Friday, 24 May 2019

István Perczel: Is Pseudo-Dionysius also a Pseudo-Cappadocian Father?

Earlier I suggested that De trinitate, found in a unique manuscript and published by Mingarelli in 1759, was the Theological Expositions, referred to by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in the Dionysian Corpus. This raises the possibility that the unknown theologian who produced one of the most breath-taking Late Antique literary fictions did not author a single work, but rather hid behind diverse literary personae, and, that, before trying his pen as a quasi-Apostolic authority, he presented himself as a Pseudo-Cappadocian Father.Scholars demonstrated the appurtenance of the pseudo-Basilian Treatise on the Syllogisms about the Spirit, known as the spurious Fourth and Fifth Books of Basil’s Adversus Eunomium, to the pseudo-Didymian De trinitate(now identified with Pseudo-Dionysius’ lost Theological Expositions). I will present more arguments which will permit us to ascribe this work to the same author.Once the Treatise on the Syllogisms about the Spiritis restored to “Pseudo-Dionysius,” the authorship of another Pseudo-Basilian work, On the Spirit, comes into question. This is a close paraphrase of EnneadV [11]. 1, the composing method of which is paralleled by the Treatise on Evil, a paraphrase of Proclus’ De malorum subsistentia, which Dionysius inserted in the fourth chapter of the Divine Names.All these odd procedures of literary composition testify to an extremely playful, one might say, Joycean, mind who gleefully tricked his audience, somebody blessed with a good sense of humour. All in all, Pseudo-Dionysius/Pseudo-Basil/Pseudo-Didymus is an extremely modern figure, one who deservedly inspired Hugo Ball in his Dadaist enterprise.

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