchy of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite forms part of a treatise which belongs to a corpus of works said to have derived from Dionysus the Areopagite from Acts 17:34.[1] This writer of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy also wrote treatises on a Christian Celestial Hierarchy (dealing with realms of angels and angelic beings), the Divine Names of God, and certain aspects of Mystical Theology.[2] Throughout his various treatises, Dionysius also claims to have witnessed the eclipse of the sun in Heliopolis following the death of Christ, and to have met with Peter and James.[3] However, the writer of these theological treatises is now referred to as Pseudo-Dionysius primarily because much of the philosophy behind the writings depends on the works of Proclus, a Neo-Platonist who died in c. 485 CE.[4] Many scholars now date the writing of this treatise to the early sixth century, primarily due to the fact that the work was first appealed to at a colloquy at Constantinople in 533 CE. [5] Even at its first presentation, the authenticity of this work was doubted by Hypatius of Ephesus (6th c.); however, for many years its validity was affirmed by the church, until in the late-Middle ages and the Protestant Reformation, when the doubts of Renaissance Humanists Erasmus of Rotterdam and Lorenzo Valla surfaced and the dependence on Neo-Platonist thought of Proclus was discovered.[6] Continue reading

Book Review: Just Jesus (Wink)

Just Jesus

Just Jesus

“How does my autobiography affect my interpretation of Scripture? How has my theology come out of my experiences?”

These are the driving questions of Walter Wink’s memoirs, Just Jesus: My Struggle to Become Human (Image: New York, 2014). Penned as his reflections upon life and theology during his fatal struggle with dementia, Just Jesus reads something like a collection of reflections by a modern Christian saint, structurally and, at least at times, theologically as well. Compiled with the help of Wink’s wife June and Steven Berry, this work provides numerous insights into the life and thought of one of the most influential American Christian theologians of the 20th century. Continue reading