Sunday, 10 February 2019

Alexandru Atanase Barna: The Gnoseological Function of Symbolon in Dionysius the Areopagite

The lecture aims to present some aspects on the way Dionysius uses symbolon, not merely as a liturgical instrument, but more as a gnoseological category. As several scholars have analyzed the link between symbolon and mystery (de Andia, 2001), or symbolon and ontology (Zizioulas, 1999), I develop in this paper the link between symbolon and gnoseology, in order to propose a content of Dionysius's "symbolic theology", that is mentioned several times in Corpus Dionysiacum. From this perspective, symbolon, as it is used and linked with other mystical and gnoseological concepts, such as mysterion or theoria, can be understood also as an instrument that reveals a special theological content a Christian needs to access, a sort of personal dynamic knowledge revealed through the mysteries of the Church.I follow the method of comparative analysis of the contexts and meanings of symbolon in neo-Platonic representative literature and in the Corpus. I debate also on the use and meanings of the verbs related with the biblical and liturgical Dionysian symbols that are present in the Corpus. Those verbs reveal a special semantic field, which involves a gnoseological function that can be attributed to the theological content correspondent to those symbols. I propose the idea that the meanings of symbolon, as are used by Dionysius, represent a path to distinguish in his works, passing from a neo-Platonic theology of revelation to a biblical based one, a special relation between gnoseology and ontology.

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