1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь

1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь


1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context:

^ A General Overview and Miscellaneous Considerations

To begin with, let us outline the broader context in which our literary event took place. The document we have at hands 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, the Corpus Dionysiacum, consists of four treatises (De divinis nominibus, De mystica theologia, De coelesti hierarchia, De eccleciastica hierarchia) and ten Epistulae addressed to different persons.44 The unknown author of the Corpus wrote under the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь name of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, a convert of St. Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16–34), but the ideas and terminology used throughout the text, its general design, numerous literally parallelism with and 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь even verbatim quotations from later Neoplatonic literature prove that the work was probably written as late as at the turn of the fifth/sixth centuries by an unknown Christian (possibly from Syria or 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь some other part of Asia Minor), strongly influenced by later Greek metaphysics. Though it is no longer believed that the Corpus is actually the work of the historical Dionysius the Areopagite 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, one may only guess now who is the real author of this controversial document.

The reasons usually given to justify this (already common) opinion can be briefly summarized along the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь following lines.45 The Corpus came into historical being (mysteriously ‘discovered’) somewhere in the first decades of the sixth century and immediately started to play an important role in the ecclesiastic polemics which 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь was going on in that time. As a work of apostolic authority it was explicitly appealed to by Severus of Antioch, then by John of Scythopolis 46 and some other Church writers and 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the monophysite bishops at the Colloquium of 533. Therefore it can scarcely be composed much after 500. More precisely, except to the earliest extant references to the CD (the first of which being found in the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Dormition of Virgin dated as early as 451 and the second in the 10th chapter of Breviarium causae Nestorianorum et Eutychianorum by Liberatus of Carthage, composed before 560–566, which, as researchers argue 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, must be considered later interpolations, мейд on purpose in order to confirm the Dionysius’ legend) the writings ascribed to the name of Dionysius were for the first time definitely referred to by Severus of Antioch 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь in his third letter to John Higumenus. Therefore, as R. Roques (1957, 249) summarizes it:

En tout hypothèse, la composition des Areopagitica doit être fixée avant 528, date à laquelle Paul de 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Gallinice a dejà traduit en syriaque les deux traités de Sévère (...) Si l’on tient compte des délais de traduction et de composition de ces traités 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, on peut dire sans témérité que les Areopagitica ont dû être écrits : soit avant 525, si la 3e Lettre à Jean l’higoumène est de 532 ; soit avant 510, si telle est la 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь date de cette lettre.

On the other хэнд, provided that the ^ Corpus apparently embodies ideas of the later Neoplatonists and those of Proclus (418–485), it appears reasonable to assume that the Corpus was composed no later 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь than at the end of the fifth century.47 In these circumstances, although it would be interesting to learn the name of the author, it is unlikely that anything more than 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь conjecture will ever be possible and the historical and philosophical interest of the writings is due not to the question of its authorship, intriguing as it were, but to the content, significance 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь and influence of the text itself. In any event, judging from the text itself, the unknown author was a learned philosopher, possibly a member of a Platonic School, who most probably came from 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Syria, Palestine or Egypt in the last decades of the fifth century to participate actively in the on-going polemics of the monophysite Church with the orthodox Chalcedonians. Who can fit this 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь picture? Having no firm ground for accepting or rejecting this or that possible candidate we should better leave this question open.48 Whoever Pseudo-Dionysius may have been, he was an 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь admirer of the classical philosophy and much rather a convert of Plato then St. Paul. This makes his dependence on Proclus understandable, because who was Proclus, if not the legal heir of Plato in 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь capacity of the head of the Academia in Athens. Having adopted the Neoplatonic via negationis and the theory of analogical and anagogical ascent, Pseudo-Dionysius had accomplished what none of the Neoplatonists could 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь do. He was able to connect the metaphysics and theurgy of Neoplatonism with a theory of symbols, inherited from Jewish 49 and Early Christian philosophy, reconciled it with the Christian sacraments, and 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь expressed all this in a politically correct language, having succeeded in turning it in such a way and producing it in such a light that it become compatible with the mainstream of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Christian theology.

Interestingly, that already the oldest manuscript tradition preserves the complete ^ Corpus in the same form, as we know it today. Consisting of four treatises and ten letters the Corpus 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь constitutes certain unity and, despite frequent self-references to other writings by the same author is very consistent and well ordered. This fact alone allows assuming that we deal with a 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь complete work, carefully designed by the author or an editor. It appears that the unknown author or editor wanted to be as persuasive and error free as possible. Quite probably that the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь prologue and commentary to the Corpus, later attributed to Maximus the Confessor, were composed – partially or completely – simultaneously with the publication of the Corpus. Is it therefore possible that their author, John of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Scythopolis, is an editor or the author of the Corpus? Or could Severus of Antioch, the first person to mention and probably to discover the Corpus, play this role? In any 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь case he мейд use of it in his argumentation and was certainly interested in accepting its apostolicity. Immediately after ‘discovery’ of the Greek CD, already in a form of a complete document (the text and 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь a set of commentaries), it was translated into Syriac. The translator Sergius (Sargis) of Rīsh ‘Aynō (d. 536), a theologian and physician, who possibly came from Alexandria, was also proposed as an alleged 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь editor of the CD.50

An accepted sequence of the treatises within the Corpus is DN – MTh – CH – EH.51 Besides these writings the author of the ^ CD mentions the Theolo 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь­gikai hypotypōseis(DN I 1; I 5; II 1; II 3; II 7; XI 5; MTh III, etc.), the Symbolikē theologia (DN I 8; IX 5; XIII 4; CH XV 6; MTh III; Ep. IX 1, etc.) and some others 52, which are 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь either separate works that have been lost, or were never written. But if these treatises ever existed, no trace of them has remained in the later history of the Corpus. The Letters 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, as it is proved by a number of considerations, is also a work of the same author, not only because they are similar in style, but also because Proclus is used in them 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь in the same way as elsewhere in the Corpus and, moreover, because they are not missing in any branch of the manuscript tradition (Hathaway 1969, 6 and 10–11).

The Corpus Dionysiacum, known from the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь beginning of the sixth century, played a very ambiguous role in the history of Byzantine philosophy and theology. In 532/533 at a Colloquium held between the followers of Severus (Severians or moderate monophysites) and the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Chalcedonian orthodoxes,53 the leader of the anti-Severian opposition, Hypatius of Ephesus, put into question the authenticity as well as the orthodoxy of these writings.54 Nevertheless, due primarily to the great 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь commentaries of John of Scythopolis (composed around 530–540),55 and especially after the addition of those written by Maximus the Confessor in the seventh century, the authenticity of the Corpus was accepted by the majority 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь of the authorities. Later its authority was enhanced in the eighth century by the references мейд to it by the great doctor of the Eastern Church, St. John Damascene. The commentaries 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь which, following some confusion on the part of the scribes, were entirely attributed to Maximus the Confessor, always followed the text in the manuscript tradition during the Middle Ages, including the Slavonic translation 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь.56 It should be remembered that one of the factors in the quick success of the Corpus was, on the one хэнд, the apostolic authority which it conferred to some of the tendencies characteristic 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь to late fifth- and early sixth-century monasticism, reconciling them, on the other хэнд, with Episcopal authority. In the East, Theodore the Studite appealed to Dionysius in his argumentation 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь against iconoclasm. Among theologians who commented on the CD were Michael Psellus (1018–1974) and George Pachymeres (1242–1310).57 During the hesychast controversies both Gregory Palamas and his opponent Barlaam of Calabria appealed to the CD.58

In 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the West there are references to Dionysius in the works of Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria (580–607) and Moderatus, Patriarch of Jerusalem (631–634). Pope Gregory the Great, who was a friend of Eulogius, referred to Dionysius 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь as an “ancient and venerable Father”.59 The CD was mentioned during the monothelitic controversies on the Lateran Council (649), in the letters of Pope Martin I (Lateran, 649) and of Pope Agatho (Dogmatic letter 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь to the Emperor Constantine, 680), during the Constantinople (680) and the Second Nicene (787) Councils.

The works of Dionysius received a new life when, around 858 John Scottus Eriugena, at the request of Charles 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the Bald, мейд a Latin translation of the Greek manuscript which had been presented to Louis the Pious in 827 by Emperor Michael II.60 A bit later John Scottus composed glosses on Dionysius 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь that became the first in the series of Western commentaries on the Corpus. Anastasius the Papal Librarian мейд some clarifying remarks and revision of the translation in 875. This translation was widely accepted and did 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь not change throughout the Early Middle Ages.61

Starting with the eleventh century the Dionysian Corpus become almost a standard work of reference for theologians, philosophers as well as Church and State 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь authorities and their opponents, was frequently commented and several times translated into Latin.62 The works of Dionysius attracted the attention of Abbot Suger of St. Denis (d. 1151).63 Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1141),64 Richard of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь St. Victor (d. 1173), St. Bernard of Clairvaux, William of St. Thierry, Aelred of Rievaux, Alan of Lille (c. 1120–1202) and Isaac of Stella (d. 1169) in their works мейд much use of it 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь.65 Robert Grosseteste (d. 1253) carried out a new translation of the Corpus and the Scholia between 1240 and 1243.66 There are commentaries of Albert the Great  (d. 1280) and Thomas Aquinas (who around 1261 wrote an Exposition 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь on the Divine Names). Bonaventura hailed Dionysius as “the prince of mystics”. Finally, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries we have references, discussions and commentaries on the CD in the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь works of Master Eckhart (d. 1327),67 Tauler (d. 1361), Ruysbroeck (d. 1381), Nicolas of Cusa (d.1464), Dionysius Carthusianus (d. 1471), Marsilio Ficino (d. 1499) and the Spanish mystics Abbot Cisneros (d. 1510), Francis of Osuna and John of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the Cross.

The reader will excuse me for such a wearisome but still incomplete list of names, but all this complicated story cannot remain untouched in our study of the destiny of the Corpus in 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Slavonic philosophy and theology, since its translation into the Church Slavonic, accomplished in the fourteenth century, must necessarily have inherited the widespread tradition of commentaries together with the text 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь of Pseudo-Dionysius.

Let us come back to Byzantium. It is known that a certain Theodorus the Presbyter composed a work defending the authenticity of the ^ Dionysian Corpus. The treatise entitled Theod 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарьōrou presbyterou, hoti gnēsia hē tou hagiou Dionysiou biblos is summarized by Photius (Bibl., cod. 1; PG t. 103, col. 44–45). Long ago people identified this Theodorus with Theodorus the Monk to whom Maximus the Confessor 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь addressed a letter (PG t. 91, col. 276 ab) and also with Theodorus Rhaithuensis, the author of a short refutation of heresies (PG t. 91, col. 1484–1504). This view was quite widespread and shared 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь for instance both by the composer of the 1073 year’s Izbornik (where the aforementioned passage from Maximus is found just before a selection from a treatise explicitly ascribed to Theodorus Rhaithuensis) and by 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the editor of the Patrologia Graeca, who referred to Theodorus Rhaithuensis in relation to Maximus’ letter and published his treatise on heresies at the end of the same volume.

Modern scholars мейд the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь situation even more complicated. In his monograph on the development of Christology W. Elert (1957, 211) tries to prove that this Theodorus Rhaithuensis actually was Theodorus the bishop of Pharant and the founder of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Monothelitismus. B. Peichev (Пейчев 1983) somewhat corrected this hypothesis and developed it in the relation to the 1073 year’s Izbornik. If it is really the case that Theodorus Rhaithuensis and the founder of monothelitismus 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь are identical, as W. Elert tries to prove, then one can easily understand why our Theodore was so interested in establishing the authenticity of the Dionysian Corpus. It is 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь clear that many concepts of the Pseudo-Dionysian Corpus,68 being firmly established as authoritative ones, would work for his own monothelitic and monoenergetic interpretation of the nature of Christ.

Maximus the Confessor testifies (PG 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, t. 91, col. 136) that Theodorus of Pharant composed a treatise On substance and nature (Peri ousia kai physeōs), where he addressed the controversial problems of hypostasis, personae and the like, and 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь that his interpretation, due to some efforts on part of patriarch Sergius, become quite widespread. This fact is highly relevant to the present study, since in the Izbornik we find a peace of writings 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь of uncertain origin 69 on a similar subject, ascribed to the name of Theodorus Rhaithuensis and placed immediately after the letter of Maximus the Confessor addressed to Theodorus the Monk (from Opuscula 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь theologica et polemica ad Marinum =PG, t. 91, col. 276ab), presumably as an answer to it. It is clear that the composer of the Greek protograph of the Izbornik considered this two Theodori 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь identical and, in order to reaffirm Maximus’ authority as well as his superiority, he concluded the section with another extract from Maximus (Izbornik, pp. 223g–237b), that is to say, gave him the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь last word to summarize this exchange. This is also suggestive: if the composer had taken this text directly from the Dialectic of John Damascene, he would not need all this and 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь we would expect the name of Damascene mentioned.

Thus, along with a quote from the ^ CD (p. 47v), in the Izbornik we find an extract from the author who was quite 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь interested in Dionysius. The name of Dionysius is mentioned twice, spelled differently as ДИОНУСИА АРЕОПАГИТА and ДИWНИСИИ, – a curious although not unusual feature in the Medieval literature.

It is clear that all the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь sources included in the Izbornik (or rather in its Byzantine protograph) have something to do with the monophysits.70 The authors selected are not contemporaries to the composer, but mainly belong 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь to the previous epoch of Byzantine theological history when the monophysitic controversy still raged. It appears as if having mastered it at home the Byzantine church authorities now passed their experience to 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь a newly Christianized state under their spiritual protection.71

In relations with the heretics the CD is mentioned around this time in a letter of Anastasius the Papal Librarian dated to March 23, 875 (Anastasius 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь was the same erudite who мейд a revision of John Scotus’ translation of the CD in Latin).72 It is said that Constantine the Philosopher whom Anastasius happened to meet in Rome praised 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the Corpus as a great tool in the battle with the heresy. 73 The text of the letter is quite interesting. It is said, that Constantine “totum codicem saepe memorati et memorandi patris memoriae 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь commendaverat”. Could this mean that he мейд a copy of the Corpus or deposited an existent one in the library? And later on:

…et, quantum utilitatis medulla eius habeat, auditoribus commentabat, solitus erat 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь dicere, quia, si sanctos, videlicet priores institutors nostros, qui hereticos quosque vix et quodammodo cum fuste decollaverunt, Dionisium contigisset habere, cum acuto illos procul dubio gladio trucidassent, innuuens profecto haec dicens, quia, quorum 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь os laboriosius et forte tardius obstruxerunt, facilius et acutius sive velocius – ‘oxy’ quippe et acutum signet et velox – obmutescere coegissent.

So we conclude that the CD was at least known to 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the founder of Slavonic Church literature. He used to mention it in his public lectures and extremely valued it as a weapon in the battle with the heretics. He states 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь that this new and more advanced tool is as effective as a sharp sword, and so on. It appears that Anastasius translates Constantine’s words from the Greek as if he uses his notes 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь. So this phrase could be a verbatim quotation. While Constantin’s interest in Dionysius is understandable, his emphasis upon the value of the Corpus as a weapon against the heretics is 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь certainly somewhat overdone.

Generally speaking one could remember many situations when the ^ Corpus Dionysiacum as a work of apostolic authority had managed to play an important role in the development of orthodox 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь theology. It is commonly believed that Dionysius мейд a successful attempt to harmonize Platonism and Christian doctrine in order to construct, as a result, a Christian-Platonic theological synthesis and this fact 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь determined the role the CD played in the history of theology. Needless to say, that the problem of orthodoxy of this synthesis, put forward already in 533, still intrigues Dionysius' readers. Byzantine 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь theologians spilled much ink to prove this fact.74 It is to prove this fact that such skillful and detailed commentaries, which follow the text of Dionysius in the Corpus, were written. They clearly 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь intend to demonstrate that Saint Dionysius is an orthodox Father; otherwise people would have to consider him a great heretic. Having this in mind, for example, the author of the Prologue 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь and the commentary to the Corpus says that the reader “should not think that this divine man performs an act of impiety towards God” (PG t. 4, col. 429), proclaiming that God as above everything 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь and in this sense non-existent. Since the notion of divine darkness in the Mystical Theology is difficult to grasp and should be interpreted in a symbolic manner, nobody has any reason to 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь accuse Dionysius of impiety only on this basis, and so on. Wherever possible John of Scytho­polis tries to maximize the Trinitarian orthodoxy of Dionysius 75 and certainly greatly ‘improves’ Dionysius’ Christology. It is 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь important to remember therefore that as a document of medieval culture the Corpus existed only within the framework of these commentaries, the ‘pure’ text of Dionysius being an invention 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь of modern times.76

To sum up, as an important theological document, the Corpus Dionysiacum was translated and commented upon throughout the Middle Ages by Latin and Greek authors and enjoyed high esteem 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, not only among mystics but also among professional writers on theology and philosophy such as John Damascene, Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas. Besides Greek and Latin manuscripts, today we have several codices from the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь sixth to ninth centuries that contain Syriac translations of the Corpus (cf. above). From 712–718 an Old Armenian 77 and from the twelfth century an Old Georgian translations of this work exist.78 There 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь is a partial translation the Corpus into Arabic.79

^ 2. Church Slavonic Translations of the Corpus Dionysiacum

The Church Slavonic translations of the writings ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite, accomplished in the fourteenth 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь century, became an event in Slavic culture. It was important not only because knowledge of this famous Byzantine theological and philosophical corpus of treatises now allowed Slavic theologians to understand a wide range of problems 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь of traditional and contemporary Byzantine theology, but also because, thanks to the extremely rich and creative language of the Corpus itself, its translation opened new horizons for the development of Slavic theological 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь terminology.

We have already seen that the translation of the Corpus from Greek into Church Slavonic had its pre-history in the earlier epoch. There are witnesses that works of the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь ‘Great Dionysius’ were considered to be an important power against heretics as early as during the Slavic mission of St. Constantine and Method. Euthymius of Tarnovo also translated a part of the CD 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь (Keipert 1976). One can say now that a long work of translation and adoption of the CD, which was brought to an end in the second part of the fourteenth century, reaped 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the harvest of at least three previous centuries of scholarship.

The second part of the fourteenth century was a crucial point in the history of Balkan countries: it was the period of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь heroic struggle with the Turkish invasion, the defeat and final fall of the most powerful Slavic armies, and this fact meant the desperate enslavement of the Balkan's Slavic population.

The author of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь translation, monk Isaiah, flourished in the time which immediately preceded this period of Balkan history, and his destiny was to witness and to describe the events of this time, namely the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь battle of Maritsa and the Turkish conquest of Serbia and Bulgaria which immediately followed it.

Researchers note that the language of the Introduction to the translation is strongly influenced by Russian and 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь most of them have accepted that Monk Isaiah was the Abbot of the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos, that is to say Staretz Isaiah, who was probably a very educated 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь person and, as an Abbot, one of the influential figures in Church diplomacy of that time.80 His theological and literary works were connected with the city of Serres in 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Macedonia, which was one of the centres of education and culture of the region.81 We can see from the text of the Introduction that Isaiah knew and loved Greek (Byzantine) literature and language. Obviously 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, he used to translate Greek texts, and that is why he dared to attempt the translation of one of the most difficult (and influential) monuments of Byzantine theological and mystical thought – the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь writings of Dionysius the Areopagite.

According to his own words he received an official request from Theodosius, the metropolitan of the city of Serres. It was by this metropolitan that he “was encouraged 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь” (принужден бых) to undertake the difficult task of translation of this famous text. Isaiah obeyed and started to translate the CD from “the very pithy Greek into our [Slavonic] language [зъло 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь скупаго еллинского языка в наш языкъ]” 82:

...although 'on the fall of the Sunday of my life', I managed to learn Greek, but very little, only to understand the pithiness of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь this language and the difficulty in translating from it into our language. Really, Greek language – from the very beginning and thanks to God's gift – is very expressive [художенъ – artistic] and is able to 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь contain a lot of things [пространъ – rich in content]. Moreover, it was greatly improved by the long tradition of philosophising. On the contrary, our language is well created – since all God 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь's creation is perfect – but it was not awarded [не удостоися] the same improvement as the Greek because of the lack of philosophical works of those lovers of literature [любоученia любочестивых слова 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь мужей хытрости]. Therefore, though knowing this language, I myself did not dare even to touch the things that are beyond my understanding (I mean the translation from the Greek), because, according to the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь expression of the Scripture: ‘Do not search for things that are beyond your abilities, and do not test those that are more profound than the limits of your understanding’. So, I was very 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь afraid that I could damage the divine things, if I dared to touch upon them, or offend those things that are contained in the Old or New Scripture. But the metropolitan of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the god-saved city of Serres, Theodosius, this divine and most honoured man, encouraged me to do so. And I obeyed with great delight and without question this man who 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь saw in a vision an angel, ordering him to receive the enlightening power of Dionysius.

The work of translation took years and was finished around 1371. This date can be inferred from the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь very words of Isaiah himself, who, in the Introduction to his translation, says that he started it in good days and finished it in “the most evil of all evil days 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь”, meaning by this the Turkish occupation. In fact, it was exactly in September 1371, after the catastrophic defeat and fall of the most powerful lords of Serbia, King Vukashin and his brother Despot Ioann 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Ugljesha in the battle of Marica, that the Turks started to conquer the Balkan Slavic countries. Isaiah’s description of the events which followed the defeat in this battle is unique in South 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь-Balkan literature of the fourteenth century, since his account is the only known story concerning this historical battle told by a contemporary who testifies as though an eye-witness (Ангелов 1967, 148). Isaiah says that 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the country, its population and Christian culture seem to perish and the last hope is lost. It was really the most evil of all evil days. He continues his introduction in the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь following way and gives quite an impressive picture (Ангелов 1967, 159–160):

As I have already said I started the translation of this book of St. Dionysius in good days, when Churches of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь God and the Holy Mount flourished like Paradise, a garden in full bloom, constantly nourished by founts of water, but I have finished it in the most evil of all evil 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь days, when all Christians of the Western countries perished in flame. Despot Ugljesha gathered together all Serbian and Greek armies, and those of his brother King Vukashin and of other noble dukes 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь; and all these armies extended to six thousand [soldiers]. Now he moved them to Macedonia to expel the Turks, but he had forgotten that nobody was able to withstand the wrath of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь God! They did not oust those, but were slain and they fell, and plenty of their bones remained without burial (...) And after they had slain the brave warrior Ugljesha, the Ottoman Turks started 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь to diffuse and spread throughout the whole country like flying birds, and they either slew by sword or took in slavery other Christians. Really, the dead were happier in these days than those alive 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь...

The translation of the Corpus was a very difficult task both because of the complexity and the flexibility of the language of Dionysius and because of the fact that the translator 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь had to face the problem of creating rather than using a similar system of philosophical categories and theological language in Slavonic. The translation of Isaiah is very literary but, on the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь other хэнд, following the Greek original almost word by word, it gives a complicated and skilful interpretation of each passage. At the same time it gives an impression of an outstanding philosophical 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь work.

The Ottoman occupation and the destruction of many centres of education in Balkans determined the further destiny of the ^ Corpus Dionysiacum Slavicum. Fortunately, the victory in the battle on Kulikovo-Field 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь and the establishment of Metropolitan in Moscow opened the great possibilities for development of Christian culture in Russia, and the CD found its place in this process. In fact, these writings became 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь very popular in Russia since the time of the Metropolitan Cyprian (d. 1406), who is said to bring a copy of Isaiah's translation here and possibly was in personal acquaintance with the translator Starets 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Isaiah.83

The CD played an important and ambiguous role in Russian history. It was used both by heretics, e. g. Novgorod ‘freethinkers’ 84, and by Church and State authorities. ^ Tsar Ivan the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Terrible quoted the CD in his Letter against Knyaz’ Andrew Kurbsky, a well-known educator and translator of John Damascene into Church Slavonic.85 On the other хэнд, the CD was 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь constantly in the фокус of interest of pro-hesychastic oriented clergy of Russian Church. This way it found its place in the realm of iconography and the philosophy of icons. According to observations of many 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь researchers, certain ideas of the CD influenced the iconography of Sophia, Wisdom of God, and this influence can be traced back as far as to the time of Metropolitan 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Cyprian himself who probably was in personal contact with the most famous of Russian painters of that time.86

The writings of Dionysius were included in the first great corpus of Monthly Reading [Великие Минеи Четии 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь], arranged according to the days of memory of the saints. This edition, prepared under the direction of Makary, Metropolitan of Moscow, in 1552, become standard and had then been reprinted for almost 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь three hundreds years.87 Gelian M. Prokhorov observes that the text of this first printed edition of the Slavonic translation of the CD belonged to the same manuscript tradition as the Serbian codices 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь of Isaiah's time (Пpохоpов 1987, 53).

In the above-mentioned book G. M. Prokhorov publishes a part of the manuscript of the last part of the 14th century (namely, the Church Slavonic 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь translation of the Mystical Theology and the Ninth Letter of Dionysius together with commentaries of John of Scythopolis). This manuscript from A. F. Gilferding's collection (Gilf. # 46) of the State Public 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Library in S. Petersburg can (according to his suggestion: Прохоров 1980) be the ‘autograph’ of Isaiah himself or one of the earliest copies of it and (which is important) the scribe or translator 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь must have followed the structure of the Greek original.88 In fact the situation (as one would expect in such a case) is more complicated. As my Novosibirsk colleague V. Itkin argues, it 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь is quite probable that two scribes wrote the manuscript. The first of these scribes composed the first part of manuscript (namely up to the CH 3, 4, 1), while the second finished the rest of the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь text and all the marginalia (Иткин 1999).

Generally speaking the manuscript tradition of the ^ Corpus Dionysiacum Slavicum is very widespread. Nearly a hundred of various manuscripts of the CD in Church Slavonic are now 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь found, but Gilf. #46 or – it will be much safer to say 89 – its protograph seems to influence almost the entire Russian manuscript tradition.

Except to the above-mentioned oldest known manuscript 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, the most important are two manuscripts of Serbian origin from ГИМ, собрание Воскресенского новоиерусалимского монастыря (^ Voskr. # 75 and Voskr. # 76), manuscripts from РГБ, собрание Столичной духовной академии № 144, ГИМ, собрание Уварова № 264-1 and some others.90

Two Slavonic 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь manuscripts of the CD are kept in Novosibirsk (the Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts, State Public Scientific Library, Krasnoyarsk collection F.I.12 and F.VI.6), dated respectively to the end of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the 17th and the end of the 15th centuries. Vladimir Itkin has described the latter of these manuscripts in details.91

The edition of Metropolitan Makary constitutes an important, but in no 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь means the final step in the history of the Slavonic Dionysiaca. This very difficult text continued to be copied and re-edited many times, more or less successfully. The theology of Dionysius played a great 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь role in Russian ecclesiastical and even political controversies that мейд it necessary for theologians to attempt an exact understanding of the text. But they had to face at least two 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь serious problems that мейд the proper understanding difficult. On the one хэнд, the changes in the Church Slavonic мейд some expressions of the old translation incomprehensible and, on the other хэнд 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь, careless copying мейд it almost impossible to distinguish the text from the commentaries. The accumulation of the mistakes as well as new interest in the CD in the seventeenth century induced the monk Evfimy Chudovsky 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь to undertake a new redaction of Isaiah's translation. This translation, still unpublished, was finished in about 1675.

The next step in the history of the Slavonic translations of Dionysius is connected 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь with the work of the Moldavian monk, Saint Paisy Velichkovsky from the eighte­enth century. For his translation of the CD into Church Slavonic he already used the printed Corderius' edition of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the Greek text of Dionysius and shortened most of the commentaries. Some of them he excluded completely, but at the same time added selections taken from the paraphrases by George 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь Pachymeres (13th century) included in the edition of Corderius.92

Monk Moisej мейд the last translation of the CD into Church Slavonic at the beginning of the nineteenth century and this translation was already 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь a kind of a scholarly exercise (Прохоров 1987, 57–59). Since this time the CD has been several times translated into modern Russian.93

Finally Gelian M. Prokhorov, who, in his book on the Slavonic translation of the 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь CD mentioned above, had justified the importance of reconstructing the whole document, that is to say the Slavonic text of Dionysius with all the commentaries added to it in the course of 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь centuries, successfully accomplished this task, having published in 1995 in St. Petersburg a new Russian translation of the Dionysian Corpus and all the commentaries with a reprint of the Greek text 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь. Now the publication is complete and a second (corrected) edition with a new preface has appeared in the Aletheia Publishing house (St. Petersburg, 2003). Despite certain criticism of this new translation by the classicists 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь,94 I think the publication is a valuable tool for researchers and more general readers and is accomplished with great care and dedication, notwithstanding many technical constrains the editor had to overcome.

To conclude 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь this short outline I shall note that, as it appears, the future research could go in two directions. First, from a general historical prospective, it will be extremely interesting to trace 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь the ways the ^ CD was used (and misused) in train of theological polemics. Had the Corpus really been a “sharp sword” directed against the heretics, as Constantine the Philosopher put it, or 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь it much rather resembled a “double-sided knife”, a controversial peace of writings which is equally ready at хэнд and potentially dangerous for both camps? Secondly, as far as the Church Slavonic 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь translation is concerned, the endless possibilities of comparative research are open, and first of all it will be interesting to trace the ways of adaptation of Greek philosophic terminology of the CD, not 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь only in this particular translation of it, but also in other writings of later times it had influenced.95

Centre for Ancient Philosophy and

the Classical Tradition, Novosibirsk

afonasin@post.nsu.ru

^ Библиография 1. The Dionysian Corpus in Context - Е. В. Афонасин Ответственный секретарь / Bibliography



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