The Neoplatonic Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite

By Eric D. Perl

Subjects: Philosophy, Theology, Medieval Studies
Series: SUNY series in Ancient Greek Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791471128, 175 pages, June 2008
Hardcover : 9780791471111, 175 pages, July 2007

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Table of contents

Note on Translations
1. Beyond Being and Intelligibility
2. Being as Theophany
3. Goodness, Beauty, and Love
4. The Problem of Evil
5. The Hierarchy of Being
6. The Continuum of Cognition
7. Symbolism

Situates Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite as a Neoplatonic philosopher in the tradition of Plotinus and Proclus.


The work of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite stands at a cusp in the history of thought: it is at once Hellenic and Christian, classical and medieval, philosophical and theological. Unlike the predominantly theological or text-historical studies which constitute much of the scholarly literature on Dionysius, Theophany is completely philosophical in nature, placing Dionysius within the tradition of ancient Greek philosophy and emphasizing, in a positive light, his continuity with the non-Christian Neoplatonism of Plotinus and Proclus. Eric D. Perl offers clear expositions of the reasoning that underlies Neoplatonic philosophy and explains the argumentation that leads to and supports Neoplatonic doctrines. He includes extensive accounts of fundamental ideas in Plotinus and Proclus, as well as Dionysius himself, and provides an excellent philosophical defense of Neoplatonism in general.

Eric D. Perl is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University.


"…[a] stimulating book … Perl's advocacy of Dionysian philosophy as a basis for Christian theology is full of challenges for anyone interested in the fate of ancient Greek philosophy and Christianity's encounter with it. " — American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

"This is, in many ways, the book for which teachers in the field have been waiting: a book that clearly and fully sets out the philosophical logic in Dionysius in a way accessible to undergraduate students and yet tackles the most vexed and controverted questions so strongly as to make it a necessity for graduate students and scholars in the field. Eric Perl has produced a remarkable unification of philosophy and accurate historical scholarship, something very rare. " — Wayne J. Hankey, author of One Hundred Years of Neoplatonism in France: A Brief Philosophical History

"Dionysius is an extremely important Christian Platonist in his own right and also for the enormous impact he had on medieval philosophy. Getting his metaphysics right is essential, and Perl has done an outstanding job articulating his philosophical genius. " — John Bussanich, author of The One and Its Relation to Intellect in Plotinus: A Commentary on Selected Texts