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Intervento per la cerimonia di apertura‌ 1

Saint Dionysius the Areopagite. Sources, context, reception


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NAPOCA STAR Mihai Viteazul square, no. 34/35, app. 19 e-mail: contact@napocastar.ro www.edituranapocastar.ro tel./fax: 0264/432.547 mobil: 0761/711.484, 0740/167.461 Director: Dinu Virgil Ureche

COLECTION MIRADOR 17 Cover illustration: St. Dionysius the Areopagite, XXth century icon.

Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naţionale a României SAINT DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE. Congres internaţional ; (2014 ; Cluj-Napoca) Saint Dionysius the Areopagite : sources, context, reception : Congres internaţional : Cluj-Napoca, 16-17 octombrie 2014 / ed.: Alin Tat, Claudiu Tuţu. – Cluj-Napoca : Napoca Star, 2015 I. Tat, Alin (ed.) II. Tuţu, Claudiu (ed.) 235.3 Dionisie Areopagitul 929 Dionisie Areopagitul

© The authors, 2015 ISBN 978-606-690-183-3


Intervento per la cerimonia di apertura… 3

Editors: Alin Tat, Claudiu Tuţu

Saint Dionysius the Areopagite Sources, context, reception

NAPOCA STAR


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This book was published with the support of the State Secretariat for Religious Denominations.


Intervento per la cerimonia di apertura… 5

CONTENTS Alin Tat, Claudiu Tuţu: Preface ................................................................... 7 Kurt Cardinale Koch .................................................................................. 9 Ioan-Aurel Pop: Thoughts of praise and extolment ................................. 11 † Florentin: La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita .....................................................................................14 Don Cristian Barta: Intervento per la cerimonia di apertura del Convegno Internazionale Ecumenico di Patristica ....................... 27 John M. Rist: Dionysius’ Christianity: Towards Understanding the Preconditions of the post-Reformation Debate ............................. 34 Sever J. Voicu: L’apofatismo in Crisostomo e nell’Areopagita ............... 50 Lucian Dîncă: Quelques reflexions autour des Epitres de Pseudo-Denys l’Areopagite ........................................... 62 Isabela Stoian: Time in the works of St. Dionysius the Areopagite .........77 Petru Molodeţ-Jitea: Platonic Eros and Christian Eros in the Corpus Areopagiticum. A commentary on the De divinis nominibus, Chapter IV: 12,13 ............................................................................ 88 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ: Les sources et l’identitÉ de l’«Eros» divin dans les ecrits Areopagitiques ..................................................................... 98 Marius Portaru: A Note on Plotinus’ Double Activity Theory and Its Influence on Some Church Fathers ............................................... 119 Florin Crîşmăreanu: Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum .....................................................................136 Nicoleta Negraru: The divine order. The hierarchy as order (taxis) and the order as habitual disposition (hexis) at Dionysius the Areopagite and Maximus the Confessor ...................................... 156 Gheorghe I. Drăgulin: Gerard al Morisenei (+1046). Prima mărturie despre prezenţa „corpusului pseudoareopagitic” în spaţiul bisericii ortodoxe române ............................................................. 187 Claudiu Mesaroş: Two Areopagitic subjects in Deliberatio supra hymnum trium puerorum by Gerard of Cenad ........................... 204


6 Contents Tereza-Brînduşa Palade: God’s self-communication: The influence of Dionysius’s doctrine of beauty on the theology of St Thomas Aquinas ..........................................................................................219 Cristian Moisuc: Le statut de la mystique. Arguments (anti)dionysiens dans la controverse quiétiste entre Bossuet et Fénelon .............. 227 Nicolae Turcan: Phenomenology and Apophatic Theology: the Reception of St Dionysius the Areopagite in Jean-Luc Marion’s Thought .. 244 Contributors........................................................................................... 258


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 7

PREFACE

T

his book originated in a conference that was held at the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca in Fall 2014. The contributors represented different fields of interest in Christian theology, mostly Catholic and Orthodox, but also in classical letters and history of philosophy. We wish to thank first the rector of the Pontifical Institute of Patristic Studies, Augustinianum, in Rome, Fr. Robert Dodaro O.S.A., who was a very important „secondary cause” of this academic event as well as of the entire cooperation between Augustinianum and the University of Cluj-Napoca during these last years. Dionysius was, once again, a bridge between the University and the Church and we wish to express our thanks to H. E. Kurt Cardinal Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who sent an accompanying letter of the conference, to H. E. Andrei Andreicuţ, Orthodox Metropolitan and to H. E. Florentin Crihălmeanu, Greek-Catholic Bishop, to H. E. Ioan-Aurel Pop, rector of the University of Cluj-Napoca and to Fr. Ioan Chirilă, president of the University Senate. The conference, and the book as well, have these two dimensions, academic and ecclesial, with a specific ecumenical commitment. We want to thank all those people who were involved with the conference, especially the scientific council led by H. E. Bogdan Tătaru-Cazaban, ambassador of Romania to the Holy See, the deans and vicedeans of the four faculties: Ovidiu Ghitta and Marius Bucur (History and Philosophy), Corin Braga and Monica Fekete (Letters), Fr. Vasile Stanciu (Orthodox Theology), Fr. Cristian Barta


8 Alin Tat, Claudiu Tuţu (Greek-Catholic Theology), our colleagues Alexander Baumgarten (Department of Ancient and Medieval Studies), Vasile Rus, Bogdan Neagotă and Cristian Baumgarten (Department of Classical Letters), Fr. Adrian Podaru (Faculty of Orthodox Theology), Dan Ruscu (Faculty of Greek-Catholic Theology). Before the conference there were the inspiring minds and souls of Ioan I. Ică jr., one of our masters in patristics, Marilena Vlad, author of the beautiful book: Dincolo de fiinţă. Neoplatonismul şi aporiile originii inefabile (Beyond being. Neoplatonism and the aporias of the ineffable origin, Zeta Books, 2011), Cristian Bădiliţă, Adrian Muraru, Andrei Găitănaru and Robert Lazu. We want to thank them all. Finally, the editors wish to express their thanks to the book’s contributors. Their role is an enormous one, since their labors have made the book what it is. We would like to dedicate this collective work to the memory of the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, a clever reader of Dionysius in modern times and a lover of theological esthetics, on the footsteps of the Areopagite.

Alin Tat, Claudiu Tuţu


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 9

A Sua Eccellenza Rev.ma,

Eccellenza Mons. Florentin Crihălmeanu Vescovo eparchiale di Cluj-Gherla

I

n occasione del Convegno Patristico sul tema „Dionigi l’Aeropagita – Fonti, Contesto, Ricezione” organizzato dall’Eparchia greco-cattolica di Cluj-Gherla in collaborazione con l’Università Babeş-Bolyai di Cluj-Napoca dal 16 al 18 ottobre p.v., tengo ad assicurare a Vostra Eccellenza e a tutti i distinti partecipanti all’incontro la mia vicinanza e la mia preghiera per questa felice iniziativa. Ricordando con gratitudine la mia recente visita a Cluj, dove ho potuto costatare il ruolo cosi importante svolto dall’Università nelle relazioni tra cristiani, sono lieto che questo colloquio riunisca giovani ricercatori cattolici e ortodossi romeni intorno alla figura di Dionigi l’Aeropagita, la cui teologia mistica è stata una fonte inesauribile d’ispirazione per il pensiero e per la spiritualità cristiani in Oriente ed in Occidente. La prego pertanto, Eccellenza, di trasmettere anche agli organizzatori ed ai partecipanti di questo Colloquio Patristico i miei migliori auguri per il buon esito dell’incontro, affinchè lo scambio e la


10 Kurt Cardinale Koch riflessione che avranno luogo in tale contesto permettano di avanzare un po’ di piÚ verso la piena communione. Profitto volentieri della circostanza per confermarmi con sensi di cordiale e distinto ossequio nel Signore.

Kurt Cardinale Koch Presidente

E Civitate Vaticana, die 15 ottobre 2014


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 11

THOUGHTS OF PRAISE AND EXTOLMENT

Ioan-Aurel Pop

E

ach year, on the third day of the month of October, both eastern and western Christians celebrate and honour Saint Dionysius the Areopagite. This year, 2014 years after the birth of our Saviour, the two Romanian historical Churches, together with other institutions, have gathered in Cluj-Napoca, through the scholars of the two adjacent faculties of theology and through their guests, to honour the heritage of the saint, to make it re-emergent, and to bring it again to the attention of our contemporaries, especially of the youngsters, and to take it further in saecula saeculorum. The reunited churches, the University and the Church go together nicely this time, giving the most eloquent example of dialogue based on tradition and ancient common teaching, in a careworn contemporary world, often festered by evil, disorientation, conflicts, and dissensions. It is a sublime gesture of retrospection, for the extolment of the eternal values of our Christian tradition; it is, at the same time, a common fraternal effort meant to raise a laud of glory to trust, goodwill, and dialogue. Saint Dionysius the Areopagite embodies, through his earthly activity in the first century of the Christian era, the globality of that yet unseparated and broad world from the cold mists of Britannia to the


12 Ioan-Aurel Pop hot sands of Africa, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Fertile Crescent. In this world of the Roman Empire (still pagan from an official point of view), the young, the mature and then the old Dionysius lived in Greece (in Athens), then he passed through the western Asia and reached Egypt (in Heliopolis); he then returned to Greece and, at the end of his earthly life, he went to Gaul, in the ancient Lutetia (known as the cradle of Paris). Otherwise said, the Saint lived his life and disseminated his message on three continents, populating with his generous ideas a human universe hungry for learning and faith. He was brought up and educated according to the Hellenic principles, in an era of interference between the Greek-Oriental values and the Greek-Roman ones. Affirmed in the Areopagus (i.e. in the Ecclesia – the highest court in Greece), where he had the wisdom of hearing and listening to the messages of Saint Paul, the young Dionysius embraced at an early stage the entire community, he identified himself with is and placed himself in its service. He promoted the Church in its essence, in the form of its most comprehensive mission, that of being the world itself. A part of his creation, plenary affirmed only in the 6th century, under the reign of Emperor Justinian (527-565), was questioned during the Renaissance, not its value but its paternity, and was attributed to a certain Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite or Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite. Irrespective of how things really are, I believe the message sent over the years is the one that matters, and this is eternally valid in what concerns both the unshakable faith in the values of the Christian teaching and the theological values this message contains. As such, the memory of Saint Dionysius is identified with the very foundations of our European civilisation today, namely with the values of the Greek-Latin classicism that have generated so many humanisms, as well as with the Christianity that has given us the meaning of both our earthly life and our eternal life. That is why, the topicality of his life and works is even more obvious. It has been


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 13 promoted for over two millennia and is still taken further, restlessly, enlightening our minds and warming up our spirits. Today’s spiritual and scientific celebration, held in Cluj-Napoca, was possible due to the efforts of the Christian and lay entities, namely the Romanian Greek-Catholic Diocese of Cluj-Gherla; the Metropolitan Church of Cluj, Maramureş and Sălaj; the Augustinian Patristic Institute of Rome, together with Babeş-Bolyai University (through its faculties of Greek-Catholic Theology, Orthodox Theology, History and Philosophy, Letters, as well as through the Centre for Ancient and Medieval History), with the support of the State Secretariat for Religious Denominations, as well as the Romanian Embassy to the Holy See and to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. All these institutions sent a general Christian and ecumenical message to reunite the theological and humanistic values, to work together in order to enlarge the traditional virtues, to perpetuate the right learning and the compassionate education. That is why it is natural to follow this message, to honour the memory of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite—as the organisers of this international conference encourage us to do—looking towards the future, towards a world impregnated with faith and justice, under the sign of the universal good. Cluj-Napoca, 16th of October 2014


14 † Florentin

LA TEOLOGIA DELLA GERARCHIA NEGLI SCRITTI DI S. DIONIGI L’AREOPAGITA

† Florentin Vescovo di Cluj-Gherla

Discorso introduttivo al Congresso Patristico „Dionigi l’Areopagita. Fonti, contesto, ricezione” „Con la virtù hai reso il tuo intelletto pari in dignità agli angeli, o padre Dionigi, hai cosi esposto in sacri libri, o sapientissimo, l’assetto ultramondano della gerarchia, disponendo conforme ad essa gli ordini della Chiesa, a imitazione delle classi degli esseri celesti”1.

Eminenza Rev.ma, Arcivescovo e Metropolita Andrei, Vostra Eccellenza Sig. Rettore Magnifico dell’UBB, Prof. Univ. Dr. Acad. Ioan Aurel Pop, Illustrissimi professori invitati da Roma e da altri centri universitari

1 Cf. ANTHOLOGHION DI TUTTO L’ANNO, Vol. I, Lipa Edizioni, Roma, 1999, p. 708, stichirà del Vespro.


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 15 Egr. Signori decani e professori universitari Reverendissimi Padri, chierici e religiosi, Cari studenti, Onorevole auditorio, Saluti introduttivi Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Considero opportuno iniziare ringraziando Dio per le grazie ricevute attraverso l’organizzazione di questo Congresso Patristico con valenze internazionali ed ecumeniche, che riunisce questa illustre assemblea di alta tenuta accademica, qui nel nucleo principale dell’insegnamento universitario della Romania, in questo bellissimo autunno, nell’Alma Mater Napocensis. Salutiamo con stima e gioia la presenza degli illustri ospiti provenienti da prestigiose università pontificie della Città Eterna e di altri importanti centri universitari del paese e dall’estero, qui in mezzo a noi. Ci congratuliamo con i promotori e sostenitori di questo evento accademico organizzato in collaborazione con l’Istituto Patristico Augustinianum di Roma, con la Metropolia Ortodossa di Cluj, Maramureş e Sălaj e, naturalmente, in primo luogo, con il nostro ospite in questi giorni, l’Università Babes-Bolyai, rappresentata qui al più alto livello. Considero provvidenziale il fatto che per quasi due giorni si discuterà sulla personalità e gli scritti di San Dionigi l’Areopagita, proprio questo mese in cui il calendario bizantino ha celebrato la memoria di questo santo, ieromartire (in particolare il 3 ottobre).


16 † Florentin Cenni biografici su Dionigi l’Areopagita Rimane ancora misteriosa, in gran parte, l’identità dell’autore che ha concepito il famoso e prezioso Corpus Areopagiticum o Corpus Dionysiacum. Dionigi dell’Areopago sembra essere stata la stessa persona con quella citata nel libro degli Atti degli Apostoli, divenuto un discepolo di San Paolo, dopo la memorabile „catechesi” pubblica proclamata nell’Areopago ateniese2, secondo l’innografia essendo chiamato „discepolo di Paolo, l’inclito corifeo”3. Egli è citato per la prima volta dai monofisiti severiani nell’incontro avuto con i padri calcedonensi a Costantinopoli nell’anno 532. Quello che possiamo affermare con certezza sull’autore, che si presenta sotto il nome di Dionigi dell’Areopago è che l’autore, senza ombra di dubbio, è un pensatore cristiano di origine siriaca, che ha vissuto per un periodo di tempo ad Atene alla fine del secolo V e inizio del secolo VI, dove ha frequentato con entusiasmo i corsi filosofici di Proclus e Damascius. Una prova dell’attaccamento alla città in cui ha studiato filosofia è che scrive sotto un nome conosciuto, che aveva a che fare con „il cuore di Atene”, l’Areopago. Inoltre, non esita a dichiararsi vescovo della stessa famosa città, come conferma anche l’innografia chiamandolo „pontefice della pia città di Atene”4. Il Sinaxario bizantino lo identifica con Saint Denis martirizzato durante il regno di Domiziano nella città di Parigi, considerandolo santo martire „fulgidissimo martire di Cristo”5, che avrebbe avuto il privilegio di assistere, assieme agli apostoli, all’avvenimento dell’Assunzione della Beata Vergine Maria al cielo:

Cf. At 17, 34. Cf. ANTHOLOGHION…, p. 710, Exapostilàrion dell’Orthros. 4 Cf. ANTHOLOGHION…, p. 711, Exapostilàrion dell’Orthros. 5 Idem, p. 709, Troparion del Vespro. 2 3


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 17 „Alla tua venerabile dormizione, Vergine tutta santa, Dionigi era presente, con Geroteo e il divino Timoteo, insieme agli apostoli, ciascuno cantando un inno che si addiceva alla tua memoria…”6,

ed essendo con „audacia” considerato addirittura onorevole „come un angelo”: „Divenuto per le virtù un angelo tra gli uomini, il grande Dionigi, come dotato di ali, ha avuto l’intelletto iniziato a tutta la scienza celeste; con cantici dunque, come angelo onoriamolo,…”7.

Non vorrei fermarmi, tuttavia, sulla ricca e lussureggiante biografia di San Dionigi l’Areopagita, ma piuttosto su un argomento che mi ha affascinato da bambino e che, con gioia, ho riscoperto „negli anni della comprensione” allo scrittore patristico in discussione. Angeli e Gerarchie di schiere angeliche Mi ricordo sin dall’infanzia che una delle prime preghiere con cui nostra madre la sera ci riuniva le mani, prima di addormentarci, era destinata all’angelo custode: „Angelo, mio angellino”8. Sono cresciuto e ho imparato dai libri di preghiera che sono diverse categorie di angeli, con funzioni specifiche, che in seguito li ho ritrovati, leggendo la S. Scrittura, come una vera gerarchia di cori angelici. I Serafini9 sono descritti dal profeta Isaia come esseri celesti con sei ali che Idem, p. 711, Theotokìon dell’Exapostilàrion dell’Orthros. Idem, p. 710, Ikos dell’Orthros. 8 Preghiera tradizionale, per i bambini romeni, dedicata all’angelo custode. Una delle prime preghiere che si impara in famiglia: «Înger, îngeraşul meu». 9 Etimologicamente, deriva dall’ebraico sārāpîm, «gli incandescenti», gli angeli che «bruciano dell’amore divino». Spesso vengono rappresentati con sei ali rosse e accesi in viso, come un sole. Cf. Mc Kenzie John L., Dictionnary of the Bible, art. «Seraph», p. 789, col. s., e anche Gaeta S., Stanzione M., Inchiesta sugli angeli, La costante presenza delle creature alate, Mondatori ed., Milano 2014, p. 35. 6 7


18 † Florentin ardono per amore e gridano la lode della gloria del „Signore degli eserciti”10. I Cherubini11 sono descritti come esseri con molti occhi, custodi della via verso „l’Albero della vita”12 e dell’”Arca dell’Alleanza”13, sui quali „risiede la gloria del Signore”, nella visione del sacerdote Ezechiele14. I Troni Angelici sono i cori che portano „il trono della Gloria di Dio”, come descritto da San Paolo15. La S. Scrittura ricorda altresì gli Arcangeli implicitamente (a volte appaiono semplicemente col titolo di Angeli) o esplicitamente: l’Arcangelo Raffaele16 „Protettore dei viaggiatori”; l’Arcangelo Michele17 „l’Archistratega degli ordini angelici”, l’Arcangelo Gabriele18 il „Portatore della buona novella”. Il termine generale „Angelo” si potrebbe attribuire a qualsiasi livello celeste menzionato, poiché i livelli celesti superiori possiedono anche le prerogative dei livelli inferiori. Quindi, i Serafini e i Cherubini o anche i Troni possono essere a volte chiamati Angeli, ma quando sono presentati con le loro funzioni specifiche hanno nomi corrispondenti al loro livello gerarchico. Il vocabolo „Angelo” (messaggero), indica piuttosto una funzione/missione che un essere. Sono quegli spiriti puri e santi, incorporei, dotati con intelligenza e volontà libera destinati a servire Dio, però avendo una missione precisa riguardo agli uomini, „eredi della salvezza”19.

Cf. Is. 6,2-4. Deriva dall’ebraico kerubîm, «esseri celesti». Cf. Dictionnary of the Bible, art. «Cherub», p.128, col. d. 12 Cf. Gen. 3,24. 13 Cf. Es. 25,18-22. 14 Cf. Ez. 10,1-22. 15 Cf. Col 1,16. 16 Traslitterazione dell’ebraico repā’ēl, «Iddio guarisce», (cf. Tb 12, 14-15). Cf. Dictionnary of the Bible, art. «Raphael», p. 721, col. s. 17 Traslitterazione dell’ebraico mīkā’ēl, «chi come Dio?», (cf. Gd 1,9). Cf. Dictionnary of the Bible, art. «Michael», p. 573, col. d. 18 Traslitterazione dell’ebraico gabrî’ēl, «la potenza di Dio», (cf. Lc 1,19.26). Cf. Dictionnary of the Bible, art. «Gabriel», p. 291, col. s. 19 Cf. Ebr. 1,14. 10 11


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 19 L’Apostolo delle genti, San Paolo, stabilisce già una vera gerarchia degli Esseri invisibili: Troni, Dominazioni, Principati e Potenze, ai quali si aggiungono le Forze20. Una gerarchia simile troviamo all’Apostolo Pietro: Angeli, Principati e Potenze21. San Dionigi l’Areopagita è considerato tra gli scrittori patristici che hanno affrontato in extenso questo argomento e in una maniera del tutto originale, particolarmente nel trattato „Sulla Gerarchia Celeste”. Sulla Gerarchia Celeste Il tema degli elenchi delle schiere angeliche è stato trattato anteriormente anche da alcuni noti padri della Chiesa del IV sec. (San Cirillo di Gerusalemme, San Giovanni Crisostomo e San Gregorio di Nyssa)22, però colui che non riproduce soltanto un elenco di schiere angeliche, ma stabilisce un ordine, una vera gerarchia celeste, è San Dionigi l’Areopagita. Secondo questo scrittore patristico la Gerarchia Celeste è una Triade composta, a suo turno, da tre Triadi. In questo modo, spiegando la sua rivelazione, San Dionigi descrive i cori celesti dal livello più alto al più basso: „…la rivelazione dei sacri oracoli ci ha tramandato che i santissimi troni e gli ordini dai molti occhi e dalle molte ali che la lingua ebraica chiama Cherubini e Serafini, grazie alla loro vicinanza a Dio superiore a quella di tutti gli altri ordini, sono collocati immediatamente attorno a Lui. (…) Il secondo ordine è quello composto dalle podestà, dalle dominazioni e dalle virtù; il terzo, riguardante le ultime gerarchie celesti, è quello degli angeli, degli arcangeli e dei principati”23. Cf. Col. 1,16; Ef. 1,21. Cf. 1Pt. 3,22. 22 Cf. Andrew Louth, Dionisie Areopagitul, O introducere, Ed. Diesis, Sibiu, 1997, trad. S. Moldovan, p. 69-70. 23 Cf. Ger. Cel., cap. VI, par. 2. 20 21


20 † Florentin Il testo sulla Gerarchia Celeste offre un ordine gerarchico chiaro: serafini, cherubini, troni / virtù, dominazioni, potenze, / principati, arcangeli, angeli. Desideriamo in seguito osservare come il Santo dell’Areopago tratta il tema della „gerarchia”. Si deve precisare che Dionigi è un dei primi scrittori che utilizza il termine „gerarchia” per le schiere angeliche24. Il termine „gerarchia” è composto da due parole greche: „sacro” e „origine” o „inizio, principio”. „Gerarchia” è un concetto chiave per Dionigi, che lui stesso definisce più volte. Nel suo trattato „Sulla Gerarchia Celeste” nel terzo capitolo lo definisce come essendo, un sacro ordinamento e conoscenza e una opera somigliante, per quanto sia possibile, al modello divino ed innalzata verso le illuminazioni concesse ad essa da Dio, in corrispondenza a sua misura25. Il termine „gerarchia”, dunque, non ha soltanto il significato di livello, schiera, ordine, ma si riferisce altresì a quello che fa possibile questo sacro ordinamento: la conoscenza e l’operare. Il senso di questo sacro ordinamento è proprio la rassomiglianza con la Divinità. Il ruolo della gerarchia, scrive chiaramente Dionigi, è la similitudine con Dio e l’unione con Lui, per quanto è possibile. Tutto l’ordinamento è indirizzato verso la „divinizzazione”. Sulla gerarchia ecclesiastica e il suo rapporto con la Gerarchia Celeste Descrivendo le realtà della gerarchia ecclesiastica, il lettore è invitato a scoprire ed entrare nel mondo della gerarchia simbolica, costituita da altre tre triadi: i sacri misteri (il Mistero dell’illuminazione-il Battesimo, il Mistero della synaxis-l’Eucaristia e il Mistero del myron-la Cresima), coloro che sono iniziati e istruiscono (servi-diaconi, presbiteri-sacerdoti e gerarchi-vescovi) e coloro che 24 25

Cf. Cf. Andrew Louth, op. cit., p. 72. Cf. Ger. Cel., cap III, par. 1.


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 21 sono istruiti (catecumeni, penitenti, posseduti; il popolo santo-laici; monaci-persone consacrate)26. L’ordine gerarchico delle triadi, suddiviso in tre „classe”, è presentato considerando l’ascesa spirituale purificazione – illuminazione – perfezione, nel modo seguente: „la classe purificata è quella che non può partecipare alla santa contemplazione e comunione, in quanto è ancora soggetta alla purificazione, la classe contemplatrice è quella del popolo santo e la classe più perfetta è quella dei monaci simili all’uno”27.

Una volta presentate entrambe le strutture gerarchiche, quella Celeste e quella ecclesiastica, l’autore Areopagitico continua ad approfondire il rapporto tra le due. Per Dionigi le gerarchie sono mediatrici della conoscenza e veicoli della rivelazione. Lui concepisce questa rivelazione come una luce che scaturisce dalla Divinità suprema e rischiara l’intero ordine creato. Non è una luce che risplende sopra l’ordine creato, ma piuttosto attraverso di essa, ossia, quelli che sono più vicini a Dio sono illuminati e il loro splendore, derivato in ultima istanza dallo splendore di Dio, diffonde la luce divina sempre più lontano. Prima di tutto, la luce divina è ricevuta dall’ordine immateriale degli esseri pur intellettuali o spirituali, le Schiere angeliche, ordinate in tre Triadi (come si è visto). Da questo livello puramente spirituale, la luce è trasmessa al mondo materiale e agli uomini. In questo mondo il veicolo dell’illuminazione è la Chiesa con i suoi riti e le sue celebrazioni. La luce non soltanto risplende, ma è ricevuta e trasmessa28. Questo senso della gerarchia come trasmettitrice attiva della luce divina ha una grande importanza e Dionigi la raffigura nella

Cf. Ger. Ecc., cap. V, par. 6-7. Cf. Ger. Ecc., cap. VI, par. 5. 28 Ogni coro riflette la luce divina del precedente e la trasmette a quello successivo, come in un gioco di specchi, cf. «Inchiesta sugli angeli», p. 34. 26 27


22 † Florentin triade: purificazione, illuminazione e perfezione29. Le gerarchie sono, quindi, veicoli della teofania e allo stesso tempo sono delle teofanie. Si può affermare che gli uomini devono provare ad imitare Gli angeli ed essere impegnati in modo responsabile del buon proseguimento della creazione, comunicando tra loro, intercedendo gli uni per gli altri e, così, continuando il processo della divinizzazione: „Per questo anche la legislazione che ha consacrato i nostri riti ha ritenuto la nostra santissima gerarchia degna di imitare le gerarchie celesti in una maniera che trascende il mondo; ed avendo variegato queste gerarchie immateriali con figure materiali e con composizioni che si prestavano a dar loro una forma, ce le ha trasmesse, in modo che, partendo da queste sacre finzioni, potessimo elevarci, secondo le nostre capacità, alle altezze ed alle somiglianze semplici e prive di forma” 30.

In questo frammento, si presenta anche la condizione necessaria della fondazione della gerarchia ecclesiastica sulla Gerarchia Celeste. San Paolo affermava che non esiste gerarchia terrena che non sia fondata, concepita, per volontà di Dio31, di conseguenza la gerarchia terrena deve essere continuamente un’ombra, un’imitazione, o „un’incarnazione” della Gerarchia Celeste32.

L’ordinamento triadico è specifico di san Dionigi e avrà un grande influsso sulla tradizione cristiana ulteriore (la dottrina delle «tre vie» della mistica si fonda su questa sua rivelazione). 30 Cf. Ger. Cel., cap. I, par. 3. 31 Cf. Rm 13,1-6. 32 «La struttura proposta dallo pseudo-Dionigi pone nella prima gerarchia, la più elevata, “serafini”, “cherubini” e “troni”: questi sono così vicini a Dio da ricevere direttamente da lui le sue volontà, che poi comunicano alle gerarchie inferiori, un po’ come i ministri di un re. Nella seconda si trovano “dominazioni”, “virtù” e “potestà”, che si occupano del modo generale con cui applicare tali volontà sugli uomini, come lo Stato maggiore dell’esercito reale. La terza gerarchia esegue i comandi di Dio, come i graduati e i soldati dell’esercito, ed è composta da “principati”, incaricati del destino generale dei popoli, da “arcangeli”, che annunciano le più importanti notizie e da “angeli” che si occupano dei singoli individui». Questa è un’interessante interpretazione e un paragone che avvicina 29


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 23 Conclusioni e domande applicative per il tempo odierno Arrivati a questo punto, desideriamo portare all’attenzione dell’onorevole auditorio alcune intuizioni teologiche dionisiane riguardo all’aspetto complesso della Gerarchia. Per l’Areopagita, la bellezza divina, tramite la Gerarchia „trasmette la propria luce a ciascun essere nella misura in cui ne è degno e gli infonde la perfezione iniziandolo divinamente, giacché rende simili a sé gli iniziati in virtù di un processo di trasformazione armonioso ed inalterabile”33.

Inoltre, per lo stesso prestigioso Santo della Chiesa cristiana dei primi secoli: „Lo scopo della gerarchia è quello di realizzare, per quanto è possibile, la somiglianza a Dio e l’unione con lui, prendendolo come maestro di ogni scienza e di ogni azione”34.

Illuminati dagli scritti di San Dionigi, arriviamo a comprendere che il fondamento ultimo delle Gerarchie Celesti e terrene sono le Schiere angeliche che „sono allo stesso modo ritenute degne di entrare in comunione con Gesù; (tale comunione si realizza) non grazie a sacre immagini, che riproducono in figure una parvenza dell’attività divina, ma perché esse si avvicinano veramente a Lui e partecipano in modo immediato della conoscenza della sua luce divinamente operante, perché la facoltà di imitare Dio è loro concessa in somma misura, e perché, grazie alle loro facoltà originarie, comunicano per

le gerarchie celesti alle gerarchie terrene, umane. Cf. «Inchiesta sugli angeli», p. 33-34. 33 Cf. Ger. Cel., cap. III, par. 1. 34 Cf. Ger. Cel., cap. III, par. 2.


24 † Florentin quanto possono con le sue virtù divinamente attive e benevole nei riguardi degli uomini”35.

Secondo lo scrittore patristico, le Schiere degli Esseri intelligibili, dunque, condividono costantemente la Luce divina, rispettando un ordine gerarchico e, in seguito, loro trasmettono alle schiere terreni organizzate anche esse secondo un ordine gerarchico, poiché questa Luce giunga fino ai confini della terra. La gerarchia è l’effusione dell’amore di Dio e non una scala sulla quale ci arrampichiamo con le nostre forze proprie36. La gerarchia terrena quindi avrebbe lo scopo di adempiere una missione divina, ogni livello avendo un duplice ruolo: una funzione di servizio in rapporto alla Divinità e una funzione di servizio in rapporto agli uomini. Un „sacro ordinamento” della conoscenza e dell’operare in rapporto alla Divinità e agli uomini. Ogni livello in funzione della sua vicinanza a Dio dovrebbe riflettere la Luce della grazia divina. Soltanto in questo modo veramente la gerarchia terrena potrebbe rassomigliare in qualche modo la Gerarchia Celeste. Purtroppo abbastanza spesso la gerarchia terrena (sociale, politica, militare e alle volte anche quella ecclesiale!), dei nostri giorni rimane al livello di una lotta avida fra gli uomini per l’avere, l’onore e il potere. Onorevole uditorio, l’insegnamento di San Dionigi suscita nel mondo odierno anche un altro problema. Per molta gente giovane la semplice idea di „ordine” e „gerarchia” sembra costringere la libera scelta del proprio ruolo e livello nella società. Alcuni si ribellano, altri preferiscono andarsene nel mondo in cerca di „libertà” e chi li potrebbe giudicare? Però, un aspetto rimane chiaro: a favore delle idee di „ordine” e „gerarchia” si può argomentare che una società in disordine e anarchia porta con sé danni più grossi al livello umano e maggiori costrizioni sulla libertà umana (si veda la situazione attuale di alcuni paesi del Medio Oriente!). 35 36

Cf. Ger. Cel., cap. VII, par. 2. Cf. Andrew Louth, op. cit., p. 76.


La teologia della Gerarchia negli scritti di S. Dionigi l’Areopagita 25 Lasciandoci interpellati dalle parole di San Dionigi l’Areopagita, ci domandiamo, a distanza di oltre un millennio e mezzo dalla redazione del Corpus Areopagiticum: – È possibile oggi un discorso sulla necessità di una „gerarchia” nel senso dionisiano? Ci poniamo questa domanda nel contesto in cui l’idea della „gerarchia” come mediatrice tra l’uomo e Dio è entrata in una profonda crisi e l’oggettività del discorso proveniente dalle sfere gerarchiche della politica e della società (alle volte anche quella della Chiesa!), è fortemente messa in dubbio. In altre parole: con l’aiuto di quali categorie moderne o post-moderne possiamo tracciare l’idea di „gerarchia” e di „autorità gerarchica”, nella politica, nella società e nella Chiesa, fino a quando l’ultima istanza del nostro tempo sembra essere piuttosto il soggetto, il proprio ego e non Dio? Mediante questa domanda finale desidero offrire alla distinta assistenza un soggetto di riflessione nell’apertura del Congresso patristico dedicato a San Dionigi l’Areopagita. Auguri e ringraziamenti finali Auguro una buona continuazione delle conferenze e dei dibattiti sui temi filosofici e teologico-patristici così interessanti e vari, che con competenza saranno esposti nelle aule universitarie dagli illustri relatori! In fine compio il piacevole dovere di riaffermare i ringraziamenti agli organizzatori, fra cui nominerò colui che fin dall’inizio è stato l’anima di questa fruttuosa collaborazione: il Diacono dottorando Claudiu Tuţu, però anche tutti i volontari che li sono stati accanto, tutti gli organizzatori e gli sponsor (Conferenza Episcopale Americana USCCB, la Segreteria di Stato per gli Affari Religiosi di Bucarest ed altri fedeli benefattori).


26 † Florentin „Rendendoti per quanto è possibile somigliante a Dio con altissima filosofia, o beato Dionigi, tu con pietà hai misticamente esposto la spiegazione divinamente ispirata dei divini nomi, o uomo di mente divina,…”37.

Grazie per la vostra pazienza! Applausi per gli ospiti e per i sostenitori di questo Congresso!

37

ANTHOLOGHION…, p. 708, stichirà del Vespro.


Intervento per la cerimonia di apertura … 27

INTERVENTO PER LA CERIMONIA DI APERTURA DEL CONVEGNO INTERNAZIONALE ECUMENICO DI PATRISTICA

Don Cristian Barta Decano della Facoltà di Teologia Greco-Cattolica Università Babeş-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca

Egregio Sig. Acad. Ioan Aurel Pop, Rettore Magnifico dell’Università Babeş-Bolyai di Cluj-Napoca, Eccellenza Vostra Dr. Andrei Andreicuţ, Arcivescovo e Metropolita di Cluj, Maramureș e Sălaj, Eccellenza Vostra Dr. Florentin Crihălmeanu, Vescovo della Diocesi Greco-Cattolica di Cluj-Gherla, Egregio Sig. Dr. Ioan Chirilă, Presidente del Senato UBB Cluj-Napoca, Signore e Signori pro-Rettori, Signori Decani, Signore e Signori Professori, Onorevoli rappresentanti delle autorità civili, Cari studenti e ospiti illustri,

L

’università Babeş-Bolyai di Cluj-Napoca ospita oggi un importante incontro scientifico: il Convegno Internazionale Ecumenico di Patristica “San Dionigi. Fonti, contesto,


28 Don Cristian Barta ricezione”. Il Convegno – organizzato dalla Diocesi Greco-Cattolica di Cluj-Gherla e dalla Metropolia Ortodossa di Cluj, Maramures e Sălaj, in collaborazione con l'Università Babeş-Bolyai di Cluj-Napoca, rappresentata dalla Facoltà di Teologia Greco-Cattolica, dalla Facoltà di Teologia Ortodossa, dalla Facoltà di Filosofia e Storia, dalla Facoltà di Lettere e dal Centro di Filosofia antica e medioevale, avvalendosi anche dalla collaborazione del Pontificio Istituto Patristico Augustinianum di Roma, con il patrocinio della Segreteria di Stato per gli Affari Religiosi e l'Ambasciata romena presso la Santa Sede e il Sovrano Ordine Malta – gode della partecipazione di illustri docenti e ricercatori di fama nazionale e internazionale. Sono soddisfatte in questo modo tutte le premesse per poter trascorrere insieme due giorni di riflessione feconda, sul pensiero del misterioso autore del VI° secolo, conosciuto come Dionigi, che fino al XVI° secolo è stato considerato lo stesso discepolo convertito dall'Apostolo Paolo all'Areopago di Atene (At. 17, 34). Al di là del problema dell'identità del pensatore-teologo, rimane certo il valore delle sue opere: Sulla gerarchia celeste, Sulla gerarchia della chiesa, Sui Nomi Divini, Teologia mistica e le Epistole. Queste opere, commentate già in età patristica da San Massimo il Confessore e da Giovanni, vescovo di Scitopoli, hanno influenzato la teologia medievale. Il Corpus Areopagitico è stato studiato e commentato di tanto in tanto da grandi teologi del Medioevo, quali: Alberto Magno, San Bonaventura e San Tommaso d'Aquino. Nonostante alcune critiche negative con cui si accusava d’ellenizzare la fede cristiana, la teologia di Dionigi ha goduto dell’apprezzamento di alcuni grandi teologi contemporanei, cattolici (Hans Urs von Balthasar1) e ortodossi (Vladimir Lossky, Dumitru

1 Hans Urs von Balthasar, La Gloire et la Croix. Les aspects esthetiques de la Revelation. Il Styles. D'Irenee a Dante, Aubier, 1968.


Intervento per la cerimonia di apertura … 29 Staniloae)2. Il fatto che l'interesse che accompagna il pensiero di Dionigi nella teologia contemporanea va al di là della sfera strettamente teologica, essendo presente nel pensiero filosofico e filologico dedicato alla letteratura antica e medioevale, è confermata dalla compresenza del gruppo di docenti riuniti sotto la cupola della prestigiosa Alma Mater Napocensis: teologi, filosofi e filologi. La manifestazione accademica a cui partecipiamo svela molteplici significati, alcuni dei quali, con il vostro permesso, vorrei sintetizzare intorno a tre idee. La prima idea mi è stata ispirata dal Papa emerito Benedetto XVI, il quale, in una catechesi in Vaticano il 14 maggio del 2008, ha dichiarato: „Il fatto che l'autore di questi libri ha scelto dopo cinque secoli lo pseudonimo di Dionigi ci mostra che l'intenzione sua era di mettere la saggezza greca al servizio del Vangelo, per facilitare l'incontro tra la cultura e la filosofia greca e l'annuncio di Cristo; voleva fare ciò che lo stesso Dionigi aveva intenzione di fare, cioè, di far incontrare il pensiero greco col pensiero di Paolo; essendo greco, diventava discepolo di San Paolo e, in tal modo, discepolo di Cristo”3.

Il Romano Pontefice ha sorpreso obiettivamente la scelta testimoniata dal Corpus Areopagitico: l’opzione per il dialogo intelligente e illuminato dalla cultura del tempo per un’incarnazione culturale e creativa del messaggio evangelico e non l’opzione per delle polemiche sterili. Dionigi se stesso, nella sua VII Epistola, indirizzata al Gerarca Policarpo, riteneva inutile combattere contro il pensiero 2 Vladimir

Lossky, Teologia mistică a Bisericii de Răsărit, trad. rom. di Vasile Răducă, Ed. Anastasia, Bucureşti, 1994, pp. 53-62; Idem, Vederea lui Dumnezeu, trad. di M. C. Oros, Ed. Deisis, Sibiu, 1995, pp. 107-114; Dumitru Stăniloae, Sfântul Dionisie Areopagitul. Opere complete şi Scoliile Sfântului Maxim Mărturisitorul, Ed. Paideia, Bucureşti, 1996. 3 http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ ben-xvi_aud_20080514_it.html.


30 Don Cristian Barta greco, preferendo che, attraverso la luce di Dio, potessero arrivare prima alla verità e poi, con consapevolezza, cercare di presentarla „in modo conveniente”4, in un modo che sia giusto e accessibile ai suoi interlocutori. Questa considerazione ci mostra quanto mai è appropriata la scelta dello spazio dell’Università per questo evento. L’Università è per eccellenza un universo di valori autentici, il posto della ricerca della verità, dove si approfondiscono le conoscenze e il dialogo con la cultura! Proprio la passione per la verità unisce le chiese cristiane rappresentate ampiamente nella struttura accademica di Cluj-Napoca e il dialogo rappresenta più di una metodologia utile nella società attuale, un modo effettivo di essere. I teologi e gli scienziati si incontrano in una diaconia della verità. La seconda idea emerge dalle dinamiche del pensiero di Dionigi, il quale propone un’unità della conoscenza, un’armonia tra la verità di Dio e la verità della creazione. Nella sua concezione, l'uomo, dotato dalla capacità di conoscere e di amare, sente in se stesso, rapportandosi a Dio, due tendenze: in primo luogo, essendo dotato di pensiero concettuale, avanza tramite giudizi e ragionamenti verso Dio, facendo continuamente dei tentativi di analizzare e definire la natura Divina; in più, la ricerca sull’ordine creato viene inclusa anch’essa in maniera necessaria nella conoscenza di Dio. Da un'altra parte l’uomo sente l’inadeguatezza, l’impossibilità di accedere ai misteri divini e nel contempo sente la necessità di fare un cambiamento nel suo essere, non per spiegare semplicemente, ma per ricevere e vivere i misteri di Dio. Entrambe le tendenze devono essere integrate nello stesso processo della conoscenza di Dio, che non è solo un processo speculativo, condotto da una scrivania, ma piuttosto tocca in modo commovente la vita.

4 Dumitru Stăniloae, Sfântul

Dionisie Areopagitul. Opere complete şi Scoliile Sfântului Maxim Mărturisitorul, p. 257.


Intervento per la cerimonia di apertura … 31 La teologia apofatica, a differenza di quella katafatica, ha dunque una natura iniziatica nel senso che eleva e unisce l'anima a Dio. Il suo obiettivo non è innanzitutto la conoscenza teorica della divinità, perché i concetti relativi agli attributi divini non sono in grado di esprimere l'ineffabile, che è Dio Stesso. Perciò la teologia non è solo un apprendimento della verità divina, ma anche esperienza (pathein) della stessa. A questo proposito, Dionigi afferma che l’insegnamento del suo maestro, Ieroteo, consta in ciò che lui aveva appreso: „sia dai santi teologi (autori della Scrittura), sia ciò a cui è arrivato attraverso la propria ricerca delle Scritture [...] sia perché introdotto da qualcuno nella loro comprensione più intima, che non può solo essere insegnata, ma soprattutto appresa patendo nelle cose divine”5.

L'appello di Dionigi per l'unità della conoscenza umana risuona intimamente con la vocazione che l'istituzione dell'Università, la quale ha sentito e ha vissuto fin dagli inizi della sua esistenza. L'unità strutturale delle quattro facoltà, le quali costituivano istituzionalmente il luogo dell’insegnamento medioevale, è stato chiamata Universitas. Questo nome non si limita a indicare la varietà e le diverse forme di razionalità, ma significa essenzialmente la convergenza di tutte le scienze nell’unità della verità. La modernità, invece, ha messo alla base del concetto di universitas il consenso su tecniche e procedure di ricerca, come se essere scientifici non riguardasse innanzitutto l’oggetto della conoscenza, la verità, ma soltanto la metodologia della ricerca e la formulazione dei risultati. Inoltre, la relativizzazione dei valori nella cultura contemporanea e la frammentazione delle conoscenze attuali solleva tante difficoltà agli insegnanti e agli studenti, nel percepire un’unità convergente di tutte le scienze, nonostante il termine universitas significhi la fondamentale fiducia nell’opzione di attualizzare questa possibilità. 5 Ibidem, II, 9, p. 142.


32 Don Cristian Barta L’Università Babeş-Bolyai di Cluj-Napoca, attraverso le sue 21 Facoltà, di cui quattro Facoltà di Teologia, cerca di mettere le basi per un dialogo serio, necessario, in vista del ripristino dell'unità della conoscenza nella coscienza accademica. Il nostro Convegno di Patristica, articolato nella collaborazione Chiesa-Università mediante l'approccio interdisciplinare, merita di essere interpretato da una tale prospettiva. Infine, l'ultimo punto che vorrei sottolineare riguarda la Facoltà Teologica Greco-Cattolica. I suoi insegnanti percepiscono e assumono il compito sorto dalla necessità di sviluppare la teologia della Chiesa Romena Unita con Roma, cosicché riescano a coniugare la tradizione della Chiesa con le sfide del mondo contemporaneo, con la convinzione che la vocazione culturale, ampiamente dimostrato nel passato, possa dare i suoi frutti abbondanti anche oggi. La sfida è enorme, i significati in rapporto all’identità, ma anche relativi al collocamento contemporaneo della Chiesa nella cultura romena ed europea essendo di prima importanza. La teologia greco-cattolica è chiamata oggi ad un’attenta cura del metodo, ad uno studio critico delle fonti, ad un dialogo efficace con la cultura e le scienze contemporanee. Le fonti bibliche, patristiche e liturgiche rappresentano una fase obbligatoria di questo processo. Da questa necessità è nata la collaborazione con il Pontificio Istituto Augustinianum e con le altre facoltà coinvolte nell'organizzazione di questo convegno patristico. Il pensiero di Dionigi L’Areopagita ci richiama l’assoluta necessità di una teologia in cui l’approfondimento speculativo, l’esperienza spirituale e la liturgia della chiesa non siano realtà separate, ma piuttosto delle dimensioni della ricerca della Verità e della vita vissuta nella Verità. Non posso concludere il mio intervento senza ringraziare tutte le persone e le istituzioni che hanno sostenuto scientificamente e moralmente il convegno. La nostra gratitudine va anche a coloro che


Intervento per la cerimonia di apertura … 33 hanno generosamente fornito sostegno finanziario e logistico necessario per la riuscita del Convegno: Sua Eccellenza Dr. Florentin Crihălmeanu, Vescovo della Diocesi Greco-Cattolica di Cluj-Gherla, la Segreteria di Stato per gli Affari Religiosi, Sua Eccellenza Dr. Bogdan Tătaru Cazaban Ambasciatore della Romania presso la Santa Sede e il Sovrano Ordine di Malta, il signor Accademico Ioan Aurel Pop, il nostro ospite, Rettore dell’Università di Cluj-Napoca, il signor conferenziere Dr. Ovidiu Ghitta ed alla Facoltà di Storia e Filosofia che ha messo a disposizione l’aula Ferdinand. Il nostro apprezzamento è rivolto anche al sostegno logistico della famiglia Poienaru e della famiglia Hosu di Cluj-Napoca ed al diacono Claudiu Tuţu, che ha rappresentato l'anima e il collante delle nostre attività organizzative. Infine ringrazio gli specialisti che hanno accettato il nostro invito e siamo profondamente onorati della loro presenza.


34 John M. Rist

DIONYSIUS’ CHRISTIANITY: TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING THE PRECONDITIONS OF THE POST-REFORMATION DEBATE

John M. Rist

P

lease attend to the word „post-Reformation” in my title. For although before the Reformation some people thought that Dionysius was the wrong sort of Christian – for example, according to bishop Hypatius of Ephesus in the sixth-century, that he was a Monophysite – no-one accused him of being a pagan, or a pagan with a very thin Christian veneer, or of being (in Luther’s words) plus platonizans quam Christianizans. So why the change? And what sort of lessons can we draw from examining it, for Dionysius himself, for patristic writers more generally, and for our own evaluation of Dionysius’ thought? I want to argue that the question „Is Dionysius a Christian or a Neoplatonist (or Platonist)?” betrays a profound historical myopia in that it could hardly have been asked in antiquity. Though perhaps a related question might have been asked: that question would have been, „Has Dionysius been turned into a heretic by Platonism?” Remember that according to one strand in ancient Christian thought


Dionysius’ Christianity… 35 at least since Tertullian, Platonism was the cause of all the heresies. (But in the particular case of Tertullian we also know that his materialist (or perhaps better vitalist) Christianity was itself soon to be outdated, not least because of the increasing predominance of Platonizing metaphysics and psychology). So to understand why the question „Is Dionysius a Christian or a Neoplatonist?” is for antiquity an empty question, we need to look more generally at the phenomenon of Christian intellectuals – if I may use that anachronistic word – in antiquity before trying to decipher either the place of Dionysius in ancient Christian thinking or some unexpectedly complex – and now often forgotten – features of his thought. But first let me rebut an obvious objection: the case of Jerome. Jerome did indeed dream of an angel telling him that he was not a Christian but a Ciceronian. But that apparent objection in fact points in the direction I would want the argument to go. Jerome was famous as a man who loved to hate and be hated. He had many enemies, but none of them was willing to call him a pagan; it is Jerome himself, massaging a tender conscience about the importance he allotted to classical pagan literature, not one of his many enemies, who leveled the charge. For all his classicism, no one but Jerome himself could with any plausibility have accused him of paganism, or with only lip-service Christianity. In brief, if an ancient Christian wanted to abuse another – rightly or wrongly – the charge was heresy (what was later and more feudally viewed as treason against God), not paganism. Normally in Christian antiquity you might be persecuted if you were a heretic; not – yet – if you were a pagan. So returning to Dionysius, our proper initial question should be „What sort of Christian was he, or was he thought to be?” We are misled if we think that the case of Dionysius is unusual; it seems so to some because of his attempt to pass himself off as a disciple of St Paul – if that is to be read, which in a sense it may not be, as we shall see, as a deliberate attempt to deceive and thus gain a spurious credibility. In fact I would argue that we shall understand


36 John M. Rist Dionysius better if we consider him as a typical Greek-speaking Christian intellectual trying to construct a metaphysic and a theology – both in our sense and in his. So to put him into his context we need to look, however briefly, at two related questions: first how, at varying times, do pagan Greek intellectuals come to terms with Christianity – that is, when they do; and second, how do philosophically-minded Christians behave when they try to develop a Christian philosophy able to challenge the often hostile philosophers of the pagan world? For us Christians in a post-Christian world, that last question will seem to have a curiously contemporary relevance. For if we go back to the earliest days of Christian thought we have to recognize that if you suppose the world will end tomorrow (or the day after), there is little incentive, and little time, to think out and examine the basic problems of metaphysics and philosophical psychology, with the intention of trying to defend, or develop, something appropriate for expounding some of the more unusual features of Christian thought – not least the resurrection of the body – to an arrogant bunch of pagans already damned in any case, as also those Greco-Roman ideas which might find a more welcoming Christian version, such as the immortality of the soul. We can see the problem clearly if we look at the work and importance of the first Christian known to us who set out quite specifically to be both a philosopher (in some sense of the word) and a committed Christian: Justin Martyr. For although Justin may not seem to be a very good philosopher, his career is of huge importance in that he was determined, for the first time known to us, to promote the view that it is necessary for Christians to think philosophically. And he was sufficiently clear about his Christianity to know that although his favourite philosophical tradition was Platonism, he would have to deny one of that philosophy’s basic doctrines: namely that the soul is naturally immortal, preferring (as did his pupil Tatian even more unambiguously) to believe that the soul cannot be immortal by nature, but only by grace: a belief, obviously in line with the now emerging


Dionysius’ Christianity… 37 Christian view that God created the world out of nothing – in contrast to the view that something – or everything – must be co-eternal with God. So why did he believe that Christians must be open to philosophy? And what are the implications of that belief? The first question is easily answered if you think that Christianity is essentially a missionary religion: to understand those you wish to convert is a first step to providing yourself with the tools with which to convert them. Pagans have to be defeated within their own traditions, that is self-referentially: otherwise – which of course often happened – Christians and pagans merely shout past one another, the Christians, in that case, being mere fundamentalists (as pagans tended to assume they must be), with beliefs based on the hidden axiom that we cannot understand the truth but only accept it, however irrational it may seem. Yet the overriding assumption of more sophisticated Christian thought in antiquity – as distinct from Christian fundamentalism – which was already there, and still is – is that Christian truth is necessarily compatible with any truth obtainable outside revelation. Obviously the world of Justin is not the world of Dionysius; as we shall see, there is no reason to believe that Dionysius was ever a practicing pagan, as practicing paganism would have been understood in antiquity. But in one particular respect their worlds and their problems were similar, and shared by all Christian thinkers in the ancient world, and indeed far beyond: they lived in a world which, for Justin, was almost entirely pagan both culturally and more specifically philosophically, and for Dionysius, which was still in good part dominated by new versions of radically non-Christian ways of thinking. We can see the problem clearly in the case of Justin, and then, eventually, apply our conclusions to Dionysius, and indeed to all other Christian thinkers in antiquity, and ceteris paribus, to Christian thinkers at any period of time and in every different kind of culture. For when Justin became a Christian he still widely failed to recognize that even in the Platonism he respected, but more so in the wider


38 John M. Rist culture in which he lived, there were both obvious paganisms he could readily see and reject, and less obvious paganisms which might be harder to notice and reject, especially if they appeared endemic in the philosophy he thought most readily applicable to Christian purposes. We have already noted the case of the natural immortality of the soul, but there were many other falsehoods embedded in the true – or truer – versions of pagan metaphysics, and as pagan philosophy continued to develop there would be ever-new variations. The history of Patristic thought is in large part the recognition of how much of a dominant philosophical tradition (after about 200 A.D. normally Platonism of some sort) one must accept and how much and what one should reject – that is, without throwing out the baby with the bathwater. In this context just reflect on the reasons why it proved so difficult for Christians to accept the idea that women too were created in God’s image. Christian philosophy had to be constructed, and obviously those trying to construct it had either to turn to one of the more apparently edifying philosophical flavours on offer (originally either Stoicism or Platonism of some sort), or try and construct something new, or say that nothing is needed while in effect relying on one of the existing schools. Clement of Alexandria and Origen belong in the first group, Irenaeus in the second, and Tertullian in the third. Neither Clement nor Origen were originally pagans, so they did not have to find why Christianity was superior to any of the philosophical schools available to them, but they must be counted in this as similar to Justin, in that they found Platonism the most useful base for future Christian work, and experimented with it in various ways. And like Tertullian, both of them, and especially Clement, were also attracted to Stoicism, but unlike Tertullian rejected it precisely because it is materialist in the ancient understanding of that term. Clement in fact worked on the hopeless project of combining Stoicism with Platonism in areas such as the emotions where a reconciliation is clearly impossible, and seeing that, Origen largely


Dionysius’ Christianity… 39 limited the Stoicism to select areas of ethics, and thus became successful in managing for the first time to construct, alongside pagan Platonisms – in his day versions of what we now call Middle Platonism – a parallel Christian stream. But we should identify that stream as a Christianity using Platonic concepts rather than as a Christian Platonism, because Origen was far more conscious of how much Platonism he should accept and how much he should filter out. Hence what is important is that the cultural successors of Origen (who must include almost all later Christian thinkers in antiquity with the exception of Augustine) cannot be assumed merely to borrow ideas from the Platonists, though at times they may do that. Rather, since they have a more or less independent version of Platonism at their disposal, they can revert to the pagans, and to developments in the paganisms, not just to find ideas but to confirm ideas they have already developed within their own tradition. In such writers, therefore, you may find much Platonism, but much less than has often been supposed which derives directly from more or less contemporary Platonists. The best example of this phenomenon that I know of is the concept of God’s infinity as significantly developed by Gregory of Nyssa. I used to think, wrongly, that Gregory had merely found the idea in Plotinus, who certainly has it. But in so thinking I missed – and I was not alone – the fact that whereas for Plotinus the idea is comparatively peripheral, for Gregory it is central. There must be a reason for that, and I could argue – however this is not the place to do so – that this centrality is due to the importance Christians now placed on creatio ex nihilo. That doctrine implies a very radical distinction between God and everything else, not merely from physical objects, and that even immaterial substances are entirely dependent on God’s goodness and love: hence, as the Creeds put it, God is the cause of everything visible and invisible. Origen, and indeed Clement before him, thought that pagan philosophies were and necessarily were incomplete. The problem is


40 John M. Rist best summed up by Origen in his reply to Celsus where he argues that Celsus is a bad Platonist in that he is very ignorant of Plato, and that he is a bad philosopher insofar as he does not realize that the best treatment of the problem of evil is that of the Stoic Chrysippus. But Chrysippus eventually failed, which for Origen does not mean that he was not an excellent philosopher. Rather, unaided human reason cannot find the data we need to resolve the problem of evil: to resolve it one needs to know, via Revelation, that some of the angels have fallen. And I should note that in thus concluding Origen gives no comfort to the fundamentalists: Chrysippus had used his reason well and had made excellent progress; any good pagan and any good Christian should try to do the same. Chrysippus, of course, lived hundreds of years before Origen, and his invocation by Origen bears witness to the fact that a Christian philosopher of this epoch need not, and believed he should not, limit himself to his pagan contemporaries; he should also read the best pagan philosophers of the past. Hence the nature of his own writing will be greatly affected by those past figures who are important and available to him. The originality of Augustine depends in no small measure not only on the fact that he read Plotinus and the Neoplatonists, but that he read Latin thinkers – Cicero, Sallust, Seneca, Varro – unknown or ignored by his Greek-speaking (largely episcopal) contemporaries. For the difference in sources is tangible: much of Augustine’s most original thought in the theory of action and in the rebuttal of scepticism depends on his considerable familiarity with the Stoic-Sceptic debates recorded in Latin by Cicero. I have argued that the success of Origen in establishing a specifically Christian brand of Platonism changed the relationship between Christian and pagan thinkers, but the more serious Christians would still feel an obligation to keep up with latest on the pagan scene, as was manifestly the case with Gregory of Nyssa. And in making that comment I am bringing us nearer to the world of Dionysius. But there is a second, and more widely recognized change in ancient society


Dionysius’ Christianity… 41 which also affected the relationship between Christian and pagan thinkers and the attitude of the Christian thinkers themselves. Well known is the remark – though how far accurate is hard to gauge – of Athanasius that the churches are full and the schools of the philosophers are empty – for of course most pagans had never frequented the schools and could more frequently be found at the races or in the amphitheatre – and Athanasius could hardly yet have boasted that these alternative attractions of paganism had lost their appeal. There is, however, already a certain weariness in pagan philosophical writing at this period, a sense that the great age is long past, and that the best that can now be done is to preserve as much of it as possible from the ravages and barbarism – compare Porphyry’s comment on Origen – of the „enemies of the good and the beautiful”, that is, the Christians, and especially the monks. And apart from the mere conventionalism and at times careerism of many of the new fourth-century Christians, there is no doubt as to who now thought that history was working out as it should. Even snobbishness was not always sufficient to withhold a man from turning Christian when he began to fear that his immortal soul might really be at risk. Think of Victorinus; he was certainly a long-time fellow-traveller, but balked at baptism, thinking that his religion need only be cerebral, and asking whether walls make a Christian, that is whether baptism is essential. In his pre-baptismal attitude we can recognize what Nietzsche was to describe so picturesquely: You can almost smell those Christian agitators. But snobbery was not good enough and Victorinus made formal profession of his new faith. * I hope that my discussion thus far has shed a certain light on what it might mean for a pagan interested in philosophy to turn Christian, as well as the situation a Christian would find himself in if he wanted to think philosophically about his religion – and I have argued that the situation changed dramatically when with Origen we


42 John M. Rist find an established version of Christian Platonism with which the Christian thinker could engage entirely within a Christian orbit. But just as Justin, Clement and Origen himself were concerned to show the inadequacy or at least the incompleteness of pagan philosophy and thus the superiority of a Christian alternative which might appeal not only to their co-religionists but also to the thinking pagan, so after Origen, such a task could only be accomplished if one remained aware not only of what past pagan thinkers had proposed, but also of new variants as they came along. In the times of Justin, Clement and Origen, as we have noted, Platonism took what we now call a specifically middle-platonic form: a variety of Platonism radically different in many ways from the Platonism of Plato himself as well as from that later variety – what we now call Neoplatonism – which can reasonably be said to have begun with Plotinus, about whom, of course, we know a lot, if not with his teacher Ammonius, of whom we know practically nothing. But curiously, and in a way which has misled many more recent historians of Christian thought, Origen had popularized and developed a form of Christian thinking about the relationship of God and the soul – via his commentaries and analysis of the biblical Song of Songs, which made Neoplatonism seem even more attractive than Middle Platonism had been to himself and to his Christian platonizing predecessors. That Christian thinking revolved round the genuinely Platonic theme of eros as the means for the soul to return to God, whether or not of its own strength or with the help of God’s grace. And in that alternative, we recognize for the first time one of the primary causes of the post-Reformation conviction of many that Dionysius may have thought himself a Christian but that he was, in the one essential matter, a hard-core pagan. Be that as it may, we note that while Origen and Clement had familiarized themselves with the Middle Platonists, Gregory of Nyssa also took account, for the first time, of the Neoplatonism of Plotinus, seemingly being delighted to find in the new and genuinely Platonic


Dionysius’ Christianity… 43 theories about eros a confirmation of what he could learn from Origen and others about the teaching of the Song of Songs. And he would certainly also have been aware that that text could be interpreted in two ways, a division fraught with consequences for the future interpretation, and in some cases rejection, of Dionysius himself as a crypto-pagan. For Dionysius had clearly gone beyond Gregory of Nyssa, by whom he was certainly much influenced, in keeping abreast with post-Plotinian forms of Neoplatonism, not only those associated with the Christian-hated Porphyry but with the school of Porphyry’s rival – a rival who later eclipsed his predecessor – Iamblichus. Indeed the school of Iamblichus was not only to dominate the latest pagan thought of antiquity but until the late eighteenth century was taken to represent the best features of the Platonism of Plato himself: a wildly inaccurate but historically hugely significant development. Dionysius’ principal immediate sources are on the Christian side, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, and probably Evagrius; on the pagan side Plato, Plotinus and especially Iamblichus and Proclus; perhaps also Damascius. Of the Christians Gregory is probably the most important, and from him Dionysius developed his account of the „dark night” of the soul, a darkness that the soul must pierce if it is progress from the finite to the radically different infinite. Of the pagans, the chief place is taken by Proclus, and there are many sections of Proclus that Dionysius adopts almost word for word, without acknowledgement, in the ancient manner. That fact has shocked and misled some of his modern interpreters. He is so close to Proclus that he must be a crypto-pagan – and he probably knew of Proclus’ marked dislike (shared by Damascius) for Christianity. That, of course, is a very poor argument, unless we are to follow the bad but frequent mistake in philology of reducing an author to the sum of his sources. But we have already noticed the regular habit of Christian Platonist intellectuals of gradually purging themselves of elements of their preferred paganism that they come to recognize as impossible to reconcile with their Christianity – and we could easily


44 John M. Rist enlarge the list. And indeed we should now recognize Dionysius himself as reacting to the non-Christian excesses of his sources – or of those of them he could identify – in exactly the same way as had Justin, Origen, Gregory, Augustine and many others. Thus Dionysius likes the broad outlines of Proclus’ metaphysics, but eliminates the proliferation of reality-levels (which might have reminded him of Gnosticism) which Proclus generated by what has been called the „bureaucratic fallacy”: a fallacy which reminds us of Achilles failing to catch up with the tortoise if the tortoise starts in front of him because of seeing time as a succession of units instead of as a continuum. Similarly Proclus and others suppose that to proceed upwards from B to A one first has to get to BA, then to BAA, etc, while never getting to A. In fact, the darkness of the soul theory enables Dionysius, in the footsteps of Gregory (and ultimately of Philo) to avoid all that sort of nonsense. There is, of course, no dark night in Proclus, and the idea is alien to pagan Neoplatonism. The most obvious distinction between Christian and non-Christian Platonism is the presence or absence of references to the creative and redemptive power of Christ. Some have thought that Dionysius says too little, or too little specifically, about either of these to be a genuine Christian. As such, the charge is absurd; Dionysius certainly has enough about Christ to be counted Christian, but a more specific version of the charge has been brought against him: he does not emphasize some of the most basic aspects of a genuinely Christian Christianity: that is, he does not talk about faith alone as the source of salvation; he is too monkish, sounding too much like a theologian of works, not of grace. This is a more informative charge, and I shall shortly return to it since it reveals why moderns have seen Dionysius as crypto-pagan, while some ancients counted him as merely a heretic. But before that we need to dispose of another, perhaps historically earlier objection to Dionysius and his ways: namely his claim to be a disciple of St Paul.


Dionysius’ Christianity… 45 There is no doubt, of course, that Dionysius’ claim to apostolic authority accounts for much of his prestige, especially in the West, in medieval times, but we should immediately notice that the first serious attack on Dionysius as an imposter had little effect on those who thought that anyway he was certainly Christian. It was Lorenzo Valla who first argued on philological grounds that the author of the Dionysian corpus could not be who he claims to be, but many of those inclined to accept that – as members of the Florentine Academy – found it no objection to his authority as a writer genuinely Christian. And insofar as they held that his teaching was orthodox, they found no reason to dismiss it simply because it was not written by an immediate disciple of Paul, though, of course, among the more unthinking such an apparently bogus claim would diminish respect for him. And that would be particularly the case with those who could not recognize that in ancient times such claims were less unedifying than they might seem today. Thus Thrasyllus, editor of Plato’s dialogues, was not above adding some of his own writing to his collection of Plato’s letters; and very influentially if the second letter – so influential among the Neoplatonists – is originally from his hand. And why not? After all he thought of himself as a follower of Plato, a man who understood Plato well and had studied him for many years as a respectful disciple. But the most extreme example of this sort of mentality is to be found among the Pythagoreans; so that if you were a mathematician in the second century A. D. and had just discovered a new mathematical theorem, you might well preface your discovery with the words „The Master, i.e. Pythagoras, said that….” And then attribute your new discovery to Pythagoras. After all, you know that you are writing and thinking in the spirit of Pythagoras and that if Pythagoras were alive now, he would certainly have come up with the very theorem in question. The attitude still persists in some quarters, even if now in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner, in defiance of the notion of intellectual property. I can recall Etienne Gilson saying, „If it is true, Aquinas would have said it”. Be that as it may, Dionysius, as a


46 John M. Rist committed Pauline Christian, perhaps called Dionysius, probably did think that if Dionysius the Areopagite had been alive in the sixth century he would (or could) have written the Divine Names and the Mystical Theology. * Finally we can return to the direct theological question; is there something in Dionysius’ attitude to eros, to faith and to related matters that betrays his basic paganism. And a corollary: is it merely a coincidence that those who so accuse him are the products of post-Reformation Christianity? But before we can resolve those queries, and in order to resolve them, we need to look at a curious feature of the after-life of Dionysian ideas, both fitting those ideas into an important ancient pattern which was gradually and sadly forgotten, and noting how the forgetting of that pattern led to different readings of Dionysius in Eastern and Western Christian traditions, and how, eventually, the attack on Dionysius as a crypto-pagan derives from an extreme, more or less post-medieval, version of the Western stance. In the ancient Church the Christian believer saw himself under two aspects, as a hopefully saved individual and as a member of the saved New Israel: saved, that is, both individually and communally. An extreme form of this kind of thinking can be recognized in the consistent view of Augustine that we are possessed of two kinds of lives: our communis vita as one in Adam (in whose original sin we thus somehow participated), and our propria vita in which we live and sin as different individuals. And the idea can be recognized again in Origen’ s interpretation of the Song of Songs: before Origen the text was normally interpreted as an allegory of the relationship between Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as his Bride. While not abandoning that reading, Origen added that the Bridegroom is also the Bridegroom of the individual soul. Thus again each individual would participate in the mystical marriage both individually and collectively. But if not in Dionysius, at least among many of his interpreters, mystical union was read not both individually and communally, but


Dionysius’ Christianity… 47 individually or communally, and in contemporary debate about how to interpret Dionysius these two options have been seen as alternatives. Thus Eastern readers of Dionysius tend to see his mysticism as liturgical, as the union of the Eucharistic community with Christ as the Bridegroom, while in the Western tradition, at least since the twelfth century there has been a tendency to emphasize almost exclusively the mystical union of Christ and the individual soul: that has been taken to be „Dionysian” mysticism. It is not my immediate concern to argue which of these readings is closer to the view of Dionysius himself, though I am inclined to think either that the Eastern tradition has more plausibility or at least that the two traditions (as in Origen and Augustine as we have seen) still survived in Dionysius’ vision, but that the liturgical and communal one is the stronger. Be that as it may, since I am concerned now primarily with attacks on Dionysius as neo-pagan from within Western post-Reformation Christianity (and sometimes from Catholic imitators of that theological tradition), I shall leave the Eastern view aside and concentrate on criticism of the „individualist” version – a version, as I would still maintain, which has in and of itself lost sight of that double vision of the Christian believer and his membership in the New Israel which I have noted persisted in varying forms in antiquity. Clearly the individualist version (despite its obvious reference to Christ as mediator) looks more Neoplatonic: in particular the idea of the monos-pros-monon in Plotinus (ultimately deriving from a post-Platonic platonizing interpretation of the Symposium) seems more akin to the relationship of the individual soul to Christ the divine Bridegroom, that is, to God. And since that relationship is one-on-One, it is easy to see why the Reformers berated Dionysius as purveying a mysticism by which the soul of the believer, without grace, strains to reach divinity. How far such an account represents accurately even the view of Plotinus (though it might seem closer to post-Plotinian theories of theurgy – a pagan sacramentalism which ancient


48 John M. Rist Christians often misread and which Luther would think of as a monkish mysticism of works) – I leave aside: noting only that Dionysius well knows the difference between Christian theurgy and even an accurately reported pagan original. What is important for our present purposes, however, is that it is the Western „individualist” reading of Dionysius that might seem to lay itself open to post-Lutheran attack. But why does such attack point to an accusation against Dionysius not only of heresy but of simple paganism in its Platonist form? To answer that we need to point to two related aspects of the Reformation attack on Catholic (and by implication also Orthodox) understandings of Christianity. For in the eyes of Luther in particular – and we recall that it was Luther who, scenting paganism, claimed that Dionysius was plus platonizans quam christianizans – Dionysius’ apparent platonizing is a particularly informative feature of what he (and his later followers such as Archbishop Anders Nygren) saw as the contamination of Christianity as a whole by Greek (especially Platonizing) paganism. In other words Luther understood the true nature of Christianity better than did the vast majority of the Fathers, whether Latin or Greek. A defense of this sort of claim was attempted by Adolf von Harnack, but Harnack, being an honest scholar, recognized that the Hellenizing of a pure Christianity goes back to the New Testament itself, especially to the Gospel of John. But if that is right – and the recognition is Harnack’s, not Luther’s – then how can we find a yardstick by which real Christianity can be measured? Luther, not being endowed with Harnack’s scholarly capacity, did not recognize the problem. If Hellenization affected not just a group of misguided Fathers – Origen, Gregory, Augustine, etc – but the Bible itself, what further source could guide us to real Christianity. Luther, of course, declined to go as far as Nietzsche who claimed that there had only been one Christian and that he died on the cross; instead, he resorted to a series of proof texts (mainly from Paul’s letters to the Romans and


Dionysius’ Christianity… 49 Galatians) which he took to claim (against other biblical texts if necessary) – but, after all, that is how the proof-text method works – that the essence of Christianity is summed up by his own understanding of the thesis that salvation is by faith alone: a thesis seemingly unknown in patristic times except perhaps to Marius Victorinus, and which induced Victorinus to anticipate Luther in rejecting the Christianity and the authenticity of the Epistle of James. As should by now be obvious, therefore, since debate about justification by faith alone was virtually unknown to Christian antiquity – let alone the claim that such a dogma summed up Christianity as a whole – it is hardly surprising that Dionysius failed to filter out those pieces of supposedly pagan baggage – eros theory in particular – which Lutheran dogma claimed to expose; hence no-one in those unenlightened times could recognize that Dionysius is hardly a Christian at all. For from the ancient point of view eros-theory – revised as it was even by Origen, not to speak of Gregory of Nyssa and Dionysius himself – was part of mainstream Christianity, both in the East and the West. But, as I have also tried to show, it was specifically the Western „individualist alone” account of Dionysius’ views on mysticism that prefigured his post-Reform condemnation not as a heretic but in effect as a pagan. So much can be explained historically! Q.E.D.


50 Sever J. Voicu

L’APOFATISMO IN CRISOSTOMO E NELL’AREOPAGITA

Sever J. Voicu

U

na premessa. Quando mi è arrivata la proposta di partecipare a questo convegno, il mio primo impulso è stato di rifiutare. Che legame poteva esistere tra Giovanni Crisostomo e il suo mondo e un autore che si ispira a un universo culturale talmente diverso, intriso di filosofia neoplatonica, come lo Pseudo Dionigi? La decisione di accettare è stata incoraggiata da un ricordo remoto: una nota a piè di pagina risalente al 1951, nella quale Jean Daniélou notava come la terminologia apofatica, tanto familiare allo Pseudo Dionigi, fosse stata ampiamente utilizzata da Crisostomo1. Ho pensato quindi che valesse la pena compiere una ricerca sull’esistenza di eventuali rapporti fra i due autori.

Jean Chrysostome, Sur l’incompréhensibilité de Dieu. Introduction de Ferdinand CAVALLERA et de Jean DANIELOU; traduction et notes de Robert FLACELIERE... (Sources Chrétiennes, 28), Paris 1951, p. 17: «Il [Crisostomo] se sert d’un nombre notable d’expressions négatives qui font de notre texte [le omelie De incomprehensibili], avec ceux de Grégoire de Nysse et du Pseudo-Denys, un riche répertoire pour l’étude du vocabulaire de la théologie apophatique». 1


L’apofatismo in Crisostomo e nell’Areopagita 51 Su un piano teorico, questa idea appariva ragionevolmente sensata, anzitutto sotto il profilo cronologico. Infatti, quale che possa essere stata la data, tuttora controversa, del corpus dionisiano, essa è sicuramente posteriore alla riabilitazione di Crisostomo, le cui varie fasi si sono svolte nella prima metà del V secolo2. Se poi, come si e detto spesso, lo Pseudo Dionigi sia da annoverare tra gli oppositori alla definizione di Calcedonia del 4513, questo non sarebbe stato di ostacolo, poiché Crisostomo ha un ruolo sorprendentemente importante nella tradizione anticalcedonese. Ad esempio, nonostante la maniera in cui privilegia esplicitamente la dottrina cirilliana, Severo Antiocheno non si stanca mai di additare Crisostomo come un testimone privilegiato dell’ortodossia, le cui opere si possono utilizzare in ogni occasione, compresi i contesti di polemica teologica4. Forse nel caso di Severo si può invocare l’influsso di un fattore locale, ma lo stesso atteggiamento è condiviso anche da altri due grandi dottori miafisiti, Timoteo Eluro5 e Filosseno di

In una prima fase, al momento della riconciliazione tra la Chiesa costantinopolitana e i giovanniti, avvenuta attorno al 417-418, il nome di Crisostomo è stato ripristinato nei dittici. Pochi anni dopo, nel 428, il patriarca Nestorio istituisce una specifica commemorazione liturgica in suo onore. Successivamente, nel 438, il solenne rientro delle sue reliquie a Costantinopoli, promosso dal patriarca Proclo, avrebbe suggellato la sua riabilitazione. Vedi C. BAUR, John Chrysostom and his time. II: Constantinople, London – Glasgow 1960, pp. 444-466. 3 L’unica citazione sicura dall’Apocalisse giovannea (Apoc. 1,8, in DN 2,1: p. 123), potrebbe costituire un indizio in tal senso. L’Apocalisse, infatti, nel V secolo non è stata ancora ammessa nel canone bizantino (tranne forse in Cappadocia), ma viene accettata in Egitto e, poco dopo, da Severo Antiocheno. Quindi il passo potrebbe costituire il segno di una vicinanza particolare con l’ambiente alessandrino che è stato l’humus della dottrina cirilliana. 4 Si veda Sever J. VOICU, «Quoting John Chrysostom in the sixth century: Severus of Antioch», La teologia dal V all’VIII secolo fra sviluppo e crisi. XLI Incontro di studiosi dell’antichità cristiana, Roma, 9-11 maggio 2013 (Studia ephemeridis Augustinianum, 140), Roma 2014, pp. 633-643 (circa 200 citazioni). 5 Vedi F. CAVALLERA, «Le dossier patristique de Timothée Aelure», Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique 11 (1909), pp. 342-359; R.Y. EBIED – L.R. WICKHAM, «A Collection of Unpublished Syriac Letters of Timothy Aelurus», The Journal of Theological Studies 21 (1970), pp. 321-369, qui p. 357. 2


52 Sever J. Voicu Mabbug6, riguardo ai quali è malagevole postulare intensi legami con Antiochia. Un problema si è imposto subito: tranne forse un’unica eccezione7, nella relativamente scarsa bibliografia relativa alle fonti patristiche di Pseudo Dionigi, Crisostomo non viene praticamente mai preso in considerazione8. Per nulla intimorito da questa circostanza, ho imboccato la strada additata da Daniélou … per ritrovarmi, va detto subito, in un vicolo cieco. Infatti, un’indagine a tappeto sulle numerose occasioni in cui Crisostomo ricorre a espressioni apofatiche e una comparazione con le opere dello Pseudo Dionigi ha rivelato che, sotto questo aspetto, i due gruppi di scritti non hanno probabilmente nessun rapporto, nemmeno marginale. Poiché Crisostomo utilizza il linguaggio apofatico in molte sue opere, soprattutto, ma non esclusivamente, nel contesto della polemica contro gli anomei, l’analisi della sua terminologia consente di fondare rapidamente questa affermazione. Tuttavia, per non appesantire il discorso, mi limiterò a prendere a campione un passo che appare molto rappresentativo, se non altro per i numerosi aggettivi apofatici che usa e che si trova nel trattato Ad eos qui scandalizati sunt (CPG 4401), la cui composizione va posta al tempo dell’esilio. Questa circostanza implica, tra l’altro, che la riaffermazione Si veda M. BRIERE – F. GRAFFIN, Sancti Philoxeni episcopi Mabbugensis dissertationes decem de Uno e Sancta Trinitate incorporato et passo (Mēmrē contre Ḥabib). V. Appendices (Patrologia orientalis, 41, 1 = 186), Turnhout 1982, con ben 32 citazioni. Va notato che queste citazioni hanno una rilevanza particolare, poiché Filosseno, non conoscendo il greco, può aver utilizzato soltanto traduzioni siriache delle opere attribuite a Crisostomo, segno indubbio della fama crescente di costui anche fuori dall’ambito greco. 7 Difatti, poco più di una decina di rinvii alle opere di Crisostomo vengono ricordati negli indici al Corpus areopagitico, in HEIL – RITTER, p. 261. Se le ipotesi avanzate nel presente lavoro sono valide, si tratta peraltro di paralleli poco significativi. 8 Un esempio molto eloquente si trova in Beate Regina SUCHLA, Dionysius Areopagita: Leben, Werk, Wirkung, Freiburg – Basel – Wien 2008, pp. 273-300. In tutto il volume Giovanni Crisostomo viene citato soltanto a p. 188, su un punto irrilevante riguardo ai rapporti con lo Pseudo Dionigi. 6


L’apofatismo in Crisostomo e nell’Areopagita 53 dell’assoluta alterità divina non è né esclusiva della sua stagione antiochena, né condizionata soltanto dalla lotta contro gli eretici, ma rappresenta un elemento fondante (e forse sottovalutato) del pensiero teologico crisostomiano9. „Colui che è oggetto della tua curiosità è indistruttibile (1), immutabile (2), sempre esistente (3) e sempre esistente allo stesso modo (= inalterabile) (4), senza inizio (5), senza fine (6), incomprensibile (= non può essere concettualizzato) (7), supera il pensiero (= a di là del pensiero) (8), supera il ragionamento (9), inesprimibile (10), indicibile (= non può essere descritto usando parole) (11), inafferrabile (= incomprensibile) (12). Tutto ciò non le è soltanto per me e per te, per i profeti e per gli apostoli, ma anche per le potenze celesti, che sono pure, invisibili, incorporee, e che soggiornano incessantemente nei cieli”. „Ὁ δὲ πολυπραγμονούμενος ὑπὸ σοῦ, ἀνώλεθρος (1), ἀναλλοίωτος (2), ἀεὶ ὢν (3) καὶ ὡσαύτως ὤν (4), ἄναρχος (5), ἀτελεύτητος (6), ἀπερινόητος (7), ὑπερβαίνων νοῦν (8), νικῶν λογισμόν (9), ἀνέκφραστος (10), ἄρρητος (11), ἀκατάληπτος (12) οὐκ ἐμοὶ καὶ σοὶ μόνον καὶ προφήταις καὶ ἀποστόλοις, ἀλλὰ καὶ ταῖς ἄνω δυνάμεσι, ταῖς καθαραῖς, ταῖς ἀοράτοις, ταῖς ἀσωμάτοις, ταῖς διηνεκῶς ἐν οὐρανῷ διατριβούσαις”10.

Il senso del passo è indubbio: si tratta di una descrizione della totale trascendenza della divinità rispetto a ogni creatura. Inoltre, per 9 Per il periodo antiocheno, vedi, ad esempio (in aggiunta ai passi citati più lontano): Καλῶμεν τοίνυν αὐτὸν τὸν ἀνέκφραστον, τὸν ἀπερινόητον θεόν, τὸν ἀόρατον, τὸν ἀκατάληπτον, τὸν νικῶντα γλώττης δύναμιν ἀνθρωπίνης, τὸν ὑπερβαίνοντα θνητῆς διανοίας κατάληψιν, τὸν ἀνεξιχνίαστον ἀγγέλοις, τὸν ἀθέατον τοῖς σεραφίμ, τὸν ἀκατανόητον τοῖς χερουβίμ, τὸν ἀόρατον ἀρχαῖς, ἐξουσίαις, δυνάμεσι καὶ ἁπλῶς πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει (De incomprehensibili Dei natura hom. 3: A.-M. MALINGREY, Jean Chrysostome, Sur l’incompréhensibilité de Dieu. T. I: (Homélies I-V). 2e éd. (Sources Chrétiennes, 28bis), Paris 1970, p. 190); εἰς τὸν τῶν ὅλων θεὸν τὸν πατέρα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὸν πάντων αἴτιον, τὸν ἄφραστον, τὸν ἀπερινόητον, τὸν οὔτε λόγῳ οὔτε διανοίᾳ ἑρμηνευθῆναι δυνάμενον (Catechesis 1: A. WENGER, Jean Chrysostome, Huit catéchèses baptismales inédites. 2e éd. (Sources Chrétiennes, 50 bis), Paris 1970, pp. 118-119). 10 Ad eos qui scandalizati sunt 2, 18: A.-M. MALINGREY, Jean Chrysostome, Sur la providence de Dieu… (Sources Chrétiennes, 79), Paris 1961, pp. 70-72.


54 Sever J. Voicu allontanare qualsiasi equivoco, Crisostomo ribadisce che questa trascendenza vale non soltanto per coloro che secondo lui sono i santi per eccellenza, cioè i profeti e gli apostoli, i quali hanno avuto un contatto privilegiato con le manifestazioni divine, ma anche per gli esseri incorporei che stanno costantemente alla presenza di Dio: i cori angelici. Orbene, l’analisi del lessico utilizzato in questo passo è istruttiva: (1) «indistruttibile» (ἀνώλεθρος) dallo Pseudo Dionigi viene applicato esclusivamente alle anime sante e agli angeli11. In Crisostomo invece lo si trova spesso riferito alla natura divina12. (2) «immutabile» (ἀναλλοίωτος) è un termine teologico classico, che viene usato 18 volte dall’Areopagita. (3-4) «che esiste sempre e sempre allo stesso modo» (ἀεὶ ὢν καὶ ὡσαύτως ὤν) sono due espressioni che sembrano esclusive di Crisostomo13; entrambe sono assenti dallo Pseudo Dionigi. DN 4, 2: Ἀλλὰ καὶ μετ᾽ ἐκείνους τοὺς ἱεροὺς καὶ ἁγίους νόας αἱ ψυχαὶ καὶ ὅσα ψυχῶν ἀγαθὰ διὰ τὴν ὑπεράγαθον ἔστιν ἀγαθότητα τὸ νοερὰς αὐτὰς εἶναι, τὸ ἔχειν τὴν οὐσιώδη ζωὴν ἀνώλεθρον αὐτὸ τὸ εἶναι καὶ δύνασθαι πρὸς τὰς ἀγγελικὰς ἀνατεινομένας ζωὰς δι᾽ αὐτῶν ὡς ἀγαθῶν καθηγεμόνων ἐπὶ τὴν πάντων ἀγαθῶν ἀγαθαρχίαν ἀνάγεσθαι (p. 145); DN 6, 1: ἡ τῶν ἀθανάτων ἀγγέλων ζωὴ καὶ ἀθανασία καὶ τὸ ἀνώλεθρον αὐτὸ τῆς ἀγγελικῆς ἀεικινησίας ἐξ αὐτῆς καὶ δι᾽ αὐτὴν καὶ ἔστι καὶ ὑφέστηκε (p. 190); DN 6, 1: Ἐξ αὐτῆς καὶ αἱ ψυχαὶ τὸ ἀνώλεθρον ἔχουσι, καὶ ζῷα πάντα καὶ φυτὰ κατ᾽ ἔσχατον ἀπήχημα τῆς ζωῆς ἔχουσι τὸ ζῆν (p. 191). 12 Ἐν σκέπῃ τῶν πτερύγων σου σκεπάσεις με (Ps. 16,8), ἀλλ᾽ οὐ παρὰ τοῦτο πτερωτὴν φήσομεν εἶναι τὴν νοερὰν ἐκείνην καὶ ἀνώλεθρον οὐσίαν. Εἰ γὰρ ἐπ᾽ ἀνθρώπων οὐκ ἔνι τοῦτο εἰπεῖν, πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τῆς ἀκηράτου καὶ ἀοράτου καὶ ἀκαταλήπτου φύσεως ἐκείνης (De petitione matris filiorum Zebedaei: Anne-Marie MALINGREY, Jean Chrysostome, Sur l’égalité du Père et du Fils. Contre les Anoméens homélies VII-XII (Sources Chrétiennes, 396), Paris 1994, p. 170). Vedi anche: In principium Actorum hom. 4 (PG 51, 108, 60-61); In illud, Vidua eligatur (PG 51, 328, 17); ecc. 13 Vedi In Isaiam 6, 2: Σύ, φησί, μένων, ὤν, ζῶν, ἀεὶ ὡσαύτως ὤν (J. DUMORTIER, Jean Chrysostome, Commentaire sur Isaïe: introduction, texte critique et notes par Jean DUMORTIER; traduction par Arthur LIEFOOGHE (Sources Chrétiennes, 304), Paris 1983, p. 262). Vedi anche Homilia de capto Eutropio (CPG 4528): Ἀκήρατος ἦν, ἀνώλεθρος ἡ οὐσία, ἄφθαρτος ἦν ἡ φύσις, ἀπερινόητος, ἀόρατος, ἀκατάληπτος, ἀεὶ ὢν, ὡσαύτως ὢν, ὑπερβαίνων ἀγγέλους, ἀνώτερος τῶν ἄνω δυνάμεων, νικῶν λογισμὸν, ὑπερβαίνων 11


L’apofatismo in Crisostomo e nell’Areopagita 55 (5-6) «senza inizio e senza fine» (ἄναρχος, ἀτελεύτητος) si ritrovano associati, sia pure sporadicamente nell’Areopagita, ma applicati alle illuminazioni del Bello e del Buono e alla provvidenza, mai direttamente alla divinità14. (7) «incomprensibile» (ἀπερινόητος), non usato dallo Pseudo Dionigi, ricorre spesso in Crisostomo15. (8) «che supera il pensiero» (ὑπερβαίνων νοῦν): nonostante la sua risonanza neotestamentaria16, lo Pseudo Dionigi non usa mai questa espressione, frequente in Crisostomo17, in particolare associata alle manifestazioni della bontà divina18. (9) «che supera il ragionamento» (νικῶν λογισμόν), al pari dell’espressione precedente, viene applicata da Crisostomo di

διάνοιαν, ὀφθῆναι μὴ δυνάμενος, πιστευθῆναι δὲ μόνον. Ἄγγελοι ἔβλεπον καὶ ἔτρεμον, τὰ Χερουβὶμ τὰς πτέρυγας ἐπέβαλλον, πάντα ἐν φόβῳ (PG 52, 404, 5). Anchre se questa omelia non è autentica, tuttavia è stata composta, probabilmente nella comunità giovannita di Costantinopoli, riutilizzando anche passi autentici, come emerge dalle analisi di S.J. VOICU, «La volontà e il caso: la tipologia dei primi spuri di Crisostomo», Giovanni Crisostomo: Oriente e Occidente tra IV e V secolo. XXXIII Incontro di studiosi dell’antichità cristiana, Roma, 6-8 maggio 2004 (Studia ephemeridis Augustinianum, 93), Roma 2005, pp. 101-118, qui pp. 111-112. 14 DN 4, 8: ταῖς ἀνάρχοις καὶ ἀτελευτήτοις ἐλλάμψεσι τοῦ καλοῦ καὶ ἀγαθοῦ (p. 153); DN 4, 9: τὸ ὑπὲρ πάντα τὰ ὄντα καὶ ἓν καὶ ταὐτὸν καὶ ἄναρχον καὶ ἀτελεύτητον (p. 153); DN 4, 14: Ἐν ᾧ καὶ τὸ ἀτελεύτητον ἑαυτοῦ καὶ ἄναρχον ὁ θεῖος ἔρως (p. 160); Ep. 9, 3: σύμβολον ἔστω τῆς ἀνηπλωμένης ἅμα καὶ ἐπὶ πάντα περιπορευομένης ἀνάρχου καὶ ἀτελευτήτου τῶν ὅλων προνοίας (p. 202). 15 Vedi, oltre ai passi già citati: ὁ θεὸς, ὁ ἄρρητος, ὁ ἄφθαρτος, ὁ ἀπερινόητος, ὁ ἀόρατος, ὁ ἀκατάληπτος (In illud: Pater, si possibile est, transeat: PG 51, 37, 2-3); ὁ θεὸς ὁ ἀπόρρητος, καὶ ἀνέκφραστος, καὶ ἀπερινόητος (In Matthaeum hom. 1: PG 57, 25, 45-46). 16 Vedi Phil. 4,7: Ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦ, ἡ ὑπερέχουσα πάντα νοῦν. 17 Vedi οὗτος ὁ πάντα νοῦν ὑπερβαίνων, καὶ πάντα λογισμὸν νικῶν (In illud: Pater, si possibile est, transeat: PG 51, 37, 8-9). 18 Vedi τὴν ἄφατον τοῦ θεοῦ φιλανθρωπίαν τὴν ὑπερβαίνουσαν ἅπαντα νοῦν (Aduersus Iudaeos oratio 7: PG 48, 918, 44-46); ἵνα καὶ τῶν ἀκινήτων ἀγαθῶν ἐπιτύχωμεν τῶν πάντα λόγον ὑπερβαινόντων καὶ νοῦν ἀνθρώπινον (De resurrectione mortuorum: Nathalie RAMBAULT, Jean Chrysostome, Homélies sur la résurrection, l’ascension et la pentecôte. I. Introduction, texte critique, traductions, notes et index (Sources chrétiennes, 561), Paris 2013, p. 176, 119-121), ecc.


56 Sever J. Voicu preferenza alle manifestazioni della bontà divina19, ma è assente dallo Pseudo Dionigi. (10) «inesprimibile» (ἀνέκφραστος): non usato 20 dall’Areopagita . (11) «indicibile» (ἄρρητος): frequente nello Pseudo Dionigi, ma soltanto sporadicamente applicato direttamente alla divinità. (12) «inafferrabile» (ἀκατάληπτος): questo termine che, tra l’altro è entrato nel titolo delle omelie di Crisostomo contro gli anomei (Περὶ ἀκαταλήπτου, De incomprehensibili), ha soltanto due occorrenze nello Pseudo Dionigi, delle quali una sola è riferita, per di più in maniera indiretta, alla divinità21. In definitiva, di questo nutrito arsenale di dodici espressioni apofatiche familiari a Crisostomo, otto vengono ignorate dallo Pseudo Dionigi, il quale attesta soltanto quelle più diffuse nella tradizione patristica e le usa complessivamente in contesti abbastanza diversi. La conclusione ovvia di queste analisi è che, almeno riguardo all’apofatismo, l’Areopagita non dipende dalle opere autentiche di Crisostomo. Tuttavia la nostra indagine non necessariamente si ferma qui, poiché il corpus crisostomico abbraciava fin dalle origini un numero consistente di spuri (forse una cinquantina), che probabilmente sono stati aggiunti agli scritti autentici dagli stessi giovanniti22. Questi spuri Vedi: Τὰ γὰρ ἡμῖν μάλιστα ἐπαγγελθέντα, πάντα λογισμὸν ἀνθρώπινον νικᾷ, καὶ πᾶσαν διάνοιαν ὑπερβαίνει (In Genesim hom. 36: PG 53, 340, 16-18); νικᾷ τὸν λογισμὸν τὸν ἡμέτερον τῶν δεδωρημένων τὸ μέγεθος (Catechesis 5: A. WENGER, Jean Chrysostome, Huit catéchèses baptismales inédites. 2e éd. (Sources Chrétiennes, 50 bis), Paris 1970, p. 211). 20 Vedi sopra alcuni dei passi in cui Crisostomo associa l’aggettivo ad altri termini apofatici. 21 DN 7, 1: Οὕτω καὶ «ἀόρατόν» φησι τὰ λόγια τὸ παμφαὲς φῶς καὶ τὸν πολυύμνητον καὶ πολυώνυμον ἄρjῥητον καὶ ἀνώνυμον καὶ τὸν πᾶσι παρόντα καὶ ἐκ πάντων εὑρισκόμενον ἀκατάληπτον καὶ ἀνεξιχνίαστον (p. 194). 22 Vedi Sever J. VOICU, «“Furono chiamati giovanniti…”. Un’ipotesi sulla nascita del corpus pseudocrisostomico», Philomathestatos. Studies in Greek and Byzantine Texts Presented to Jacques Noret for His Sixty-Fifth Birthday…, ed. by B. JANSSENS – B. 19


L’apofatismo in Crisostomo e nell’Areopagita 57 sarebbero apparsi autentici agli occhi dell’Areopagita … dato e non concesso che li abbia utilizzati. Comunque, la polemica antianomea ha lasciato tracce in due omelie vincolate al mondo antiocheno. Questi testi, che presentano forti analogie con i testi autentici di Crisostomo, hanno grande interesse, poiché dimostrano, forse per la prima volta, che, nel mondo antiocheno della fine del IV secolo, l’apofatismo non era una dottrina esclusiva di Crisostomo, il quale, ai nostri occhi, ne è il grande promotore, ma era stato utilizzato anche da altri predicatori coevi. Il primo spurio, In psalmum 50 homilia 223, è stato pronunciato forse a Costantinopoli verso l’anno 400, da un autore di formazione antiochena. Vi si trova un passo nel quale la terminologia apofatica viene applicata alla misericordia divina e dal quale quindi trapela il già menzionato nesso fra l’incomprensibilità di Dio e le manifestazioni della sua bontà: Ὁ ἔλεος τοῦ θεοῦ ἄφατος, ἀνερμήνευτος, καταληφθῆναι μὴ δυνάμενος, ὑπερβαίνων νοῦν, νικῶν λογισμόν24. Come si è già visto, questa nozione è estranea all’Areopagita. In un altro dei più antichi spuri di Crisostomo, un sermone sulla croce che probabilmente è stato pronunciato ad Antiochia nell’ultimo quarto del IV secolo, e che presenta notevoli affinità ideologiche con le opere autentiche25, compare una breve serie di espressioni apofatiche. Si tratta di un sermone che ha avuto una diffusione enorme, come ROOSEN – P. VAN DEUN (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 137), Leuven… 2004, pp. 701-711. 23 Vedi CPG 4545. L’omelia appartiene allo sconosciuto autore di In illud: Si qua in Christo noua creatura (CPG 4701), la cui alta datazione, certamente anteriore alla morte di Crisostomo, è stata difesa in S.J. VOICU, «In Pentecosten sermo 1 (PG 52, 803-808; CPG 4536): il problema dell’autenticità», Historiam perscrutari. Miscellanea di studi offerti al prof. Ottorino Pasquato, a cura di Mario MARITANO (Biblioteca di Scienze Religiose, 180), Roma 2002, pp. 849-861. 24 PG 55, 579, 56-58. 25 Nonostante una presentazione deplorevole, sono tuttora valide le conclusioni di S.J. VOICU, «“Giovanni di Gerusalemme” e Pseudo-Crisostomo: Saggio di critica di stile», Euntes Docete 24 (1971), pp. 66-111, qui pp. 69-77.


58 Sever J. Voicu dimostra non soltanto la sua comparsa in numerosi manoscritti greci, ma anche la precoce esistenza di traduzioni in altre lingue, tra le quali spicca quella in latino, utilizzata da Agostino di Ippona verso l’anno 42026. L’anonimo antiocheno si esprime così: „Che cosa può dividere la natura incorporea (1), immateriale (2), senza confini (= infinita) (3), di cui non si possono trovare le tracce (= ininvestigabile) (4); indistruttibile (5), incorruttibile (6) e inafferrabile (7). Questa è la maniera in cui i fedeli devono concepire Dio”. „Τί γὰρ δύναται χωρῆσαι τὴν ἀσώματον (1) φύσιν καὶ ἄϋλον (2) καὶ ἀπέραντον (3) καὶ ἀνεξιχνίαστον (4), καὶ ἀνώλεθρον (5) καὶ ἄφθαρτον (6) καὶ ἀκατάληπτον (7); παρὰ γὰρ τοῖς εὐσεβοῦσιν οὕτω δεῖ νοεῖν θεόν”27.

Quale rapporto esiste tra questo passo e lo Pseudo Dionigi? Come sopra, la risposta giungerà dall’analisi dei singoli termini. (1-2) «incorporeo e immateriale» (ἀσώματος, ἄϋλος): dei due termini il primo è molto usato da Crisostomo, il secondo molto meno e la loro associazione non si registra nelle opere autentiche. Nello Pseudo Dionigi invece i due termini vengono usati una volta per descrivere l’attività dello Spirito santo28, un’altra per definire le operazioni divine29.

Vedi Sever J. VOICU, «Le prime traduzioni latine di Crisostomo», Cristianesimo latino e cultura greca sino al sec. IV. – XXI Incontro di studiosi dell’antichità cristiana, Roma, 7-9 maggio 1992 (Studia ephemeridis «Augustinianum», 42), Roma 1993, pp. 397-415, soprattutto pp. 400-402 e 408-409. 27 In venerabilem crucem sermo (CPG 4525): PG 50, 818, 17-21. 28 DN 2, 8: πνευματικῶς δηλαδὴ τῆς τοιᾶσδε πατρότητος καὶ υἱότητος ἐκτελουμένης, τοῦτ᾽ ἔστιν ἀσωμάτως, ἀύ>λως, νοητῶς, τοῦ θεαρχικοῦ πνεύματος ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν νοητὴν ἀϋλίαν καὶ θέωσιν ὑπεριδρυμένου (p. 132). 29 DN 4, 1: καὶ ὡς ἀσώματοι καὶ ἄϋλοι νοοῦνται καὶ ὡς νόες ὑπερκοσμίως νοοῦσι καὶ τοὺς τῶν ὄντων οἰκείως ἐλλάμπονται λόγους καὶ αὖθις εἰς τὰ συγγενῆ τὰ οἰκεῖα διαπορθμεύουσιν (p. 144). 26


L’apofatismo in Crisostomo e nell’Areopagita 59 (3) «senza confini» (ἀπέραντος): mai usato dall’Areopagita, è applicato frequentemente da Crisostomo alla divinità e alle sue manifestazioni, occasionalmente associato al termine successivo30. (4) «ininvestigabile» (ἀνεξιχνίαστος): questo aggettivo, già usato nel Nuovo Testamento in Romani 11,33 e in Efesini 3,8, è frequente e funzionale in Crisostomo; nello Pseudo Dionigi compare tre volte, associato ad altri termini apofatici e applicato alla divinità, ma esplicitamente in dipendenza dal passo di Romani. (5) «indistruttibile» (ἀνώλεθρος), come abbiamo già visto, l’uso che ne fa lo Pseudo Dionigi è profondamente diverso da quello di Crisostomo. (6) «incorruttibile» (ἄφθαρτος): l’Areopagita lo applica preferentemente agli esseri umani, associato a «immortale» (ἀθάνατος)31, per definire alcune realtà durevoli nel tempo, o addirittura come semplice sinonimo di «molto antico»32. (7) «inafferrabile» (ἀκατάληπτος): abbiamo già visto che il suo uso è diverso nello Pseudo Dionigi. In parole povere, lo Pseudo Dionigi non sembra essersi ispirato in misura significativa nemmeno al sermone spurio sulla croce. In sintesi, sulla teologia apofatica, i contatti fra il mondo crisostomico e lo Pseudo Dionigi appaiono inesistenti. Ad ogni modo va ribadito che al di là delle differenze terminologiche33, la teologia apofatica viene enunciata nel mondo Vedi τὴν ἀκατάληπτον καὶ ἄρρητον τοῦ Θεοῦ πρόνοιαν, τὴν ἀπέραντον καὶ ἀνεξιχνίαστον (Ad eos qui scandalizati sunt 2, 1: A.-M. MALINGREY, Jean Chrysostome, Sur la providence de Dieu… (Sources Chrétiennes, 79), Paris 1961, p. 60); Ὁ γὰρ ἀθάνατος, ὁ ἄναρχος, ἡ μεγαλωσύνη ἡ ἀπέραντος (In Iohannem hom. 27: PG 59, 159, 59-60). 31 DN 1, 4: ἄφθαρτοι καὶ ἀθάνατοι γενώμεθα (p. 114). 32 DN 10, 3: Καὶ γὰρ οὐ τὰ πάντη καὶ ἀπολύτως ἀγένητα καὶ ὄντως ἀΐδια πανταχοῦ φησιν αἰώνια, καὶ τὰ ἄφθαρτα δὲ καὶ ἀθάνατα καὶ ἀναλλοίωτα καὶ ὄντα ὡσαύτως (p. 216); ibid.: Διὸ καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐνθάδε κατὰ χρόνον ὁριζομένους αἰῶνος μεθέξειν ἡ θεολογία φησίν, ἡνίκα τοῦ ἀφθάρτου καὶ ἀεὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχοντος αἰῶνος ἐφικώμεθα (p. 216). 33 Prescindiamo qui da altre differenze terminologiche, come l’uso di ἄληπτος, per Crisostomo (passim) «irreprensibile», per lo Pseudo Dionigi, con connotazioni 30


60 Sever J. Voicu antiocheno e nello Pseudo Dionigi in contesti profondamente diversi. Sia Crisostomo autentico, sia lo Pseudo Dionigi sostengono che gli essere umani non possono accedere a Dio. Ma mentre lo Pseudo Dionigi si limita a parlarne in una prospettiva metafisica, Crisostomo amplia il discorso, ben radicato nella sua polemica antianomea, verso una dimensione, in qualche misura pastorale, e condivisa dagli spuri, sulla quale lo Pseudo Dionigi non spende nemmeno una parola. Per Crisostomo, infatti, la totale alterità di Dio non è soltanto un concetto astratto o meramente filosofico, ma un elemento chiave della sua riflessione teologica e pastorale: pur rimanendo inaccessibile all’essere umano (e anche agli angeli), Dio viene continuamente incontro agli uomini, sia nell’Antico Testamento che nel Nuovo, nella sua condiscendenza, grazie alla quale è possibile intravedere qualcosa del suo splendore34. Ebbene, la terminologia relativa alla condiscendenza sembra totalmente assente dagli scritti dello Pseudo Dionigi, il quale non sembra soffermarsi sul senso profondo delle manifestazioni di Dio nelle Scritture come segni del suo amore per gli uomini e appare largamente indifferente (e talvolta persino insofferente) di fronte a ogni considerazione di tipo pastorale. Per concludere, il risultato di questa ricerca, certamente modesto, è che fra Crisostomo e l’Areopagita non esistono punti di contatto riguardo all’apofatismo. Non ne esistono nemmeno con i più

filosofiche, «incomprensibile» (DN 1, 1: p. 109); o quello di ἀνόητος, dove la traduzione abituale «insensato» si contrappone al senso di «inconcepibile» dello Pseudo Dionigi. 34 I lavori sul ruolo della condiscendenza divina nel pensiero di Crisostomo sono abbastanza numerosi. Per un esempio particolarmente significativo (e relativamente recente), vedi R. BRÄNDLE, «Sunkatabasis als hermeneutisches und ethisches Prinzip in der Paulusauslegung des Johannes Chrysostomus», STIMULI. Exegese und ihre Hermeneutik in Antike und Christentum. Festschrift für Ernst Dassmann, herausgegeben von Georg SCHÖLLGEN und Clemens SCHOLTEN (Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum. Ergänzungsband 23), Münster Westfalen 1996, pp. 297-307.


L’apofatismo in Crisostomo e nell’Areopagita 61 antichi spuri di matrice antiochena, nei quali, per la prima volta, è stata rilevata l’esistenza di espressioni apofatiche35. Quindi, lo spunto iniziale del lavoro si è rivelato impressionistico e la ricerca di ulteriori fonti dell’Areopagita rimane confinata al terreno, ben più solido, della sua dipendenza dalla tradizione cappadoce36. Abbreviazioni DN = De diuinis nominibus, citato secondo l’edizione di Beate Regina SUCHLA, Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita, Corpus dionysiacum. I, De divinis nominibus (Patristische Texte und Studien, 33), Berlin – New York 1990. Ep. = Epistulae, citate secondo l’edizione HEIL – RITTER. HEIL – RITTER = G. HEIL – A.M. RITTER, Corpus Dionysiacum. II: Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita. De coelesti hierarchia, De ecclesiastica hierarchia, De mystica theologia, Epistulae (Patristische Texte und Studien, 36), Berlin – New York 1991.

La terminologia apofatica viene usata anche da un autore antiocheno un po’ marginale, Severiano di Gabala, il quale preferisce applicarla alle manifestazioni divine; vedi, ad esempio, De Christo pastore et oue (CPG 4189): ’Otan deV i[dh/ç khruttomevnhn qeouà sofivan kaiV duvnamin, novei thVn uJperochVn thàç dovxhç, thVn proaiwvnion ajxivan, thVn a[trwton, thVn ajmetavblhton, thVn ajnallivwton (PG 52, 831, 17-20). Ma nella situazione attuale è impossibile avviare un’indagine sistematica sulla terminologia apofatica di Severiano. 36 Tutto fa pensare che i numerosi rinvii alle opere di Gregorio Nazianzeno e di Gregorio Nisseno presenti negli indici di HEIL – RITTER, pp. 259-261, abbiano ben altra rilevanza rispetto ai già menzionati rimandi alle opere di Crisostomo. 35


62 Lucian Dîncă

QUELQUES REFLEXIONS AUTOUR DES EPITRES DE PSEUDO-DENYS L’AREOPAGITE

Lucian Dîncă

1. LES EPITRES DANS LE CORPUS PSEUDO-AREOPAGITIQUE

D

epuis le philologue et humaniste Lorenzo Valla (1405-1457), les chercheurs s’accordent pour dire que le corpus pseudo-dionysiaque est à dater de la fin du Ve ou début du VIe s. Egalement, les spécialistes disent que l’œuvre littéraire dionysiaque est une des plus influente pseudo-épigraphies dans la pensée occidentale1. Le grand succès est dû justement au fait que l’auteur écrit sous un nom bien connu par le christianisme naissant, le fameux Denys, converti par Paul suite à son discours devant l’Aréopage d’Athènes, évènement décrit dans le Actes des Apôtres, chapitre 17. De sa correspondance épistolaire nous apprenons que l’auteur prétend bien avoir des liens très proches avec saint Paul, mais aussi avec certains apôtres du Christ, en particulier avec saint Jean Enzo Bellini, introduction de la traduction en italien du corpus dionisiaque: Dionigi Areopagita. Tutte le opere. Testo greco a fronte, Milano, Bompiani. Il pensiero occidentale, 2009, p. 11; Carlo Maria Mazzucchi, „Damascio, autore del Corpus Dionysiacum, e il Dialogo Περι Πολιτικης Επιστημης“, dans Aevum, nr. 80 (2006), p. 299-334. 1


Quelques reflexions autour des Epitres de Pseudo-Denys l’Areopagite 63 l’évangéliste. A ce dernier, il envoie d’ailleurs une lettre plaine d’affection et de reconnaissance, tandis qu’il était en exil sur l’Ille de Patmos. Dans la VIIIe lettre, Pseudo-Denys prétend même avoir été témoin, non pas à Jérusalem, mais dans une petite ville, Hieliopolis, de l’éclipse solaire qui a eu lieu durant la crucifixion de Jésus sur le Golgotha. D’après lui, cet évènement s’est répété aussi à la dormition de la Vierge Marie, quelques années plus tard. Les lecteurs ne peuvent pas lire ce corpus aujourd’hui sans se poser quelques questions majeures quant aux intentions cachées de cet auteur : comment un personnage du début du VIe s. a-t-il pu avoir une si grande intelligence et profondeur d’esprit afin de convaincre des générations de chrétiens que lui serait Denys, le converti de Paul devant l’Aréopage et qui est devenu le premier évêque d’Athènes ? Comment a-t-il fait pour se présenter aux destinataires de ses lettres comme étant leur contemporain ? Pourquoi un tel auteur, d’une profondeur peu égalable à cette époque, a-t-il eu besoin de recourir à cette méthode, souvent rencontrée dans la littérature antique, afin de transmettre ses idées?2 Trois hypothèses peuvent être prises en compte. Soit il s’agit d’un philosophe néo-platonicien qui désire montrer à ses contemporains des convergences entre le christianisme et la philosophie et pour être plus convainquant se cache dans l’ombre de Denys l’Aréopagite; soit il s’agit d’un auteur chrétien qui désire gagner de son côté des païens intellectuels pour leur montrer la voie de la foi chrétienne; soit l’auteur est un philosophe néo-platonicien qui désire absorber la pensée chrétienne dans la pensée du néo-platonisme tardif, ainsi son identification avec Denys n’est qu’une fiction pour gagner plus de crédibilité3. De telles questions se pose egalement Enzo Bellini „La teologia del Corpo areopagitico“, dans: Teologia, nr. 5 (1980), p. 107-138; et „Teologia e teurgia in Dionigi Areopagita“, dans Vetera Christianorum, nr. 17 (1980), p. 199-216. 3 Beaucoup sont ceux aussi qui ont essayé de donner une identité plus précise à cet auteur: les uns ont voulu voir en lui Denis de Paris, c’est le cas de Hilduin, abbé de Saint-Denis, qui écrit en 835 son œuvre Areopagita où il fait cette confusion; d’autres ont vu l’évêque d’Antioche, Sévère, surtout depuis Lorenzo Valla et Erasme 2


64 Lucian Dîncă 2. BREVE PRESENTATION DES EPITRES Une première lecture rapide du corpus épistolaire pseudo-dionysiaque nous permet de constater que l’auteur ne réussit pas à expliquer les fondamentaux de la foi chrétienne, par exemple le concept de Dieu comme personne, l’originalité de la prière dominicale, le Notre Père, la centralité de la figure du Christ et de la croix dans l’économie du salut, etc. Par contre, il parle du mystère trinitaire, de la double nature du Christ, de l’amour de Dieu pour l’humanité, de sa bonté et de sa miséricorde, etc. Les quatre premières épîtres, adressées au moine Gaius, sont des réponses à des questions bien précises en référence aux deux œuvres théologiques majeures de Pseudo-Denys, Sur les Noms divins et Théologie mystique. Plus précisément, Gaius désire savoir comment avoir pleinement accès à la connaissance de Dieu, comment parler adéquatement de Dieu tout en sachant que nos expériences humaines et notre langage sont limités, comment comprendre la venue de Messie en ce monde, sous quelle forme ? Toutes ces questions, bien que pertinentes, n’ont pas toujours des réponses toutes faites. L’ignorance est une lumière pour avoir accès à la connaissance de Dieu, car cette connaissance passe par l’affection du cœur qui unit l’homme à Dieu dans l’amour. En Jésus Christ, Dieu et homme à la fois, l’amour divin a été révélé à tous les hommes, tous ont accès à Dieu par la foi en Jésus, le Messie.

(1468-1546), hypothèse affirmée également au début du XXe siècle par J. Stiglmayr, vivement contesté par A. Nygren, Eros et agape. La notion chrétienne de l’amour et ses transformations; d’autres encore, M. Van Esboreck, veulent identifier (Pseudo)Denys avec Pierre l’Ibère, « Peter the Iberian and Dionysius the Areopagite: Honigmann’s thesis revisited », Orientalia Christiana Periodica, 59 (1993), pp. 217-227; enfin, G. Dragulin, identifie Denys l’Aréopagite avec Denys le Petit, en latin Dinysius Exiguus (470-555), Sfântul Dionisie Smeritul şi Areopagitul – părintele erei creştine († 555), Editura Proxima, 2008, grand intellectuel et traducteur des œuvres majeures du grec en latin et l’initiateur d’un nouveau calendrier, mais cette hypothèse aussi est une des plus critiquée par les chercheurs contemporains.


Quelques reflexions autour des Epitres de Pseudo-Denys l’Areopagite 65 L’objet de la cinquième épître doit être une réponse qu’un ministre de l’Eglise, Dorothée, pose à Pseudo-Denys : comment arriver à la connaissance de Dieu en usant de l’intellect humain, tout en sachant que Dieu transcende toute idée et toute connaissance ? Ici encore, l’auteur renvoie son destinataire à l’expérience d’amour qu’il peut faire avec Dieu, car il ne peut jamais être connu pleinement, il est au-delà de tout concept et de toute idée, il est la cause de toutes choses et tout subsiste en lui. La sixième épître, destinée au prêtre Sopratos, est un exposé des critères qui sont à la base de l’œuvre pseudo-dionysiaque. Lorsque le prêtre raconte dans une lettre comment il a voulu opposer violence dans une discussion avec d’autres qui ne partageaient pas les mêmes convictions religieuses que lui, l’auteur lui conseille plutôt de devenir apôtre de la vérité contre laquelle toute autre chose, en se frappant, se détruit. C’est pourquoi, le chrétien est un apologète de la Vérité, celle qui nous a été révélée dans la personne de Jésus Christ. Dans la septième épître, l’auteur expose à l’évêque Polycarpe, disciple de l’apôtre Jean4, la vérité chrétienne contre la vérité du philosophe sophiste Apollophan, qui accuse les chrétiens d’utiliser des arguments philosophiques pour défendre la foi de l’Eglise. Pour le philosophe païen, les miracles dont parle l’Ecriture ne peuvent pas être mis sous le compte d’un pouvoir divin, mais ils peuvent être explicables en faisant appel aux sciences. Ici encore, Pseudo-Denys ne désire pas favoriser les discussions polémiques antichrétiennes. Le défenseur du christianisme n’a qu’une Vérité à proposer, le Christ même : „Je suis le Chemin, la Vie et la Vérité” (Jn 14, 6). Ce que les païens appellent philosophie, saint Paul appelle la Sagesse de Dieu. C’est pourquoi, si les païens étaient plus honnêtes, ils devraient remonter par leurs réflexions jusqu’à la Cause de tous les êtres et leurs connaissances, Dieu. Tout philosophe qui se respecte ne peut faire autrement. Si Apollophan avait un peu plus de sagesse, il reconnaîtrait 4

Irénée de Lyon, Adversus haeresis III, 3, 4, Sources chrétiennes no 211, p. 41.


66 Lucian Dîncă bien le monde créé et contemplerait la création du soleil, de la lune, des étoiles, de l’ordre de l’univers et il ne lui resterait que d’accepter l’existence de la puissance de Dieu qui produit des miracles sans cesse dans sa création. Devant une telle évidence, Apollophan doit constater son erreur, car il n’est pas en mesure de voir la réalité de ses yeux. Pour être encore plus convaincant, l’auteur rappelle au philosophe sophiste l’éclipse du soleil qui a eu lieu durant la crucifixion : „qu’en dis-tu de l’éclipse qui a eu lieu durant la crucifixion salvatrice pour nous ?” (cfr. Lc 23, 43-45). Ce même jour, au dires de l’auteur, Apollophan et Pseudo-Denys se trouvaient ensemble près d’une petite ville, Hieliopolis, et ils se sont étonnés de voir un tel évènement inhabituel, qui a duré trois heures et qui n’était pas prévu selon les calcules des astrologues. Dans une telle circonstance et plein d’étonnement, Apollophan aurait exclamé : „Mons cher Denys, celui-ci est un changement dû à la puissance de Dieu”. Après toutes ces explications, il revient maintenant à Polycarpe de montrer de la pédagogie pour bien présenter les vérités de la foi chrétienne, afin de persuader, non pas par des longues discussions polémiques, mais plutôt par l’exposé de la Vérité chrétienne qui s’impose d’elle même devant des faits aussi prodigieux. Ainsi, grâce à l’intelligence philosophique et à la présentation du Christ comme étant la Vérité de Dieu pour notre monde, Apollophan n’a qu’à être conduit sur des voies sûres vers Dieu. Une seule condition est toutefois nécessaire : il doit accepter l’humilité qui lui permettra d’ouvrir les yeux afin d’avoir accès à la connaissance de la Vérité. La huitième épître est un vrai petit traité de douceur et d’humilité. C’est l’épître la plus consistante. L’auteur profite du fait qu’il a reçu plusieurs lettre d’un moine, Demophile, qui lui raconte avec une certaine fierté comment il a réagit lorsqu’il a vu un prêtre qui faisait preuve de bonté et de miséricorde envers un pécheur repenti, qui s’est jeté à ses pieds pour recevoir le pardon de Dieu. Demophile raconte avoir été profondément scandalisé par un tel comportement et pour que le prêtre n’aille pas prendre le saint sacrement et le donner


Quelques reflexions autour des Epitres de Pseudo-Denys l’Areopagite 67 au pécheur converti, il a couru très vite à l’église d’où il a soustrait les saintes espèces. En racontant cela, le moine croyait faire preuve de zèle envers le Seigneur qui avait dit dans l’Evangile : „Ne donnez pas les choses saintes aux chiens” (Mt 7, 6). Au lieu de recevoir des louanges pour un tel geste, Demophile reçoit des très durs reproches et l’auteur lui montre qu’une vertu essentielle dans le christianisme, c’est bien la miséricorde, la bonté, la douceur. Par son geste, le moine commet une double faute : premièrement il n’a pas respecté l’ordre hiérarchique, il s’est opposé à un prêtre, et deuxièmement il n’a pas manifesté miséricorde envers le pécheur repenti. L’autorité que le moine s’autoproclame est illégitime et non conforme au désir de Dieu, qui a laissé un certain ordre dans l’univers et dans l’Eglise5. Dans ce cas bien précis, seulement l’évêque aurait pu faire des reproches au prêtre. Egalement, le fait que Demophile ait extrait le saint sacrement de l’autel est une chose très grave, car un moine n’a pas reçu le ministère ordonné pour pouvoir célébrer l’Eucharistie. La place du moine est parmi les fidèles, à la porte de l’église pour surveiller les entrants et les sortants. Sa mission est celle de témoigner de la miséricorde et de la bonté divine envers les hommes, selon l’exemple du Christ et des apôtres. Le moine cherche à justifier son comportement en faisant appel à deux exemples des Ecritures. Le premier, c’est le prêtre Finéas, qui, mené par le zèle pour la loi mosaïque, tue un juif pris en adultère avec une femme païenne Madianite, un zèle approuvé par Dieu. Le second exemple est celui du prophète Elie, qui a passé par l’épée les prophètes du dieu Baal, en montrant ainsi la victoire du vrai Dieu du peuple d’Israël contre les faux dieux inventés par les hommes. Même pas ces deux exemples, louables en soi, ne donnent pas raison à C’est le thème des deux ouvrages majeurs de Pseudo-Denys, à savoir Sur la hiérarchie céleste et Sur la hiérarchie ecclésiastique. Comme dans la hiérarchie céleste il y a plusieurs degrés en trois classes: séraphins-chérubins-trônes; dominations-vertus-puissances; principautés-archanges-anges, de même, dans l’Eglise, Dieu a établi une hiérarchie en deux classes: évêque-prêtre-diacre et moines-chrétiens baptises-catéchumènes. Voir René Roques, L'Univers dionysien : structure hiérarchique du monde selon le Pseudo-Denys, Paris, Aubier, 1954. 5


68 Lucian Dîncă Demophile pour agir de la sorte envers le prêtre qui acceptait dans l’Eglise l’homme pénitent. Pseudo-Denys renvoie le moine à des exemples bibliques, très nombreux, des personnes qui ont fait preuve de la miséricorde et de bonté : Abel, Moise, David, Job, etc. Mais, c’est surtout le Christ lui même un exemple à imiter en ce sens. Il s’est présenté devant le peuple commet étant „doux et humble de cœur” (Mt 11, 29). Jésus s’est fait homme pour les pécheurs, pour eux il a donné sa vie, il est venu guérir et sauver ceux qui étaient perdus et ainsi sortir l’homme des mains de la mort éternelle. Les apôtres, à leur tour, surtout saint Paul, sont des vrais exemples à imiter, car eux n’ont fait qu’imiter Jésus Christ, le Maitre céleste, et ils ont prêché partout l’Evangile de la bonté, de la miséricorde, du pardon des péchés et du salut. Afin de convaincre son destinataire que la bonté et la miséricorde sont des vertus chrétiennes à vivre, l’auteur utilise tout l’arsenal rhétorique dont il dispose : il développe l’idée de la douceur en faisant appel à une cascade d’exemples bibliques. Ensuite, il expose une possible réaction de son destinataire. Pour finir, il présente avec beaucoup d’art et de conviction le respect pour la hiérarchie ecclésiastique, une hiérarchie voulue par Dieu. En conclusion Pseudo-Denys présente l’histoire de Carpe, un disciple de saint Paul. Celui-ci raconte avoir eu une vision. L’acteur principal était Carpe lui-même, extrêmement fâché parce qu’un néophyte a apostasié sa foi peu de jours après son baptême, étant influencé par un non-croyant. Comme il était fâché, il s’était endormi et pendant le sommeil il a eu sa vision. Durant la vision il blasphémait l’apostat et même il désirait sa mort et la mort de celui qui l’a corrompu. A ce moment-là Jésus, entouré de la court céleste, lui apparaît. La Sauveur s’approche de ces deux hommes qui étaient prêts à tomber dans un grand abîme et il les sauve touts les deux. Il s’arrête devant Carpe et lui dit : „je suis prêt à souffrir encore une fois pour le salut des pécheurs”. Carpe comprend de cette vision que souhaitant la mort des pécheurs, en fait il se condamnait lui même. C’est pour cela, conclue Pseudo-Denys, si haut que nous soyons dans notre ascension spirituelle, nous ne pouvons


Quelques reflexions autour des Epitres de Pseudo-Denys l’Areopagite 69 jamais dire que nous n’avons plus besoin de la miséricorde et de la bonté de Dieu. La neuvième épître peut être lue comme une introduction ou un préambule à une œuvre plus vaste, mais qui est perdue, La Théologie symbolique. L’évêque Tite, disciple de saint Paul, pour une meilleure prédication, demande à Pseudo-Denys plus d’explications sur le langage utilisé par les Saintes Ecritures. Parfois ce langage este compliqué, voire scandaleux. Certaines expressions pour décrire Dieu, prises dans leur sens littéral, ne peuvent que scandaliser les tièdes dans la foi. L’auteur présente alors succinctement le langage symbolique utilisé dans les Ecritures. Un tel langage ne peut être compris si nous ne tenons pas compte de deux moyens par lesquels Dieu se révèle aux hommes, en fonction de leur avancement dans la foi : aux commençants il se révèle par le moyen des images matérielles, ce qu’on appelle la théologie symbolique, tandis qu’aux avancés Dieu se révèle par des mots plus explicits, claires, ce qu’on appelle la théologie claire – saphes theologia. Les expressions qui semblent plus scandaleuses sont à situer dans la catégorie de la théologie symbolique et ont comme but la révélation des perfections de Dieu, en faisant appel à des réalités à la portée de tous. Une telle méthode s’explique tenant compte des trois niveaux de la révélation divine : l’univers créé, l’Ancien Testament et le Nouveau Testament. La création nous révèle déjà des perfections de Dieu, mais le croyant est appelé pour aller plus loin dans la découverte des institutions voulues par Dieu afin de se révéler et nous communiquer sa propre vie. Dans l’Ancien et le Nouveau Testament cette réalité est omniprésente : dans l’Ancien Testament à un niveau primaire et dans le Nouveau Testament à un niveau parfait. Par exemple, dans l’Ancien Testament l’offrande de la vie était décrite par le sacrifice de l’agneau durant les célébrations pascales, tandis que dans le Nouveau Testament, la célébration du mystère pascal atteint son sommet par le sacrifice, une fois pour toutes, de l’Agneau Pascal, l’Agneau de Dieu qui enlève les péchés du monde. C’est pourquoi la célébration eucharistique remplace et


70 Lucian Dîncă dépasse à l’infini tous les sacrifices de l’Ancien Testament, celles-ci n’étant que des images, des symboles du vrai sacrifice par lequel Dieu le Père réconcilie l’humanité avec lui par le Christ Jésus. Pseudo-Denys continue l’explication des symboles des Ecritures afin de montrer à Tite les réalités supérieures exprimées par les symboles. Par exemple, lorsque l’Ecriture dit que la Sagesse a construit une maison dans laquelle il a préparé un baquet ou on mange du pain et on bois du vin, cela veut dire que le Dieu éternellement immuable, descend chez nous, prend un corps semblable au notre et nous invite au repas de sa Nouvelle Alliance pour nous donner son corps et son sang comme nourriture spirituelle en vue de la vie éternelle. Le vin qui coule est le symbole des biens spirituels que Dieu donne sans mesure pour le salut des âmes, et le pain est la nourriture solide qui donne la force et maintient vif le désir de l’éternité. Le calice est rond et ouvert, symbole de la providence divine ouverte pour tous, sans commencement ni fin. Les choses divines et les paroles sages sont comme l’eau, le lait, le vin, le miel. Ces éléments de la nature sont porteuses de vie, comme l’eau, contribuent à la croissance des enfants, comme le lait, recréent et réjouissent le cœur de l’homme, comme le vin, purifient et conservent, comme le miel. En procédant ainsi pour tous les textes difficiles des Ecritures nous pouvons clarifier les autres expressions qui peuvent scandaliser les débutants. La Bible nous révèle le Dieu bon, miséricordieux et qui aime l’homme. Pour ne pas prolonger inutilement cette lettre, Pseudo-Denys informe Tit qu’il a traité de tout cela plus abondamment dans une œuvre plus consistante, La Théologie symbolique. C’est pourquoi, avec la lettre il lui envoie aussi cette œuvre où il trouvera plus de détails sur le langage symbolique des Ecritures. L’ultime épître est adressée au „disciple que Jésus aimait”. Elle trahit toute l’affection et la sympathie que l’auteur a pour l’apôtre Jean, en exil sur l’Ille Patmos. C’st la seule épître que Pseudo-Denys envoie sans être une réponse à d’autres lettres. L’auteur exprime la familiarité qu’il a vécue dans la proximité avec l’apôtre Jean.


Quelques reflexions autour des Epitres de Pseudo-Denys l’Areopagite 71 Maintenant qu’il est en exil pour sa foi au Christ, Jean ne fait que témoigner davantage l’amour qui l’unit à son Maître. Ces persécutions ont été prophétisées par Jésus et ne peuvent en aucun cas faire du mal celui qui les accepte par amour pour le Christ. Le mal est plutôt la récompense des persécuteurs qui ne font, par les atrocités de leurs persécutions, que préparer leur vie malheureuse pour l’éternité. Le conseil de Pseudo-Denys est celui de prier pour les persécuteurs, selon l’exemple de Jésus, „Père, pardonne-leur, car ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils font” (Lc 23, 34), ou celui du proto-martyr Etienne : „Seigneur, ne leur compte pas ce péché”(Act 7, 59). Même en exil, la mission de Jean est celle d’être „soleil de l’Evangile” afin d’orienter les hommes vers le Christ. Pseudo-Denys vit de la nostalgie des souvenirs passés et des beaux enseignements prêchés par sain Jean lorsqu’il était au milieu de ses disciples. Mais l’auteur exprime, d’une façon prophétique, la conviction que prochainement le disciple de Jésus retournera au milieu des siens. Cette prophétie, qui était plutôt un souhait très chaleureux de Pseudo-Denys, ne s’est jamais réalisé, car „le disciple que Jésus aimait” finira ses jours en exil, loin de ses disciples. Les quatre premières épîtres ont comme destinataire le moine Gaius. La cinquième épitre est adressée au ministre Dorothée, la sixième au prêtre Sosipatros, la septième à l’évêque Polycarpe, la huitième au moine Demophile, la neuvième à l’évêque Tite et la dernière à l’apôtre et évangéliste Jean. Pourquoi un tel ordre ? Pour mieux comprendre il faut se référer au traité Sur la hiérarchie ecclésiastique, où l’auteur décrit la hiérarchie, instituée et voulue par Dieu, ainsi : les catéchumènes, les fidèles baptisés, les moines, les ministres, les prêtres, les évêques, les successeurs des apôtres et les apôtres6. L’ordre des épîtres pseudo-dionysiaques garde cette hiérarchie, partant du moine Gaius et finissant par l’apôtre saint Jean. 6 R.F. Hathaway, Hierarchy and the Definition of Order in the Letters of Pseudo-Dionysius. A Study in the Form and Meaning of the Pseudo-Dionysian Writings, The Hague, 1969 et C. Roques, L’Univers dionysien. Structure hiérarchique du monde selon Pseudo-Denys, Paris, Aubier, 1954.


72 Lucian Dîncă Il y a cependant la huitième épître, adressée au moine Demophile, intercalée entre celle adressée à Polycarpe, évêque de Smyrne, disciple de l’apôtre Jean, et celle adressée à Tite, évêque de Crète, disciple de saint Paul. L’hypothèse qu’on peut lancer serait celle de dire que cette lettre, où il apporte la correction à un moine qui se mêle des affaires qui ne le regardent pas, met l’accent sur la miséricorde et la bienveillance de Dieu envers les pécheurs. Ceux qui nous enseignent ces vertus sont les apôtres et ceux qui ont vécu plus proche d’eux, qui ont joui de leur prédication et qui ont présenté Jésus comme modèle de miséricorde. C’est pourquoi, ceux qui peuvent corriger le zèle démesuré d’un moine ne peuvent être que ces deux disciples des apôtres, Polycarpe et Tite. 3. ELEMENTS THEOLOGIQUES7 DES EPITRES PSEUDO-DIONYSIENS Un premier élément qu’on peut soulever est son enseignement sur la Sainte Trinité. Dieu se révèle dans la création, dans l’Ancien et dans le Nouveau Testament. Ce Dieu est le créateur de toutes choses, il a créé l’univers visible et invisible, les êtres intelligibles et les êtres sensibles. Les êtres intelligibles et les êtres sensibles ont accès à la connaissance de Dieu à des degrés différents : les êtres sensibles jouissent de la présence de Dieu dans le monde spirituel, tandis que les êtres sensibles peuvent expérimenter Dieu par la charité. Des épitres pseudo-dionysiaques ne ressort pas explicitement l’unicité de Dieu en trois personnes. Nous rencontrons plusieurs fois le nom de Jésus Christ, seconde personne de la Trinité, sans faire mention de l’économie du salut réalisée par l’incarnation, la vie, la mort, la résurrection et l’ascension à la droite du Père. Egalement, l’Esprit Saint est nommé, mais seulement en passant, sans nous donner trop E. Bellini, «La teologia del corpo areopagitico: istanze, procedimenti, risultati», dans Teologia, no 5 (1980), p. 107-138 ; Ch.A. Bernard, «Le formes de la théologie chez Denys l’Aréopagite», dans Gregorianum, no 58 (1978), p. 39-69.

7


Quelques reflexions autour des Epitres de Pseudo-Denys l’Areopagite 73 de détails théologiques sur sa personne, sa mission de sanctification et son rôle joué dans le mystère de l’économie du salut8. Cependant, il ressort clairement des épîtres pseudo-dionysiaques les trois noms distincts, Père, Fils et Saint Esprit. Le Père est distinct du Fils par le fait que lui seul est non engendré et source de la divinité, il est „la divinité qui produit Dieu”. Le Fils est seulement Fils, il se distingue du Père par le fait qu’il est unique engendré, il est „la divinité de la filiation”. L’Esprit Saint a sa source, avec la Fils, en Dieu le Père. Par conséquent, les trois personnes divines sont uniques et distinctes par rapport à leur origine. Elles sont unies entre elles par la substance divine qui leur est commune, mais indubitables quant à leur identité propre9. Pseudo-Denys n’utilise pas le terme „personne”, devenu incontournable, à partir du III s., en théologie trinitaire. Déjà cette précision dans la doctrine trinitaire nous conduit, sans conteste, à admettre un auteur beaucoup plus tardif du corpus pseudo-dionysiaque que Denis l’Aréopagite, le converti de saint Paul suite à la prédication d’Athènes. Quant au mystère de l’incarnation, Pseudo-Denys le voit comme une distinction dans la distinction, c’est-à-dire, les êtres existent seulement grâce à leur participation à l’être divin par excellence, le Fils, le Logos de Dieu fait chair10, la multiplicité des êtres ayant leur origine en Dieu. Ainsi, le corpus épistolaire développe l’idée paulinienne : „le Christ Jésus, lui qui était dans la condition de Dieu, n’a pas tenu bon de revendiquer son droit d’être traité à l’égal de Dieu, mais au contraire, il se dépouilla lui-même en prenant la condition de serviteur. Devenu semblable

Voir plus de détails P. Scazzoso, «La teologia antinomica dello pseudo-Dionigi», dans Aevum, no 49 (1975), p. 1-35. 9 V. Lossky, «Les notions des ‘analogies’ chez Denys l’Aréopagite», dans Archives d'Histoire Doctrinale et Littéraire du Moyen Âge, no 5 (1930), p. 270-309. 10 Voir plus de détails J. Meyendorff, Le Christ dans la tradition byzantine, coll. « Bibliothèque œcuménique» no 2, Paris 1969, p. 121-147. 8


74 Lucian Dîncă aux hommes et reconnu comme un homme à son comportement” (Phil 2, 6-7).

L’incarnation du Logos se réfère explicitement au Fils, mais le Père et l’Esprit Saint participent à la réalisation de ce projet salvifique par une décision commune : „L’Esprit Saint viendra sur toi, et la puissance du Très-Haut te prendra sous son ombre ; c’est pourquoi celui qui va naître sera saint, il sera appelé Fils de Dieu” (Lc. 1, 35).

Parmi les personnes divines seulement le Fils devient homme par l’incarnation. Cependant, le mystère de l’incarnation ne compromet pas l’immuabilité divine, ni l’impeccabilité de Jésus en qui l’humanité et la divinité son indubitables. La divinité reste cachée aux hommes, tandis que son humanité fait partie des êtres créés et est visible aux hommes. Le langage symbolique de la Bible avait comme rôle principal de préparer l’humanité pour accueillir l’Emmanuel, „le Dieu-avec-nous”11. Dans la correspondance épistolaire de Pseudo-Denys le mystère de la Trinité et de l’Incarnation sont présentés succinct et avec déficiences de vocabulaire12. Une telle présentation, si nous tenons compte du contexte théologique du début du VIe s. quand ont été écrites ces lettres, lorsque ces dogmes étaient en pleine phase d’élaboration et de cristallisation, nous sommes conduits à souligner quelques observations : il manque absolument le terme nicéen clé, l’homoousion, qui décrivait à Nicée, contre l’hérésie d’Arius, la consubstantialité du Fils au Père et la naissance de celui-ci de la substance du Père; également, nous ne rencontrons pas la terminologie spécifique des Ve-VIe s. pour définir la différence entre W. Elert, Der Ausgang der altchristlichen Christologie, Berlin, 1957. J.W. Douglas, «The Negative Theology of Dionysius the Areopagite», dans Downside Review, no 81 (1963), p. 115-124). 11

12


Quelques reflexions autour des Epitres de Pseudo-Denys l’Areopagite 75 les personnes divines et souligner l’indubitable spécificité de chacune d’entre elles, „paternité-filiation-sainteté”, et „inengendré-engendré-spiré”13 ; l’auteur n’utilise pas les termes déjà consacrés pour définir l’union entre les deux natures, divine et humaine, dans l’unique personne du Christ, termes débattus et canonisés aux conciles d’Ephese et de Chalcedoine ; nous ne rencontrons aucune référence ou allusion à la consubstantialité du Fils avec l’homme, comme la terminologie christologique de saint Athanase le Grand nous avait habitué ; Pseudo-Denys ne dit rien de l’action théandrique de Jésus Christ14, mais il se contente tout simplement d’affirmer la pleine humanité et la pleine divinité du Christ ; il souligne la façon miraculeuse de la naissance virginale du Christ de la Vierge Marie, sans utiliser cependant le terme consacré à Ephèse, Théotokos, Mère-de-Dieu. Toutes ces manques peuvent être expliquées par le fait que l’auteur parle dans un milieu grec. Il entend parler du Dieu des chrétiens et de Jésus Christ, sans trahir la foi de l’Eglise et en utilisant une terminologie et des concepts philosophiques pour attirer au christianisme ceux qui comprennent ce langage et cette terminologie. Un dernier élément théologique qui mérite d’être souligné à la lecture du corpus épistolaire de Pseudo-Denys est le fait qu’il présente une théologie d’en haut, c’est-à-dire, tout d’abord il expose la vie intime de Dieu et les relations intra-trinitaires, ensuite il parle des noms divins pour définir son œuvre créatrice et providentielle, et, enfin, il présente le monde créé, sensible, par les interventions décrites dans l’Ancien Testament, qui culminent avec la révélation du mystère de l’Incarnation du Logos de Dieu dans le Nouveau Testament15. Autrement dit, en partant de la réalité communielle intra-divine, S. Lilla, «Terminologia trinitaria nello Pseudo-Dionigi l’Areopagita. Suoi antecedenti e sua influenza sigli autori successivi», dans Augustinianum, no 13 (1973), p. 609-623. 14 E. Bellini, «Teologia e teurgia in Dionigi Areopagita», dans Vetera Christianorum, no 17 (1980), p. 199-216. 15 C. Riggi, «Il creazionismo e il suo simbolo nello Pseudo-Dionigi (DN IV, 8-9; IX, 9) », dans Salesianum, no 29 (1967), p. 300-325. 13


76 Lucian Dîncă Pseudo-Denys descend sur la terre, en passant par l’acte créateur des êtres invisibles et visibles, intelligibles et sensibles, afin de présenter un Dieu solidaire et amoureux de l’homme qui veut le conduire à la pleine communion avec lui, à partager à jamais sa divinité, à le diviniser. CONCLUSIONS Dans la conclusion il nous reste seulement à souligner l’importance de ce corpus épistolaire pseudo-dionysien. Premièrement, grâce aux questions que les destinataires des épîtres adressent à Pseudo-Denys, nous comprenons mieux certains aspects, plus difficiles, des autres œuvres majeures : Sur les noms divins, la Théologie mystique, Sur la hiérarchie céleste, Sur la hiérarchie ecclésiastique et même la Théologie symbolique, une œuvre perdue. La théologie symbolique présentée dans la neuvième épître ne peut pas être séparée de la théologie négative et de la théologie positive présentes dans les autres traités pseudo-dionysiens. Les lettres sont composées en suivant un ordre hiérarchique, cette hiérarchie est décrite en détail dans Sur la hiérarchie céleste et Sur la hiérarchie ecclésiastique. Dieu a voulu imprimer à l’Eglise une hiérarchie qui respecte la hiérarchie céleste afin que l’Eglise soit perçue comme signe avant-coureur du Royaume de Dieu. Enfin, l’étude des épitres pseudo-dionysiaques nous permet de mieux comprendre certains aspects théologiques, pastoraux, dogmatiques et disciplinaires de l’enseignent de l’Eglise primitive.


Quelques reflexions autour des Epitres de Pseudo-Denys l’Areopagite 77

TIME IN THE WORKS OF ST. SIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

Isabela Stoian

O

ne of the greatest losses in a person’s life is the loss of time. It is very simple to say why – time is transitory and irretrievable. Once you lost it, you cannot take it back. But this is not the only aspect of the problem. Actually, time passes not just because one can measure it (having in view, for instance, the succession day-night), but especially because time is limited – for the living creatures – by what is generically called „death”. In its desire to overcome this limit, humankind had imagined something which has no temporal ending and named it „eternity”. However, eternity is as abstract as it could be, because nobody can touch it. That is why humans started to call „eternal” things that seem to last for a longer period of time and, thus, eternity became quite relative. Moreover, there remains a question: eternity has no end, but does it have a beginning? St. Dionysius the Areopagite did not write so many things about time, but the few things that can be found in his writings answer some key-questions regarding the problems mentioned above, such as the nature of time, the way in which time is perceived, the relativity of „eternal things” and what eternity actually is. Though, the most


78 Isabela Stoian interesting thing about which St. Dionysius speaks is the relation between God and time, relation from which one could find the way from temporality to eternity. And wouldn’t that solve one of the greatest problems that humankind faces? My answer tends to be „yes”. Time, physically speaking When we read what St. Dionysius says about how time is perceived, better said, about how time is measured, we unavoidably think about the ancient Greek philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, who thought that time implies motion and that cosmic motion is cyclical1. On this view, Dionysius asserts: „[…] the periodical return of the two luminaries, which the Oracles call „great”, from the same to the same quarter, after which our days and nights being marked, and months and years being measured, mark and number and arrange and comprehend the circular movements of time and things temporal. (Divine Names IV, 4)”2.

The idea that the succession of the Sun and the Moon („the two luminaries”) marks the days and the night, which form the moths and the year, is not at all new. In the same way, the return – over and over again – of the Sun and the Moon made people consider time cyclical and speak about its „movements”. Yet there are other aspects which I would underline for the moment: “the circular movements of time and things temporal” (τὰς τοῦ χρόνου καὶ τῶν ἐν χρόνῳ κυκλικὰς

For Plato (Timaeus, 37d-39d) time is celestial motion, while for Aristotle time is something more abstract, it is rather number – „time is the number of motion in respect of before and after” (Physics 219 b2). 2 In this study we used John Parker’s translation (v. The Works of Dionysius the Areopagite. London and Oxford: James Parker and Co, 1897) digitized by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2004. URL: <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/ files/areopagite_03_divine_names.htm>. 1


Time in the works of St. Dionysius the Areopagite 79 κινήσεις3). A more literal translation would be „the circular movements of time and of the things [that are] in time”. In other words, we could talk about things which are „in time” and things which are „above” or „outside time”. From this point of view time appears to be some sort of container in which different sorts of realities could be placed4. But how does this container look like? St. Dionysius compares the goodness of God and His power to the „wholly bright and ever luminous” Sun. Its light (which is a symbol of the divine light) „is both measure (μέτρον) and number (ἀριθμὸς) of hours (ὡρῶν), days (ἡμερῶν), and all our time (καὶ παντὸς τοῦ καθ’ ἡμᾶς χρόνου)” (Divine Names IV, 4).

The light of the Sun is, therefore, the „instrument” that measures the physical time, as it marks the beginning of the day5. Light is also „the measure” and „the number” of „our time”. Of course, most probably the discussion is about the time that has as a principal reference the period marked by daylight, the period in which humans normally develop their activities and which is considered to be the most important part of their lives. Actually, from this point of view, time seems to be just a convention, a name given to what seems to divide man’s life into definite periods or, better said, the name given to the succession of those periods.

The Greek text follows the MPG and it was taken from www.documentaca tholicaomnia.eu. 4 As it was the conception of Plato. According to the view named “Platonism with Respect to Time”, time is “like an empty container into which things and events may be places; but it is a container that exists independently of what (if anything) is placed in it” (Ned Markosian, „Time”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL: <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/ spr2014/entries/time/>). 5 As St. Maximus the Confessor explains; v. Sf. Dionisie Areopagitul, Opere complete. Trans. Dumitru Stăniloae. București: Paideia, 1996, p. 191. 3


80 Isabela Stoian Four chapters later St. Dionysius explains how the „unfailing” Power (of God) „makes the period of time (αἰών) possible to be; and disperses the revolutions of time (τὰς τοῦ χρόνου περιελίξεις) by their progressions (ταῖς προόδοις), and collects them together by their returns (συνάγει δὲ ταῖς ἀποκαταστάσεσι)” (Divine Names VIII, 5).

A first distinction between αἰών and χρόνος is revealed from this passage: eternity is linear while time is cyclical. If not so, then why does St. Dionysius speak only about περιελίξεις (revolutions) τοῦ χρόνου and not about περιελίξεις τοῦ αἰῶνος? Time is perceived from (what was thought to be) the continuous revolution of the two luminaries, while eternity is not measured or marked by something, as it is (supposed to be) endless. So nothing has to move in order to render eternity visible. It is above motion. Actually, we could say that eternity is either the endless motion that configures time or the total absence of that motion. But this is not the only difference between time and eternity. There is something more, above physics. Time, eternity and God To begin with, I would mention the definition that St. Dionysius gives to time, χρόνος, according to the Scripture: „They call time that concerned in generation (ἐν γενέσει) and decay (φθορᾷ) and change (ἀλλοιώσει), and sometimes the one, and sometimes the other” (Divine Names X, 3).

Therefore time is not only measurable and cyclical, but it is also something generated, perishable, prone to changes and to subjectivity.


Time in the works of St. Dionysius the Areopagite 81 On the other hand, the indefinite period of time or eternity6, αἰών, is „the whole duration of our time”, is „imperishable (ἄφθαρτον) and ever the same”, and has as characteristics „the ancient (τὸ ἀρχαῖον) and unchangeable (ἀναλλοίωτον), and the measurement of existence throughout” (Divine Names X, 3). So time passes (in different „quantities” for each of us, being also perceived differently), while eternity comprises all the sequences of time into one endless whole. We understand that it has no end, but does it have a beginning? The origin of eternity and time is the „striking innovation” brought by St. Dionysius’ works: they are seen as „divine processions”7. According to Dionysius, time and eternity have the same source, which is God: „And every age (αἰὼν) and time (χρόνος) is from Him. And of every age and time, and of everything, howsoever existing, the Pre-existing (ὁ προὼν) is Source (ἀρχὴ) and Cause (αἰτία)” (Divine Names V, 5).

The apparent contradiction created by the theory mentioned before (according to which time is determined by the motion of the two luminaries) is vanished if we think that God is the One Who created the Sun and the Moon too, which are moved by His Power in order to determine the measure of time. Both time and eternity are generated by God, start from Him, and exist because of Him and in Him. None of them would have been possible without God. Divinity is not only the cause and source of time and eternity:

V. G. W. H Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961. David Bradshaw, A Christian Approach to the Philosophy of Time, p. 7, URL: <http://www.uky.edu/~dbradsh/papers/Christian%20Approach%20to%20Phil%20 of%20Time.pdf>. However, we would say that the innovation is not so “striking”, as we can find the idea of time created by a divine power (the Demiurge) at Plato too (v. Timaeus 37d).

6 7


82 Isabela Stoian „He is both age and beginning, and measure of being; being essentiating Source, and Middle and End, of pre-essence, and being and age and all things” (Divine Names V, 8).

God surpasses time since He is a continuous is, without beginning, without ending, but the beginning, the present and the ending of all things, including time and eternity. That is why He was called „Pre-existing” in the above mentioned passage. This clearly implies the fact that God is before time and before eternity; more precisely, He is „the Age of ages, the Existing before the ages (ὁ αἰὼν τῶν αἰώνων, «ὁ ὑπάρχων πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων»)” (Divine Names V, 4). The genitival structure ὁ αἰὼν τῶν αἰώνων implies the idea of superlative – God is the „supreme eternity”, surpassing eternity: „He towers above time and eternity, and all things eternal and temporal. Wherefore also, He is Eternity itself” (Divine Names V, 10).

God is mere eternity because He is eternal not only prospectively but also retrospectively. The substance of eternity comes from Him, and He gives time a sense and a direction. If we were to represent this in an image, we would have a circle that revolves along an endless line – the circle would be time and the line would be eternity. God would be the infinite number of points which form the line and the circle; and more than that8. Actually, the Areopagite says that God is neither

God created both time and eternity, makes them possible and sustains them. That is why He is called time and eternity, because without Him nothing would be: „But Almighty God we ought to celebrate, both as eternity and time, as Author of every time and eternity, and «Ancient of days», as before time, and above time; and as changing appointed seasons and times; and again as being before ages, in so far as He is both before eternity and above eternity and His kingdom, a kingdom of all the Ages” (Divine Names X, 3). 8


Time in the works of St. Dionysius the Areopagite 83 „essence (οὐσία) nor eternity (αἰὼν), nor time (χρόνος)” (Mystic Theology V). This sort of simultaneous affirmation and denial is typical of Dionysius’ apophatic speech that sets the reader “away from the attempt simply to describe God, and toward the attempt to render Him fitting praise”9.

Of course, God is not time nor eternity. We associate them with Him because we think they are endless and because He is their source and cause. This tension created by the alternation of cataphatic and apophatic language is meant to underline the presence and participation of God at time and eternity and to emphasize, in the same time, the almightiness of the One Who surpasses everything that we humanly consider absolute. The relativeness of eternity St. Dionysius points out a very interesting aspect regarding the appellative „eternal” that is used in the Scripture to describe endless things. He notices that, in fact, what seems to be eternal is not eternal by substance, but by participation: „But sometimes eternity is celebrated in the Oracles, even as temporal, and time as eternal. But if we know them better and more accurately, things spiritual are spoken of and denoted by Eternity, and things subject to generation by time. It is necessary then to suppose that things called eternal are not absolutely co-eternal with God, Who is before Eternity, but that following unswervingly the most august Oracles, we should understand things eternal and temporal according to the hopes recognized by them, hut whatever participates partly in eternity and partly in time, as things midway between things spiritual and things being born” (Divine Names X, 3) .

Therefore, temporal things are those placed „in time” or, better said, time gets the features from the generated and perishable realities 9

David Bradshaw, loc. cit.


84 Isabela Stoian that it contains. There10 are also things that are called eternal, and we might as well distinguish three categories: 1) the things that last for a long period of time and which, for this reason, are called eternal even if they are not; 2) the things that seem to be eternal by participation to God, but have a beginning and are not eternal in se; 3) the One truly eternal, God, Who does not have a beginning, nor an ending and is eternal in se. So eternity gets quite relative. Not only „eternal” gets to be a synonym for „long-lasting” realities, but also the things that (as far as we know) do not have an end are not absolute eternal. They participate to eternity inasmuch they participate to God. St. Dionysius speaks about something that participates partly in eternity, partly in time. From this point of view, there seems to be some sort of a bridge between „temporal” and „eternal”, called „everlasting”. Paul Rorem puts the three terms into a triad: „Sometimes the scriptures call eternal those things which exist in time, but seem everlasting. They occupy the middle ground between what is temporary and what is truly eternal and thus transcends time. This mean term between the two extremes creates a triad (eternal, everlasting, and temporal) that was well known to Neoplatonic authors”11.

However, the situation is more complex, if more attentively analyzed the Dionysian text. I would say that there could be distinguished the following categories: „non-existing”, „temporal” (between generation and death / end), „long-lasting” (a prolonged temporality), „everlasting” (eternal by participation12), and „eternal”. God is everywhere and above everything. He has both the „non-existing” – as He is before existence and the cause of all existence V. Divine Names X. Paul Rorem, Pseudo-Dionysius. A Commentary on the Texts and an Introduction to Their Influence. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 160. 12 I would say that the realities called “eternal”, which are, according to St. Dionysius, eternal by participation to God (Who is eternal and above eternity), are actually “everlasting”. From this point of view, the only eternal is God. 10 11


Time in the works of St. Dionysius the Areopagite 85 – and the truly „eternal” – as He has no beginning, nor ending. As the „everlasting” or so-called „eternal” things or beings are concerned, St. Dionysius outlines the most important aspect: they „are not absolutely co-eternal with God (οὐχ ἁπλῶς συναΐδια θεῷ), Who is before Eternity (τῷ πρὸ αἰῶνος)”.

It means that they could be immortal, endless, but they are not before eternity as God is. They are eternal only prospectively, „by will of God”13, not retrospectively, because they have been created. St. Dionysius attentively explains the use of the adjective „eternal” for the incorporeal powers and, in this way, he „securely transfers the haughty ideas of the Greek philosophers to piety”14. However, St. Dionysius states that the Scripture does not only celebrate time as eternal, but also eternity as temporal. This might be the case of the appellation „Ancient of days” given to God: „Almighty God is celebrated as “Ancient of days” because He is of all things both Age and Time, and before Days, and before Age and Time. And yet we must affirm that He is Time and Day, and appointed Time, and Age, in a sense befitting God, as being throughout every movement unchangeable and unmoved, and in His ever moving remaining in Himself, and as being Author of Age and Time and Days”(Divine Names X, 2).

About God, Who is eternity15 and above eternity, the Scripture speaks by referring to „days” (ἡμέραι). St. Dionysius explains the

Paul Rorem, John C. Lamoreaux, John of Scythopolis and the Dionysian Corpus. Annotating the Areopagite. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998, p. 238. 14 Ibid. – “[…] he says that the incorporeal powers created by God are being and eternal, but certainly not coeternal with God, as the Greeks say in their silliness, when they assert «at the same time God, at the same time all»„. 13


86 Isabela Stoian expression „Ancient of days” by semantic inversion: it is not that days are the measure of God, but God is the measure and author of days and of time. In this way, the expression gets a pure metaphorical use. God is associated with temporality only by means of generation and presence – He generates time and eternity, He is present in time and eternity, He determines all the movements, but He remains „unchangeable and unmoved” (ἀμετάβλητον καὶ ἀκίνητον). As Alexander Golitzin sagaciously observes, there is no mention in the Dionysian writings of a „time when creation was not”, because time and eternity are „measures of created being”16. God cannot be measured in time or in eternity because He is not created. The way to eternity, as a conclusion Time is priceless because it makes possible the manifestation of our lives and it puts us in relation to God. It is a gift that He gives us in order to taste eternity and to long for it. Man is generated in time but gets the chance to access eternity, where the incorporeal beings already are, and where man too can attain Divinity, by participation. Actually, the way in which man uses his time and the purpose of this use would be the key to reach God (even from temporality). St. Dionysius praises Hierotheus to have „excelled the majority of sacred teachers, both by use of time and purity of mind [...]” (Divine Names III, 3). So time is perishable since those who are in time are like that. But time is part of eternity and humans have the chance to overcome temporality by attaining the One Who makes both time and eternity possible. The advancement from „non-existing” to „temporal” until „everlasting” and „eternal” is made by God’s will and by our will to St. Maximus the Confessor speaks about the etymology of αἰών, which would be ἀεὶ ὤν – “forever being” – that could characterize God (Sf. Dionisie Areopagitul, op. cit., p. 187). 16 Alexander Golitzin, Mystagogy. A Monastic Reading of Dionysius Areopagita. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2013, p. 110. 15


Time in the works of St. Dionysius the Areopagite 87 participate to Divinity. God is the One That brought and brings everything from non-existence to time, as well as from time to eternity. Having in view the relation between time, eternity and God, one could easily understand that the way to eternity is the way to attaining God. That is why, for humans, time is given, but eternity is gained.

Selective bibliography AREOPAGITA, Dionysius: De divinis nominibus www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu AREOPAGITA, Dionysius: De mystica theologia www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu AREOPAGITUL, Sf. Dionisie: Opere complete. Trans. Dumitru Stăniloae, Bucureşti: Paideia, 1996 BRADSHAW, David: A Christian Approach to the Philosophy of Time. URL: http://www.uky.edu/~dbradsh/papers/Christian%20Approach%20to% 20Phil%20of%20Time.pdf GOLITZIN, Alexander: Mystagogy. A Monastic Reading of Dionysius Areopagita. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2013 LAMPE, G. W. H.: A Patristic Greek Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961 MARKOSIAN, Ned: „Time”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2014/entries/time/ PARKER, John: The Works of Dionysius the Areopagite. London and Oxford: James Parker and Co, 1897. Digitized by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2004. URL: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/areopagite_03_divi ne_names.htm ROREM, Paul: Pseudo-Dionysius. A Commentary on the Texts and an Introduction to Their Influence. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993 ROREM, Paul, LAMOREAUX, John C.: John of Scythopolis and the Dionysian Corpus. Annotating the Areopagite. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998


88 Petru MolodeĹŁ-Jitea

PLATONIC EROS AND CHRISTIAN EROS IN THE CORPUS AREOPAGITICUM. A COMMENTARY ON THE DE DIVINIS NOMINIBUS, CHAPTER IV: 12,13

Petru MolodeĹŁ-Jitea

O

ne single reading of the entire Corpus Areopagiticum would be enough to realize that within it we can find one grand synthesis: mainly of platonic and neo-platonic elements and of Christian ones. In what follows we chose one specific motif, namely that of Eros, to highlight this synthesis at its best. Due to their employment in the ancient Greek literature with reference to the sexual desire engendered by love, Eros and its cognate terms were carefully avoided in the New Testament and in the early Christian literature. By contrast, the motif of Eros abounded in the works of Plato, either explicitly or not, and through them in the neo-platonic philosophy that followed. We may even say that it was an integral part of the platonic philosophy, one without which even the Theory of Ideas could not be understood.


Platonic Eros and Christian Eros in the Corpus Areopagiticumâ&#x20AC;Ś 89 The significance of Eros in the work of Plato In Plato, Eros is the driving force, the most powerful stimulant of the human psyche. This is the reason why it is so intimately connected with the idea of education. Eros is the heart of the paideic process. Consequently, the reform of the city envisioned by Plato is basically a reform not only of the principles that informed the Greek paideia, but mainly of its driving force: the erotic power that stirs the human soul. By mythical means Plato undermines the mythical images that adorned Eros before him: with Plato, Eros is no longer a power that tyrannically gets hold of the human heart from outside (as in Sappho1, for example), but one that works from within it; and He is no longer a god but a daemon, an intermediate being that unites the lower world with the higher one, the mortal with the immortal2. He is the one driving force of the human kind to reach its completion in the divine. In itself, he is the yearning for the Beautiful and the Good by means of the beautiful and the good. And this is but one step in Platoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s endeavor to apprehend what the essence of Eros really is: it is not only the desire for the Beautiful and the Good, it is the desire to make them its own forever3; it is the desire to beget in the Beautiful and the Good4. Thus, Eros is the desire for immortality that works in the mortal being5. The task of the philosopher as a lover of wisdom is thus to educate this longing for immortality by way of a continuous paideic process that leads him from the images of the beauty bellow to the Beautiful in itself, which is the shining brilliance of the Good. The one risk that permanently hunts the un-philosophical type is to forget that Eros is a mediator and to concentrate all its desire on a single object as if it were the Beautiful or the Good in itself. It is what in a Christian terminology See Fragment 47. See Symposium, 202 e. 3 204 d, 206 a. 4 206 b. 5 207 a. 1

2


90 Petru Molodeţ-Jitea would be an idolatrous attitude. For Plato, this would be the earthly Eros that divides and deviates the human natural longing for the intelligible world to the objects of world-sense. To resume, in Plato’s view Eros is in itself desire, and thus incompletion. For, that which is in itself complete does not desire and, consequently, is not guided by the power of the erotic impulse. The God is beyond Eros but stirs it through its essential Beauty and its Goodness. The Eros motif in Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite This motif of Eros will be embraced over the centuries by Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, but significantly altered in this process. That Dionysius knew well enough Plato’s Symposium is shown by the employment he makes of it almost word by word when he discusses the divine name of the Beautiful6. In the list of the divine names, Eros follows that of the Beautiful and of the Good. And this succession is not without significance. For, as we shall see, the three names are so much interconnected that one cannot speak of Eros without reference to the other two. The subsection 10, Chapter IV, which ends the treatment of the divine name of the Beautiful is also a preparation for the discussion of Eros in subsections 12 and 13. And it ends with a remarkable description of the divine Love: „The divine Eros is a good yearning on account of the Good and for the Good. For the Eros itself that works the good of the beings, bounteously pre-existing in the Good, did not allow Him to remain unfruitful in Himself but moved Him to work according to His abundant power in the creation of everything” (IV: 10).

6

Compare Symposium 211 a-b with The Divine Names IV, 7.


Platonic Eros and Christian Eros in the Corpus Areopagiticum… 91 As we can already see, a fundamental change is operated here. Eros is no longer attributable only to the incomplete being that longs to reach its fulfillment in the divine. It is also the power that moves God on account of His super-essential Goodness to create everything, to preserve it and to return it to Himself. Eros remains desire, but one that no longer presupposes a lack of something, like the platonic analysis was prone to emphasize. We discern here a new vision of Eros, even though one not entirely distinct from that of Plato’s. For, as we can already observe, while in Plato Eros was a desire to beget in the Beautiful and the Good, in Dionysius Eros becomes the power that moves God to create out of He’s bounteous Goodness. The justification of the employment of Eros But, before he embarks on the actual analysis of the divine name of Eros, Dionysius takes issue first with an attitude towards it that he says looks not to the spiritual meaning of the word but to its outward appearance. And this appearance, loaded as it was with all the presuppositions of the ancient Greek culture, made it suspect in the eyes of many Christians. Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite is, to our knowledge, the first to boldly state that, even though they basically convey the same meaning, Eros is a name more divine even than Agape (the one term used in the New Testament to express the love of God), or one that expresses more properly the reality of the divine love7. Why is that? For the ancient Greeks before Plato the two terms had quite different usages. While Eros designated the overwhelming power that tyrannically gets hold of the human heart, that gets one out of his senses and drives him mad, Agape was used for describing the kind of feeling that is best rendered by the loving solicitude with which a DN, IV: 12: “For some of our writers about holy things thought that the name of Eros is more divine than that of Agape.”

7


92 Petru Molodeţ-Jitea parent cares for his child, more exactly, with which he embraces him. It is a love that embraces, attentive and caring, toward that which it cherishes. While the subject possessed by Eros yearns in its turn to possess the object of his desire and thus is carried out of himself to it, the one filled with Agape is much more rational in its attentive care. It was precisely this ecstatic power of Eros that enables one to get out of oneself that made the term suitable to be used when one tries to describe the mystic experience. And this is the intimate reason why Dionysius chooses this word to designate the divine love. When discussing the two terms he implies that the sacred writers used more often the term Agape because of our frail understanding and lack of experience of the things divine. At the same time, Dionysius backs his claim that his use of Eros is not in contradiction with true piety by adducing some examples from the Scriptures and the Christian writers before him. He cites the Book of Wisdom (8: 2), where the writer says: „I became a lover of her [i.e. Wisdom’s] beauty”, where the sacred writer employs the term erastes that was often used in Greek literature to designate the lover. Or he cites Ignatius’ „Letter to the Romans” (7: 2): „My Eros was crucified”, where Eros is used here as a proper name to designate Christ. On this basis Dionysius goes on to conclude that „we should not fear the name of Eros nor should we be troubled by some argument that is alarmed with regard to it” (IV: 12). However, to avoid misunderstanding and guide the multitude to the true meaning of Eros, Dionysius says that the sacred writers added the qualification „true Eros” when speaking of the Divine to distinguish it from the common conception of erotic love. Dionysius seems here to follow the distinction made by Plato in the Symposium when the latter spoke of two Eros, one earthly and one divine. But for the Christian writer there is but only one Eros, indivisible and unique,


Platonic Eros and Christian Eros in the Corpus Areopagiticum… 93 while the other is nothing but a corrupted image or an idol of the truly divine Eros. To underline the fact that Agape and Eros have basically the same meaning and could be used interchangeably, Dionysius cites again from the Old Testament, the second Book of Kings (1:26): „Thy love [agapesis] came upon me like the love [agapesis] for women” (2 Kings, 1:26). The original text is altered in a significant way, for in the Septuagint the text runs: „Thy love was wonderful for me more than that of women”. Anyhow, here it is used a term from the same family with Agape, but with the meaning of Eros. For Dionysius this is yet another example that shows that the biblical writers used the two terms to render the same meaning. However, to show that the name of Eros is more suitable when alluding to the mystical experience, he cites the words of the Apostle Paul who said: „It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me”8. And here the Apostle is described as being possessed by the divine Eros and partaking of its ecstatic power that makes him „a lover (erastes) and out of himself into God, who no longer lives his life, but the one of the Beloved (erastou) as exceedingly lovable (agapeten)”(IV: 13). Eros as ecstasy and communion For Dionysius, the divine Eros is an ecstatic power „that does not suffer that the lovers should belong to themselves, but wants them to belong to the ones beloved” (IV: 13). It has its principle in the Beautiful and the Good for the sake of the Beautiful and the Good and by them brings all to unity. Here again the motion of Eros unfolds according to the three-step process inspired by Proclus of procession, remaining and return. Due to its 8

Epistle to the Galatians, 2: 20.


94 Petru Molodeţ-Jitea unifying and ecstatic power, Eros is the one principle that makes the higher beings to care for the lower, the equal ones to preserve their common unity and the lower ones to convert more truly and divinely to the higher beings. But this activity of Eros does not apply only to the created beings but also to God, and this makes Dionysius’ endeavor a unique one. For the erotic process begins with God, Who from His over and ever-flowing Goodness creates the world, preserves it and returns it to Him by inspiring an erotic desire for Him. In Dionysius, God is no longer beyond Eros, He is the source of it. Consequently, all the workings of Eros could apply to Him, but in an uplifting manner. Thus, in a bewildering statement, Dionysius says that „for the truth, we must dare to affirm that the Creator of everything Himself, by His good and beautiful Eros for everything and out of His abundant erotic Goodness is carried out of Himself through His providential activities towards all the beings and, as though charmed by Goodness, Love (agapesei) and Eros (eroti), He is transported downwards from His height that is removed from everything and transcendent to everything to that which is in everything according to an ecstatic super-essential power that is inseparable from Him” (IV: 13).

On account of Him receiving the name of Eros, God is also named „jealous” for the things He has created and „jealous” in His providential care for them. To avoid any misunderstanding we should bear in mind that for Dionysius Eros is not a power that forces God to create or to care for the things created. For in the subsection 14 of the same Chapter he says that, as being both Eros and Love and Desirable and Lovable, God moves the created beings through the last and moves Himself through the first. Precisely because He is Eros and Love He is moved by Himself through Himself. He is the full circle of everlasting Love whose motion is simple, self-moving, self-acting from the Good, in the Good and for the Good. Precisely because God is goodness, He is Love


Platonic Eros and Christian Eros in the Corpus Areopagiticumâ&#x20AC;Ś 95 and out of His good love He stirs Himself to create, to preserve the creation and embrace it in its return towards Him. By this, Dionysius realizes a unique synthesis that bears the mark of both Eros and Agape. What is of great significance for our analysis is that, although the Good is first in the hierarchy of names discussed by Dionysius and maintains its long-standing pre-eminence received from the philosophical tradition, the name of Love (as Eros or Agape) applied to the Divinity is the only one that does not receive the preposition uper that is used by Dionysius to indicate the transcendent. On the other hand, he repeatedly states that God is Good or Beautiful in a way that surpasses goodness or beauty9: He is the super-good and the super-beautiful. This feature reflects the lineage that unites over the centuries the vision of Dionysius with that of the Apostle John, for whom God is simply love (1 John 4:8). It is on the basis of the Christian revelation that â&#x20AC;&#x17E;God is loveâ&#x20AC;? that Dionysius was able to imply the pre-eminence of the name of Eros over the others. In its turn, this would not have been possible outside the revelation that God is a Triune God. God is love because He is Triune: each Hyposthasis dwells in the other with the love that is both ecstatic and self-giving and this love is the basis for all creation. For Dionysius, the Trinity is the basis for the entire cosmic order: Its imprint can be discerned in the heavenly hierarchy and in the earthly one10; and the love that unites all the beings with each other and makes the higher ones care for the lower, the equals embrace themselves in their common unity and the lower convert to the higher ones springs forth from and has its fundamental model in the Trinity. In his analysis of the divine name of Love, Dionysius undoubtedly borrowed elements from Plato, Plotinus and, mainly,

See for example DN, I: 5; II: 4. This point is developed in the two works The Celestial Hierarchy and in The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. 9

10


96 Petru Molodeţ-Jitea Proclus11. The latter inspired him to view Eros as a divine power that descends and not only one that ascends12, like in Plato. But the main inspiration remains the Gospel that enables him to use freely the neo-platonic philosophy without having to embrace all its tenets. A modern critique of the dionysian use of Eros All this was enough to trouble even some modern scholars like Anders Nygren who sees in the use of Eros made by Dionysius a betrail of the agapic love revealed by the Gospel13. For Nygren, Eros and Agape are fundamentally two different motifs that bear the mark of two different worldviews, which are in conflict with each other. Basically, Eros is the main element in an individualistic philosophy centrated in the ego, while Agape is the living center of an altruistic vision of the world. Each motif produces two different attitudes towards God and the others. Self-centered, Eros makes one to see the relashionship with God from the human point of view, while Agape totally reverses the perspective. While Eros is anthropo-centric, Agape is theo-centric. Reduced to their fundamental features, the two have nothing to do with each other, although Nygren admits that they are intervowen in the actual existence of the human subject. There is no point of contact between Athens and Jerusalem. A chasm separates them. Consequently, all the patristic theology in its development is seen with a suspicious eye in this regard.

For further reading on this important point see Eris D. PERL, Theophany. The Neoplatonic Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite, State University of New York Press, Albany, 2007. 12 See Proclus’ Commentary on the First Alcibiades, in Procli Opera, ed. Victor Cousin, Tome II, 1820, p. 141: ἄνωθεν οὖν ὁ ἔρως ἀπὸ τῶν νοητῶν μέχρι τῶν ἐγκοσμίων φοιτᾷ, πάντα ἐπιστρέφων ἐπὶ τὸ θεῖον κάλλος (Eros descends from above, from the intelligible things down in to the cosmos, turning back all towards the Divine beauty). 13 See the discussion on Dionysius in Anders NYGREN, Agape and Eros, Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1953, pp. 576-593. 11


Platonic Eros and Christian Eros in the Corpus Areopagiticumâ&#x20AC;Ś 97 Although impressive in its amplitude and detailed analysis, the work of the swedish theologian fails to see the original synthesis realized by Dionysius. And one can discern here a dualistic attitude that in its either-or approach ultimately makes the divine subject and the human one incommunicable to each other. In contradistinction, Dionysiusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fundamental approach was that every human power like everything created has its ultimate source in a divine power or activity. Even the erotic impulse is in itself a power with which humankind was endowed to search for its fulfillment. Like everything created, the human eros is in itself good and becomes wrong only in the deviation of its purpose. Consequently, one is allowed to apply to the divine the name of Eros following the basic principle used by Dionysius that a thing created bears a resemblance with its cause and is somehow akin to it, even though there is a marked ontological difference between the two.


98 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ

LES SOURCES ET L’IDENTITÉ DE L’«EROS» DIVIN DANS LES ECRITS AREOPAGITIQUES

Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ

S

aint Denys l’Aréopagite pose à ses interprètes un problème particulier lié à l’absence de données sur sa vie1. On sait seulement qu’un corpus d’œuvres portant son nom est apparu aux environs de l’an 500 après le Christ. Ses écrits proviennent presque certainement des milieux hellénophones syro-palestiniens et ont rencontré une acceptation quasi immédiate au sein de la tradition monastiques de l’Eglise chrétienne. Le terme „eros” est emblématique en ce qui concerne l’établissement de l’identité du message transmis par l’auteur de ces écrits: chrétien ou non-chrétien (philosophique), et il rend compte de son originalité. La question qui se pose serait: dans quelle mesure l’ „eros”, un concept préchrétien, utilisé abondamment dans la littérature païenne antérieure, antique et non chrétienne, peut être considéré comme un outil à la portée d’un auteur chrétien, qui soit capable de transmettre les enseignements chrétiens d’origine apostolique, comme prétendu disciple de l’Apôtre Paul (une Voire A. GOLITZIN, “The Mysticism of Dionysius Areopagita: Platonist or Christian?”, Mystics Quaterly, Cincinnati, 19:3 (1993), pp. 98-114.

1


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 99 descendance spirituelle que l’auteur s’attribue à lui-même afin de légitimer et à sceller ainsi le caractère profondément chrétien de ses ouvrages. Absent du Nouveu Testament et présent avec une signification négative dans l’Ancien Testament (ἔρωτι)2, le terme éros a été repris par l’auteur des écrits aréopagitiques de la tradition philosophique qui le précède afin de l’utiliser dans un sens profondément chrétien et également sur les fondements d’une tradition chrétienne ecclésiale antérieure, dans laquelle il s’enscrit et qu’il réussit à amplifier de manière créative, de sorte qu’il finit par utiliser beaucoup plus souvent le terme d’éros, pour décrire l’amour de Dieu, que l’autre terme consacré par la tradition chrétienne, celui de l’agape, spécifique au Nouveau Testament (cf. 1 Jean 4, 8, 16: ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστὶν). Denys décrie minutieusement sa conception sur l’éros spécifiquement dans le chapitre IV de son traité „Sur les Noms Divins” (Περὶ θείον Ὀνομάτων). Après avoir analysé dans les premières paragraphes [§1-6] du chapitre le rôle du bien [ἀγαθὸν] comme nom de l’être suprême, qui est la cause de tout ce qui existe, et après avoir décrit la manifestation de tout bien, en le comparant au soleil qui répand ses rayons de lumière sur toutes choses3, il associe au début du septième paragraphe le bien suressentiel de la divinité tant au beau

Dans toute la Sainte Écriture, le terme éros apparaît comme tel, sous la forme du substantif ἔρως et ἔρωτι seulement deux fois, dans l’Ancien Testament dans le livre des Proverbes. Il s’agit de l’appel adressé par une femme à un jeune homme : « ἐλθέ καὶ ἀπολαύσωμεν φιλίας ἕως ὄρθρου δεύρο καὶ ἐγκυλισθώμεν ἔρωτι » (Prov. 7, 18); et du désir sans fin de la passion associé à l’enfer et qui ne dit jamais « ça suffit » : « Ἅδης, καὶ ἔρως γυναικὸς, καὶ τάρταρος, καὶ γῆ οὐκ ἐμπιπλαμένη ὕδατος, καὶ ὕδωρ καὶ πῦρ οὐ μὴ εἴπωσιν, Ἀρκεῖ » (Prov. 30, 16). 3 Les Noms Divins (ND) IV, 4, cf. Patrologie Grèque de Migne (PG) 3, 697B [Pseudo Dionysiacum I. Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita, De Divinis Nominibus, Herausgegeben von Beate Regina Suchla, Serie: Patristische Texte und Studien, im Auftrag der Patristischen Kommission der Akademien der Wissenschaften in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Herausgegeben von K. Aland und E.Mühlenberg, Band 33, Walter de Gruyer, Berlin – New York, 1990; p. 1472-3 (édition citée ensuite comme éd. Suchla)]. 2


100 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ [καλὸν] et à la beauté [κάλλος], qu’au terme biblique de l’amour-agape [ἀγάπη] et à son dérivé, l’aimé [ἀγαπητὸν]4. Mais après cette première mention de l’association de l’amour chrétien (agapè) avec le beau et le bien, l’auteur introduit l’autre terme, l’éros [ἔρωτι], pour exprimer le plus fidèlement possible son intention, celle de souligner le rôle de mettre en mouvement et de soutenir ainsi toutes les créatures dans leur aspiration vers la cible de tout ce qui existe, qui est en même temps leur cause, caractérisée comme finale5. L’éros platonicien Contrairement au sens négatif d’un éros qui attire vers le bas, vers le sensoriel et le matériel, à partir de la pratique sociale de la pédérastie à laquelle on fait souvent référence dans les discours sur l’amour-éros du Banquet6, Platon a offert à l’éros un rôle positif, celui de force animatrice qui soutient l’aspiration vers le haut, un avancement traduit par le désir humain de perfection, d’un „éros céleste” [οὐράνιος ἔρως], qui conduit par sublimation l’âme aimante loin de tout plaisir décadent et de toute possession des corps particuliers, à travers les joies de l’amour de tout ce qui est beau, vers l’objectif ultime de l’âme: la vision de la forme même de la Beauté, cause de toutes les beautés terrestres, devant Laquelle disparaissent toutes les beautés du monde7. L’éros devient désir pour le céleste, ND IV, 7, cf. PG 3, 701C [éd. Suchla, pp. 150 15-16-1511]. ND IV, 7, cf. PG 3, 704Α [éd. Suchla, pp. 1523-6]. 6 La majorité des discours platoniciennes sur l’éros font réference à la pratique antique de la pédérastie mai pas exclusivement. Par exemple, dans le discours de Pausanius les relations hétérosexuelles sont mises sous le signe du pandēmos erōs. 7 C’est A. J. Festugière qui a souligné le caractère désinteressé, privé d’ égoïsme et bienvaillant de l’amour platonique, qui aboutit au sacrifice et qui est le „premier moteur de la connaissance contemplative et de l’action qui en résulte”, cf. Contemplation et vie contemplative selon Platon, Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, Paris, 21950, pp. 367-369. 4 5


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 101 mouvement vers la perfection humaine, tendance, élan, tendance [ὁρμὴ] vers la réalisation de soi, de la soif pour l’éternité, aspiration vers le bien, recherche de la vérité et l’attraction [ἕλξις] vers le beau [κάλλος]8. Mais parce que pour Platon l’amour suppose un manque, quelque chose d’inaccompli qui cherche son propre accomplissement9 et la plénitude, l’éros n’a pas comme point de départ sa propre perfection10, la plénitude propre et la perfection, vers laquelle il tend, toutefois, en sortant de la concentration sur soi vers l’autre, auquel il souhaite le bien. Chez Denys, le bien et le beau sont à l’origine de tout ce qui existe et tout vit dans le bien et dans le beau et s’y retourne et tend vers eux comme objectif final11. Par conséquent, le bon ou le bien et le beau, en qualité de cause unique de tout, qui appelle tout vers soi [„ὡς πάντα πρὸς ἑαυτὸ καλοῦν”]12, c’est-à-dire qui attire tout ce qui existe vers sa propre cause [αἰτία], qui est l’être éternel [ἀεὶ ὂν]13, impose l’utilisation du concept de l’éros, de ce terme considéré plus adéquat ou approprié pour exprimer l’attraction, à partir de son usage en ce sens dans la philosophie grecque antique, à savoir chez Platon dans le Banquet. Mais voilà comment Denys dépasse la conception platonicienne, en faisant usage des mots de la famille de l’éros, et il décrit le supérieur d’en haut, identifié par „la bien-aimée” [ἐραστὸν], comme étant, contrairement à Platon, non seulement l’objet de l’amour, mais aussi

8

Le Banquet, Platonis Opera, Ioannes Burnet (ed.), vol. II, Clarendon Press, Oxford

131967, 172 a – 223b; ici Le Banquet, 204 b.

Le Banquet, 203 e. La thèse conformément à laquelle il s’agissait chez Platon d’un éros descendant [cf. John Rist, Eros and Psyche. Studies in Plato, Plotinus and Origen, Phoenix supplementary vol. 6, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1964, p. 37], a été rejetée par Cornelia J. de Vogel [cf. Cornelia J. de Vogel, „Greek Cosmic Love and the Christian Love of God. Boethius, Dionysius the Areopagite and the Fourth Gospel”, Vigilae Christianae 35 (1981), p. 63]. 11 ND IV, 10, cf. PG 3, 705D-708A [éd. Suchla, pp. 154 23-24 – 1551-7]. 12 ND IV, 7, cf. PG 3, 701C [éd. Suchla, p. 151 9]. 13 ND IV, 10, cf. PG 3, 701D [éd. Suchla, p. 151 11]. 9

10


102 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ orienté [ἐπιστρεπτικῶν] vers les inférieurs ou sans importance, afin de prendre soin [προνοητικῶς] d’eux14. L’éros proclien Mais dans les oeuvres du philosophe Proclus il s’agit également de l’éros descendant de l’Un supérieur et qui se soucie des choses inférieures. Chez Proclus les trois principes de la foi (πίστις), de la vérité (ἀλήθεια) et de l’amour (ἔρως)15 ont le rôle métaphysique d’établir un rapport avec la triade divine de la Bonté, de la Sagesse et de la Beauté16. La description de l’amour éros envisagée par Proclus comporte des traits qui contredisent ceux qui s’efforcent à souligner à tout prix l’opposition radicale entre l’éros philosophique l’agape chrétienne17, dans un sens opposé à l’esprit des écrits aréopagitiques : à côté de l’éros ascendent, de souche platonique, qui tend de l’inférieur vers le supérieur on constate l’existance d’un éros descendant ; proniateur (ἔρως προνοητικὸς), qui rend les supérieurs aux soins des inférieurs18, caractéristique qui est propre aussi à la théologie dionisiene. Ce dernier type d’éros est une amplification de la transposition en plan cosmique du soin du philosophe envers son bien-aimé, spécifique aux dialogues platiniciens.

Cf. ND IV, 10, cf. PG 3, 708Α [éd. Suchla, p. 155 8-13]. Il n’est pas exclu que les trois vertus soient dépendantes des vertus pauliniennes de la foi, de l’espérance et de l’amour (agape), cf. 1 Co 13, mais il y a des spécialistes qui enclinent à les poser en liaison avec les Oracles Caldéens, cf. R. T. Wallis, Neoplatonism, Duckworth, London, 1972, p. 154. 16 Cf. Théologie Platonicienne 1, 25 [cf. Proclus, Théologie Platonicienne, livre I-V, texte établi et traduit par H.D. Saffrey – L.G. Westerink, Collection des Universités de France, Les Belles Lettres, Paris 1968-1987]; In Alcibiade 51-3 [cf. Proclus Diadochus Commentary on the first Alcibiades of Plato, ed. Westerink, L. G., North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1954]. 17 „Proclus’ interpretation of Socrates’ love for Alcibiades has more in common with Christian agapē than with Platonic erōs”, R. T. Wallis, Neoplatonism, Duckworth, London, 1972, p. 10. 18 Cf. Proclu, In Alcib., 32, 9 et ensuite, surtout 54-6. 14 15


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 103 Proclus systématise la conception philosophique plotinienne dans une structure triadique dans laquelle l’Un, comme fondement de l’être, est au-delà de l’être, un autre élément qui le rapproche de la vision apophatique dionysienne. Toute entité reste ce qu’elle est, identique à elle-même, bien que, en se reversant à l’extérieur, elle produit une autre réalité. Cette dialectique se produit le long de la chaîne des êtres, et les trois phases du processus sont: μονὴ ou la persistance de l’être dans l’Un, πρόοδος ou sortie de soi-même qui produit quelque chose, et ἐπιστροφὴ ou retour, rentrée en lui-même19. Ces phases se retrouvent dans les écrits aréopagitiques dans un sens éminemment chrétien. La hiérarchie de l’univers dionysien, dont le sommet est Dieu, s’inspire de manière profondément chrétienne de la dialectique des trois étapes de Proclus: μονὴ, πρόοδος et ἐπιστροφὴ. Ainsi, par rapport à la Théarchie, μονὴ et πρόοδος sont redéfinies comme des expressions de l’unité et de la distinction. Dieu ou la Théarchie est participable dans sa bonté qui se revèrse sur les autres êtres. Le troisième aspect du processus, l’ἐπιστροφὴ, exprime dans la théologie de Denys l’inclinaison ou la tendance de tous les êtres de s’orienter vers Dieu. C’est cette troisième phase, celle du retour, du renversement, de l’ ἐπιστροφὴ qui légitime la christianisation ou l’usage chrétien du mot éros, compris comme désir ou amour de l’homme envers Dieu et, par conséquent, comme amour de Dieu envers les hommes ou comme attribut de Dieu en Lui-même, la Bonté suprême. Chez Denys le bien et le beau sont la Parole elle-même, la cause du tout pour répandre sur toutes choses sa bonté, qui

Cf. et In Euc 90.11-14 [Procli Diadochi in primum Euclidis elementorum librum comentarii, ed. Friedlein, G., Teubner, Leipzig, 1873]. Voire aussi Procli Diadochi in Platonis rem publicam commentarii, vol.1, ed. W. Kroll, Teubner, Leipzig, 1899; republiée par la maison d’édition Hakkert, Amsterdam 1965, vol. 1, pp. 1-296, ici p. 134. paragraphe 30 et p. 135 paragraphes 1-5. 19


104 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ „aime [ἐρᾷ] tous et réalise tout, qui perfectionne toutes choses, qui soutient toutes les choses, qui ramène vers le Soi toutes les choses et qui est l’amour divin, qui fait prolifique le bien du bien pour le bien”20.

L’éros aristotélien Tout comme chez Aristote, l’éros dionisien est à l’origine du mouvement. Pour Aristote l’éros se trouve au cœur d’une métaphysique du cosmos qui rappelle la philia cosmique d’Empédocle et le discours d’Eriximah dans le Banquet de Platon sur l’éros cosmique. Faute de l’encadrement dans un contexte lié au salut de l’homme, comme c’est le cas dans l’orphisme, comme chez Platon ou dans le néoplatonisme, le mouvement de l’éros est pour Aristote une aspiration vers sa propre perfection de l’homme, ou une ascension successive par attraction (ἕλξις) de la matière vers la forme. Cette attraction de la matière vers la forme, du monde vers Dieu, c’est l’éros. La forme divine pure, sans devenir ultime (identifiable à Dieu) est celle de laquelle dérivent toutes les formes actuelles: c’est d’elle que se produit tout ce qui se passe ou surgit, parce qu’elle produit et provoque le mouvement comme „désiré et aimé” [ἐφετόν καί ἐρωμένον21] et elle est inébranlable, la stabilité même, mais en même temps „le premier qui mouve” [πρώτον κινούν]. Le Premier Immobile qui mouve [τὸ πρῶτον κινοῦν ἀκίνητον], c’est-à-dire Dieu, est celui qui met en mouvement et aime le tout en qualité de aimé ou bien-aimé par le tout ou par toutes les choses, mais pas du tout comme aimant quelque

Cf. ND IV, 10, cf. PG 3, 708Α-B [éd. Suchla, p. 15514-17]. Aristote, La Métaphysique, ΓΔ, 1012b, Λ, 1071b et 1072ab; cf. Aristotle Metaphysics, vol. I-II, ed. W.D. Ross, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1970. 20 21


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 105 chose [κινεῖ δὴ ὡς ἐρώμενον22]. Tous les êtres aiment ce premier moteur immobile, qu’ils désirent et sont attirés par lui23. L’éros plotinien Le nom d’éros attribué à la divinité ne fait entièrement défaut de la philosophie, à savoir l’être suprême est appelé éros même par Plotin. Cet éros, comme nom de l’Un même, n’est mentionné qu’une seule fois comme tel chez Plotin24. L’Un est Lui-même, „aimé”, „éros en soi” et „éros de soi”25. Par conséquant, l’éros confère une certaine identité à l’Un-même, il est l’un de Ses noms, aspect qui représente un autre lien avec l’univers dionysien dans lequel l’éros est l’un des noms divins. Ceux qui nient le caractère profondément chrétien du corpus dionysiaque ignorent totalement le fait que c’est propre au Bien suprême, qui est le fond de l’éros néoplatonicien, à se diffuser, à se répandre, à se propager de lui-même, et c’est le trait du désir qui aspire vers Lui de viser à surmonter non seulement tout égoïsme étroit, mais aussi tout égocentrisme26.

22 Métaphysique, 1072b.3. Sur l’éros chez Aristote, voire J. A. J. Dudley, „The Love of God in Aristotle’s Ethics”, Neue Zeitschrift für systhematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie 25/2 (1983), pp. 126-137. 23 Voire Évangélie Maraguianou, „L’amour, objet d’initiation chez Platon”, Φιλοσοφία. Επετηρις του κέντρου έρευνης της ελληνικής φιλοσοφίας, 15-16, Αθήνα 1985-1986, pp. 240-253. 24 Il s’agit d’un court passage des Ennéades, 6.8.[39]. 15. 1-2 [Plotini Opera, vol. I-III, éd. Paul Henry et Hans-Rudolf Schwyzer, Brill, Leiden 1951-1973]. 25 „Καὶ ἐράσμιον καὶ ἔρως ὁ αὐτὸς καὶ αὐτοῦ ἔρωςƼ ἅτε οὐκ ἄλλως καλὸς ἢ παρ΄ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ” 6.8[39]. 15. 1-2. C’est le seul passage des oeuvres de Plotin dans lequel il fait référence à l’amour de soi de l’Un. Bien sur, il n’y s’agit pas de l’amour de Dieu pour le monde ou sa créature, comme chez Denys ou dans le christianisme, mais d’un „amour de soi” de la divinité. Voire aussi la suite 6.8.15. 2-10. 26 Par conséquant dans la pensée grecque antique l’éros n’est pas exclusivement et de manière unilaterale un „désir de possesion, un désir égoïste », comme soutient A.-J. Festugière, La Sainteté, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris 1949, p. 92. Cet auteur adopte une position plus ouverte au sens altruiste de l’éros dans son oeuvrage De l’Essence de la tragédie grecque, Paris 1969. Voire


106 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ Plotin développe ses considérations sur l’éros particulièrement dans les Ennéades 3, 5, où il analyse sa nature en suivant la lignée tracée par Platon, dont les dialogues conçoivent l’éros comme la passion27, démon28 et divinité29. Plotin utilise l’union d’amour comme un symbole de l’union de l’âme avec l’Un30, mais cette image reste, comme toutes les images matérielles, un reflet imparfait de ce dernier31. Comme pont ou connexion, l’éros est défini par la vue (vision)32, l’éros est „l’œil”33, il sert de médiateur entre le désiré et celui qui désire, en aspirant dans sa recherche vers une „vue” du véritable être. À cet égard, il soutient l’élan vers la contemplation34. En même temps, l’éros est un certain moment de la réflexion absolue qui réalise la médiation entre la vue (vision) et l’objet de la vue (vision). Plotin caractérise l’ascension initiée par l’éros, en se servant du langage métaphorique de Phèdre : l’âme devient lui-même finalement

en ce sens aussi Hilary Armstrong, Cambridge History of Later Greek Philosophy, Cambridge 1970, p. 191 sq. 27 Dans la première partie du cinquième chapitre de la troisième Ennéade, Plotin décrit l’éros comme passion de l’âme et il a comme point de départ le Phèdre de Platon, 251c – 252c et quelques passages du Banquet. Voire Émile Bréhier, Notice, în Plotin, Ennéades III, texte établi et traduit par Émile Bréhier, Collection des Universités de France, Les Belles Lettres, Paris 31963, pp. 71-73. 28 Le texte de référence est le mythe de la naissance de l’éros commai daimon, raconté par Diotime dans le Banquet 202de. 29 En ce qui concerne l’éros comme dieu, Plotin fait appel à un autre mythe, celui de la naissance des dieux, dans lequel l’Éros est le fils d’Afrodite, rencontre chez les orphiques et chez Hésiode, La Théogonie 120. Chez Platon le mythe est mentionné dans le Phèdre 242d et dans le Banquet 181a. Voire aussi le Banquet 177 ac. 30 Ennéades 6, 7, 34, 14-6. 31 Ennéades 6, 9, 9, 39-47. 32 Voire pour la vision, « ἡ ὅρασις », Ennéades, 3.5.3. 13-15 sq. ou contemplation, « τὸ ὅραμα », Ennéades, 3.5.3. 7. 33 L’éros est « ὀφταλμὸς ὁ τοῦ ποθοῦντος παρέχων μὲν τῷ ἐρῶντι », Eneade, 3.5[50].2. 40. 34 Ceux qui aiment vraimant sont ceux qui contemplent, cf. René Arnou, „Contemplation platonicienne – La «Contemplation» chez Plotin”, Dictionnaire de spiritualité, vol 22, Beauchesne, Paris 1953, col. 1727.


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 107 éros35. L’union avec l’Un comme Celui vraiment aimé, avec Dieu36, est dénommée effet explicitement un effet de l’éros37. L’Un, Celui vraiment Bon au-dessus de toute beauté est Celui qui attire. L’éros dionysien Chez Denys, l’éros bienfaiteur des êtres [ὁ ἀγαθοεργὸς τῶν ὄντων ἔρως] est prolifique [οὐκ εἴασεν αὐτὸν ἄγονον ἐν ἑαυτῷ μένειν] et il bouge vers la réalisation de l’abondance naissante sur tous38. Ce passage rappelle l’éros platonicien qui n’est pas seulement désir permanent de posséder le bien39, mais aussi un désir de l’amant, uni à l’aimé, de devenir prolifique, de procréer, de „naissance dans la beauté” [τόκος ἐν τῷ καλῷ]40. Platon est le premier philosophe qui pense systématiquement l’imbrication entre l’amour-éros, la beauté et la divinité, connexion qui se retrouve, comme nous l’avons vu, aussi chez Denys. Mais contrairement à ce dernier, pour Platon l’objet aimé est évanescent, il est rapidement sublimé, desincarné et projeté dans l’intelligible, dont l’essence est fondamentalement impersonnelle. Il est une étincelle qui déclenche l’ascension vers le spirituel pur, où le sage va soudainement voir une certaine beauté qui ne connaît pas de génération et dégénérescence, croissance et corruptibilité41. C’est une Ennéades, 6.7.22.8-10: „Καὶ τοίνυν ψυχὴ λαβοῦσα εἰς αὑτὴν τὴν ἐκεῖθεν ἀπορροὴν κινεῖται καὶ ἀναβακχεύεται καὶ οἴστρων πίμπλαται καὶ ἔρως γίνεται”, cf. Phèdre, 251c. 36 Ennéades, 6.9.9. 45 sq.; 56. 37 „Ἐρᾷ οὖν κατὰ φύσιν ἔχουσα ψυχὴ θεοῦ ἑνωθῆναι θέλουσαƼ ὥσπερ παρθένος καλοῦ πατρὸς καλὸν ἔρωτα”, Ennéades, 6.9.9. 33-35. 38 Cf. ND IV, 10, cf. PG 3, 708B [éd. Suchla, p. 155 17-20]. 39 Le Banquet, 205a. Voire aussi 207.a.2-4: „εἴπερ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἑαυτῷ εἶναι ἀεὶ ἔρως ἐστίν. ἀναγκαῖον δὴ ἐκ τούτου τοῦ λόγου καὶ τῆς ἀθανασίας τὸν ἔρωτα εἶναι”, et 206.a.11-12: „ὁ ἔρως τοῦ τὸ ἀγαθὸν αὑτῷ εἶναι ἀεί”. 40 Le Banquet, 206e-207a et aussi 206.b.7-8. Voir aussi R.A. Markus, „The Dialectic of Eros in Plato’s Symposium”, Downside Review, 233 (1955), pp. 219-230; apud. A.H. Armstrong, „Platonic Eros and Christian Agape”, Downside Review, 79 (1961), pp. 106-107. 41 Le Banquet, 202-211. 35


108 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ montée vers l’Idée impersonnelle, excepte de dialogue et sans se poser le problème de la réciprocité de l’amour. La beauté d’un être concret est le reflet et une reminiscence de la Beauté de l’Au-delà. L’attachement à cette Beauté consiste à surmonter n’importe quel amour particulier, et même le bannir. C’est la limite de l’érotisme de la doctrine de Platon. Mais on trouve ici une pré-ascese qui abandonne le sensible et la puissance des sens, comme l’a souligné aussi Denys l’Aréopagagite42. Suite à une sorte d’assimilation des conceptions philosophiques antérieures sur éros et à leur transfiguration dans le laboratoire de l’ascèse et de la pensée chrétienne, conscient des risques d’une possible incompréhension de la simple présence du mot éros – à bien des égards compromis, du point de vu chrétien, dans son usage philosophique – dans ses écrits, l’auteur prend précautions et il avertit explicitement qu’il ne soit justifié avoir des réticences à l’égard du terme éros43. L’auteur souligne explicitement le sens voulu commun de l’agapè et de l’éros, pendant que les malentendus idolâtres de la foule en ce qui concerne l’éros conçu comme divisé (μεριστὸν) et materiel ou corporel (σωματοπρεπῆ) sont considérés par Denys de préjugé (πρόληψιν), une chute (ἔκπτωσις) du vrai éros divin (οὐκ ἔστιν ἀληθὴς ἔρως)44. Le support biblique de l’éros dionysien La citation biblique de l’Ancien Testament (Proverbes 4: 6-8)45, est mentionnée par l’auteur à l’appui de la légitimation de l’utilisation ND 4, 11, PG 708D [éd. Suchla, p. 15615-16]. ND IV, 11, cf. PG 3, 708BC [éd. Suchla, p. 156 1-3] et 709Α [éd. Suchla, p. 1574-8]. 44 ND IV, 12, cf. PG 3, 709Β-709C [éd. Suchla, p. 157 14 – 1583]. 45 ND IV, 11, cf. PG 3, 709Α [éd. Suchla, p. 1574-8]: « Πλὴν ἵνα μὴ ταῦτα εἰπεῖν δοκῶμεν ὡς τὰ θεῖα λόγια παρακινοῦντες, ἀκουέτωσαν αὐτῶν οἱ τὴν ἔρωτος ἐπωνυμίαν διαβάλλοντες· «Ἐράσθητι αὐτῆς», φησί, «καὶ τηρήσει σε»· «περιχαράκωσον αὐτήν, καὶ ὑψώσει σε· τίμησον αὐτήν, ἵνα σε περιλάβῃ», καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα κατὰ τὰς ἐρωτικὰς θεολογίας ὑμνεῖται ». 42 43


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 109 par lui de ce terme pour exprimer la relation chrétienne d’amour entre l’homme et Dieu Sagesse. Et en même sens, pour éloigner toute peur et réticence par rapport au concept d’éros, l’auteur n’offre pas seulement cette citation, mais aussi de la Sagesse de Salomon 8: 2, où il s’agit aussi d’un terme de la même famille de mots de l’éros, à savoir l’amoureux (ἐραστὴς)46. Il convient de noter que les deux citations bibliques de l’Ancien Testament mentionnées par Denys (Proverbes 4: 6-8, Sagesse de Salomon 8: 2) sont les seules dans toute la Sainte Écriture où des termes de la famille de mots l’éros sont utilisés dans un sens positif et il n’est pas du tout par hasard qu’il s’agit de contextes sofianiques – c’est à dire en référence à la Sagesse, la personnification du Logos ou Dieu lui-même – dont on ne pourrait pas dissimuler l’affinité avec la terminologie philosophique. La citation plus complète de Sagesse de Salomon 8: 2-3 serait : „Ταύτην ἐφίλησα καὶ ἐξεζήτησα ἐκ νεότητός μου καὶ ἐζήτησα νύμφην ἀγαγέσθαι ἐμαυτῷ καὶ ἐραστὴς ἐγενόμην τοῦ κάλλους αὐτῆς. Eὐγένειαν δοξάζει συμβίωσιν θεοῦ ἔχουσαƼ καὶ ὁ πάντων δεσπότης ἠγάπησεν αὐτήν”.

Le langage nuptial est evident et il est marqué par la présence du terme fiancée (νύμφην) mentioné dans la Septante, ce qui constitue par conséquent pour Denys un bon point de départ pour l’utilisation du terme ἔρως lui-même, dans un sens positif, en vue de se référer à l’amour de Dieu et à la relation d’amour entre Dieu et l’homme47. C’est pourquoi dans le corpus aréopagitique, on ne cite pas par hazard ces versets dans lesquels il s’agit d’un language érotique dans un contexte ND IV, 12, cf. PG 3, 709Β [Suchla, p. 15711-14]« Καὶ ἐν ταῖς προεισαγωγαῖς τῶν λογίων εὑρήσεις τινὰ λέγοντα περὶ τῆς θείας σοφίας· «Ἐραστὴς ἐγενόμην τοῦ κάλλους αὐτῆς». Ὥστε τοῦτο δὴ τὸ τοῦ ἔρωτος ὄνομα μὴ φοβηθῶμεν μηδέ τις ἡμᾶς θορυβείτω λόγος περὶ τούτου δεδιττόμενος ». 47 Voire James Barr, „Words for Love in Biblical Greek”, The Glory of Christ in the New Testament. Studies in Christology in Memory of George Bradford Caird, ed. By L.D. Hurst and N.T. Wright, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1987, p. 11. 46


110 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ nuptial et aussi sophianique, lié à la sagesse : le but est de soulever la pensée des foules des significations divisées et erronées du mauvais nom de l’éros48. Mais l’originalité de Denys réside dans l’utilisation de ces deux ressources bibliques uniques appartenant à l’Ancien Testament pour soutenir son plaidoyer pour un use légitime, dans le sens chrétien, du substantif éros. En outre, il convient d’observer la teinte nuptiale de ces passages, dans lesquels l’homme soit est appelé à aimer (ἐράσθητι) la sagesse, soit il est déjà amoureux de la beauté de la sagesse (ἐραστὴς ἐγενόμην τοῦ κάλλους αὐτῆς). Les deux termes de la famille lexicale de l’éros sont des mots qui expriment la relation d’amour entre l’homme et la Sagesse ou Dieu (dans l’interprétation des Pères de l’Eglise, selon la tradition), mais Denys apporte un autre argument en citant un autre passage du second livre des Rois, chapitre 1, le verset 26, où il s’agit de l’amour ἀγάπησις (une forme beaucoup plus usité dans l’Ancien Testament pour exprimer l’amour de Dieu, que le connu substantif agape [ἀγάπη]) pour indiquer tant l’amour de Dieu envers l’homme, mais aussi l’amour entre les humains, à savoir entre un homme et une femme, une relation qui serait prête, naturellement, à une description à l’aide du terme éros. Par conséquent, comme Denys le suggère, on peut tirer la conclusion du caractère permutable et interchangeable des deux termes, eros et agapè, et de leurs connotations unitives communes49. Ensuite Denys continue son argumentation en faveur de la synonymie des deux termes, de l’agapè et de l’éros, en mettant en évidence leurs significations communes chez les saints théologiens (τῶν ἱερῶν θεολόγων), conformément à la révélation divine (κατὰ τὰς ND IV, 12, cf. PG 3, 709C [éd. Suchla, p. 1583-6]. ND IV, 12, cf. PG 3, 709CD [éd. Suchla, p. 1587-12]: « Ἐφ’ ἡμῶν δὲ αὖθις, ἔνθα καὶ ἄτοπόν τι πολλάκις ἦν οἰηθῆναι τοὺς χαμαιζήλους, κατὰ τὸ δοκοῦν εὐφημότερον· Ἐπέπεσε, τίς φησίν, ἡ ἀγάπησίς σου ἐπ’ ἐμὲ ὡς ἡ ἀγάπησις τῶν γυναικῶν. Ἐπὶ τοῖς ὀρθῶς τῶν θείων ἀκροωμένοις ἐπὶ τῆς αὐτῆς δυνάμεως τάττεται πρὸς τῶν ἱερῶν θεολόγων τὸ τῆς ἀγάπης καὶ τοῦ ἔρωτος ὄνομα κατὰ τὰς θείας ἐκφαντορίας ».

48 49


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 111 θείας ἐκφαντορίας). C’est ainsi que la force unificatrice de l’amour agapè et eros, grâce à leur étroite liaison avec le bien et le beau, introduit le thème de la réciprocité de l’amour des égaux dans un contexte nuptial. Mais c’est par l’Incarnation du Logos, que Dieu descend Lui-même au niveau de nous-mêmes, les humains, et se fait l’un de nous et entre en relation avec l’homme en la transformant en communion de la possession mutuelle (συνεχούσης ... κατὰ τὴν κοινωνικὴν ἀλληλουχίαν)50. L’extase descendant de l’éros divin On passe ainsi à une autre caractéristique de l’éros dionysien: son trait extatique, de la sortie de lui-même. Cet aspect de l’éros est développé par Denys dans le paragraphe suivant, numéro 13, à l’intérieur duquel l’auteur cite du Nouveau Testament les paroles de Saint Paul de l’épître aux Galates, 2, 20. Il offre ainsi un exemple d’amour extatique, d’une sortie du soi de celui qui aime ou de l’amoureux. Mais la citation de saint Paul sert également d’exemplifier la réciprocité de l’amour qui rend le bien-aimé à ne plus appartenir à lui-même, à ne plus s’identifier à lui mais à l’autre, à la vie de la personne aimée, dans une interpénétration et possession intérieure commune qui devient le but unificateur de l’amour. Mais ce n’est pas valable seulement pour les égaux, pour ceux du même niveau, pour les personnes humaines entre elles, mais, comme le suggèrent les mots de Paul, aussi pour la relation au Christ, de l’homme avec Dieu. En outre, pour que la réciprocité soit accomplie, ce qui s’applique à l’homme à l’égard de ses semblables ou par un retour plus divin vers les premières choses (πρὸς τὰ πρῶτα θειοτέρας ἐπιστροφῆς) ou vers Dieu, Denys applique aussi à Dieu Lui-même, dont la puissance extatique sur-essentielle (κατ ‘ἐκστατικὴν ὑπερούσιον δύναμιν) sort de

50

ND IV, 12, cf. PG 3, 709D [éd. Suchla, p. 15813-19].


112 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ soi-même, par amour pour les gens, en restant le même (ἀνεφοίτητον ἑαυτοῦ), envers les inferieurs ou Sa créature51. La sortie extatique de soi des réalités supérieures se transforme en „soins envers tous les êtres” (εἰς τὰ ὄντα πάντα προνοίαις) aux niveux inférieurs de la réalité. Par conséquent, la sortie extatique de l’éros par l’attraction de la beauté ne l’autre n’est pas séparée du bien, c’est-à-dire l’éros n’est pas lié seulement) la beauté par attraction, mais il est étroitement liée au bien aussi, et à cet égard Denys finit le paragraphe 13 en se référant à nouveau au lien étroit entre le bien, la beauté et l’éros, en soulignant la nécessité de ne pas les séparer en vue de bien comprendre le vrai rôle unificateur de l’éros52. L’intégration de l’éros extatique descendant, qui se soucie de s’abaisser envers les inférieurs, à l’image biblique nuptiale est effectuée aussi en utilisant le terme ζῆλον „zèle” qui provient notamment de l’Ancien Testament, et qui implique aussi même la „jalousie”, attribué à Dieu53. Par l’interdiction de l’adoration aux autres dieux du deuxième commandement donné à Moïse et adressée à son peuple, Dieu se définit comme suit: „Moi, le Seigneur, ton Dieu, je suis un Dieu jaloux”54. Le terme grec ζήλος signifie „zèle”, „ardeur”, „solicitude”, mais aussi „jalousie”, „émulation”, „rivalité”, pendant que ζηλωτής peut signifier, selon le contexte, à la fois „zélé” et „jaloux”. Dans ce ND IV, 13, cf. PG 3, 712AΒ [éd. Suchla, p. 1591-3, 9-14]: « Καὶ δηλοῦσι τὰ μὲν ὑπερτερα τῆς προνοίας γιγνόμενα τῶν καταδεεστέρων καὶ τὰ ὁμόστοιχα τῆς ἀλλήλων συνοχῆς καὶ τὰ ὑφειμένα τῆς πρὸς τὰ πρῶτα θειοτέρας ἐπιστροφῆς... Τολμητέον δὲ καὶ τοῦτο ὑπὲρ ἀληθείας εἰπεῖν, ὅτι καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ πάντων αἴτιος τῷ καλῷ καὶ ἀγαθῷ τῶν πάντων ἔρωτι δι’ ὑπερβολὴν τῆς ἐρωτικῆς ἀγαθότητος ἔξω ἑαυτοῦ γίνεται ταῖς εἰς τὰ ὄντα πάντα προνοίαις καὶ οἶον άγαθότητι καὶ ἀγαπήσει καὶ ἔρωτι θέλγεται καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ὑπὲρ πάντα καὶ πάντων ἐξῇρημένου πρὸς τὸ ἐν πᾶσι κατάγεται κατ’ ἐκστατικὴν ὑπερούσιον δύναμιν ἀνεφοίτητον ἑαυτοῦ ». 52 ND IV, 13, cf. PG 3, 712Β [éd. Suchla, p. 159 18-20]: « Καὶ ὅλως τοῦ καλοῦ καὶ ἀγαθοῦ ἐστι τὸ ἐραστὸν καὶ ὁ ἔρως καὶ ἐν τῷ καλῷ καὶ ἀγαθῷ προΐδρυται καὶ διὰ τὸ καλὸν καὶ ἀγαθὸν ἔστι καὶ γίνεται ». 53 ND IV, 13, cf. PG 3, 712Β [éd. Suchla, p. 15914-18. 54 Exode 20, 5 ; 34, 14. 51


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 113 verset, qui est l’un des fondements de la loi monothéïste, Dieu réclame irrévocablement et exclusivement pour Soi tout amour et toute fidélité du peuple qu’il choisit et avec lequel Il fait une alliance. En cas d’infidélite ou d’adultère avec d’autres „dieux”, Il se réserve le droit de fureur punitive spécifique et de rage jalouse55. Le sens christologique de l’éros crucifié ignatien La seule citation patristique mentionnée par Denys à l’appui de la légitimation du sens chrétien de l’éros et de son adéquation aux réalités spirituelles vécues par le chrétien dans le milieu ecclésial est un passage de saint Ignace d’Antioche. Il introduit cette citation par souligner que ce mot a été considéré par certains des théologues (ἱερολόγων), même plus divin (θειότερον) que celui d’agapè: „Καίτοι ἔδοξέ τισι τῶν καθ’ ἡμᾶς ἱερολόγων καὶ θειότερον εἶναι τὸ τοῦ ἔρωτος ὄνομα τοῦ τῆς ἀγάπης. Γράφει δὲ καὶ ὁ θεῖος Ἰγνάτιος· «Ὁ ἐμὸς ἔρως ἐσταύρωται»”56. L’accent est mis sur l’expression „mon éros est crucifié” et le contexte plus ample dans lequel Saint Ignace fait cette affirmation est la suivante : „Ὁ ἐμὸς ἔρως ἐσταύρωται καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἐμοὶ πῦρ φιλόϋλον”57. On pourrait très bien associer le sens du message de saint Ignace aux paroles adressées par saint Paul aux galatiens : „Ceux qui sont au Christ Jésus ont crucifié en eux la chair, avec ses passions et ses convoitises „ (2, 24) et „le monde est crucifié pour moi, et moi pour le monde” (6, 14).

Pietro Bovati, „Jalousie divine”, Dictionnaire critique de théologie, publié sous la direction de Jean-Yves Lacoste, Presses Universitaire de France, 1998, pp. 589-590 ; et G. Rotoureau, Amour de Dieu, amour des hommes, Aubier-Montaigne, Paris 1967, pp. 71-74. 56 ND IV, 12, cf. PG 3, 709Β [éd. Suchla, p. 157 9-11]. 57 Ignace d’Antioche, Πρὸς Ρωμαίους, VII, 3, Souces Chrétiennes 10, p. 116 55


114 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ L’expression d’Ignace: „mon éros a été crucifié” est citée par Origène dans le Prologue de son Commentaire sur le Cantique des Cantiques58. Selon A. von Harnack l’éros désignerait dans ce passage d’Ignace exclusivement l’amour passion de la chair et toute interpretation patristique, à partier d’Origène (et par extension chez Denys), qui attribue l’identification de Christ avec l’éros qui a été chrucifié serait inéxacte et fausse59. Dans son exegèse de l’expression ignatienne, Origène lui offre un sens christologique, en identifiant Christ avec l’éros crucifié ou l’éros comme l’un des noms du Christ. L’auteur du corpus aréopagitique cite à son tour l’expression ignatienne et on ne pourrait pas préciser s’il connaissait ou non l’interprétation christologique d’Origène. En tout cas, même s’il aie connu l’exégèse origeniène de cette expression, il lui aurait été impossible de citer son auteur du moment où lui-même se légitime en tant que disciple de l’apôtre Paul, c’est-à-dire comme exponant d’une tradition presque apostolique, en tout cas antérieure à Origène. Et pour que la tradition ne lui attribue une telle interprétation, Denys préfère ne pas donner explicitement cette interprétation à la formulation ignatienne, bien qu’il la cite pour appuyer son concept profondément chrétien de l’éros, mais il n’aurait pu citer ni Origène, bien qu’il soit vraisemblablement conscient de la signification que celui-ci donnait aux paroles ignatiennes. Le contexte plus large de la rédaction du livre sur Les Noms Divins justifie plainement l’application d’une telle interprétation christologique, qui „Denique memini aliquem sanctorum dixisse, Ignatium nomine, de Christo: «Meus autem amor crucifixus est», nec reprehendi eum pro | hoc dignum iudico”), Prol. 2, 37, SC 375, pp. 116-117. 59 Voire A. von Harnack, Der «Eros» in der alten christlichen Literatur. Sitzungsberichte der kön. Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophische-historische Klasse, 1918, pp. 84-85, 91-92, text reluat volumul Kleine Schriften zur Alten Kirche, Leipzig, 1980, pp. 499-500, 506. La thèse de Harnack est contestée par A.H. Amstrong, „Platonic Eros and christian Agape”, The Downside Review, 1961, p. 119, nota 17, et par le père Henry Crouzel, Virginité et mariage selon Origène, Museum Lessianum, section théologique 58, Desclée de Brouwer, Paris-Bruges, 1963, pp. 70, 73-75. 58


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 115 se plie parfaitement sur l’argument de l’enregistrement du nom d’éros parmis les autres noms de Dieu, à côté des autres noms „bien”, „beauté”, „sagesse”, „vérité”, „vie” et autres. Pour cette raison, on pourrait affirmer que c’est fausse l’exégèse qui exclut cette interprétation des paroles de saint Ignace60. Dans la tradition chrétienne postérieure, l’expression d’Ignace est reprise dans le même sens et explicitement pas seulement par Denis, mais aussi par saint Théodore le Studite, dans un ouvrage sauvegardé, paradoxalement comme celle d’Origène, seulement en traduction latine: „amour Meus crucifixus Est Christus”61.

L’éros et le contexte nuptial dans l’exegèse patristique Même si Ignace soit la seule référence patristique citée explicitement par l’auteur des écrits aréopagitiques, à côté des enseignements de son maître Hiérotheos, elle ne pourrait pas être considérée comme l’unique source d’inspiration pour la conception dionysienne sur l’éros divin. Comme on a déjà dit, il lui avait été impossible de citer des ouvrages propres à une tradition des premiers siècles sans abandonner la prétendue filiation spirituelle directe à l’âge apostolique. Mais il y a une abondante exegèse théologique des premiers cinques siècles qui véhicule la notion d’éros divin et ses dérivés. Il s’agit surtout des interprétations à La Cantique des Cantiques, c’est à dire au contexte nuptial, le plus favorable à un développement du

Voir aussi des contre-arguments chez Th. Camelot, Ignace d’Antioche, Paris, 1945, p. 104; Agapè. Prolégomènes à une étude de théologie néo-testamentaire, Studia Hellenistica 10, Publications Universitaires de Louvain, 1955, p. 10, note 7. 61 Théodore le Studite, Κατηχήσεις διδακτικαί, PG 99, 512. On peut consulter une incursion parmis les repères d’une présence du terme éros dans les écrits patristiques chez Ἠλία Βουλγαράκη, „Γιὰ τὸν ἔρωτα στοὺς Πατέρες”, Σύναξη 32 (1989), pp. 7-26. 60


116 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ vocabulaire érotique chrétien appliqué à Dieu et à ses relations àl’homme et au monde. Le langage mystique et les images nuptiales se trouvent dans des œuvres des premiers chrétiens, à partir du milieu syriaque des Odes de Solomon (οἱ Ὠδές τοῦ Σολομῶντος)62 datant d’avant l’année 125 après Chr. et Les Actes de Thomas (οἱ Πράξεις τοῦ Θωμᾶ)63, dont l’auteur serait contemporain d’Origène, bien que quelques centaines de miles plus loin de lui, dans un environnement culturel et linguistique assez différent. Origène a assimilé créativement le terme le „ἔρως” au troisième siècle. Bien sûr, cet auteur est important en ce qui concerne le processus de christianisation du terme et sa théologie a représenté le long des siècles une importante source d’inspiration pour la pensée patristique. Sa conception sur l’éros est mise en lumière dans l’interprétation qu’il fait à La Cantique des Cantiques64, conservée en traduction latine: deux Homélies sur le Cantique des Cantiques traduites en latin par Jérôme65 et un commentaire sur le Cantique des Cantiques dans la traduction latine de Rufin66.

Voir la traduction anglaise The Odes of Solomon, Missoula, 1977. Voir aussi Divo Barsotti, La dottrina dell’amore nei Padri della Chiesa fino a Ireneo, Editrice Vita e Pensiero, Milano, 1963, pp. 111-136. 63 Acta Apostolorum Apocripha, ed. M. Bonnet, vol. 2.2, Olms, Hildesheim, 1972, pp. 99-288, spécialement les paragraphes 11-16 et 124. Voire aussi la version anglaise Acta Thomae, ediţia lui Schneemelcher, The Apocryphal New Testament, tr. R. McL Wilson, Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 322-337. 64 Pour les différences d’interprétation du Cantique des Cantiques entre Origène et le judaïsme, voir Daniel Boyarin, „The Song of Songs: Lock or Key? Intertextuality, Allegory and Midrash”, The Book and the Text. The Bible and Literary Theory, ed. Regina M. Schwarz, Basil Blackwell, Cambridge 1990, p. 214-230. 65 Origène, Homélies sur le Cantique des Cantiques, introduction, traduction d’après la version latine de Jerôme et des notes par Dom Olivier Rousseau, Sources Chrétiennes 37bis, a II-ème édition, Les Editions du Cerf, Paris 1966. 66 Origène, Commentaire sur le Cantique des Cantiques, SC 375 vol. I, SC 376 vol. II, le texte de la version latine de Rufin, introduction, traduction et notes par Luc Brésard, Henri Crouzel et Marcel Borret, Les Editions du Cerf, 1991-1992. 62


Les sources et l’identite de l’«Eros» divin… 117 Le deuxième siècle chrétien, le terme ἔρως apparaît investi de connotation positives dans les écrits de sait Justin le Martyre et le Philosophe67 et après, pendant que le troixième siècle, dans les oeuvres de Clément d’Alexandrie68: Les quinze homélies sur le Cantique des Cantiques de saint Grégoire de Nysse ont été rédigées aux environs de 386 à 391 et et elles suivent la méthode interprétative dans la ligne d’Origène centrée sur la description de l’unio mystica par l’intérmédiaire de l’éros69. Les Homélies macariennes attribuées à saint Macaire d’Égypte70, contiennent aussi beaucoup de passages relatives à la relation entre l’âme et Dieu, décrite au moyen de l’éros, attribué à la fois à Dieu et à l’homme, tout comme dans le corpus dionysien.

Voire le Dialogue avec le juif Triphon, PG 6, 492: « ἐμοῦ δὲ παραχρῆμα πῦρ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ ἀνήφθηƼ καὶ ἔρως ἔχει με τῶν προφητῶν καὶ τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνωνƼ οἵ εἰσι Χριστοῦ φίλοι ». 68 Pour l’éros comme vertu, voire le Pédagogue PG 8, 229 D; 360 C; pour l’éros comme amour de l’homme pour Dieu, voir le Protreptique II, PG 8, 236 D. „Clemens ersetzt absichtlich das biblische Wort ἀγάπη durch das andere, damals zietgemäße ἔρως, ohne daß dies eine inhaltliche Verschiebung zur Folge gehabt hätte. Legt er doch seine wahre Meinung in die beiden Adjektiva οὐράνιος und θεῖος hinein und läßt diesen ἔρως wie die ἀγάπη ein göttliches Geschenk sein”, Walther Völker, Der wahre Gnostiker nach Clemens Alexandrinus, Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 57. Band – V. Reihe, Band 2, Akademie – Verlag Berlin in Arbeitsgemeinschaft mit dem J.C. Hinrichs Verlag – Leipzig, 1952, p. 481. 69 Martin Laird, «Under Solomon’s Tutelage: The Education of Desire in the Homilies of the Song of Songs», Modern Theology 18:4 (2002), pp. 507-525, et Anthony Meredith, Gregory of Nyssa, Routledge, London – New York 1999, pp. 136-160; Alain Durel, Éros transfiguré: variations sur Grégoire de Nysse, Cerf, Paris 2007; Selene M. Benedetta Zorzi, Desiderio della bellezza: da Platone a Gregorio di Nissa, trace di una rifrazionne teologico-semantica, Studia Anselmiana 145, Pontificio Ateneo S. Anselmo, Roma 2007, și Jean Daniélou, Platonisme et théologie mystique. Essai sur la doctrine spirituelle de Saint Grégoire de Nysse, Aubier, Paris 1944, pp. 211-220; Gabriel Horn, «L’amour divin: note sur le mot „érôs” dans saint Grégoire de Nysse», Revue d’ascétique et de mystique 6 (1925), pp. 378-389. 70 Ὁμιλίαι Πνευματικαί (Homiliae spirituales 50), PG 34, 449-822 [Hermann Dörries, Erich Klostermann, Μatthias Kroeger (ed.), Die 50 geistlichen Homilien des Makarios, Seria: Patristische Texte und Studien 4, Walter De Gruyter, Berlin, 1964]. 67


118 Florin-Cătălin Ghiţ Enfin, conformémént au corpus aréopagitique qui s’inscrit dans une tradition chrétienne clairement définie, l’éros s’est renouvelé, purifié, délivré de ses propres limites antiques et se laisse pris par le flux de l’amour agape divin. En se retournant envers son origine, l’eros se retrouve et s’accomplit en faisant de lui-même un amour comme Dieu, en Dieu et de Dieu. En aimant Dieu, l’éros aime la totalité de la création de la manière que Dieu même le fait, extatiquement, érotiquement. L’éros retrouve par renoncement tout ce que sa passion le faisait perdre. L’éros parvient à concentrer les fonctions d’une antenne qui intercèpte et capture l’amour divin, mais qui transmet en même cet amour tant envers toute la création qu’envers sa source, en doxologie, communiquant à la fois cet amour à toute la création et doxologiquement à sa source, Dieu qui est amour, y compris éros.


A Note on Plotinus’ Double Activity Theory… 119

A NOTE ON PLOTINUS’ DOUBLE ACTIVITY THEORY AND ITS INFLUENCE ON SOME CHURCH FATHERS

Marius Portaru

C

an we speak of a significant influence or of any influence at all of Plotinus’ double activity theory on patristic metaphysics and theology? This question is new and possibly helpful in shedding light on some metaphysical difficulties of the so-called Christian Neoplatonism (Dionysius, Maximus et alii)1. In this brief note, I try to point to what should prevent us from drawing any consistent parallel between Plotinus and Dionysius–Maximus on this score. I will first analyse briefly Plotinus’ distinction between internal activity and external activity, and then I will compare it with some essential features of Dionysius’ and Maximus’ description of the relationship between God and his creatures. Plotinus’ doctrine of metaphysical causation has been recently used for the first time by Torstein Theodore TOLLEFSEN to explain Gregory of Nyssa’s, Dionysius the Ps.-Areopagite’s and Maximus the Confessor’s conception of participation, see his book Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought, Oxford University Press 2012, especially the Introduction (1-11) and Chapter 1 (21-31). Unfortunately, we are not offered sufficient arguments, both textual and philosophical, that such a parallel and influence can necessarily be established.

1


120 Marius Portaru Plotinus introduced the concepts of activity of the substance (ἐνέργεια τῆς οὐσίας) and activity from the substance (ἐνέργεια ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας) in order to explain the generation of the Intellect from the One2. The first act of generation is described in Ennead V.2.1.7-9: „the One, perfect because it seeks nothing, has nothing, and needs nothing, overflows, as it were, and its superabundance makes something other than itself (οἷον ὑπερεῤῥύη καὶ τὸ ὑπερπλῆρες αὐτοῦ πεποίηκεν ἄλλο)”3.

Anything in the universe that comes to perfection must produce, making something else (ἕτερον ποιοῦν), and this is all the more true of the first Good, which is the most perfect and the productive power of all things (ἡ πάντων δύναμις) (Εnnead V.4.1.27-36). The principle that what is perfect must produce can be traced back to Plato (Symposium 207c-208b) and Aristotle (De Anima II.4 415a26-b2), with the difference that Aristotle does not apply it to the Prime Mover. The One is „beyond being” (Ennead V.4.2.37-38; cf. Republic 509b9), and while it produces, it is necessary that it „abides in its proper way of life” (Ennead V.4.2.37-38; cf. Timaeus 42e5-6). The obvious question at this point is: how can the One overflow, producing out of itself, and still remain unchanged? Plotinus hopes to solve this difficulty by

There are relatively few and brief treatments of Plotinus’ double-energy theory: Christian RUTTEN, ‘La doctrine des deux acts dans la philosophie de Plotin’, in Revue philosophique de la France et de l’Etranger 146 (1956), 100-106; Andrew SMITH, Porphyry’s Place in the Neoplatonic Tradition. A Study in Post-Plotinian Neoplatonism, The Hague 1974, 1-19; A.C. LLOYD, The Anatomy of Neoplatonism, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1990, 98-105; Lloyd P. GERSON, Plotinus, Routledge 1994, 18-35; Jean-Marc NARBONNE, La métaphysique de Plotin, Paris 1994, 61-72; David BRADSHAW, Aristotle East and West. Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom, Cambridge University Press 2004, 73-96; Eyjolfur Kjalar EMILSSON, Plotinus on Intellect, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2007, 22-68 (the most lengthy study to date). 3 I take the Greek text from Plotini Opera, P. Henry – H. R. Schwyzer (eds.), vol. I-III, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1964, 1977, 1982. Unless otherwise stated, the English translation is that of A. H. Armstrong in the Loeb Classical Library. 2


A Note on Plotinus’ Double Activity Theory… 121 distinguishing between the activity of the substance and the activity from the substance: „If, then, something comes into being while the Intelligible abides in itself, it comes into being from it when it is most of all what it is. When, therefore, the Intelligible abides in its proper way of life, that which comes into being does come into being from it, but from it as it abides unchanged. (…) But how, when that abides unchanged, does Intellect come into being? In each and every thing there is an activity which belongs to substance (ἐνέργεια τῆς οὐσίας), and one which goes out from substance (ἐνέργεια ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας); and that which belongs to substance is the active actuality which is each particular thing (ἡ μὲν τῆς οὐσίας αὐτό ἐστιν ἐνέργεια ἕκαστον), and the other activity derives from that first one, and must in everything be a consequence of it, different from the thing itself: as in fire there is a heat which is the content of its substance, and another which comes into being from that primary heat when fire exercises the activity which is native to its substance in abiding unchanged as fire. So it is also in the higher world; and much more so there, while the Principle abides in its own proper way of life, the activity generated from the perfection in it and its coexistent activity (συνούσης ἐνεργείας) acquires substantial existence (ὑπόστασιν λαβοῦσα), since it comes from a great power, the greatest indeed of all, and arrives at being (τὸ εἶναι) and substance (οὐσία): for that Principle is beyond being. That is the productive power of all things, and its product is already all things”. (Ennead V.4.2.19-39)

Let us begin by underlining those few features that are essential to the doctrine of double activity. First, each and every one thing in the universe has an activity of the substance, which is each particular thing, or otherwise put, constitutes it. Armstrong’s translation of ἐνέργεια as „active actuality” in this context is right in that it preserves the specifically Aristotelian meaning of „actuality”, but it adds the adjective „active” which is only and rather remotely implied by Plotinus’s text. ἐνέργεια as actuality cannot be distinct from the substance or the thing itself, and so „energy of the substance” is merely


122 Marius Portaru a way of saying „the thing itself”. The translation „active actuality” is implied, however, by the fact that the One is „the productive power of all things”: if the activity of the substance includes the meaning of „productive power (δύναμις) „ beside „actuality”, then it is reasonable to conclude that Plotinus – it is not clear how consciously – implies a distinction between the substance of the One and its internal activity. Since it is certain that the One is also productive, being different from the Prime Mover of Aristotle4, Plotinus has a particular interest to declare the One a productive power. Obviously, if the activity of the substance is something distinct from the substance itself, then a duality of being and movement would be introduced into the One, and consequently it would not abide unchanged in the process of generation. So, the activity of the substance must be identical with the substance itself, and Plotinus must find another way to account for the One as the productive power of all things, a way according to which δύναμις is not place at the level of what the One is in itself. This seems to be confirmed by the two different expressions „from it” and „from it as it abides unchanged” in our text: „that which comes into being does come into being from it, but from it as it abides unchanged (ἐξ αὐτοῦ μὲν τὸ γινόμενον γίνεται, μένοντος δὲ γίνεται, Ennead V.4.2.21-22) „.

Our text does not suggest anywhere else to look for an understanding of how the One is the transcendent and productive power of all things other than towards the concept of activity from the substance. What are we told about it? It derives from the activity of the substance, that is, from the One itself, and is a necessary consequence of it in everything. This is illustrated by the metaphor of fire: in the fire there is a heat that constitutes the content of its substance, and See John M. RIST, „The One of Plotinus and the God of Aristotle”, in The Review of Metaphysics 27 (1973), 75-87.

4


A Note on Plotinus’ Double Activity Theory… 123 another heat that comes into being from the primary heat and reaches external objects and warms them5. In this sense, the ἐνέργεια from the substance appears like a sort of activity, and its translation through „activity” is highly justified, though it leaves intact the difficulties concerning the activity from the substance of the One. There is indeed a fundamental difference between the activity from substance in the realm of the three primary Hypostases and that of material things: the former acquires hypostatic existence, becoming the internal activity6/energy of the essence of the two lower Hypostases. Plotinus’ terminology in the final part of our text poses problems (Ennead V.4.2.33-38): first, he calls the activity of the substance συνούσης ἐνεργείας, coexistent activity, which conflicts with the previous expression that the activity of the substance is the thing itself, perfectly identical with the essence. Most likely, these expressions are synonyms. Secondly, he calls the activity from the substance which acquires hypostatic or substantial existence γεννηθεῖσα ἐνέργεια, the activity that has been generated. In other words, the activity from the substance of the One is identical with the internal activity of the Intellect: the Intellect gazes upon the One, and the Soul upon the Intellect (Ennead V.1.6.31-48; V.2.1.7-22). The activity from the substance of the One is substantialised and becomes „something else” (Ennead V.2.1.7-9); the activity from the substance is simply something else, a different Hypostasis, the internal activity of a different Hypostasis. Τhird, it is not clear at all how the explanation that the activity from the substance of the One becomes substantialised is supposed to work: „because it comes from a great power” (ὅτι ἐκ μεγάλης δυνάμεως), Plotinus argues. The productive power of the One should be connected with its activity from the substance, if the introduction of duality in the One is to be avoided, but 5 This example can be traced back as far as Plato, Phaedo 103cd, where an explicit distinction between fire and „hot” is made. 6 It is right to call the energy of the essence of the Intellect or the Soul an ‘activity’, because they are already dual in their being.


124 Marius Portaru then explaining how the activity from the substance becomes substantialised through the power which it has to account for is merely begging the question. A plausible explanation could be the following: Plotinus calls the One the power of all things meaning primarily the substantial effects of emanation, but faces difficulties when he tries to articulate the process of emanation. Why – someone might object – is it not sufficient to say that the activity from the substance is distinct from the substance of the One and that it is identical with the δύναμις of all? There is only one sense in which this could be affirmed: inasmuch as the Intellect is already all things and the hypostasised activity from the substance of the One becomes the Intellect, then the One produces indeed all things through the Intellect. This explanation has the virtue of solving another terminological inconsistency: Plotinus says in our text that the One is beyond being, but he still attributes it a substance with a double activity7. This ceases to be a problem if he intends to say that the level of ousia starts with Intellect and that the external energy of the One is hypostasised as Intellect. This solution requires a final clarification of the meaning of Plotinus’ attribution of a double energy to the One and of the relationship between the activity of the substance and the activity from the substance of the One. Are they two distinct activities, or rather one activity, or maybe there is no activity at all in the One? In Plotinus’ view, all activity is directed to something else within a general teleology of conversion (self-constitution) in the hierarchical process of emanation. In the case of the Intellect, of the Soul and of the lower beings there is no special problem when we talk about an internal and an external activity/energy, because these are dual or multiple in their This difficulty is discussed by D. Bradshaw, Aristotle East and West..., 78, 85-91. Bradshaw suggests there is an evolution in Plotinus’ articulation of the double activity theory, which goes from attributing activity to the One to finally denying it any internal activity. I believe there is strong textual evidence in favour of Bradshaw’s reading, which inspires partly my present reconstruction of the double activity theory. 7


A Note on Plotinus’ Double Activity Theory… 125 nature, but the One is not, and attributing to it activity raises the question: towards what could such activity be directed? If all thinking and activity is directed towards the Good, „the Good would certainly not have any place for thinking: for the Good for the thinking principle must be something different from itself. So the Good is without activity (ἀνενέργητον)” (Ennead V.6.6.1-3).

In another text, we read that the Intellect is „the first activity (of the One) and the first thinking, which has neither activity nor thinking before it (πρώτη δὴ οὖσα αὕτη ἐνέργεια καὶ πρώτη νόησις οὐκ ἂν ἔχοι οὔτε ἐνέργειαν πρὸ αὑτῆς οὔτε νόησιν)”(Ennead VI.7.40.22-24).

In Ennead VI.8.16, Plotinus writes that the One „gives itself existence”, „acts”, „is his self-directed activity”, but all these expressions have to be understood as said through analogy and improper to the One, if Plotinus wants to avoid introducing duality into the One and thus falling short of the criticism he brought to the Prime Mover of Aristotle, conceived of as self-thinking thought. This is confirmed by other texts: „In order that anything else may exist, it is necessary that the One should keep absolutely quiet by itself: otherwise, it will move before there is movement, and think before there is thinking. (…) If we are to make a rational statement, we shall state that the first activity, which, so to speak, flows from it like a light from the sun, is Intellect” (Ennead V.3.12) [italics mine].

The primary Good „must not be the Good by activity or thought, but by reason of its very abiding. For because it is beyond being, it transcends activity (ἐπέκεινα καὶ ἐνεργείας) and transcends mind and thought” (Ennead 1.7.1).


126 Marius Portaru All these leaves us with the following: the One has no activity at all, or if we choose to speak through analogy and attribute to it some kind of substance, then the One is completely identical with this substance and no distinction between substance and activity can be envisaged in it. If, again by analogy, we speak about an activity of the substance, this should be understood as pure actuality, as One’s being-what-it-is, „the thing itself”. There is no internal activity of the One. The activity from the substance of the One, on the other hand, is hypostasised as the Intellect, is the Intellect itself, and as such is completely different from the One. The Intellect is the „first activity” of the One, where the expression „first activity” is said by analogy about the One, but not about the Intellect, which is dual in its nature, having an internal activity and an external one. Its internal activity is the activity of contemplating the One, and this constitutes it as the second Hypostasis. This amounts to saying that there is no internal and no external activity of the One: there is the One and the Intellect, within a relationship of ontological dependence of the Intellect upon the One. The way the Intellect derives from the One remains completely mysterious, approximated only through metaphors. The One is the power of all things through the Intellect, which is already all things, thus as there is no activity in the One there is no δύναμις at all8.

E. K. Emilsson, Plotinus on Intellect…, 29-30, is of the opinion that Plotinu’s internal activities are liable to be called powers (δυνάμεις). He notes that Plotinus distinguishes between being potentially something (in the Aristotelian sense) and having the power of something. The second sense of δύναμις, the power to do something ‘is not the external act itself, but the internal one referred to as the productive cause of the external one’. This is correct when said of the Intellect and the lower beings. Emilsson goes further and explains Plotinus’ description of the One as the πάντων δύναμις in the same way: ‘The idea is rather that the One is a kind of activity in its own right in virtue of which it is the power of producing all things, properly so called’. However, I believe the texts I have quoted above prevent us from concluding that Plotinus would predicate the πάντων δύναμις directly about the One itself; he would say instead that the One is such through the Intellect.

8


A Note on Plotinus’ Double Activity Theory… 127 Already in Plotinus, the double activity theory was intended to account, among other things, for ontological multiplicity: „For when [Intellect] is active in itself, the products of its activity are the other intellects, but when it acts outside itself, the product is Soul. And since Soul acts as genus or specific form, the other souls act as specific forms. And the activities of these are double: that which is directed above is intellect, that which is directed below is the other powers in proportion and order; the last of them is already grasping and sharing matter” (Enneads VI.2.22.26-32).

This is inherited and developed by Proclus, who equates internal activity with the reversion to self (Elements of Theology 40-51, esp. 44)9, the latter being understood as a process by which a certain principle undergoes internal multiplication10. The internal and the external activities are conceived of as two distinct activities, the external being dependent on the internal one11. 9 Proclus, The Elements of Theology, a revised text with translation, introduction and commentary by E. R. Dodds, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1963, 43-51. ‘On the other hand, that which can remain firmly seated in itself is self-productive (ἑαυτοῦ παρακτικὸν ἐστιν), since it proceeds from itself to itself: it has the power of containing itself, and is in itself not spatially, nor as in a substrate, but as the effect is in the cause. For space and substrate are alike distinct from their content, whereas the principles in question are self-identical. Such a term, therefore, exists in itself by self-constitution, and as the consequent exists in the cause’ (prop. 41); ‘For it, being capable of reversion upon itself in its activity, it were not reversive in its existence, its activity would be superior to its existence, the former being reversive, the latter not: inasmuch as what belongs to itself is superior to that which belongs wholly to another, and what conserves itself is more complete than that which is conserved wholly by another. If, then, anything is capable of reversion upon itself in respect of the activity which proceeds from its existence, its existence is likewise reversive, so that it not only has an activity directed upon itself but also belongs to itself and is by itself contained and perfected’ (prop. 44). 10 See Stephen GERSH, From Iamblichus to Eriugena. An Investigation of the Prehistory and Evolution of the Pseudo-Dionysian Tradition, Leiden 1978, 124-136. 11 τοιαύτη γὰρ ἡ κατὰ φύσιν τῶν πραγμάτων τάξις, τῆς μὲν ἔνδον ἐνεργείας ἠρτῆσθαι τὴν ἔξω προϊοῦσαν, τῆς δὲ παντελοῦς τῶν ἰδεῶν μονάδος τὸν ὅλον κόσμον, τῶν δὲ διακεκριμένων μονάδων τὰ ἐνταῦθα μέρη τοῦ παντός, Proclus,


128 Marius Portaru When philosophically trained Fathers of the Church – Gregory of Nyssa12, Dionysius the Ps.-Areopagite and Maximus the Confessor – came in contact with Neoplatonism, they needed to modify those features which they decided are unhelpful in articulating their own Christian doctrine. Above all, they eliminated any trace of subordinationism from the conception of the divine Trinity (the Council of Nicaea in 325 was decisive in this respect and its decisions definitive); they replaced the doctrine of emanation13 with the doctrine of creation of everything, including matter, out of nothing14; the doctrine of self-determinated beings was thoroughly modified15 – God becomes the only self-determined Being, while all other beings are in a perpetual process of self-determination, better said, of deification, which will never be fully attained, since this would imply equality with God or being God; the Neoplatonic fundamental dichotomy between the intelligible and the sensible is integrated into a new, more fundamental one, between Creator and creatures. This is the general philosophical-theological framework through which they must have evaluated the doctrine of metaphysical causation of the double-energy.

In Platonis Parmenidem Commentaria 791.16-19, Carlos Steel (ed.), vol. I, Oxford University Press 2007, 201. 12 John M. Rist proved that Basil only late in his life used some Neoplatonic ideas, and that he might have taken them from Gregory of Nyssa, see John M. RIST, ‘Basil’s “Neoplatonism”: Its Background and Nature’, in P. J. Fedwick (ed.), Basil of Caesarea: Christian, Humanist, Ascetic (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies 1981), 137–220; John M. RIST, ‘Plotinus and Christian Philosophy’, in L. P. Gerson (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Plotinus, Cambridge University Press 1996, 386–413. 13 On the subtitles of Plotinus’ doctrine of emanation and on what it has in common with a doctrine of creation, see L. P. Gerson, Plotinus, 22-28. 14 On this, see in particular Harry A. WOLFSON, ‘The identification of ex nihilo with emanation in Gregory of Nyssa’, in Andrew Blane (ed.), The Ecumenical World of Orthodox Civilization. Russia and Orthodoxy: volume III – Essays in honour of Georges Florovsky, The Hague – Paris 1974, 35-42. 15 S. Gersh, From Iamblichus to Eriugena…, 181-190.


A Note on Plotinus’ Double Activity Theory… 129 I would like to suggest that implicit reactions to it are particularly visible in The Divine Names II16 and in Ambiguum 717. In The Divine Names II.1, Dionysius the Ps.-Areopagite starts by making it clear that all divine names refer to God in his entirety and are common to all three divine Persons, thus ruling out any subordinationism: „I have shown how in Scripture all the names appropriate to God are praised regarding the whole, entire, full, and complete divinity rather than any part of it, and that they all refer indivisibly, absolutely, unreservedly, and totally to God in his entirety” (DN 2.1, 122.6-10; 123.13-16; 124.9-11)18.

In this sense, for instance, „The whole Godhead is life” (DN 2.1, 123.6), and – we may add – the whole Godhead is good, the whole Godhead is wisdom, the whole Godhead is light etc. Dionysius is aware that this strong and unqualified emphasis on unity runs the risk of introducing ontological confusion (σύγχυσις) in God (DN 2.2, 124.16-18), so he continues to reveal that there is a difference in God between what is united (τὰ ἡνωμένα) and what is distinct (τὰ Dionysius the Ps.-Areopagite, Corpus Dionysiacum I: De divinis nominibus, ed. Beate Regina Suchla, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin – New York, 1990, 122-137. 17 Maximus the Confessor, On Difficulties in the Church Fathers. The Ambigua, edited and translated by Nicholas Constas, (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 28), vol. I, Harvard University Press 2014, 75-141. S. Gersh, From Iamblichus to Eriugena…, 185 ff., reduces the discussion of the double-energy theory to the discussion of the doctrine of self-reversion, and offers only an allusion to its modification by Christian authors: ‘the postulation of an external activity to God in contrast to his internal activity becomes more hesitant’, 185, and n. 263. For Plotinus, for instance, the doctrine of double-energy can be applied to non-spiritual beings as well, which are not capable to revert upon themselves. Gersh also limits his attention to only one meaning of ἐνέργεια, namely that of ‘activity’, see below in the text. 18 Unless otherwise stated, I take the translation from Pseudo-Dionysius. The Complete Works, translated by Colm Luibheid, Paulist Press, New York 1987. When quoting Dionysius’ text, beside the internal division of DN II, I give the page and line number in Suchla’s critical edition. 16


130 Marius Portaru διακεκριμένα). What is united – the transcendently good, the transcendently divine, the transcendent life, the transcendently wise – are common to the whole Godhead, together with the realities that are called good, beautiful, being, life-giving because they are the cause of all good gifts granted to creation (DN II.3, 125.13-19). What is distinct is not common to the whole Godhead: the divine Persons and the incarnated condition of Jesus (ἡ καθ᾽ἡμᾶς Ἰησοῦ ὕπαρξις, DN II.3, 125.19-126.2). In the next chapter, Dionysius develops the same distinction, putting aside the divine Persons: what is united in the Godhead is the divine hiddenness (κρυφία), and what is distinct are the benign processions and manifestations (ἀγαθοπρεπεῖς προόδους τε καὶ ἐκφάνσεις) (DN ΙΙ.4, 126.7-11). Though Dionysius’ terminology is original, this last formulation is equivalent to Basil’s distinction between God’s transcendent being and his energies which are communicated to creatures, an equivalence confirmed by DN II.7, 131.5-1019. The context allows us to understand that Dionysius uses πρόοδος ἐκφάνσεις μεταδόσεις δυνάμεις μετοχαί μετουσία ἐνέργειαι interchangeably20. This pronounced sense of unity and wholeness extends to the created minds as well, which have the possibility of participating in all divine lights (DN II.4, 128.3-7). This conception of God not only does away with Trinitarian subordiantionism, but it also overcomes emanationism as a mediated and hierarchical communication of being from higher realities to lower. God’s processions, powers and energies are ontologically the same when they remain in His hiddenness and when they proceed to created angelic and human beings, for they are not hypostasised or substantialised when proceeding ad extra to creatures, but instead See also Hierom. Alexander GOLITZIN, Et introibo ad altare Dei. The Mystagogy of Dionysius Areopagita, with special reference to its predecessors in the Eastern Christian Tradition, (Analecta Blatadon 59), Thessaloniki 1994, 59-61; Jean-Claude LARCHET, La théologie des énergies divines. Dès origins à saint Jean Damascène, Paris 2010, 150-162; 304ff. 20 Cf. DN II 126.10-11, 128.15-129.3, 131.5-13, 135.15, 136.7; DN IX.9, 213.14. 19


A Note on Plotinus’ Double Activity Theory… 131 they substantialise a created otherness, they grant it life and wisdom (...μεταδόσεις, αἱ οὐσιώσεις, αἱ ζωώσεις, αἱ σοφοποιήσεις, DN II.5, 129.1). This is essentially different from Plotinus’ double activity theory of metaphysical causation, first, because it makes the number two characterising the activity useless, and second, because the expressions God an intra and God ad extra are not equivalent to Plotinus’ ontological distinction between the internal activity of self-multiplication and the external activity of producing a lower reality21, but rather indicate two modes of being of God and his – one and the same – natural energy22. Given God’s unified natural energy, one and the same, we understand how Dionysius can say that the participants participate in the whole divinity, not only in a part of it: „…if divine differentiation is the good procession of the divine unity transcending unity, multiplying itself out of goodness and becoming many, then the things united even within the divine differentiation are transcendent impartings, which grant being, life, wisdom, and all the gifts of the good cause of all. It is according to these gifts that the things which are participated in in a way above participation23 are praised through participations and those who participate. Now this is a unity and one and common to the whole divinity, Enneads VI.2.22.26-32, which influenced Proclus to equate internal activity with the reversion to self as a process by which a certain principle undergoes internal multiplication, cf. The Elements of Theology 40-51, esp. 44. 22 DN II displays at least four meanings of ἐνέργεια (and of its equivalents πρόοδος ἐκφάνσεις μεταδόσεις δυνάμεις μετοχαί μετουσία): 1) motion or activity in the ordinary sense: walking, eating etc.; 2) actuality, introduced in ontology by Aristotle, who also coined the word ἐνέργεια – for a discussion of the origin of Aristotle’s actuality by separating the sense of motion from activity, see John M. RIST, The Mind of Aristotle. A Study in Philosophical Growth, Toronto University Press 1989, 105-119; 3) substantial overflowing, a Neoplatonic and Christian meaning, which includes the first basic meaning of motion; 4) divine name, by metonymy, because the names we give to God are actually given to one of his energies (DN II.7, 131.5-10; see also Gregory of Nyssa, Ad Ablabium quod non sint tres Dei). 23 C. Luibheid translates ἀμεθέκτως through ‘[gifts which] do no themselves participate [in anything higher]’, p. 62: it is a very valuable translation from a theological point of view, but I believe it does not correspond to the primary meaning of this adverb in the context. 21


132 Marius Portaru that its entire wholeness is participated in by each of those who participate in it, and that none participates in only a part”. (DN II.5, 128.15-129.6; translation mine)

This text attests an important metaphysical shift from Plotinus and Proclus. For these two philosophers the internal activity of the Intellect and the Soul is a process of reversion to self, which produces self-multiplication. To the contrary, Dionysius uses the terminology of God’s self-multiplication only in reference to God’s procession to a created otherness. Self-multiplication is not connected with God’s being, but only with His processions, which are He himself entirely in relationship with created otherness. These processions, which remain always what they are, are simultaneously fully immanent in God while communicating Him fully to creatures. A few lines below, Dionysius implicitly contradicts the metaphors Plotinus used to illustrate the double activity theory: „For there is no exact likeness between caused and causes, but the caused carry within themselves only an image of the causes, whereas the causes themselves transcend and are above the caused, according to the argument of their source. Take a familiar example. (…) The fire which warms and burns is never said itself to be burnt and warmed. Similarly, it would be wrong, I think, to say that life itself lives or that light itself is enlightened, unless such words would be employed in a different sense to say that the qualities of the caused things pre-exist in a superior and substantial way in their causes”. (DN II.8, 132.14-133.4; translation mine)

As we recall, the metaphor of fire is employed in Ennead 5.4.2.: „as in fire there is a heat which is the content of its substance, and another which comes into being from that primary heat when fire exercises the activity which is native to its substance in abiding unchanged as fire…”,


A Note on Plotinus’ Double Activity Theory… 133 and probably inspired by Phaedo 103cd. Dionysius retains only what would be an external heat of fire, the one that warms or burns other things. Similarly, life itself is not said to live, but it is simply life itself, and by this very fact it is more than the things which participate in life. Light is not itself enlightened, but is the light itself which enlightens the things which come in contact with it. The language of double activity is ignored here – it cannot be found anywhere in the Dionysian corpus or, to my knowledge, in another Christian author – for Dionysius embraces a non-emanationist ontology, according to which the creatures share in God’s perfections, but are of a different essence. Life itself is God himself immanent in creatures, and not a self-constituted intermediary between God and creatures. Hence, the language of a double activity becomes redundant. Instead, Dionysius speaks about divinisation (θεώσις), the one and the same that comes down from God as a multiplication of the one God and bestows godlikeness upon the many, without affecting the transcendent unity of the one undivided God (DN II.11, 136.13-17). Moving on to Maximus the Confessor, in an important text from Ambiguum 7 he is even more explicit that in the deified condition of humans in the afterlife there will be only one energy of God and the saints, or better said – he adds – of God alone: „It is like an image united with its archetype, and like a seal which conforms to the stamp against which it was pressed, and there is nothing else toward which it could be moved, nor does it want to be moved – to put it more wisely and more truly – nor can it desire this any more, because it has received the divine energy in itself (ὡς τῆς θείας ἐπειλημμένης ἐνεργείας) or rather it becomes a god by deification and delights more in the going out of those things perceived to be naturally (φυσικῶς) its own, through the grace of the Spirit which prevailed over it. Now it will be shown that God alone is at work in it (μόνον ἔχουσαν ἐνεργοῦντα τὸν Θεὸν δείξασαν), and in all things there will be only one activity (ὥστε εἶναι μίαν καὶ μόνην διὰ πάντων ἐνέργειαν), that of God and of those worthy of God, to put it in a better way, that of God


134 Marius Portaru alone (μᾶλλον δὲ μόνου Θεοῦ), since He will wholly embrace (περιχωρήσαντος) those worthy entirely out of goodness”. (ed. Constas, 90.4-16; translation mine)

The Dionysian vocabulary is clearly visible in this text, which raises a number of theological problems. For my present purposes it is sufficient to emphasise only that first, Maximus, like Dionysius, identifies one activity of God which is shared by the deified ones, and second, that the concept ἐνέργεια has the twofold sense of „activity” (μόνον ἔχουσαν ἐνεργοῦντα τὸν Θεὸν) and of „substantial overflowing” (ὡς τῆς θείας ἐπειλημμένης ἐνεργείας; ὥστε εἶναι μίαν καὶ μόνην διὰ πάντων ἐνέργειαν). The second sense is reinforced in that God’s ἐνέργεια produces in those deified a going out (an ecstasy) of what is naturally their own, embracing (περιχωρήσαντος) and adding divine powers to the deified human being. There is no mention of a double activity, because there is only one natural ἐνέργεια of God communicated out of goodness to the creatures according to the measure in which they are capable of receiving it. The deifying ἐνέργεια is the participated presence of the unparticipated divine being, is God himself as immanent in his creation. If we adopted the terms of double activity, a superior internal one and an inferior (and necessary and dependent upon the first) external one, we would jeopardise our divinisation, for it would amount to saying that we receive just a resemblance to what God is, not God himself. Our being in the image of God is infinitely less than our being gods through participation in God’s life by grace. By way of conclusion, in the present essay I have raised the question whether we can speak of any significant influence of Plotinus’ double activity theory, intended to account for metaphysical causation, on the Church Fathers – referring especially to Dionysius the Ps.-Areopagite and Maximus the Confessor – and I have gathered some textual evidence that we cannot. The main reason is that any


A Note on Plotinusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Double Activity Theoryâ&#x20AC;Ś 135 genuinely Christian metaphysics must affirm 1) a direct contact between the transcendent God and the otherness of the created world, which ceases to be conceived of as the hypostatisation of an external activity of the divinity, and 2) a doctrine of deification according to which God himself directly communicates his natural activity/energy to his deified creatures24.

I must thank in particular Prof. John Rist, who made rich comments on earlier drafts. Dr. Alexander Baumgarten asked detailed questions during the Symposium, questions which helped me clarify my interpretation of Plotinus. So did the kind audience in Cluj-Napoca: to all I wish to express my deepest gratitude. 24


136 Florin Crîşmăreanu

MAXIME LE CONFESSEUR LECTEUR DE CORPUS DIONYSIACUM

Florin Crîşmăreanu

1. Denys et Maxime: continuité, délimitation ou rupture? Quelques repères d’interprétation

L

’influence de la philosophie classique grecque sur les premiers auteurs chrétiens est incontestable, mais nul autre penseur n’a été aussi souvent associé au platonisme, plus précisément au néoplatonisme, que le mystérieux auteur du Corpus Dionysiacum (appelé ci-dessous CD). Par exemple, un commentateur tel que É. Gilson appréciait que la théologie de l’Aréopagite n’était pas très „saine”; mais enfin Thomas d’Aquin ne s’est pas laissé „décourager”: en bon „prestidigitateur” il a su „métamorphoser le contenu” d’une pensée „obscure” (Est autem considerandum quod beatus Dionysius in omnibus libris suis obscuro utitur stilo)1 et „plus risquée”, servile „imitatrice des platoniciens”! Platonicos multum imitabatur2. À une autre époque et sur des coordonnées différentes, le monophysite Cf. Thomas d’Aquin, In librum B. Dionysii De divinis nominibus exposition, Proemium. 2 Cf. É. Gilson, Le thomiste: introduction à la philosophie de Saint Thomas d’Aquin, Paris, Vrin, 1989, p. 161. 1


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 137 Michel le Syrien (1126-1199) considérait, chose normale pour la doctrine qu’il défendait, que Maxime le Confesseur est simplement „un platonicien dangereux, un hérétique retors”3. Au-delà de pareilles affirmations, évidemment fausses, qu’on ne peut comprendre que si l’on connaît l’appartenance doctrinaire de ces commentateurs, il y a bien plus que le „platonisme” qui relie Denys et Maxime, à savoir la Tradition chrétienne, chalcédonienne. H.-U. von Balthasar affirmait que „ces deux Pères de l’Église orientale ont représenté la direction „symbolique-liturgique”, authentique de la patristique grecque”4. À partir des suggestions du théologien catholique, telles que formulées dans l’ouvrage classique des études maximiennes: Liturgie cosmique5, l’influence du CD sur Maxime a été analysée par W. Wölker6, E. Bellini7, A. Louth8 et alii. Donc, „as regards Ps.-Denys,

3 Cf. R. Devreesse, „La vie de saint Maxime le Confesseur et ses recensions”, Analecta Bollandiana, 46 (1928), p. 14; voir aussi M. Doucet, „La volonté humaine du Christ, spécialement en son agonie. Maxime le Confesseur, interprète de l’Écriture”, Science et Esprit, 37/2 (1985), p. 123. 4 Cf. H.-U. von Balthasar, Kosmische Liturghie. Das Weltbild Maximus des Bekenners, Einsiedeln, Johannes Verlag, 1961, p. 78. 5 Cf. Ibid., pp. 110-122. 6 Cf. W. Wölker „Der Einfluß Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita auf Maximus Confessor”, dans L. Lenhart [ed.], Universitas. Dienst an Wahrheit und Leben. Festschrift für [...] A. Stohr, I, Mainz, 1960, pp. 243-254 (repris sous le même titre dans Studien zum Neuen Testament und zur Patristik, Berlin, Akademie-Verlag, 1961, pp. 331-350). 7 Cf. E. Bellini, „Maxime interprète de Pseudo-Denys l’Aréopagite. Analyse de l’Ambiguum ad Thomam 5”, dans F. Heinzer et C. von Schönborn [éds.], Maximus Confessor. Actes du Symposium sur Maxime le Confesseur, Fribourg, 2-5 septembre 1980, Fribourg, Éditions universitaires de Fribourg, 1982, pp. 37-49. 8 Cf. A. Louth, „St. Denys the Areopagite and St. Maximus the Confessor: a Question of Influence”, Studia Patristica, 27 (1993), pp. 166-174. A. Louth a critiqué la tendance de Viller, Sherwood et Meyendorff de minimaliser le rôle de Denys sur Maxime; voir aussi A. Lévy, Le créé et l'incréé. Maxime le Confesseur et Thomas d'Aquin: aux sources de la querelle palamienne, Paris, Vrin, 2006, p. 124, n. 2.


138 Florin Crîşmăreanu however, we must allow for a general influence observable everywhere in Maximus’ writings”9. Pourtant, tous les exégètes ne partagent pas cette opinion. Certains des interprètes les plus avisés de l’œuvre de Maxime considèrent qu’on ne pourrait pas parler d’une influence décisive du CD sur les textes maximiens, et, plus encore, il y a des auteurs qui affirment l’existence d’une rupture entre les deux Corpus. Par exemple, I. Hausherr considérait que dans ses textes, Maxime ne fait que transposer dans un langage dionysien les idées d’Évagre: „avec des mots dionysiens Maxime n’a fait qu’exprimer des idées évagriennes”10. Ce qui signifie que „hors des écrits consacrés directement à Denys [...] la part de l’Aréopagite est minime et le plus souvent purement verbale” (c’est la conclusion de I. Hausherr). Allant encore plus loin que le père jésuite, P. Sherwood apprécie que l’influence de Denys sur Maxime est encore moins significative: „la contribution de Maxime se limite à de brèves scholies, dans la plupart des cas peu importantes, des observations marginales faites par un lecteur attentif, mais qui ne veulent pas aucunement constituer un ouvrage autonome”11.

De pareilles positions culminent par l’affirmation de J. Meyendorff, selon lequel „à la suite de S. Maxime, Palamas apporte donc toujours un correctif christologique à la pensée de Denys”12. À propos de ces interprétations concernant le rapport entre Maxime et

9 Cf. Lars Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator. The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor, second edition, Foreword by A. M. Allchin, Chicago & La Salle, Open Court, 1995, p. 205. 10 Cf. I. Hausherr, „Ignorance infinie”, Orientalia Christiana Periodica, 2 (1936), pp. 351-362. 11 Cf. Dictionnaire de spiritualité, III, Paris, Beauchesne, 1957, 295 sqq. 12 Cf. J. Meyendorff, „Notes sur l’influence dionysienne en Orient”, Studia Patristica, 2 (1957), pp. 547-552; voir aussi A. Louth, art. cit., pp. 169-170 et passim.


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 139 les textes dionysiens, A. Louth affirme: „je ne comprends pas ce qu’on obtient par tenir ainsi à distance Saint Maxime et Denys”13.

2. Maxime commentateur du CD La simple lecture des textes conservés sous le nom de Denys l’Aréopagite et des écrits maximiens est suffisante pour observer la diversité de thèmes communs aux deux auteurs, l’influence du CD sur Maxime pouvant se retrouver dans des thèmes que nous mentionnons tout simplement ici, tels la problématique du mal; les volontés divines (Denys) – λόγοι (Maxime); la Liturgie – détaillée dans Mystagogia; la distinction apophatique-cataphatique; l’indistinction éros-agape; discours et doxologie; l’analogie, comprise comme participation quantum potest, à côté de l’anagogie; et la christologie, qui pivote autour du terme θέωσις et de l’expression θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια. Au-delà de cette pluralité de thèmes qu’on peut considérer comme communs, repris et développés par Maxime dans ses écrits que les exégètes apprécient comme étant authentiques, on ne retrouve que 17 occurrences du nom de l’auteur du CD. Si l’on y ajoute „les passages dans lesquels Maxime nomme Denys sans citer ses écrits (quatre cas), les références à ses œuvres et les allusions et l’usage de la terminologie (respectivement sept et douze) on constate que Maxime rappelle l’Aréopagite seulement quarante fois”14.

Du point de vue quantitatif, les 40 citations, explicites ou implicites, ne représentent que fort peu par comparaison avec le nombre de citations de Grégoire de Nazianze, par exemple. Mais le Cf. A. Louth, art. cit., p. 169. Cf. P. Sherwood, „Denys l’Aréopagite (Le Pseudo-)”, Dictionnaire de Spiritualité ascétique et mystique, III, Paris, 1957, 295-300; voir aussi E. Bellini, art. cit., p. 38.

13

14


140 Florin Crîşmăreanu nombre de citations d’un auteur n’est pas nécessairement pertinent, d’autant moins dans le cas de Saint Maxime. W. Lackner a montré que c’est surtout Ambigua ad Johannem qui est fort influencé par Némésius d’Émèse, mais le nom de ce dernier n’apparaît qu’une fois dans le Corpus maximien15. Donc, le nombre de citations n’est pas toujours un critère pertinent pour établir une certaine influence. 2.1. Les scholies maximiennes au CD Les Scholies et l’interprétation de la IVe Épître représentent deux éléments extrêmement importants qui relient Maxime au CD. À commencer avec les scholies. Contrairement à ce que Sherwood croyait à un moment donné, „the scholia appear to be one of the major works of Maximus”16. Rien de nouveau quand même quant au fait que les scholies au CD ne représentent pas exclusivement l’œuvre de Maxime, mais elles sont un collage de scholies diverses, dont celles de Jean de Scythopolis semblent être les premières, puisque cet évêque17 est le premier défenseur de l’œuvre dionysien, premièrement attribuée par Hypathe d’Éphèse à la secte d’Apollinaire. Selon l’opinion de la réputée exégète du CD, B. R. Suchla, les scholies appartenant à Jean auraient été écrites à un certain moment entre 536 et 55318. Rorem et Lamoreaux Cf. W. Lackner, Studien zur philosophischen Schultradition und zu den Nemesioszitaten bei Maximos dem Bekenner, (Inauguraldissertation zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde an der Philosophischen Fakultät der Karl-Franzens-Universität zu Graz), 1962, pp. 122-146. 16 Cf. A. Louth, art. cit., p. 166. 17 Selon Rorem et Lamoreaux, l’évêché de Jean de Scythopolis pourrait être daté après l’an 536 et avant l’an 548 (P. Rorem and J.C. Lamoreaux, John of Scythopolis and the Dionysian Corpus: Annotating the Areopagite, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1998, pp. 23-26). 18 Cf. B. R. Suchla „Eine Redaktion des griechischen Corpus Dionysiacum Areopagiticum im Umkreis des Johannes von Skythopolis, des Verfassers von Prolog und Scholien: Ein dritter Beitrag zur Überlieferungsgeschichte des CD”, Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttigen, 1. Philologisch-historische Klasse, 5 (1985), p. 189; voir aussi Idem., Corpus 15


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 141 croient que ces scholies aient été écrites à un certain moment entre 537 et 54319. B. Flusin considère que la date de rédaction de ces scholies se situe entre les années 538 et 54320, tandis que H.F. Dondaine propose une date de rédaction des scholies antérieure à l’an 53021. Enfin, pour B. Lourié, „we have to date the scholia to the period shortly after 518, most probably, somewhere in the 520’s, but not in between 537 and 543, as Rorem and Lamoreaux thought”22.

Maximus ou Commentator, en particulier par rapport à ses scholies, est-il aussi invoqué par les scholastiques latins, mais – se demande Dondaine à juste raison – selon quelle traduction? Ni les réalisateurs de l’édition Léonine de Thomas d’Aquin, ni les éditeurs des textes d’Albert le Grand ne le précisent pas. Certainement, toutes les références à Maxime, à savoir à ses scholies au CD, proviennent de la traduction faite par Anastase le Bibliothécaire (800-879), le premier traducteur latin des scholies (vers 875), qui a, le plus probablement, utilisé un manuscrit où l’on pouvait distinguer les deux séries de scholies, celles de Jean de Scythopolis et celles de Maxime. Plus tard, les deux séries de scholies ont été copiées et transmises indistinctement sous le nom de Maxime, étant en tant que telles

Dionysiacum / Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita. 1, De divinis nominibus, Berlin/New York, W. De Gruyter, 1990, pp. 55-57, 65-66. 19 Cf. P. Rorem and J.C. Lamoreaux, op. cit., pp. 38-39. 20 Cf. B. Flusin, Miracle et histoire dans l’œuvre de Cyrille de Scythopolis, Paris, Études Augustiniennes, 1983, pp. 17-29. 21 Cf. H.F. Dondaine, O.P., Le Corpus dionysien de l’université de Paris au XIIIe siècle, Rome, Storia e Letteratura, 1953. 22 Cf. B. Lourié, „Peter the Iberian and Dionysius the Areopagite: Honigmann-Van Esbreock’s Thesis Revisited”, Scrinium, 6 (2010), p. 163. Pour les scholies de Jean de Scythopolis, voir aussi I. Perczel, „The Christology of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite: The Fourth Letter in its Indirect and Direct Text Traditions”, Le Muséon, 117/3-4 (2004), pp. 436-437.


142 Florin Crîşmăreanu éditées depuis la première édition (Florence, 1516) et jusqu’à l’édition de l’abbé Migne (PG 4)23. On connaissait donc cette double série de scholies (de Jean et de Maxime) depuis le IXe siècle déjà. Par exemple, Anastase le Bibliothécaire écrivait à Charles le Chauve à propos de l’expérience qu’il avait eu à Constantinople avec un manuscrit (que l’exégèse appelle Codex Mixtus) qui comprenait aussi bien les scholies de Jean que celles de Maxime au CD. Le critère selon lequel Anastase a réalisé fidèlement la séparation des deux séries de scholies, en marquant par une croix les scholies de Maxime24, reste inconnu pour nous. Après des siècles, l’Archevêque anglican de Armagh, l’Irlandais Jacobus Usserius (1581-1656) déclarait avoir vu deux commentaires, de Jean et de Maxime, transcrites séparément dans des manuscrits qu’il avait consultés à Paris et ailleurs. Édités indépendamment jusqu’au XVIe siècle, ou du moins, selon l’affirmation d’Anastase, différenciés par une croix, ces commentaires sont, dans l’édition Guillaume Morel (1562), publiés en tant qu’une seule œuvre, unitaire. Toutefois, quelques manuscrits des textes de Scot Érigène, Codex Vaticanus, 652, du XIe siècle, et Codex Brugensis no. 1, du XIVe ou du XVe siècle, mentionnent que ces commentaires, reconnus comme distincts, ont été présentés par les copistes sous une mention unique: les scholies de Maxime. La confusion était probablement courante au XIIIe siècle, car Thomas d’Aquin ne parle que du commentaire de Maxime, qu’il cite maintes fois. Les informations ci-dessus étaient connues par la communauté des exégètes, comme le démontre le texte de J. Durantel

Cf. H.F. Dondaine, op. cit., p. 24. Cf. Anastasii Bibliothecarii, Ad Carolum Calvum Imperatorem, Epistola II, PL 129, 740 BC. Il y avait à l’époque d’Anastase deux traditions distinctes des manuscrits qui incluaient les scholies grecques au CD, une syriaque et l’autre grecque (pour une discussion concernant les deux traditions, voir M. Harrington, „Anastasius the Librarian’s Reading of the Greek Scholia on the Pseudo-Dionysian Corpus”, Studia Patristica, 36 (2001), p. 120). La seconde tradition, reprise par l’abbé Migne dans PG d’après l’édition établie par Balthasar Corderius, attribue entièrement les scholies à un seul auteur, en l’espèce Maxime.

23

24


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 143 de 191925. Dans ce contexte, on peut remarquer que les études de Balthasar qui ont „révolutionné” la paternité attribuée des scholies au CD n’apportent presque rien de nouveau, sauf un accent plus prononcé sur la contribution de Jean de Scythopolis. Balthasar avait suggéré déjà dans son article de 194026 que grâce à des manuscrits appartenant à la tradition syriaque, qui comprennent les scholies de Jean, on peut distinguer les deux séries de scholies; démarche accomplie, pour le moment, seulement dans le cas des Noms divins, par l’édition critique établie par Suchla en 201127. Afin de rendre plus intelligible la traduction „barbare” du CD, réalisée par Érigène, Anastase le Bibliothécaire traduit et commente les scholies de Jean et de Maxime, qu’il transcrit en marge du manuscrit traduit par l’Irlandais28. Ce qui est intéressant et à la fois révélateur pour la réception de Maxime à l’Occident c’est le fait que, dans sa traduction, Anastase omet de manière délibérée certaines scholies: „Anastasius omits 32 scholia from the shorter tradition, and omits significant portions of nearly 150 others”29. En 1953 déjà, Dondaine signalait le fait que le Bibliothécaire avait omis quelques scholies relatives à la connaissance de Dieu, plus précisément celles concernant l’apophatisme30. Filtré par la traduction du Bibliothécaire,

Cf. J. Durantel, Saint Thomas et le Pseudo-Denys, Paris, Librairie Félix Alcan, 1919, pp. 55-56. 26 Cf. H.-U. von Balthsar, „Das Scholienwerk des Johannes von Skythopolis”, Scholastik, 15 (1940), pp. 16-38. 27 Cf. B. R. Suchla, Corpus Dionysiacum IV/1. Ioannis Scythopolitani prologus et scholia in Dionysii Areopagitae librum De divinis nominibus cum additamentis interpretum aliorum, Berlin, W. De Gruyter, 2011. 28 Cf. H.F. Dondaine, op. cit., p. 35. 29 Cf. M. Harrington, art. cit., p. 121 sqq. 30 Cf. H.F. Dondaine, op. cit., p. 65, n. 83. Selon cet auteur, Anastase a omis: quid autem sit deus, omnibus est ad excogitandum impossibile (Ms Paris, Bibl. Nat. Lat. 1618, f. 51 v); voir aussi bien M. Harrington, art. cit., p. 122. Pour les scholies de Maxime et le problème de l’infini, voir A. Côté, L’infinité divine dans la théologie médiévale: 1220-1255, Paris, Vrin, 2002, p. 36 sqq. 25


144 Florin Crîşmăreanu „Maxime pénétrait donc, par les scolies d’Anastase, dans le sillage de Denys et d’Érigène: c’est là seulement que le XII℮ siècle le fréquente, dans les traités surtout où il se trouvait être le seul commentateur, les Noms divins entre tous, ce qui lui vaudra d’être appelé, jusqu’en plein XIIIe siècle, le Commentateur […] Si Maxime est accessible aux Latins, c’est dans l’ambiance de Grégoire de Nazianze (qu’il avait commenté dans les Ambigua –, traduits et révélés par Érigène, une fois de plus, mais peu répandus): Denys, Grégoire „le théologien”, Maxime, ce sont par excellence les „Grecs”, dont on commence à sentir, malgré l’effritement textuel des florilèges, l’originalité. „Summis theologis Dionysio, et Gregorio atque Maximo probantibus”, dit déjà Honorius d’Autun, dans sa Clavis physicae, farcie d’Érigène”31.

2.2. θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια et la différence entre les monoénergistes et les chalcédoniens Dans la IVe Épître, à Gaius, considérée comme la clé de la christologie dionysienne32, l’Aréopagite parle du fait que „Dieu est devenu homme” (ἀνδρωθέντος θεοῦ) et d’une œuvre nouvelle: θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια33. „Formula christologica celeberrima”34 de la spiritualité dionysienne est, sans doute, θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια. La formulation de Denys dans cette épître, ἡ καινὴ θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια (une nouvelle énergie théandrique), a été tendancieusement modifiée par Cyrus de Phase, Patriarche de l’Alexandrie entre 631-641, ainsi μία

Cf. M.-D. Chenu, La théologie au douzième siècle, Paris, Vrin, 1957, pp. 278-279. 32 Cf. I. Perczel, art. cit., p. 412. 33 Cf. Corpus Dionysiacum / Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita. 2, De coelesti hierarchia; De ecclesiastica hierarchia; De mystica theologia; Epistulae, eds. G. Heil & A.M. Ritter, Berlin/New York, W. De Gruyter, 1991, p. 161. 34 Cf. J. Marič, „Pseudo-Dyonisii Areopagitae formula christologica de Christi activitate theandrica. Pseudo-Dyionisii Areopagitae formula christologica de nova quadam Christi activitate theandrica, tum interpretatione Patrum, Scholasticorum et recentiorum theologorum obiectiva tum nova, subiectiva lucubratur”, Bogoslovska Smotra, 20 (1932), pp. 105-173. 31


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 145 θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια (une seule énergie théandrique)35. Les monophysites, pour consolider leur position, ont immédiatement associé cette formulation dénaturée par Cyrus à la fameuse expression de Saint Cyrille: „une seule nature du Dieu – Verbe incarné” (Ep. 46; PG 77, 241)36. La provenance de ces écrits du milieu palestinien justifie d’une certaine manière leur citation par les monophysites, comme argument d’autorité contre les Chalcédoniens, raison pour laquelle Jean de Scythopolis37 ressent le besoin d’interpréter cette formule dans un sens chalcédonien38. Saffrey a mis en évidence le rapprochement entre l’expression dionysienne θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια et le nom d’une déité Θεανδρίτης, mentionnée par Damascius dans Vita Isidori (fr. 198)39. C’est un détail que Jean de Scythopolis traite dans les scholies (PG 4, Pour Cyrus de Phase voir A.J. Butler, The Arab Conquest of Egypt, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1902, pp. 168-193 et 508-526; voir aussi F. Lauritzen, „Pagan energies in Maximus the Confessor: the influence of Proclus on the ad Thomam 5”, Greek Roman and Byzantine Studies, 52.2 (2012), pp. 226-239. 36 La fameuse expression de Cyrille d’Alexandrie: «une seule nature du Dieu Verbe incarné» (μία φύσις τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγου σεσαρκωμένη), souvent appelée aussi «la formule monophysite» (B. Meunier, Le Christ de Cyrille d'Alexandrie. L'humanité, le salut et la question monophysite, Paris, Beauchesne, 1997, p. 255 sqq.). Pour A. Louth, „If Denys has been ‘Chalcedonized’, we must also recognize that, in the meantime, Chalcedon had been ‘Cyrillized’” (A. Louth, Maximus the Confessor, London-New York, Routledge, 1996, p. 56). 37 P. Rorem et J. Lamoreaux affirment dans leur ouvrage que les scholies à la IVe Ep. appartiennent, le plus probablement, à Jean de Scythopolis. 38 Pour l’œuvre de «correction» de la doctrine dionysienne, réalisée par Jean de Scythopolis dans ses scholies au CD, voir J. Pelikan, „The Odyssey of Dionysian Spirituality”, introduction to Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, New York, Paulist Press, 1987, pp. 11-24 (trad. roum. par Daniel Jugrin, dans Studii Teologice, 1 (2009), pp. 295-297). La conclusion de Pelikan est la suivante: «dans la forme traduite par son commentateur orthodoxe ultérieur (Jean de Scythopolis, n.m. F.C.), Denys l’Aréopagite apparaît comme un penseur dont la spiritualité était identique à celle du Synode de Chalcédoine et qui, en fait, a anticipé les formulations clés de la spiritualité chalcédonienne quatre siècles d’avance ou quelque chose comme ça» (Ibid., p. 297). [La traduction française nous appartient]. 39 Cf. H.-D. Saffrey, „Nouveau liens objectifs entre le Pseudo-Denys et Proclus”, Studia Patristica, 9 (1966), pp. 98-105 (paru sous le même titre dans Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques, 63 (1979), pp. 3-16); voir aussi E. Bellini, art. cit., p. 39. 35


146 Florin Crîşmăreanu 536 A), raison suffisante pour un grand nombre d’exégètes de parler de la dépendance de l’évêque Jean, dans ce cas, du néoplatonisme proclusien40. Bref, selon B. Lourié, „the famous expression θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια is a hallmark of the milieu of Eudocia. The wording of „god male” instead of „god man” goes back to Greek poetry, up to Pindarus. However, such terminology as applied to Christ is known, before Dionysius, from one source only, the Gospel Paraphrase of Nonnus. This paraphrase never uses the term „god man”, but, instead, use two times the term „God male” applied to Christ»41.

Il est fort possible que ce soit vrai, mais le syntagme θεάνδρωπος est déjà présent chez Origène, De Principiis, II, 6, 3. La même expression (θεάνδρωπος) est également gardée par Jérôme (Homélies sur Ezéchiel, III, 3)42. Conformément à un exégète italien, le syntagme actio theandrica est emprunté par Denys aux Cappadociens43. À l’exception des scholies au CD, Maxime ne commente qu’un seul élément de l’œuvre dionysien, à savoir la IVe Épître dans sa totalité, probablement afin de mieux contextualiser la formule faisant l’objet de la dispute entre les chalcédoniens et les monophysites: „énergie théandrique”44.

Pour θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια vs Θεανδρίτης voir B. Lourié, art. cit., pp. 175-178. Cf. B. Lourié, art. cit., p. 210. Il y a des exégètes qui considèrent que ce syntagme (actio theandrica) est d’origine sémitique (H. D. Saffrey, art. cit., p. 103) ou proclusienne (J.-M. Garrigues, Maxime le Confesseur. La charité, avenir divin de l’homme, Paris, Beauchesne, 1976, p. 132). 42 Pour des détails supplémentaires voir Origène, Despre principii, dans Scrieri alese, t. III, trad. par T. Bodogae, Bucureşti, EIBMBOR (PSB 8, 1982), p. 144, n. 627. 43 Cf. P. Scazzoso, „Il problema delle sacre icone”, Aevum, 3-4 (1969), p. 307. 44 Habituellement, Maxime n’interprète dans ses écrits que de brefs passages, mais cette fois-ci, on analyse l’épître dionysienne intégralement. E. Bellini saisit de manière correcte le fait que «à la différence de Cyrus, Serge et Sophrone, Maxime ne se limite pas à prendre en considération l’expression cruciale „nouvelle énergie théandrique”, mais examine toute la lettre, ce qui est un procédé insolite» (E. Bellini, art. cit., p. 42). 40 41


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 147 L’un des représentants de la doctrine non-chalcédonienne, Cyrus de Phase, affirmait qu’il n’y a pas en Jésus Christ qu’une seule énergie, en interprétant dans ce sens la formule dionysienne actio theandrica. Avant Maxime, ce fut Sophrone l’un des adversaires de l’interprétation proposée par Cyrus, plus encore, il a vu dans la formulation dionysienne une expression „très élégante”: „de ces opérations, les unes conviennent à la divinité, les autres à l’humanité; d’autres tiennent une position intermédiaire et sont tout à la fois divines et humaines; ces dernières vont au compte de ce qu’on appelle la nouvelle opération divino-humaine, qui n’est pas une seule (opération), mais qui existe selon des genres différents. Denys, celui que le divin Paul a gagné à l’Aréopage, a utilisé cette expression, car elle contient à la fois ce qui convient à la divinité et ce qui convient à l’humanité, et celle manifeste parfaitement, en tant qu’expression composée et très élégante, l’opération propre de chaque des natures et des essences”45.

Dans l’interprétation de l’expression θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια de Ambigua ad Thomam 5, Disputatio cum Pyrrho şi Opuscula theologica et polemica 7, Maxime ne fait pas œuvre de pionnier, mais il se rapporte à une tradition dont les représentants connus étaient Jean de Scythopolis et Sophrone de Jérusalem. En premier lieu, pour Maxime, la nouveauté de l’opération relève la qualité et non pas la quantité. La solution maximienne à la problématique dionysienne de la IVe Épître est de facture chalcédonienne et excellemment synthétisée par E. Bellini: „comme l’union hypostatique des natures n’en compromet pas la consistance et la distinction, ainsi les œuvres sont hypostatiquement une seule chose tout en maintenant la pleine consistance et distinction des deux opérations: une 45 Cf. Sophrone de Jérusalem, Epistula synodalis ad Sergium, PG 87/3, 3177 BC; traduction proposée par C. von Schönborn, Sophrone de Jérusalem. Vie monastique et confession dogmatique, Paris, Beauchesne, 1972, p. 208; voir aussi E. Bellini, art. cit., p. 41.


148 Florin Crîşmăreanu union mystérieuse, dans l’un et l’autre cas, qui se fonde sur la personne divine du Christ”46.

La doctrine chalcédonienne, fondamentale dans l’ensemble de l’œuvre maximien, fournit une résolution satisfaisante dans cette situation également. Qui plus est, „Maxime aurait donc raison à voir deux énergies différentes dans l’énergie théandrique de Denys. Avec sa réflexion il n’a pas trahi, ni corrigé, mais seulement développé génialement les observations occasionnelles de l’Aréopagite”47.

Quand même, malgré les interprétations assez convaincantes proposées par Jean de Scythopolis, Sophrone de Jérusalem et, surtout, par Maxime lui-même, il existe des exégètes qui considèrent que la christologie dionysienne est „d’obédience monophysite”48 ou rien de plus qu’”une présentation néoplatonicienne”49. „C’était l’achèvement historique de Maxime le Confesseur qui allait épurer la spiritualité dionysienne des interprétations qui l’auraient reliée à une hérésie quelconque. Le statut spécial de Maxime, en tant que saint et héros de la croyance, tant pour l’Occident que pour l’Orient, a prêté son aura aux écrits dionysiens aussi bien”50.

Donc, pour un historien de la doctrine chrétienne tel que J. Pelikan, Denys „même s’il avait affirmé qu’il n’y avait que l’œuvre du Dieu-homme, elle serait toujours, quand même, au singulier; et cela c’est le problème fondamental”51. Cf. E. Bellini, art. cit., p. 47. Cf. Ibid., p. 48. 48 Cf. Y. M.-J. Congar, L’ecclésiologie du haut Moyen Age: de Saint Grégoire le Grand à la désunion entre Byzance et Rome, Paris, Cerf, 1968, p. 338. 49 Cf. J. G. Bougerol, Introduction à Saint Bonaventure, Paris, Vrin, 1988, p. 81. 50 Cf. J. Pelikan, art. cit., p. 303. 51 Cf. Ibid., p. 299. 46 47


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 149 Le pape Honorius affirmait: „Nous ne reconnaissons qu’une seule volonté de notre Seigneur Jésus Christ (unam voluntatem fatemur Domini nostri Jesu Christi), car notre nature a été vraiment assumée par la divinité”52.

Raison suffisante pour que le pape Honorius soit condamné d’hérétique, monothélite, par le Synode de Constantinople (681). Selon Pelikan, si l’on respecte la même logique, il aurait fallu condamner Denys comme monoénergiste à cause de la formule actio theandrica53. D’autre part, sur la base de l’interprétation maximienne, M. Doucet considère que les accusations de „monoénergisme” adressées à la théologie dionysienne „ont un caractère gratuit”54. Pour les adeptes des correctifs de quelque nature, „la spiritualité de ce Denys maximisé avait été purifiée de toute suspicion persistante relative à son orthodoxie”55. Tout de même, il en reste des questions pour lesquelles il n’y a pas de réponse satisfaisante.

3. Conclusions A. Louth appelle Maxime „the greatest of all Byzantine theologians”56. Aurait-il été possible que ce profond théologien érudit se soit trompé au sujet du CD? À partir des données présentées ci-dessus, nous allons formuler quelques conclusions provisoires, accompagnées d’autant de questions:

Cf. Honorius I, Epistola IV, PL 40, 472. Cf. J. Pelikan, art. cit., p. 300. 54 Cf. M. Doucet, „Vues récentes sur les «métamorphoses» de la pensée de saint Maxime la Confesseur”, Science et Esprit, 31 (1979), p. 288. 55 Cf. J. Pelikan, art. cit., p. 303. 56 Cf. A. Louth, art. cit., p. 166. 52 53


150 Florin Crîşmăreanu 1. premièrement, avant qu’il soit revendiqué par une doctrine ou une autre, qu’est ce qu’on sait à propos de l’auteur de ce Corpus? Qui est-ce qui aurait pu écrire de pareils textes et dans quel milieu culturel? Après les doutes exprimés par L. Valla (1407-1457) en ce qui concerne l’auteur du CD, au long du temps on a formulé plusieurs hypothèses sur l’identité de cet auteur. Il a été récemment identifié avec les philosophes néoplatoniciens Simplicius (490-560)57 et Damascius (458-538)58. Toutefois, l’hypothèse la plus plausible est celle conformément à laquelle l’auteur du CD serait le prince géorgien Pierre l’Ibère (411-491/49259)60, devenu moine en Palestine et évêque non-chalcédonien de Maiouma, près de Gaza61. Cette thèse a été soutenue pour la première fois par le savant géorgien S. Nucubidze en 194262 et par E. Honigmann en 195263, ensuite relancée par M. van Esbroeck, en 199364 et 199765. L’hypothèse a été reprise par A. Golitzin Cf. P. Tzamalikos, The Real Cassian Revisited. Monastic Life, Greek Paideia, and Origenism in the Sixth Century, Leiden/Boston, Brill, 2012, p. 26. 58 Cf. C. M. Mazzucchi „Damascio autore del Corpus Dionysiacum”, Aevum, 80 (2006), pp. 299-334 (repris dans Dioniggi Areopagita, Tutte le Opere, Milano, Bompiani, 2009, pp. 709-772). Thèse rejetée avec des arguments forts par T. Lankila, „The Corpus Areopagiticum as a Crypto-Pagan Project”, Journal for Late Antique Religion and Culture, 5 (2011), pp. 14-40. 59 Pierre l’Ibère est mort en 492, non 491, comme on l’affirme souvent (B. Lourié, art. cit., p. 149). 60 La critique de cette identification entre l’auteur du CD et Pierre l’Ibère, on la retrouve chez I. Hausherr („Le pseudo-Denys est-il Pierre l'Ibérien?”, Orientalia Christiana Periodica, 19 (1953), pp. 247-260) et R. Roques („Pierre l’Ibérien et le «Corpus» dionysien”, Revue d’histoire des religions, 145 (1954), pp. 69-98). 61 Cf. C.B. Horn, Asceticism and Christological Controversy in Fifth-Century Palestine: The Career of Peter the Iberian, Oxford, Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2006. 62 Cf. S. Nutsubidze, Тайна Псевдо-Дионисия Ареопагита, Tbilisi, 1942. 63 Cf. E. Honigmann, Pierre l'Ibérien et les écrits du Pseudo-Denys l'Aréopagite, Bruxelles, Palais des Académies, 1952. 64 Cf. M. van Esbroeck, „Peter the Iberian and Dionysius the Areopagite: Honigmann’s thesis revisited”, Orientalia Christiana Periodica, 59 (1993), pp. 217-227. 65 Cf. Idem., „La triple préface syriaque de Phocas”, dans Y. de Andia [éd.], Denys l'Aréopagite et sa postérité en Orient et en Occident. Actes du Colloque International. Paris, 21-24 septembre 1994, Paris, Institut d'Études Augustiniennes, 1997, pp. 167-186. 57


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 151 en 199466 et récemment par le moine ordonné prêtre B. Lourié67: „my most important conclusion is that we have to look for the author of the Corpus in the milieu connected with ex-Empress Eudocia”68, à savoir à un moment situé entre 442-460, après que l’impératrice Eudoxie (400-460) avait été injustement accusée d’infidélité et exilée en Palestine. H.-I. Marrou semble soutenir lui aussi une opinion similaire lorsqu’il affirme que „c’est dans le même milieu Palestinien, nourri à la culture grecque et le platonisme, qu’il faut chercher le mystérieux auteur qui a osé assumer le prestigieux nom de Denys l’Aréopagite”69.

Compte tenu des arguments présentés par les exégètes ci-dessus, tout comme de la vie palestinienne de Maxime, alors tant l’auteur du CD que Maxime ont été, pour au moins quelque temps, des moines palestiniens, appelés de manière tellement inspirée „ascètes et ambassadeurs de Christ”70. Si l’on accepte l’hypothèse formulée en 1942 par Nutsubidze et l’on y ajoute l’origine palestinienne de Maxime, il en résulte une forte probabilité que le Confesseur ait connu ces écrits depuis sa jeunesse déjà et, pourquoi pas, le nom même du vrai auteur du CD71. Mais il y a encore un problème: si les choses en sont telles que 66 Cf. A. Golitzin, Et Introibo Ad Altare Dei: The Mystagogy of Dionysius Areopagita, with Special Reference to Its Predecessors in the Eastern Christian Tradition, Thessalonika, Patriarchikon Idruma Paterikôn Meletôn, 1994. 67 Cf. B. Lourié, art. cit., pp. 143-212 (à propos de ces questions voir Ioan I. Ică jr., „«Cassian Savaitul» «adevăratul Cassian» grec al «Filocaliei» din umbra latinului «Ioan Cassian». Implicaţiile revoluţionare pentru patrologie ale unei recente ediţii şi interpretări”, Revista Teologică, 3 (2013), pp. 164-178, n. 30). 68 Cf. B. Lourié, art. cit., p. 211. 69 Cf. H.-I. Marrou, Biserica în antichitatea târzie (303-604), trad. par R. Mareş, Bucureşti, Teora, 1999, p. 190. 70 En paraphrasant ainsi le titre de l’ouvrage de J. Binns, Ascetics and Ambassadors of Christ. The Monasteries of Palestine 314-631, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994. 71 Nous proposons ici une hypothèse de travail, similaire à celle esquissée déjà en 1940 par Balthasar, qui suggère seulement le fait que Jean de Scythopolis aurait pu connaître le vrai auteur du CD (H.-U. von Balthasar, art. cit., p. 38). Une opinion intéressante nous trouvons chez Panayiotis Tzamalikos, selon lequel Cassien le Sabaïte


152 Florin Crîşmăreanu successivement argumentées par Nutsubidze, Honigmann, van Esbroeck et plus récemment Lourié, alors comment se fait-il que Jean de Scythopolis, Sophrone de Jérusalem et Maxime lui-même n’ont pas saisi l’orientation non-chalcédonienne des doctrines contenues dans ces écrits? Les défenseurs les plus importants de la doctrine de Chalcédoine (451) auraient-ils pu être si facilement trompés par un texte hétérodoxe? Si le CD était l’œuvre d’un non-chalcédonien, ne serait-il plus simple de le combattre ou de l’ignorer? Sauf le cas où il serait le fruit d’une „errance” du Géorgien-Palestinien Pierre l’Ibère, alors le CD attend encore le nom de son véritable auteur. 2. comme on le sait, la première mention du CD apparaît dans un rapport intitulé Innocentii Maronitae epistula de collatione cum Severianis habita72, où l’on fait référence à une réunion qui a eu lieu en 532 entre les adeptes des décisions prises au Concile de Chalcédoine (451) et un groupe de „sévériens” ou „monophysites”. Ces derniers invoquent en faveur de leur doctrine le nom d’un certain Denys l’Aréopagite, inconnu et, évidemment, pas reconnu par le représentant des chalcédoniens, Hypathe d’Éphèse, comme autorité73. Un promoteur de la doctrine monophysite, le patriarche Théodose d’Alexandrie, affirmait que „Sévère n’a pas été moins assidu et attentif qu’eux (les Chalcédoniens, n.m. F.C.) dans la lecture des ouvrages de Saint Denys”74. À la suite de ces résultats provisoires, au moins une question s’impose: si le CD a été mentionné pour la première fois en 532, conformément aux informations qui nous sont parvenues, comment (470-548) „in fact followed Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagite, whom he knew and with whom he conversed at the monastery of the Akoimetoi. Pseudo-Dionysius, in turn, had introduced Proclus’ language into both his own language and Christian literature” (P. Tzamalikos, op. cit., p. 319). 72 Cf. Acta conciliorum oecumenicorum, ed. E. Schwartz, Strasbourg-Berlin, 1914-1974, 4-II, 172-173. 73 Cf. J. Pelikan, art. cit., p. 293. 74 Cf. Theodosius of Alexandria, Oratio 6; Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, 103, 52 (17, 75), apud. J. Pelikan, art. cit., p. 295, n. 17.


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 153 est-il possible que les scholies de Jean soient antérieures à cette date? Il y a deux variantes possibles: soit des discussions antérieures à propos ces textes ont existé, mais que nous ne connaissons pas à présent, soit les scholies sont ultérieures à cette date, comme une réaction chalcédonienne à l’interprétation sévérienne, monophysite. Ce qui signifie que toutes les hypothèses ci-dessus qui soutiennent une date antérieure sont difficilement soutenables. 3. CD pénètre assez tôt dans l’Occident, étant mentionné par le pape Martin I au Concile de Latran (649), où un rôle décisif a été joué par le moine Maxime, signataire des actes du Concile. Si ces écrits leur avaient été apparus comme tant soit peu suspects, il est fort improbable qu’ils les aient invoqués comme argument en faveur de la doctrine défendue tant par le pape Martin que par Maxime. Un autre aspect nous semble important: si, d’une part, au VIe et au VIIe siècle le CD était disputé entre le parti des monophysites (des monoénergistes, plus précisément) et celui chalcédonien, dispute gagnée par ce dernier, grâce aussi, peut-être, à la contribution maximienne, d’autre part, Maxime a eu un destin commun avec les écrits dionysiens, entrant de paire avec celui-ci dans l’Occident latin par l’intermédiaire des traductions d’Érigène (les scholies étant traduites et, par ailleurs, mutilées, par Anastase). Une fois entrés dans l’espace latin, les écrits de Denys allaient bénéficier d’une fabuleuse réception, personne ne doutait plus sa doctrine (seule l’entrée du Corpus aristotélique déterminera le partage, pour une période, de la même autorité). Fait intéressant et en quelque mesure étrange, les écrits maximiens, autant qu’ils étaient connus grâce à la traduction d’Érigène, ont été rapidement oubliés. Tandis que pour l’Orient chrétien, surtout après le Concile de Constantinople de 681, Maxime est un repère, un pilon de la foi juste, à côté, bien sûr, de Denys et des autres Pères, dans l’Occident Maxime est tombé dans l’oubli, et il n’y a que peu de personnages influencés de manière directe par sa pensée. La condamnation de 1210


154 Florin Crîşmăreanu et de 1225 a représenté un moment tournant dans la réception de Denys et, surtout, de Maxime dans l’Occident: „cette condamnation de 1210-1225, provoquée autant par la résistance des «latins» que par les risques graves de la pensée érigénienne, devait peu à peu rendre Scot très suspect, sans qu’il cessât d’être séduisant; des blocs entiers continueront de passer sous le couvert du nom de Maxime (102 pièces, représentant environ 40 colonnes de Migne, et recueillant en fait tous les thèmes érigéniens, composent ce Pseudo-Maxime). Le crédit de Denys, disciple de saint Paul, demeurera inviolable”75.

4. La relevance de la traduction maximienne de la IVe Épître dérive également d’un autre aspect: par commenter intégralement l’épître dionysienne dans Ambigua ad Thomam, ouvrage écrit, le plus probablement, après l’an 634, Maxime entreprend une interprétation presque mot à mot de texte du l’épître; et cette réalisation préserve également l’attestation la plus ancienne de la IVe Épître, précédant de plus de 200 ans le célèbre manuscrit envoyé en 837 à Louis le Pieux par l’empereur byzantin Michel Rhangabé76. Le texte de la IVe Ép. est à retrouver dans l’édition critique de l’ouvrage Ambigua ad Thomam77. 5. Similairement à la présupposition formulée par Balthasar en 1940, nous pouvons penser que Maxime ait connu la vraie identité de l’auteur du CD (dont le relie, avant tout, le milieu palestinien). Quelle que soit la réponse, voilà encore un problème sans solution: si Maxime considérait Denys comme étant un auteur du Ier siècle78, comment le subtile théologien aurait-il pu s’expliquer ces éléments-là du CD, tels Cf. M.-D. Chenu, op. cit., p. 278. Cf. I. Perczel, art. cit., pp. 431-435. 77 Cf. Maximi Confessoris Ambigua ad Thomam una cum Epistula secunda ad eundem, edidit Bart Janssens, CCSG 48, Turnhout, Brepols, 2002, pp. 19-34. 78 Probablement, pour que le lecteur identifie plus facilement Denys, dont il parle, Maxime n’utilise que dans Ambigua ad Thomam la référence usuelle à l’époque, celle d’«évêque d’Athènes»; la scholie qui pourrait nous être utile en ce sens est attribuée par l’exégèse à Jean. 75

76


Maxime le Confesseur lecteur de Corpus Dionysiacum 155 les termes chalcédoniens, la liturgie, les rituels funéraires et d’autres, qui montrent clairement qu’on n’a pas affaire à un auteur du Ier siècle? Tandis que Jean et Sophrone affirment de manière explicite que l’auteur du CD appartient au Ier siècle, converti par Paul en l’Aréopage, Maxime ne semble pas être tellement intéressé à la période où a vécu l’auteur en question. La question naturelle: pourquoi? peut recevoir plusieurs réponses. À notre avis, pour Maxime cet aspect est moins important, tant et aussi longtemps que sa doctrine est conforme à celle de l’Église. Donc, ce n’est pas le nom, le contexte culturel où l’époque dans laquelle un auteur écrit qui comptent de manière essentielle, mais la croyance juste des ouvrages en question. Contrairement à la position d’une partie des exégètes, CD a évidemment influencé la doctrine maximienne, peut être pas nécessairement par l’originalité (présente d’ailleurs) des idées dionysiennes, mais surtout par la continuité, la cohérence dans le cadre de la même Tradition. Ces auteurs fondamentaux pour la doctrine chrétienne, à côté des autres Pères de l’Église, ne sont que des petites perles, un peu plus luisantes peut-être, enfilée sur le fil continu de la Tradition.


156 Nicoleta Negraru

THE DIVINE ORDER. THE HIERARCHY AS ORDER (TAXIS) AND THE ORDER AS HABITUAL DISPOSITION (HEXIS) AT DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE AND MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR

Nicoleta Negraru

T

he purpose of this paper is to present the principle of the Dionysian hierarchic order as exterior order, by underling the concept of „order” (taxis), which Dionysius uses in order to define the hierarchy’s nature, and to analyse the explanations that Maximus the Confessor offers to the Dionysian concept of „order” (taxis) from the point of view of a „voluntary overcoming” (ekhorexis gnomike), as a final act included in the spiritual order. In the Dionysian corpus one can find overlapped three themes: I. The definition of hierarchy as order, knowledge and activity; II. The Person of The Embodied Word and the hierarchies; III. The purpose of the hierarchy: deification through participation. We will always have in view the fact that for Dionysius the sacred order is based on a process of mind purification, while the ethical point of view that underlines the virtues – so important for Maximus the Confessor – does not exist for Dionysius.


The divine order… 157 Order and hierarchy in the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite In the two writings, the Celestial Hierarchy and the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, Dionysius the Areopagite presents the way in which reality is structured as a hierarchic order, by starting from the celestial universe, towards the microcosm of the reasonable beings. Dionysius exploits the term ἱεραρχία in the context of the angelical and ecclesiastical ranks; the concept of „hierarchy” can be analysed starting from the Dionysian understanding of reality, the entire terminology – order, hierarchy, ranks, superior/inferior, superordinate/subordinate – being extensively presented (in the two works about hierarchy) from the point of view of understanding reality as divine order. Dionysius approaches the hierarchy from an ontological, celestial or ecclesiastical point of view, while the development of this view is circumscribed to the divine activity which composes the perfection (theosis) of the being. The paragraph I, 3 from Dionysius’ Celestial Hierarchy1 represents the most eloquent argument for our thesis: „All this accounts for the fact that the sacred institution and source of perfection established our most pious hierarchy. He modeled it on the hierarchies of heaven, and clothed these immaterial hierarchies in numerous material figures and forms so that, in a way appropriate to our nature, we might be uplifted from these most venerable images to interpretation and assimilations which are simple and inexpressible. For it is quite impossible that we humans should, in any immaterial way, rise up to imitate and to contemplate the heavenly hierarchies without the aid of those material means capable of guiding us as our nature requires. Hence, any thinking person realizez that the appearences of beauty are signs of an invisible loveliness. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, „Celestial Hierarchy”, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, Translation by Colm Luibheid. Foreword, notes, and translation collaboration by Paul Rorem. Preface by Rene Roques, Paulist Press, New York, 1987, p 102

1


158 Nicoleta Negraru The beautiful odors wich strike the senses are representations of a conceptual diffusion. Material lights are images of the outpouring of an immaterial gift of light. The thoroughness of sacred discipleship indicates the immense contemplative capacity of the mind. Order and rank here below are a sign of the harmonious ordering toward the divine realm”. (Celestial Hierarchy I. 3, 121 D – 124 A)

In this paragraph one can clearly notice the emphasis that is put on the novelty brought by Dionysius in the patristic mystagogical field. The permanent coordination between the soul’s interiority and the divine exteriority represented by the Ekklesia occurs throughout the two works about hierarchy, the Celestial Hierarchy and the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy2, and the connection between the spiritual interior order and the exterior order, represented by the elements of the liturgical ceremony, is actually the novelty brought by Dionysius the Areopagite. In Letter VIII3, in which he scolds Demophilus for ruining the hierarchic order by rebuking a cleric whose behaviour he disapproved, Dionysius asserts without any restraint the principle of hierarchic order4. He insists that those who have a hierarchic ministry should be worthy of that ministry: an unworthy priest is not a priest, but only the one who, hierarchically, is above him may rebuke him (A. Louth, 1997: 77). So Dionysius says that hierarchic order should be kept in every circumstance, even if the one who belongs to this order is not worthy of it. We may assert that this idealized hierarchic system from The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy is a unique construction which offers the The Celestial Hierarchy depicts the angels’ hierarchy and the Ecclesiastical hierarchy speaks about the orders and the sacraments from the Church. 3 Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, Letter 8.1.61, ed. Colm Luibheid and Paul Rorem, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Classic of Western Spirituality, (New York, 1987), p. 271 4 Respectively R. Hathaway, Hierarchy and the Definiton of Order in the Letters of Pseudo-Dionysius, La Haye, 1969 2


The divine order… 159 humankind the possibility of an access to divinity through participation (A. Purpura 2013: 224). It is necessary to explore the hierarchy’s function in the Dionysian works and its relation with the deification process, by regarding the hierarchy as an intellectual or spiritual system composed from theoretical terms. Moreover, we will try to explain how Dionysius reconciles the high ideals of hierarchy with the practical possibilities of attaining the explicit purposes of these ideals through the participatory practice of deification. To begin with, Dionysius regards the hierarchy and the hierarch as earthly orders of the thearchic divine reality and every construct of the hierarchy can be understood according to the way in which the human being has access to deification (A. Purpura 2013: 224). The hierarchy has, in Dionysius’ opinion, the function of mediation, which has a symbolic nature that must be understood in a unitary and coherent way. The ecclesiastical hierarchy reflects the triads of the angelic hierarchy, being coordinated by the same ordering rhythms of the Dionysian universe: emergence – conversion – stability (proodos – epistrophē – monē) and purification – enlightenment – perfection (katharsis – ellampsis – teleiōsis), to which correspond the rectilinear – the helicoid – the circular motion, and assertion – negation – silence. But the place of the three angelic triads is taken here by another series of triads: the triad of initiations, the triad of initiators, and the triad of initiated. The initiations’ triad is the triad of sacrament, the initiators’ triad is made from the consecrated hierarch and the clergymen, and the triad of initiated includes the faultless monks and the catechumen purified or undergoing purification (Y. de Andia, 1997 : 203). The hierarchy is, from the point of view of Dionysius, a gift offered by divinity to humankind in order to give man the possibility of making his weaknesses vanish through deification. Dionysius does not mention whether the deification is achieved by those members of the hierarchy who reject it voluntarily, but each member of the hierarchy


160 Nicoleta Negraru has this possibility in whatever circumstance, having in view that his membership is stable. For Dionysius the individual can be deified, but the deification does not happen individually. Deification is complete in the condition of maintaining the relationships among all hierarchic ranks and through the hierarchic divine mediation from one rank to another. This dependence of the hierarchic divine mediation turns to be a problem for the recovery of the disharmonious community, in which one can find members that refuse to follow their divine calling. Dionysius pleads for the necessity of deification because God is the true beginning, the life and the ending of the hierarchy. Dionysius firmly asserts that the spiritual order is the way to the access for the relation with the divine, so it substitutes the power of human hierarchy for the divine (A. Purpura, 2013: 255). According to Dionysius, God offers the power to the hierarch, and he spreads it to the entire hierarchy. The hierarch mediates the access to the divine according to his worthiness (kat’ axian), while the hierarch himself is directly deified by God. The hierarchy comes from the understanding of the Embodied Word as the cosmos’ divine order (taxis) animated by the love of the Spirit (Ch. Stang, 2008: 11-25). Participation is possible for each hierarchic member in a unique way, circumscribed by his potential of deification, and the relativity of this potential is determined by the order established by divinity. Dionysius admits that the physical ecclesiastical order, found in this world, does not necessarily coincide with the spiritual reality of the person that belongs to this hierarchy. Dionysius admits that a priest who did not receive the enlightenment, but enlightens others, is not „a priest as all the others” (Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, IV, 3, 180D-181). The definition of hierarchy The Dionysian hierarchy presents crises and mutations along the Dionysian corpus. From the point of view of Ch. Stang, the Dionysian


The divine order… 161 definition of hierarchy5, which reunites the two terms order (taxis) and energy (energeia), can be analysed by starting from three characteristics: the development – too robust and too rigid – of a vision that moves the sphere of the angelical order by descending it through the ecclesiastical life of the Church until the edge of creation, the emphasis put on the maintenance of this order and the consequences brought by the failure of keeping it, the insistence that the order has an activity rendered by harmonious facts (Ch. Stang, 2008: 103-104). From a Dionysian perspective, the likeness to the divine (homoousios theou) is always realised by going through a hierarchy made from the ecclesiastical hierarchy subordinated to divinity through the mediation of celestial hierarchy (Dominic O᾽Meara, 1997:75). The relation between hierarchy and likeness is visible even from the famous definition given to hierarchy by Dionysius6: „In my opinion a hierarchy is a sacred order, a state of understanding and an activity approximating as closely as possible to the divine. And it is uplifted to the imitation of God in proportion to the enlightenments divinely given to it. The beauty of God—so simple, so good, so much the source of perfection—is completely uncontaminated by dissimilarity. It reaches out to grant every being, according to merit, a share of light and then through a divine sacrament, in harmony and in peace, it bestows on each of those being perfected its own form”. (Celestial Hierarchy, III, 1, 164D)

5 As we may find the definition in the Celestial Hierarchy and, as well, in the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. 6 Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, „Celestial Hierarchy”, Pseudo-Dionysius, The Complete Works, Translation by Colm Luibheid. Foreword, notes, and translation collaboration by Paul Rorem. Preface by Rene Roques, Paulist Press, New York, 1987, p. 107. Respectively: „La hiérarchie, selon moi, est un ordre sacré, une science, une activité s᾽assimilant, autant que possible, à la déiformité et, selon les illuminations dont Dieu lui a fait don, s᾽élevant à la mesure de ses forces vers l᾽imitation de Dieu „, Hiérarchie Céleste, III, 1, 164D, Introduction par René Roques, Traduction René Roques, G.Heil, M.de Gandillac, Sources Chrétiennes, Les Éditiones du Cerf, Paris, 1970, p.87


162 Nicoleta Negraru The definition7 continues with the presentation of hierarchy’s purpose (scopos), that of making the „members of an Ekklesia” images (agalmata) of divinity, by likeness to God and union with God, like „translucent and unstained mirrors which receive the divine light” (Celestial Hierarchy III, 2)8: „The goal of hierarchy, than, is to enable beings to be as like as possible to God and to be at one with him. A hierarchy has God as its leader of all understanding and action. It is forever looking directly at the comeliness of God. A hierarchy bears in itself the mark of God. Hierarchy causes its members to be images of God in all respects, to be clear and spotless mirrors reflecting the glow of primordial light and indeed of God himself. It ensures that when its members have received this full and divine splendor they can then pass on this light generously and in accordance with God’s will to beings further down the scale”.(Celestial Hierarchy III, 2, 165 A)

One can understand from this definition of the hierarchy’s purpose a double reference – a collective one of adoration, of liturgical celebration, and an individual one, which regards the participants to the liturgical celebration (Dominic O᾽Meara, 1997: 78). Particularly speaking about the ecclesiastical hierarchy, Dionysius emphasises the finality of likeness: the ecclesiastical hierarchy and the celestial hierarchy constitute together the ladder which leads us to the likeness to God. The ecclesiastical hierarchy is made of embodied minds – humans – and the celestial hierarchy is made of pure minds – angles – and the assembly of the two hierarchies function as a construct, as an integration system, in as far as the inferior ranks imitate and resemble the superior ranks like L ‘Univers Dionysien by R.Rocques represents an ample explanation of the richness of this definition. 8 Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, „Celestial Hierarchy”, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, Translation by Colm Luibheid. Foreword, notes, and translation collaboration by Paul Rorem. Preface by Rene Roques, Paulist Press, New York, 1987, p. 107 7


The divine order… 163 indispensable intermediates of the power that deifies the inferior ranks. Here we have named the function of assimilating the hierarchy, function which is manifested at the level of inferior hierarchy, that of embodied beings, thus at the level of ecclesiastical hierarchy (Dominic O᾽Meara, 1999: 779). There are two aspects that have to be mentioned: 1. The basis of the ecclesiastical hierarchy – that of „the initiated”, i.e. of the members of the Church – is divided into three levels: 1) those who have to be purified and are excluded from receiving the Holy Sacraments, 2) those who are purified and take part to the Sacraments and 3) the monks. In order to become members of the Church, the initiated have to prepare themselves, have to have a „learning of the divine way of living” (he enteos politeia), to commit to a way of living (politeuein) and to purify from the depraved elements (he en kakia politeia)9. This preparation is necessary for the establishment of a moral order, so that the monastic order represents the most adequate expression of this level of initiated. 2. Within the ecclesiastical hierarchy the order of the initiated is subordinated to the order of initiators, which is divided in three levels: deacons, priests and bishops. Each rank of this order represents a way of assimilating divinity, each rank aims to a superior life, a divine one. Each rank is spiritualized by the superior rank, that of the hierarchs, being directly dependent of the celestial hierarchy. In consequence, the initiators’ order is distinguished from the inferior order of the initiated. If the two orders manifest the same ascending movement towards God, only the order of 9 To see how the term politeia is used in the Dionysian Corpus, v. R.Roques, L’Univers Dionysien, pp.82-90. It is interesting that Letter 8 has a vocabulary in which politeia is very important, compared to other Letters which have a contemplative aspect.


164 Nicoleta Negraru initiators is like a deifying agent for the inferior order. But the supreme level of the initiated’ rank (that of the monks) does not have the possibility of transmitting this deifying power to those from the ranks subordinated to them (R. Roques, 1954: 79). The logic relation between the exterior and the interior order To begin with, there should be a lexical distinction – Dionysius uses the expression he kat᾽auton hierarchia (his own hierarchy) as being different from he kath’ hemas hierarchia (our hierarchy)10, which is a Dionysian expression ordinary in the Church. Kat᾽ auton suggests the own inner order of the soul of the hierarch or of the holy man, „his interior hierarchy”, so exactly what we saw that is disharmonious in Demophilus (A.Golitzin, 2013: 54). Dionysius continues the depiction of the deified man, probably the hierarch, as that one who reached a complete likeness to his Creator, who made himself in the same time „temple” (naos) of the Divine Spirit and, in this way, by dint of his impassibility (apatheia) of his mind’s disposition (hexis), he „is considered a doctor for the others”. The references to the „temple” and to the „disposition” (hexis) of the deified man’s mind are eloquently expressed in the series of definitions found in the first chapter of the Celestial Hierarchy. The definitions of collective hierarchy given by Dionysius may be applied to each individual approach to the hierarchy. The same expressions can easily be applied to soul’s or mind’s „individual” order, its purpose being the „likeness to God and the union with God to the extent to which every one of us is capable of it”, „like a certain holy engagement and image (eikon) of the divine beauty” (A. Golitzin, 10 To see the way in which Dionysius speaks about “our hierarchy” (he kat hemas hierarchia), v. R. Roques, L’Univers Dionysien, partea a 3-a, p.171-302.


The divine order… 165 1998: 145). This interpretation is imposed by the fact that Dionysius asserts that hierarchy transforms its members into „divine statues (agalmata)” and very transparent icons of God and that the hierarchy makes every single member „a fellow-worker of God, showing in himself the divine work” (Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, II, 396 a). In short, all that can be said about hierarchy as a whole can be applied to the individual too. The same terms are used in a coherent and consistent manner throughout the entire corpus, both referring to the individual and to the collective (A. Golitzin, 1998: 174). In Letter VIII it is said that the dislocation of the Church’s divine order (taxis) – which Dionysius constantly calls „our hierarchy”, with the meaning of collective hierarchy – is due to the inadequacy regarding soul’s inner order, the individual sense of hierarchy. Demophilus refuses to follow the liturgical pattern, respectively to cultivate the hierarchic image of the inner man, and, as the text of the Letter VIII shows us, he remains opaque towards the divine reality (A. Golitzin, 2013: 31). It is now clear why Dionysius insists so much, both in the Celestial Hierachy and in the other texts11, on the hierarchic principle, saying that „the beings, namely the angels from the second triad, get the light from God through the entities from the first triad” (Celestial Hierachy, VIII, 240 D). This ordering principle, applied from „our hierarchy’s” point of view, that means the collective sense of the hierarchy, signifies the sacerdotal authority (A. Golitzin, 2013: 31). In the Celestial Hierarchy, two chapters later, we encounter this principle applied to inner life: „Each heavenly and human mind has within itself its own special first, and middle, and last ranks, and powers, manifested severally in due degree, for the aforesaid particular mystical meanings of the Hierarchical illuminations” (Celestial Hierarchy, X, 3).

11

Respectively, Letter VIII and Ecclesiastical Hierarchy


166 Nicoleta Negraru Man’s unification through communion and his progressive likeness to the Divine One implies a contemplative, ascetic participation in the celebrated mysteries, contemplation which is the ascending, ascetic, anagogic and apophatic movement of man and of his purified, illuminated and unified mind which sees, by likeness to them, the realities intelligible and symbolized in the sacred text, and rituals of hierarchically descendent motion of the divine in its quality of One unifier and ordering (Y. de Andia, 1997: 275). We should understand the fact that in the Dionysian works the method consists in depicting the double simultaneous movement – the symbolic-hierarchic descent of the divine mystery and the anagogic-apophatic climb of the man situated in the hierarchies and their symbols that lead to the One Divine (Y. de Andia, 1997: 276). The purpose of hierarchy: order and deification The universe of individual existences is, according to the Areopagite, a „hierarchy”, a spiritual universe of minds ordered by the distinctions of the ranks which determine the structure of their communication. The purpose of the hierarchy is to organize or to order the three functional realities, „the sacred order, the knowledge and the activity” (taxis hera kai episteme kai energeia)12 and which correspond to the three dimensions: ontic, theoretic and practical, which lead to the unity with the divine (henosis) during the deification process, when each individuality turns to be „partaker at divinity” (theou synergon) 13, in a way which is specific to its rank.14 As far as for Dionysius the activity of the individualities endowed with reason is an answer that they give to the divine order, one can speak about an ethical dimension. And, having in view that the activity of the divinity towards the spiritual beings is manifested in different ways, according Hiérarchie Céleste, III, 1 Celestial Hierarchy, III, 2 14 R. Roques, L’Univers Dionysien, p. 30, 88-91. 12 13


The divine order… 167 to their rank, the spiritual beings should engage in an ordered effort for deification (Ph. Renczes, 2003:121). Here is an example from the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy that illustrates this very idea: „These, then, are the sacerdotal Ranks (hieratike taxeis) and elections, their powers (dynameis), and operations (te auton kai energeiai), and consecrations” (Ecclesiastic Hierarchy VI, 1. 530 a).

The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy suggests a different perspective from the Divine Names upon divine union (henosis). The new perspective brought by the Dionysian Hierarchies is the deification. The purpose of the hierarchy is to unify and deify the minds, celestial or human. Deification takes place through sacraments in a progressive manner, starting from illumination and purification in order to reach perfection. The progressive order of the sacraments is, in the same time, the order of the perfection phases of the initiated: purification, illumination and, finally, perfection, when the initiated himself becomes a source of purification, illumination and deification (Y.de Andia, 1997: 324). Deification (theosis) is participation in the divine life and the transmission of this divine life is realized, hierarchically and symbolically, through rituals. The symbolic sense cannot be understood but through the anagoge of the mind, which increases the sensible representations of the represented realities. The sacramental symbol does not manifest itself through ideas, but in reality. The word „symbol” signifies the deifying act and the participation in the divine life (Y.de Andia, 1997: 322). If in the Divine Names deification is based on the axiom seul le semblable conaît le semblable, in the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy Dionysius introduces a new condition: the initiation into sacraments through hierarchy and inside the hierarchy. The integration into hierarchy is made through Baptism, which is a new birth, and Dionysius asserts that without this „divine existence” man cannot have access to theoria (Y.de Andia, 1997: 323).


168 Nicoleta Negraru The second purpose which Dionysius assigns to the hierarchy is henosis, the divine unification15. This unification is realized thanks to the lights that come by contemplating the One (Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, 437 B). The activity of the hierarchy The way of existing of an own, interior order particularly implies the relation which appears between interiority itself and „its knowledge” and „its activity” and, moreover, a specific role resulted from the reference to other ranks of the hierarchy (Ph. Renczes: 258). Dionysius the Areopagite defines the different levels of participation in the divine reality „the ranks of the orders here, of the harmonious and regulated habit (hexis), with regard to Divine things” (Celestial Hierarchy I, 3). In the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy one can see how the order of the celestial hierarchy is incorporated: „Thus the most holy Hierarchy of the supercelestial Beings has, for its initiation, its own possible and most immaterial conception of God and things Divine, and the complete likeness to God, and a persistent habit of imitating God, as far as permissible” (Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, V, 2).

In this fragment we have a very convincing example that reflects the hexis concept, appropriate for an order which belongs to the ecclesiastical hierarchy16 (Ph. Renczes, 2003: 240). It turns quite obvious that, from the Dionysian point of view, this connection between hexis and the ontological order (taxis) consolidates the V.Ysabel de Andia, Henosis. L'Union à Dieu chez Denys l'Aréopagite, Brill, 1996. The vocabulary of henosis in Ecclesiastic Hierarchy is widely represented through many, many expressions – „Le vocabulaire de l’union dans la Hierarchie Ecclesiastique” – was made by Y. de Andia especially in the study „Mystères, unification et divinisation de l’homme selon Denys l'Aréopagite”, Orientalia Christiana Periodica 63, 1997, p.273-332. 16 As we can see in Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, V, 7,3 15


The divine order… 169 intransitive meaning of the term which indicates, as we could see, „a stable manner of being”17. Being convinced that as far as the hierarchic order established by divinity corresponds, analogically, to the whole divine will of attaining this order, Dionysius uses the term hexis to indicate this ontological correspondence: „[…] through which extreme cleansing he will be resistless and free, as altogether uniform, in a sanctified habit of the Divine Likeness” (Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, III, 9).

In order to designate the activity of the hierarchy, Dionysius uses more meanings, from which a very important one is the light (φώϛ). The hierarchies mediate knowledge, are knowledge, postulates Dionysius – are some vehicles of the revelation. Dionysius conceives this revelation as a light: it springs from the absolute divinity and irradiates the whole created order. But it is not a light which shines above the created world but rather through the created world: those who are in the closest positions to God are lightened (and their brightness comes from the divine brightness), farther irradiate the divine light to the most distant realities of the created order. First of all, the divine light is received by the immaterial order of the purely intellectual or spiritual beings – that is the angelic choirs organized in triads. From this very spiritual level the divine light is transmitted to the material world, to humans, and in this world the vehicle of illumination is the Church with its liturgical ceremony (A.Louth, 1997: 72). The metaphorical arhi-topos of light (very debated in all metaphysics about „One” and about „being” – either it is admitted a

The operational meaning of hexis appears in direct relation with the term energeia, as we can see in the description of the first rank of the celestial order: “Angels… deemed worthy indeed of much participation and co-operation with God, by their assimilation to Him, as far as attainable, of their excellent habits (hexis) and energie (energeion)”, (Celestial Hierarchy,VII, 4) 17


170 Nicoleta Negraru perfect otherness or an absolute identity between what emits light from them and the source itself of light) implies the evidence of an ontological relation that is deliberately used in order to fill the „hollowness” of an unavoidable passing through the abyss. This ontological relation is extended and emphasised by participation. Even if we should talk about participation in this study about order, we will not talk about the different theories from the Greek ontology and the field of oriental patristic (A. Vasiliu, 1997: 304). Participation could mean, from the point of view of the participant, giving something or bringing something in present (parousia) and, in the same time, an offering of this presence as an availability (hexis) or as an opening towards something – in short, the exercise of the faculty of offering. We could say that this faculty of offering corresponds for each level of hierarchy to divinity itself, divinity that exists for the inferior levels inasmuch as it offers itself to their participation, while, from the point of view of the participant, the opening or its hexis (as the perception of participative likeness is regarded) actually corresponds to a deification (A. Vasiliu, 1997: 305). II. Interior Order as a habitual disposition (hexis) in Maximus the Confessor’s anthropology The transition from participation and likeness to deification is a specific theme for the oriental patristic thinking, and especially for Maximus the Confessor’s Neo-Platonic and Aristotelian synthesis. The transition from the hierarchic understanding of participation to an open and dynamic conception about the intentions of the divine and human ministration constitutes the justification of this deifying participation, of this doctrine of theosis elaborated by anthropology and the Mystagogy of Maximus the Confessor. The style and the method of Maximus’ Mystagogy have a clear Dionysian influence, even if the Areopagite’s philosophy and thinking


The divine order… 171 patterns know a profound mutation and transformation – instead of the hierarchies and the clerical holiness we notice a concentric vision, focused on the individual participation and on the soul’s progress: each participant can and should understand Ekklesia and Liturgia as a mystical and ascetic progress of his soul and as an initiation into God’s mystery through the Embodiment of the Logos. Maximus the Confessor opposes to the Dionysian and Neo-Platonic hierarchic vision about the relations between God, world and man, and to the scalar subordination of the sensible a relation of reciprocity and perihoretic synergy – these are not arranged according to a vertical scheme, but to a concentric, circular one, suggested by the movements of the wheels of the divine chariot from Ezekiel 1. The large chapter 5 from the Mystagogy unfolds an elaborated psychology whose tens of polarities are called to get unified in the interior Liturgy of the deified soul’s harp (Andia, 1997: 147). Ekklesia appears to be in the same time space and time, a „where” (poū) and a „when” (pote), a receptacle which is not exterior to the realities that it contains, but is like a laboratory for updating and restoring the true identity of the things from the world in its true, divine order, by dint of a causality appropriate for its nature. Ekklesia’s order and the succession of the Synaxis’ rituals have the role of accustoming people again with the true order that they left in exchange for another reality, and with a motion which is not a simple change, but a transformation into an epiphany of order (Mueller Jourdan, 2005: 23). The fifth chapter from the Mystagogy gives us the change to summarize the signification of the analogy instituted by Maximus, which says that „the Church achieves in its parts the same unification which the soul exerts in relation with its faculties” (Mystagogia, V). We will illustrate soul’s movements according to Maximus in order to show the peculiarity of his vision and the difference from Dionysius the Areopagite. The three movements of the soul correspond, according to Maximus, to three distinct modes: to the negative


172 Nicoleta Negraru theology, to the affirmative theology and to the symbolism; and not how we saw in Dionysius’ works: to the circular movement, to the rectilinear or helical movement in relation to the One (Andia, 1997: 309). Thanks to this relation between anthropology and theology’s modes, Maximus succeeds to unify his system and to unitarily establish the correspondence between anthropology, cosmology and liturgy, as it appears in his Mystagogy. The fundamental distinction between Dionysius and Maximus is that one pleads for diabasis, while the other for anabasis. As a consequence, for Maximus the contemplation implies this diabasis of the signification that is fixed in the intellect through reason, while for Dionysius the overcoming of the sensible and of the intelligible through nous theoretikos does not imply the assumption of the signification and of the reason by the intellect. For one of them transformation means that superiority assumes inferiority or that superiority goes across inferiority, for the other one transformation is just a simple transition from inferiority to superiority. So we may assert an opposite order of negation and affirmation from the point of view of the two authors. This order is ascendant for Maximus; it starts from the superior and leads the Principle to consequences, from negation to affirmation, while for Dionysius the order is ascendant, from affirmation to negation. In conclusion, for Dionysius the affirmation is inseparable from negation, which leads to the necessity of purification through negation of the affirmations as symbols and to the superiority of different symbols over the similar symbols (Andia, 1997: 309). Maximus’ pattern has as a basis man’s primordial dichotomy: he is, in the same time, a sensitive and an intelligible being. For Maximus the exterior order represented by the Church and the interior order of the soul are two realities which coincide, because the man is Church and the Church is man:


The divine order… 173 „Because we were given the Church made with hands for the soul, for the guidance to the higher ones, which is also a model through the different divine symbols from it (Mystagogy, V)”18.

For Maximus, the cosmic order on which his ethical narrative is based is anchored (as well as for Dionysius) in the narrative of the Embodied Word. The whole universal order – the diversity of the natural creation, the relations and the hierarchies of the intelligible and sensible creation, the virtues’ harmony – incorporate and unify the creatures in a particular manner of existence and meets its final coherence in the person of the Embodied Word, who assumes all the disorder of the historical existence (P. Blowers, 2013: 336). In the Mystagogy, Maximus tries to underline the existence of a final order which is understood as a development of the movement towards the absolute Goodness, movement that incorporates the element of hexis19. We notice that in Maximus’ Mystagogy, as well as in his entire anthropology, a separation between „the natural order” and the „supernatural order” cannot be conceived, as man reaches perfection by assuming (at the level of the way of being (hexis) of the divine features which can become his own features) meanings that will finally guide him towards his own interior order (Renczes, 2003: 243). Lars Thunberg asserts, on the other hand, that even when Maximus speaks about participation, he keeps the idea of an abyss between the created order and the uncreated one, as Maximus’ mystagogical model is based on a „tropic” identity that renews constantly, like a divine solace for man, in and through the virtues that are truly human, like penetrations in the divine reality (L. Thunberg, 1985: 133).

Et á cause d’elle peut-être l’Eglise faite de mains d’homme qui á travers la diversité des choses divines en elle en est un exemplaire dans l’ordre du symbole, nous a été remis sagement pour nous guider vers ce qui este superior (Mystagogia V, 290-295), Boudignon, C.(ed., Maximus Confessor: Mystagogia, una cum latina interpretatione Anastasi bibliothecarii, coll .CChSG 69, Turhnout, Bruxelles, 2011, p.28 19 In this paper we chose the expression “habitual disposition”. 18


174 Nicoleta Negraru The dynamic of the unification of the souls’ power in God, as it is depicted in the fifth chapter of Maximus’ Mystagogy20, is a movement of the soul in its completeness21, defining for the possibility of contemplation22, seen as a confirmation of the spiritual/inner order, and the terminology that Maximus proposes does not belong to the ontological order, but to the moral one: „Contemplation is a habit (hexis), knowledge an operation (energeia) of mind, and unforgettable knowledge is an eternal motion, without ending, which became habit (hexis) of wisdom, of contemplation and of knowledge, respectively of power, of habit and of activity” (Mystagogy, V)23.

We have to mention that the diversity of the occurrences of the term hexis in the Maximian corpus cannot be subsumed under a well-defined notion, the term being included in the dialectics about quality and relation, in the terms of participation, dialectics that is found on the trajectory from Aristotelism to patristic metaphysics. The history of this notion crosses the areas of metaphysics, physics, The theme of the fifth typology from the Mystagogy is the interior dynamic of the soul. It is said that the fifth typology from the Mystagogy, which defines the relation between Church and soul, constitutes one of the most complex analysis of patristic anthropology. 21 For Maximus, the soul (Mystagogia V, 288-289) is made of two powers: the noetic or intellectual power (νοερᾶς) and the power or the vital faculty (ζωτικῆς), and the two powers are classified by the movement criterion. The noetic power or faculty moves autonomously, is redefined through the process of will, and the vital power does not move, but remains according to nature. 22 We cannot illustrate here the difference between the intellect’s status and its unification with the divine according to Maximus and Dionysius, theme which defines the object of contemplation. 23 Car il dissait que la sagesse est puissance de l’intellect et que l’intellect lui meme est en puissance sagesse ; la contemplation : état „de l’intellect”; la connaisance : activité de „l’intellect”; l’incessante connaissance: l’état d’éternel movement ininterrompu de la sagesse, de la contemplation et de la connaissance, c’est-á-dire de la puissance, de l’état et de l’activité, autour de connaissable au-delà de toute connaissance dont le terme est la vérité en tant qu’inoubliable connaisable (Mystagogia V, 123-140), Boudignon, C.(ed., Maximus Confessor: Mystagogia, una cum latina interpretatione Anastasi bibliothecarii, coll .CChSG 69, Turhnout, Bruxelles, 2011, p.22 20


The divine order… 175 cosmology, ethics and anthropology, imposing itself as an operatory concept between the hypostatic identity and its immediate reality destined for likeness. Indeed, we do not owe Maximus the invention of the term24. Belonging to a rich word family which Greek language has for expressing with all the possible nuances and distinctions the ontology of the being, the term designates a special meeting of the category of quality with a certain type of motion that accompanies the activity of hexis, i.e. energeia, entering in this way in a process of spiritual perfection which aims to deification. The hexis concept is stated under multiple forms, as if under this linguistic polytropy something unutterable, inexpressible, and almost inappropriate for the Logos would be dissimulated. Indeed, the concept reunites in a single word a double issue: on one hand an onto-metaphysical one, on the other hand an ethic-anthropological one. So hexis will be defined as a type of disposition understood in the same time as subjective habit (skill) and as objective peculiarity; that is why it is necessary to outline the distinction between the terms hexis and diathesis. In the Maximian text an interior relation arises between the notion of hexis and diathesis. The concepts of διάθεσις25 and ἕξις26 used by Maximus signify two distinct aspects, but well-articulated in an ethic and anthropologic binomial. The term διάθεσις designates a transient disposition or an attitude, while ἕξις signifies a habitual The hexis concept in Maximus’ anthropology has some particular features that emerge thanks to the rich polysemy of the word. Hexis’s vocabulary is configured in the Maximian writing by its presence in a varied typology of theological texts. The discussion about hexis could be encountered in well-defined texts from the point of view of theological debate, and which have difficult issues for the patristic repertoire, such as Dysputatio cum Pyrrho și Opuscula theologica et polemica, in biblical and patristic exegeses, Questiones ad Thalassium and Ambigua, in different books about spiritual life, Capita de caritate and Capita theologica et oeconomica, as well as in the liturgical texts, respectively Mystagogia. 25 Cf Myst. XXIV, PG 91, 713 AB, Amb. Io 7, PG 91, 1084C 26 Cf Amb Io 30, PG 91, 1273 BC; 58,PG 91,1384 A. The meaning of “state” is the most commonly used by G.W.Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexikon, Oxford, 1961, p.497. 24


176 Nicoleta Negraru disposition or a stable state, and we are unable to express the concept exclusively in the terms of hypostatic intentionality, in other words, without having its nature in a certain committed manner27. The two notions basically differ by the fact that diathesis is temporary and hexis is stable (cf. Aristotel, Categ. 8, 8b 27-9a13). But Maximus does not operate each time this distinction28, having in view the fact that sometimes hexis is used instead of diathesis. For Aristotle the two terms are always distinct. We have to underline that for Aristotle „the states are, in the same time, dispositions, and the dispositions are not necessarily states” (Aristotel, Categ.8.9a). The term hexis has in Maximus’ works, as well as in the works of his precursors, a meaning flexible enough29. Maximus incorporates here, as in other places, two plans: the dispositions and the states correspond to the orientations which are given to the person through natural powers. In this sense, the typology of dispositions and of states

The starting point of the discussion about the distinction between diathesis and hexis is in chapter 8 from the Categories, in which Aristotle debates about the different types of quality (poietes). The first meaning that is taken by this category and actually represents the first species of the quality is this distinction between hexis and diathesis (8b27). There is no explanation about the things that differentiate them. The subspecies of quality which hexis (state or habitual disposition) and diathesis (disposition) belong to as types is inexistent. Yet, the thing which permits the comparison at the level of quality is a certain priority, a primacy of hexis over diathesis, as we could see in Categories, 6a32 (Brague, Remi, « Du diathesis » in P. Aubenque (ed.), Concepts et categories dans la pensee antique, Paris, Vrin, 1980, p. 197). Hexis divides the category of quality by using a criterion which situates it before diathesis and guarantees this primacy. The criterion is that of permanence. From this point of view, hexis is distinguished by the fact that it has, thanks to this criterion, supremacy over diathesis: the habitual disposition (hexis) is different from disposition (diathesis) by the fact that it lasts longer and is more stable (Aristotel, Categorii, 8). From this point of view hexis is distinguished through a permanence of a longer period and through poluchronioteron. This adjective could be translated by using the expression “long-term”, as one can see in the Categories context. Such a translation implies though an effect of spatiality – time compared to a line, more or less long – signification that the Greek word does not contain. 28 Cf. M. Doucet, „Dispute de Maxime Confesseur avec Pyrrhus”, typescript, Montreal, 1972, p. 414. 29 A. de Halleux, „Palamism et tradition”, Irenikon, 48, 1975, pp. 217, 228-229. 27


The divine order… 177 corresponds to a way of existing, which is that of the person (J.C.Larchet, 2009: 45). On the other hand, the notion of ἕξις, which comes from ἔχω, appears with the meaning of possession30, from which we have the thesis according to which through hexis the person possesses or assumes its own nature of one type or another (the habitual disposition [hexis] could be good or bad, virtuous or vicious). By asserting this ambivalence, we could say that διάθεσις and ἕξις correspond to a certain quality of the person, which is given by nature and which imprints a certain way of being or another. The only difference between natural, cosmological order (taxis) and the supernatural, divine order (taxis) stands in the manner (tropos) of interacting two types of energeia: the created energeia and the uncreated energeia. The Maximian interpretation of the „monoenergistic” Dionysian expression mia teandrike energeia depends on the distinction between the two significations of the concept of energeia. The intersection point between the created energeia and the uncreated energeia is hexis, defined as a habitual disposition for the reasonable beings (A. Levy, 2006: 310). Hexis corresponds in the created order to an uncreated energeia (Mystagogia, XXVI, PG 91, 705 D), so that humanity aims to divinity while mirroring the relation between the created and the uncreated order in the terms of participation. This participation is reflected in creation through the acquisition of a supernatural quality of the created order, which is translated in the concept of theosis (A.Levy, 2006: 311). The phases of hexis imply a series of divisions which are synthetized by Maximus in three stages: practical, theoretical and mystical (according to another Maximian distinction we have the division between theoria and praktike). The terminology that is used 30 Cf. F. G. Barrois, „Palamism revisited”, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, 19, 1975, p.227-228, et F. Brune, „Le rédemptention chéz saint Maxime le Confesseur”, Contacts, 30, 1978, p.153


178 Nicoleta Negraru by Maximus in the whole corpus to define hexis in relation with different spiritual stages is slightly varying. In the Maximian mystagogy one can observe the overlap of the contemplative meaning he kata theorian hexis (Mystagogia, XXVI, PG 91, 705 D), which indicates a spiritual itinerary of hexis towards a stable and permanent order (Renczes, 2003 : 214). Disposition (hexis) leads to an action (energeia – praxis) which, being the fruit of a choice (proaieres), does not ever stop being a condition of the interior dispositions and thus of the subsequent actions: this is how virtue is born. In the Mystagogy, Maximus illustrates this continuous dynamism: „The reason (ho logos) is practiced through prudence (proairesis) and determines the action (praxis); by beginning from action one gets to virtue” (Mystagogia, V, PG 91, 677B).

This way the singular action, if it is repeated, ends to be a configuration of a habitus which defines the interior order: this habitus is circumscribed to virtue31. About this Maximus asserts: „We consider that the virtue is the result of a will (gnome) and not of a setting into order (taxis)” (Maximus the Confessor, Ep. 1, PG 91, 364 A). This interpretation allows us to consider that Maximus affirms an anti-Dionysian position (Renczes, 2003: 253). The divine order, Maximian ethical recours. Ethical and theoretical aporia Maximus considers γνώμη (gnome) a practical concept and hexis (habitual disposition) a created ousia, that is to say, two types of movements as results of the divine action. In the following lines we intend to show for what reason these notions interfere in our analysis 31

V. Paul Ricouer, A l’école de la phénoménology, Paris, Vrin, 1998, p. 243


The divine order… 179 about interior order seen as habitual disposition and what is the relation that they have in the configuration of interior order. In Maximus’ interpretation the content of these notions outlines an Aristotelian substrate. It is sure that Maximus is the first one who specifies that gnome appears both in the Scripture and at the Holy Fathers, but, in the same time, he underlines that this notion is far away from having a precise meaning. In Disputes against Pyrrhus he states that he used twenty-eight different meanings of this term, all dependent on their context. But, due to the Monothelite disputes which misappropriated the word’s signification, Maximus gave it a steady meaning: „La gnome n’est rien d’autre qu’ une volonté qualifiée (ποία θέλησις) visant de manière corrélative (ἀντεχομένη σχετικώς) un bien réel ou un bien apparent (ὄντος ἡ νομιζομένου ἀγαθοῦ)” (A. Levy, 2006: 145).

Seen from the point of view of a practical wisdom, we notice an approach of gnome’s Maximian meaning to the notion which Aristotle describes in the Nicomachean Etics, where the term gnome is a characteristic of wise men32. The Maximian terminology constantly highlights the ambiguous character of gnome when used regarding the human being33. In Lars Thunberg’s opinion, for Maximus the key to a virtuous life is, both in his early writings and in his late ones, the foundation of a harmonious Aristotle analyses it in the second book of the Nicomachean Ethics; in the 5th and the 6th chapter, where he offers an argumentation by elimination: the ethical virtue is not defined as affect, neither as faculty or capacity, but it is a habitual disposition (along other types of habitual disposition). The affirmation that will guide this study is the following one: “If the virtues are neither affects, nor faculties, then it remains for them to be habitual dispositions” (EN, 1106 a, 13). Aristotle has in view the demonstration of the thesis that the ethical virtues are a species of the gender “habitual disposition”. According to this argument, the habitual disposition is the genus proximum of the ethical virtues. 33 V. R.A. Gauthier, „Saint Maxime le Confesseur et la psychologie de l’acte humain”, Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale, 21, 1954, pp. 77-81. 32


180 Nicoleta Negraru and balanced relation between gnome and human being’s own nature, since the domination of vices is manifested „gnomically”, and a vicious gnome disintegrates the unity of human nature (L. Thunberg, 1995: 240). Having in view the relation gnome – hexis, Renczes demonstrates that if at the level of created order, from a moral point of view, gnome and hexis are synonyms, theologically the two concepts become distinct (Renczes, 2003: 279), in the sense that „the divine hexis becomes the good purpose of gnome to which this one aims in order to become, through grace, according to its habitus, what God is by nature” (Thal. 6, PG 90, 281A). Thus, we will observe that in Maximus’ opinion there is a very slight distinction between the two notions, even if, to a certain extent, the two notions were considered synonyms which could be substituted one for the other, their dynamic could offer the final structure of the human will. While, from the point of view of created moral order, in St. Maximus’ opinion the natural and supernatural level are never separated and hexis comes to develop a configuration at the level of human which completely corresponds to that one defined by gnome; however, from a theological point of view, the hexis, which God gave man through His grace, accumulates a distance comparing to the characteristics that mark this human feature which is designated through gnome: the deified hexis becomes the good finality of gnome at which he aims in order to become through grace like God, by hexis (Renczes, 2003 : 280)34. The habitual disposition is ordered through activity (energeia), after the example of Logos; gnome is ordered through free choice (προαίρεσις). Often circumscribed to the practical discernment,

34 In Orthodox Theology, starting from this sense of hexis, we cannot speak about the existence of gnome in the person of the Embodied Word.


The divine order… 181 gnome appears to be a constitutive element of the moral decision process (A. Levy, 2006: 170). Deliberation is followed by gnome (Opusc. 1, 13 B-C). Gnome is a disposition of the appetite through which the deliberation is edified for the most appropriate thing that must be chosen. Proaeiresis, which is distinct from gnome, follows it. Proaeiresis seems to be an update of the disposition (gnome), it is a composite of the appetite, of deliberation and judgement and it always chooses the most suitable thing in order to make the deliberation appropriate (Batherellos, 2004: 148). St. Maximus is not always very clear in his texts when he makes the distinction between gnome and proaeiresis, and many times the two terms seem to be synonyms (Batherellos, 2004: 149). To have gnome and proaeiresis means to be a subject dominated not only by ignorance (understood as the incapacity of fully understanding), but also unstable, with the possibility of doing dishonourable acts, of drifting from the established order. By losing the intrinsic orientation to God, man becomes disharmonic and expresses himself through „this irreconcilable disposition that characterizes the action of the gnomic will” (Ian McFarland, 2005: 415)35. Gnome represents that possibility of the human being to voluntarily contribute to that dynamics, which, sustained by God’s grace, aims to a divine purpose, that of deification. Thus, there is underlined an ethical dimension represented by gnome, the competence of which is to guide „the way in which the natural motion (kinesis) is realized in everything that is contingent” (Maximus the Confessor, Thal, 6, CCSG,7,69, 21-23, PG 90, 280D). From this Opuscula theologica et Polemica, PG 91:33D-36 A. St. Maximus does not offer an explanation for the equalization of the gnomic will with gnome in his definitions but in many places the terms are presented as synonyms (for instance, Disputation cum Pyrrhus – PG 91: 368 C-D). Another reference is that from Opuscula 7 where St. Maximus describes man’s opposition to God by varied dispositions (kata ten thelesin).

35


182 Nicoleta Negraru perspective we could speak about the originality and creativity, in a moral sense, of the Maximian vision about the existence of the human being. It is characteristic to human activity and, after all, to self-determination and to liberty to elaborate somehow innovative and creative changes, suitable for the created nature and for the historical or personal contingent purpose. In Adam Cooper’s opinion, we could speak about two perspectives which represent what can be called the morality of freedom and the morality of heteronymy at Maximus the Confessor (Adam Cooper, 2013: 214). a) his anthropologic distinction between the creative exercise of livery (pos thelein / thelesis) and its ontological foundation; b) the Maximian understanding of the dynamic, of the human passions and desires, of the decisions and of actions. This short invocation of the role of freedom in the Maximian ethics allows us to see not only the distance between the Maximian notions about which we discuss, but also the theoretical approach of these notions, in the way that they are organized inside St. Maximus’ thinking. We could thus know by deduction the inhomogeneous distance which Maximus was obliged to admit between gnome and hexis, following the pattern of another fundamental distinction between logos and tropos, which, from his perspective, represent a structure which essentially characterizes the whole human activity. Between the two notions, gnome and hexis, the distance is mediated by the characteristics which are reunited at the level of gnome, the distance being marked from the point of view of time (Renczes, 2003: 278). A. Levy states that „if we understand by habitus the modality in which deified humanity works and that this supernatural habitus takes action on itself, in the sense that it is successive to the order created by the uncreated order, the proposed terminology is just” (A. Levy, 2006: 345).


The divine order… 183 Gnome is a corollary of disorder, of instability, which affects the qualities necessary for the created beings that remain incapable of glimpsing the eternal order of Goodness. The final habitual dispositions of the created being are always crucial, because they consolidate the gnomic mode of the ordering experience integrated to the deifying act, in the conditions in which gnome is not constitutive, but a temporary construct meant for the spiritual ascension. So the gnomic has a critical role in the continuous becoming of likeness; in the central part of his anthropology, Maximus introduces the ordering principle: while man participates with a gnomic frequency in the relation with God, he has to pass from the disharmonious state to the eschatological deification condition. The final act of this participation is „the gnomic submission”, ἐκχώρησις γνωμική, which means for Maximus that „we want to receive even the fact of being moved by the One from Whom we received our being” (Maximus the Confessor, Amb.7). The gnomic submission depicted in Amb. 7 is a splendid synthetic image, since the discipline of ascetic-contemplative life (of overcoming the desires and the free will, dedicated to God) and the joy of overcoming the gnomic (integrated in a new manner, tropos, of existing, ordered, eschatological) gradually converge in its interior.

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184 Nicoleta Negraru Aristotle, 1985, Nicomachean Ethics, Translated, with introduction, notes, and glossary by Terence Irwin, Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis, Cambridge Balthasar, Hans Urs von, 1947, Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor, Aubier, „ Theologie” 11, Paris Batherelos, Demetrios, 2004, Person, Nature and Will in the Christology of Saint Maximus the Confessor, Oxford University Press Blowers, Paul M., 1991, Exegesis and Spiritual Pedagogy in Maximus the Confessor, University of Notre Dame Press Blowers, Paul M., & Wilken, Robert Louis trans., John Behr (ed.), 2003 On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ: Selected Writings from St. Maximus the Confessor, Popular Patristics Series Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press Blowers, Paul M., 2011,”The Dialectics and Therapeutics of Desire in Maximus the Confessor „, Vigiliae Christianae, Volume 65, Number 4 Bradshaw, David, 2004, Aristotle East and West.Metaphisycs and the Divisions of Christendom, Oxford University Press Brague, Remi, 1980, „Du diathesis „, P. Aubenque (ed.), Concepts et categories dans la pensee antique, Vrin, Paris Boudignon, C. (ed.), 2011, Maximus Confessor: Mystagogia, una cum latina interpretatione Anastasi bibliothecarii, coll .CChSG 69, Turhnout, Bruxelles Coakley, Sarah, co-ed. with Charles M. Stang, 2009, Rethinking Dionysius the Areopagite, Oxford, Wile-Blackwell Cooper, Adam, 2013, „Freedom and Heteronomy: Maximus and the Question of Moral Creativity”, Studia Patristica, Leuven Dalmais, I.H, 1962, Place de la Mystagogie de Saint Maxime le Confesseur dans le Theologie Liturgique Byzantine Dionisie Areopagitul, 1996, Opere complete, Translation Pr. D. Stăniloae, Paideia, Bucureşti Denys l’Aréopagite, 1970, La Hiérarchie Céleste, Introduction par René Roques, Traduction René Roques, G.Heil, M.de Gandillac, Sources Chrétiennes, Les Éditiones du Cerf, Paris Denys l’Aréopagite, La Hiérarchie Ecclésiatique, 1991, éd. G. Heil, A.Ritter, Corpus Dionysiacum, t.II, Berlin Gauthier, R.A., 1954, „Saint Maxime le Confesseur et la psychologie de l’acte humain”, Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale, 21 Golitzin, Alexander (Author), Bogdan G. Bucur (Editor), 2013, Mystagogy: A Monastic Reading of Dionysius Areopagita, Cistercian Studies Ică Jr, I., 2011, De la Dionisie Areopagitul la Simeon al Tesalonicului – integrala comentariilor liturgice bizantine. Studii şi texte, Deisis, Sibiu Hathaway, R., 1969, Hierarchy and the Definiton of Order in the Letters of Pseudo-Dionysius, La Haye


The divine order… 185 Heinzer, F. şi C., Von Schonborn (ed.), 1982, Maximus Confessor, Actes du Symposium sur Maxime le Confesseur, Fribourg Larchet, J. CL., 1996, La divinisation de l’homme selon S. Maxime le Confesseur, Cerf, 194, Paris Lévy, Antoine, 2006, Le créé et l’incrée. Maxime le Confesseur et Thomas d’Aquin, Vrin, « Bibliothèque Thomiste », Paris Louth, Andrew, 2005, Maximus the Confessor, Routledge, London-New-York Louth, Andrew, 1989, Denys the Areopagite. Outstanding Christian Thinkers, Series edited by Draian Davies OP, London McFarland, Jan, 2005, „ Naturally and by grace”: Maximus the Confessor on the operation of the will, Scottish Journal of Theology, Vol. 58, nr. 4 Maxim Mărturisitorul, 2006, Ambigua, Trad. D.Stăniloae, Bucureşti, EIBMBOR, 2006 Maxim Mărturisitorul, 2000, Mystagogia. Cosmosul şi sufletul. Chipuri ale Bisericii, Trad. D.Stăniloae, Bucureşti, EIBMBOR Mueller Jourdan, Pascal, 2005, Typologie spatio-temporelle de l’ecclesia byzantine. La Mystagogie de Maxime le Confesseur dans la culture philosophique de l’Antiquité tardive, Leiden-Boston, Brill, Vigiliae Christianae Supplements, volume 74 O᾽Meara, Dominic, 1997, „Évêques et philosophes-rois: Philosophie politique néoplatonicienne chez le Pseudo-Denys”, Denys l’Aréopagite et sa postérité en Orient et en Occident, Actes du Colloque International, Paris, 21-24 septembre 1994, edites par Ysabel de Andia, Institut d᾽Études Augustiniennes, Serie antiquite, 151, Paris Papanikolau, Aristotle, 2006, Being with God: Trinity, Apophaticism, and Divine-Human Communion, Notre Dame: Indiana, University of Notre Dame Press Purpura, Ashley, 2013,”Pseudo᾽Dionysius the Areopagite᾽s Ecclesiastical Hierarchy: Keeping the Divine Order and Participating in Divinity”, Studia Patristica, 68 Perl, Eric D, 2007, Theophany. The Neoplatonic Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite, State University of New York Press Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, 1987, Translation by Colm Luibheid, Foreword, notes, and translation collaboration by Paul Rorem. Preface by Rene Roques, Paulist Press, New York Rencsez, Philipe Gabriel, 2003, Agir de Dieu et liberte de l’homme. Recherches sur l’antropologie theologique de saint Maxim le Confessor, Cerf, Paris Ricoeur, Paul, 1998, A l᾽école de la phénoménology, Vrin, Paris Roques, René, 1983, L’Univers dionysien. Structure hiérarchique du monde selon le Pseudo-Denys, Paris: Éditions du Cerf, (first publ. 1954)


186 Nicoleta Negraru Stang, Charles, 2012, Apophasis and Pseudonymity in Dionysius the Areopagite: “No Longer I”, Oxford University Press, Oxford Stăniloae, Dumitru, 2000, Mystagogia, cosmosul şi sufletul, chipuri ale Bisericii, Ed. IBMBOR, Bucureşti Suchla, Beate Regina, Corpus Dionysiacum / Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita, Berlin – New York: de Gruyter, 1990 Thunberg, Lars, 1985, Man and the Cosmos: The Vision of St. Maximus the Confessor, Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press Thunberg, Lars, 1995, Microcosmos and Mediator. The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor, Open Court Publisihing Company, Illinois Tollefsen, Torstein, 2007, The Christocentric Cosmology of St Maximus the Confessor, Oxford Early Christian Studies Tollefsen, Torstein, 2012, Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought, Oxford University Press Toronen, Melchisedec, 2007, Union and Distinction in the Thought of St. Maximus the Confessor, The Oxford Early Christian Studies, Gillian Clark & Andrew Louth (eds.), Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press Vasiliu, Anca, 1997, Du diaphane. Image, milieu, lumiére dans la pensée antique et médiéval, Vrin, Paris


Gerard al Morisenei (+1046)… 187

GERARD AL MORISENEI (+1046). PRIMA MĂRTURIE DESPRE PREZENŢA „CORPUSULUI PSEUDOAREOPAGITIC” ÎN SPAŢIUL BISERICII ORTODOXE ROMÂNE

Gheorghe I. Drăgulin

1.Sfârşitul mileniului întâi părea că fixează definitiv Banatul şi părţile arădene în sfera Imperiului Bizantin. Peste două decenii, în 1018, Vasile al II-lea Bulgaroctonul va repurta victorii definitive în sudul Dunării. Ca urmare, în ţinutul Mureşana, Cenadul de azi, s-a extins suzeranitatea bizantină. Ahtum sau Ohtum, român de origine, iar nu peceneg, slav sau ungur, fusese botezat la Vidin1. El a înfiinţat la anul 1008 mănăstirea ortodoxă cu hramul „Sfântul Ioan Botezătorul”2. Cenadul va deveni scaun latin pe la 1047. Până atunci, în noua ctitorie, au fost aduşi monahi de la Muntele Athos şi egumen de la Vidin, cu rânduiala şi cu ritul lor. Tot ca o dovadă de fidelitate faţă de Bizanţ a luat fiinţă, în anul 1002, mănăstirea de maici de la Vesprem3. Aici va

Ion Popescu-Sireteanu, Numele Ahtum, Ohtum, Aiton, Oiton=Oltu, în „Argeş“, XIII (2013), nr. 12 (378), p. 16. 2 Pr. prof. dr. Milan Şesan, Mănăstirea Murăşanei, în „Mitropolia Banatului”, VIII (1958), nr. 7-9, p. 232. 3 Ibidem, p. 238. 1


188 Gheorghe I. Drăgulin locui şi Ierotei, titularul mitropoliei ortodoxe maghiare dependente de Patriarhia Ecumenică din Constantinopol4. Arhiepiscopia greco-bulgară autocefală a Ohridei a fost reorganizată5. Acelaşi stil oriental îl exprimă şi numeroasele construcţii bisericeşti rămase, ca baptisterii, hramuri şi cruci. Din punct de vedere strict politic, orientarea spre Bizanţ era impusă şi de tendinţa regatului feudal ungar, care intenţiona încorporarea voievodatului lui Athum. Înainte ca regele Ştefan I să despartă hotărât Occidentul de Orientul bisericesc, realităţile politico-culturale au luat o nouă orientare după apariţia în părţile Mureşanei a cetelor răzleţe de călăreţi unguri. Documentele vremii vorbesc despre noile relaţii între aceştia şi Bizanţ. S-au impus şi în acest caz interese economice disputate, precum transportul sării pe Mureş şi vămuirea lor. 2. În războiul intervenit între voievodatul lui Ahtum şi statul maghiar, în 1028, biruinţa a fost de partea celui din urmă. În ciuda alianţei cu bizantinii, care nu i-au putut veni în ajutor, a numeroasei sale armate (convocase „oastea cea mare” a ţării), dar şi a bogăţiilor de care dispunea, Athum a fost învins. Cu acest prilej, Chanadinus, subordonatul său, l-a trădat şi i-a luat şi viaţa. A urmat o nouă organizare de stat şi bisericească, în raport cu orientarea către Occidentul catolic. În noua conjunctură, va juca un rol primordial călugărul Gerardus, viitor episcop de Cenad. El se născuse în Veneţia într-o familie de nobili6. A studiat în oraşul natal şi în alte centre universitare, dintre care trebuie să amintim neapărat Parisul.

Pr. prof. dr. Ioan Rămureanu, Istoria bisericească universală, Bucureşti, 1992, p. 212. 5 Pr. prof. Ioan Rămureanu, Pr. prof. Milan Şesan, Pr. prof. Teodor Bodogae, Istoria bisericească universală, vol. II, Bucureşti, 1993, p. 49. 6 Julii Simonis Siculi, Divus Gerardus Episcopus et martyr, Romae, 1519, p. 207. 4


Gerard al Morisenei (+1046)… 189 Pelerin în Ţara Sfântă, el se dedică o vreme ascetismului eremitic. Din această viaţă de contemplaţie şi înfrânare este chemat la activitate misionară de proiectul înfiinţării unei noi dieceze catolice în Banat (1030). Rezidează la mănăstirea grecească „Sfântul Ioan Botezătorul” din Cenad. Călugării ortodocşi de aici i-au recunoscut autoritatea ierarhică, iar el le-a respectat dreptul la autodespotie7. Mai mult decât atât: acest aşezământ monahal ortodox devine centru de iradiere creştină în spaţiul învingătorilor prin cei 30 de preoţi itineranţi. Au început astfel să fie cercetate vechi sihăstrii şi aşezări ungureşti din largul Panoniei. „Septe erant comites episcopi Gerardi linguae Pannonical interpretes videlicet Albertus, Philippus, Henricus, Corradus, Cratus, Tazilus et Stephanus...”8.

Erau botezaţi copiii, iar cei vârstnici frecventau învăţământul predat de dascălul Gualteriu şi de alţi erudiţi. Se ridicau locaşuri sfinte, închinate îndeosebi Fecioarei care s-a înălţat cu trupul la cer. Unde nu se stabileau „preposituri seculare” sub supravegherea preoţilor de mir, ajungea cartea. Episcopul însuşi călătorea într-un car din care nu lipseau cărţile. Convertiţii răsplăteau râvna ierarhului cu aur, cai, boi...9. „Se aflau din timpul convertirii la creştinism şi mănăstiri greceşti adică ortodoxe pe pământul Ungariei, ca aceea a Sfintei Fecioare Maria din Wesprémvölgy, pentru călugăriţe, şi mănăstirea de călugări a Sfântului Ioan

7 Dr. Şerban Turcuş, Monahismul apusean şi răsăritean în Transilvania, în vol. Monahismul românesc. Istorie, contribuţii şi repertorizare, vol. I, Bucureşti, 2014, p. 241. 8 Julii Simonis Siculi, ibid., p. 220. De asemenea, prinţul Kocel al Panoniei i-a încredinţat 50 de tineri să-i formeze în acelaşi scop misionar. (G. Vodopivec, La teologia e la spiritualità dei SS. Chirillo e Metodeo, în vol. Cirillo e Metodio. I. Santi Apostoli degli Slavi, Roma, 1964, p. 122). 9 Ibidem, p. 223.


190 Gheorghe I. Drăgulin Botezătorul din cetatea Morisenei, care au contribuit în mare măsură la răspândirea creştinismului ortodox printre unguri”10.

După moartea regelui Ştefan I (+ 1038), în viaţa politică maghiară s-a instaurat haosul. L-a urmat în mormânt şi episcopul, la 24 septembrie 1046. Foştii săi păstoriţi, întorşi la păgânism, l-au ucis cu pietre pe malurile Dunării. A fost trecut în rândurile sfinţilor în anul 1083, o dată cu regele Ştefan I11. „Lucrul s-a petrecut în două etape, în 1068 şi 1083, actul având un caracter politic: gestul papal avea rostul a sublinia legarea de Roma a Bisericii organizate de Gerard, lucru care nici nu trecuse prin capul acestui vrednic vlădică, în vreme ce craiul Ungariei, trăgând spuza pe turta lui, a crezut nimerit să facă din răposatul Gerard un campion al regatului «apostolic» maghiar”12.

Trupul lui Gerard, îngropat la Dyod (1046), a fost mutat la Cenad (1053) şi de aici, cu solemnitatea respectivă, la Buda unde a stat multă vreme13. Clement, Episcopul Severinului, a compus după câteva decenii un „Hymnus in lauda divi Gerardi”14. Este considerat patron al Ungariei.

Diac. asist. I. Rămureanu, Începuturile creştinării ungurilor în credinţa ortodoxă a Răsăritului, în „Studii teologice”, IX (1957), nr. 1-2, p. 52. 11 Gerardi Moresenae, Deliberatio supra hymnum trium puerorum, Turnhout, 1978, p. VII. 12 Radu Constantinescu, Studiu introductiv la „Armonia lumii” sau tălmăcire a cântării celor trei coconi către Isingrim Dascălul, Bucureşti, 1984, p. 12. Traducătorul arată că aceasta este o ediţie de texte alese (p. 50). 13 Alte surse precizează că episcopul a fost înmormântat la mănăstirea „Sfânta Maria” din Cenad (H. Barré, L’oeuvre mariale de St. Gérard de Csanad, în „Marianum”, 25 (1963), p. 262-296). „Din 1999 relicvele Sfântului Gerard de Cenad se găsesc în catedrala romano-catolică din Timişoara, sediul succesoral actual al episcopiei din Cenad-Timişoara” (Nicolae Edroiu, Societatea românească în jurul anului o mie, în Omagiu prof. N. V. Dură. La 60 de ani, Constanţa, 2006, p. 548). 14 Julii Simonis Siculi, ibid., p. 226. 10


Gerard al Morisenei (+1046)… 191 În calitate de episcop într-o regiune în care vestul şi estul european se învecinau şi se delimitau din an în an mai mult, el avea greutăţi sporite. Dificultăţile se măreau trebuind să misioneze un popor încă neevoluat, fără instituţiile bisericeşti respective în ajutor. Atunci Gerard s-a gândit să desfăşoare în eparhie şi o activitate culturală importantă. 3. În Legenda maior îndeosebi se amintesc mai multe predici ale lui, referitoare la viaţa Maicii Domnului15 şi câteva broşuri cu conţinut de evlavie populară. Alte scrieri religioase, inspirate din teologia Fericitului Augustin, sunt astăzi pierdute sau neidentificate încă în mulţimea manuscriselor medievale. Se păstrează însă în întregime un comentariu asupra unor versete din capitolul III al cărţii deuterocanonice a proorocului Daniil. El se intitulează Deliberatio supra hymnum trium puerorum. Lucrarea a suferit prefaceri succesive şi ea reflectă – între altele – păcatele societăţii în care a fost alcătuită. Autorul se ridică în mai multe rânduri împotriva silniciei de la orice nivel. În preajma regelui se află cei ce rânjesc în mod făţarnic „ca ei ori rudele lor să nu fie scoşi din slujbe ori dezbrăcaţi de dregătoriile lor”16. Şi continuă Gerard: „... Unii dintre preoţii lui Hristos, ca să se hrănească, se îndeletnicesc cu vânătoarea şi cu gâlcevile şi cu jafurile şi cu apăsările şi cu măscăricii, întru neruşinare şi lăcomie, călcând legea dumnezeiască şi mulţumindu-se să stea de poveşti întru cetele lor de ibovnice”17.

H. Barré, ibid., p. 270; S. A. Campus, O. F. M., Corpus Marianum Patristicum, vol. V, Burgos, 1978, p. 205. 16 Gerard de Cenad, Armonia lumii, II, 4; ed. citată, p. 80. Pe altă pagină a cărţii (148), citim: „O, minciună a veacului, o, nebunie a lumii, să tămâiezi un om împuţit! (...), iar aceia nu ştiu altceva decât să-şi ţesale caii...”. 17 Ibid., V, 8; p. 115. 15


192 Gheorghe I. Drăgulin Faţă de toţi desfrânaţii, zgârciţii ori lacomii acestei lumi, intenţia lui Gerard este să le contrapună o societate perfectă, unitară şi ierarhizată, raţiune care, poate, stă şi la baza alcătuirii acestei scrieri. 4.Cartea Armonia lumii i-a fost cerută de confratele său de cin, Isingrim18, şi nu are în vedere pe cei simpli19, nici pe cei ce se închină idolului Babilonului20. Aici privirile autorului se înalţă către modelele de pe piscuri. „Cei desăvârşiţi sunt cei preaînvăţaţi, aşa cum au fost Dionisie, Irineu, Ignatie şi Policarp, (...) întru deplină filosofie şi desăvârşiţi cu lumina Duhului...”21. Pe lângă numeroasele formule dionisiene22, în textul lui Gerard se remarcă numaidecât universul ierarhic al celebrului mistic bizantin: „... Ci acelea de la urmă nu prin ele, ci prin cele dintâi şi cele de la mijloc cuvântează şi cântă, veşnic lăudând...”23. În contemplaţia pretinsului convertit apostolic, în universul areopagitic, lumea cerească stă în legătură cu cea bisericească. Fiecare domeniu cuprinde împărţiri triadice cu subdiviziuni, fiind unite prin persoana Logosului întrupat.

Ibid., VIII, 4; p. 145. Diverse variante ale operelor sale, în articolul Manuscrise ale episcopului Gerard de Morisena, în „Magazin istoric”, 1980, nr. 10, p. 20 şi urm. 19 Ibid., III, 9; p. 96. 20 Ibid., I, 4; p. 72. 21 Ibid., III, 9; p. 97. 22 A. de Ivanka, Un disciple occidental du Pseudo-Denys: Gerardus Moresanus, în X Milletlerarasi Bizans, Istambul, 1957, p. 1. 23 Armonia lumii, I, 2; p. 71; ibid., IV, 6; p. 106: „şi tot ea (teologia) se mai îngrijeşte a împărţi în de trei ori trei rânduri lumina lumii. Întru aceasta, mai mult decât alţii, s-a ostenit, ba chiar i-a întrecut pe toţi, scriind despre asemenea esenţe fericitului Timotei, Dionisie, cel ale cărui spuse cei aidoma ţie le tot aşteaptă mereu să le primească”. Comp. Cyprien Kern, La structure du Monde d’après le Pseudo-Denys, în „Irénikon”, XXIX (1956), no2, p. 206: „Hiérarchie céleste pour les intelligences pures, nous dit-il, et hiérarchie ecclésiastique pour les intelligences humaines: voici là lă univers dionisien”. 18


Gerard al Morisenei (+1046)… 193 „... Iar slăvile şi laudele se zic aşa pentru că sunt mai multe cinuri (ordines) deosebite (distincti), care le rostesc”24.

Mulţi dintre istoricii contemporani au observat că opera lui Pseudo-Dionisie a influenţat cultura orientală, dar şi pe cea occidentală. Spre deosebire de Maxim Mărturisitorul, preocupat de mistică, Ioan Scot Eriugena (+877), care l-a tradus în limba latină şi l-a comentat, a dezvoltat cu predilecţie teme filosofice şi teologice25. Una dintre aceste teme este aceea a numerelor divine. Citând un fragment din amintitul traducător latin, Gerard încearcă un fel de demonstraţie aritmetică a lui Unu în raport cu toate elementele lumii. Pe urmele comentariului Sfântului Maxim, se pare, el afirmă dependenţa universală de Unu. Arată apoi superioritatea lui în raport cu toate creaturile, fiind desăvârşit liber şi deci atotputernic. Este o unitate în dragoste care are în centru pe Hristos. Concepţia unui Dumnezeu transcendent suprasituat şi de necuprins nu determină totuşi îndepărtarea de fiinţa pământeană cea mai neînsemnată. „Un concept şi celălalt găsesc însă puterea unificării lor într-o inspiraţie care este mai profundă în personalitatea Areopagitului: viziunea lui Dumnezeu ca Unul, suprema Unitate, şi ca Bine şi Bunătate convertită în frumuseţe şi împreună în caritate, adică realizată în iubire”26.

Tearhia transcende deopotrivă unitatea şi multiplicitatea creaturilor, ca şi fiinţa Ei însăşi. Încă din primele capitole ale Armoniei lumii, se aminteşte de „firea lăuntrică” (essentiae)27. Este de asemenea un element de Armonia lumii, V, 2; trad. rom. cit., p. 111. Ch. Wackenheim, Actualité de la théologie négative, în „Revue des sciences rel.”, 59 (1985), no 2, p. 151; M. Dal Pra, G. Scoto Eriugena, Torino, 1932, p. 14. 26 Maria Teresa Antonelli, La patristica postagostiniana, în Grande antologia filosofica (U. A. Padovani), vol III, Milano, 1984, p. 387; Henri Duméry, Le problème de Dieu en philosophie de la religion, Paris, 1957, p. 111. 27 Cap. IV, 6; p. 106. 24 25


194 Gheorghe I. Drăgulin teologie areopagitică. În această problemă, exegeţii ortodocşi disting paradigmele de aşa-zişii logoi. Cele dintâi amintesc de lumea ideală şi transcendentă: „Iar modele zicem că sunt raţiunile de fiinţă făcătoare şi în mod unitar preexistente în Dumnezeu, pe care teologia le numeşte predestinări şi voiri dumnezeieşti şi bune, care deosebesc şi produc existenţele”28.

Pe de altă parte, logoi sunt legile naturii sau cauzele producătoare şi raţionale în Univers. Ele alcătuiesc Esenţa care preexistă în chip sintetic în Dumnezeu de la care provin. Teologia le numeşte şi predeterminări, alteori raţiuni duhovniceşti, aparţinând planului temporal şi lumii empirice29. Episcopul Gerard face aluzie în cartea sa şi la cele nouă cete îngereşti, pe care le-a descris Pseudo-Areopagitul: „puterile (virtutes) cele fără de trup, făcute, dar nu veşnice...”. Mai des se referă el însă la contrariul acestora: „Dimonii sunt, aşadar, potrivnici firii celei bune (bonae naturae contrarii)...”30. Altădată se aminteşte de „Duhurile rele (...) ce înconjoară Pământul”31, asemenea necredincioşilor. În general şi Gerard depinde de cunoscutul capitol IV al Numelor divine, care aminteşte şi de Providenţa Creatorului drept remediu de apărare a creaturilor împotriva lui. Răul este o lipsă a Binelui, căci tot ce există e din Bine, materia însăşi nefiind considerată rea. „A răsturna ordinea, neglijând să te supui gradului superior sau de a te supune gradului inferior, antrenează apariţia Răului, pe care Dionisie îl 28 Sf. Dionisie Pseudo-Areopagitul, ND, V, 8; trad. Pr. prof. dr. Dumitru Stăniloae, Bucureşti, 1996, p. 161; J.-R. Bada Panillo, La doctrina de la mediación dinamica y universal de Cristo, Zaragosa, 1965, p. 154; „Dionisio define a las «ideas» como «paradigmas» y voluntades divinas”. 29 Cyprien Kern, ibid., p. 208; Prof. N. Chiţescu, Paradigmele divine şi problemele pe care le ridică ele pentru teologia dogmatică, în „Ortodoxia”, X (1958), nr. 1, p. 44. 30 Armonia lumii, VIII, 6; p. 145. 31 Ibid., VIII, 17; p. 153.


Gerard al Morisenei (+1046)… 195 defineşte constant ca o derogare de la ordine, ca «o mişcare dezordonată şi potrivnică regulilor»”32.

Analiştilor le place să evidenţieze faptul că rezolvarea pe care Pseudo-Areopagitul o dă problemei Răului înlătură orice urmă de dualism din gândirea greacă33. În Epistola a VII-a, Pseudo-Areopagitul se referă la întunecimea din timpul Răstignirii Mântuitorului. Fenomenul a atras şi atenţia episcopului martir: „Luna s-a înroşit atunci când a trecut peste întinderea (mensa) Soarelui, încât în toată lumea s-a lăţit bezna”34. Că „non enim erat dignus tanto spectaculo mundus”35, se vede şi din interpretările care s-au dat acestui fapt. Cei vechi (Origen, Hrisostom, Augustin) nu văd aici o eclipsă. Poziţia lor se bazează pe mai multe argumente: durata de trei ore a întunecimii, imposibilitatea fenomenului în timpul Paştelui iudaic, revenirea lumini. Din punct de vedere astronomic36, eclipsele de lună survin la luna plină, noaptea37, iar cele de soare, la lună nouă. „Când Domnul S-a născut, noaptea s-a luminat ca ziua. La moartea Domnului, ziua se întunecă precum noaptea, pentru că, acum, a fost ucis Cel drept. Pronia cerească a binevoit să acopere de faţa oamenilor zbuciumul durerilor crâncene, în care Se găsea Domnul Iisus Hristos pe cruce, prin întunecimea extraordinară de soare, care a ţinut 3 ore complete, de la orele 6-9 (=12-15) de zi”38. Jean Pépin, Univers dionysien et univers augustinien, în „Recherches des philosophie”, 2 (1956), p. 201. 33 Michele Schiavone, Neoplatonismo e Cristianesimo nello Pseudo-Dionigi, Milano, 1963, p. 100. 34 Armonia lumii, V, 12; p. 119. 35 Gerardi Moresenae, op. cit., p. 77. 36 P. Labriolle. La réaction paienne. Étude sur la polémique antichr. du I-er au VIe s., Paris, 1952, p. 219; H. Lesêtre, Éclipse, în Dictionnaire de la Bible (F. Vigoureaux), vol. II, Paris, 1910, col. 1563. 37 Éric Pincas, L’éclipse de la Crucification, în „Historia”, 1999, no 632, p. 41. 38 Prof. univ. dr. Vasile Gheorghiu, Sfânta Evanghelie după Matei cu comentar, Cernăuţi, 1925, p. 803. 32


196 Gheorghe I. Drăgulin În intenţia lui Dionisie, „eclipsa” de la Răstignire este o altă dovadă a dumnezeirii lui Hristos, care să ducă la convertirea păgânilor. Cu timpul, Epistola a VII-a a fost socotită „un ecou antedatat al celebrei controverse teopashite”39. Această însemnătate teologică o dovedeşte ea cu suferinţa de la Răstignire, dar şi cu asocierea altor minuni vechitestamentare: Soarele, întunericul, Luna. Sursa interpretării lui Ioan Scot Eriugena, traducătorul Corpusului pseudo-areopagitic în latineşte, este o disertaţie a irlandezului Dungal din 81140. Pentru unii teologi protestanţi din veacul trecut, epistola în discuţie este „eine Gesichte astronomischer Paradoxa”41. Prezenţa Pseudo-Areopagitului în principala scriere a lui Gerard al Morisenei se dovedeşte palidă, episodică, întâmplătoare. Se pare că ierarhul nostru s-a întâlnit cu enigmaticul teolog bizantin în tinereţe, când idealul formării intelectuale l-a purtat până la Ierusalim şi până în Irlanda. Pe un medieval, retras mulţi ani la liniştea contemplaţiei, l-a interesat sigur aspecte ale misticii dionisiene. Deşi cunoştea limba greacă, mai târziu, când va fi cunoscut traducerile areopagitice greco-slave, nu a mai avut răgazul studierii lor. De aici, unele nedumeriri, răspunsuri trunchiate şi aluzive, ceea ce l-au condus la neglijarea lor. În pofida faptului că ea cuprinde şi unele erezii, cartea episcopului Mureşanei este citată în enciclopediile filosofiei42, pentru îndemnul la puritatea sufletului43 şi pentru anunţarea vremii când Biserica „o să-şi vadă, adică, potrivnicii pedepsiţi”44.

39 Paul Peeters, La vision de Denys l’ Aréopagite à Héliopolis, în „Analecta Bollandiana”, XXX (1910), fasc. III, p. 304. 40 Cf. Radu Constantinescu, în Armonia lumii, p. 210. 41 Fritz Jürss, Bemerkungen zum naturwiss. Denken in der Spätantike, în „Klio”, 43-45 (1965), p. 391. 42 Cf. Enciclopedia filosofica, vol. II, Roma, 1957, s. v. 43 G. Florescu, Conceptul de literatură veche, Bucureşti, 1971, p. 93. 44 Armonia lumii, IV, 10; p. 110.


Gerard al Morisenei (+1046)… 197 Se afirmă că autorul nostru a utilizat îndeosebi versiunea latină a lui Ioan Scot Eriugena. Să se observe însă că aceasta a devenit cu timpul ţinta unei intrigi duşmănoase. La ea au participat cardinalul Anastasie Bibliotecarul de la Roma şi arhiepiscopul Hinkmar de Reims. Deşi scrisoarea Papei Nicolae I este falsă45, acţiunea de denigrare a lui a reuşit. Mai mult, cu timpul, Ioan Scot Eriugena este condamnat în conciliile de la Valencia (855), de la Langres (859), de la Sens (1225) şi de către Papa Honoriu al III-lea din acelaşi an46. Lui i s-a reproşat eroarea monismului exemplarist47 sau panteismul idealist48. În această situaţie, frecventarea învăţatului franc a devenit nerecomandabilă. Pe de altă parte, se ştie astăzi din scrisoarea lui Anastasie Bibliotecatul către Carol cel Pleşuv din 23 martie 875, că „operele areopagitice ale învăţatului slav Constantin – Chiril sunt preţuite ca arme în lupta cu ereticii”49. Acesta expunea din memorie capitole întregi din operele Areopagitului50. Istoricul german citat semnalează şi fragmente areopagitice traduse de învăţatul bulgar Constantin Prezbiterul, probabil ucenic al Arhiepiscopului Metodie. S-a mai conchis asupra

Dom M. Cappuyns, Jean Scot Eriugène. Sa vie, son pensée, Louvain, 1933, p. 155. A. Bayet, Histoire de la libre-pensée, Paris, 1959, p. 50; Ioan G. Savin, Curs de mistică pentru anul IV (1945-1946), Bucureşti, dactilografie, p. 5. 47 Dom M. Cappuyns, ibid., p. 155. 48 Hermann Ley, Studii de filosofie medievală, Bucureşti, 1973, p. 224. 49 Cf. H. Goltz, Notizen zur Traditionsgesichte des „Corpus Areopagiticum Slavicum”, în Bizanz in der europäischen Staatenwelt. Herasg. von J. Dummeru und J. Irmscher, Berlin. 1983, p. 138; S. Sakac, S. J., I. Santi Cirillo e Metodio a Roma, în vol. Cirillo e Metodio. Santi Apostoli degli Slavi, Roma, 1964, p. 76. 50 Vezi Pr. dr. Gheorghe I. Drăgulin, Preocupări şi ipoteze din domeniul istoriei bisericeşti universale, Bucureşti, 2004, p. 138, p. 357. 45

46


198 Gheorghe I. Drăgulin „descoperirii unui neobservat până acum şir de tradiţii areopagitice în istoria teologiei greco-slave. Este vorba de transmiterea de texte din capitolul VII al Ierarhiei bisericeşti, de multe ori în cadrul tematic al unei apologii a rugăciunilor pentru morţi şi a Liturghiei pentru morţi”51.

5. Armonia lumii este o operă scrisă în etape, „silit fiind de straşnice îndemnuri”52. Cum este şi firesc în cazul unui episcop activ în eparhia sa, cartea oglindeşte stări şi evenimente întâlnite. Cercetările ei din zilele noastre se pare că propun anumite proporţionări şi reduceri la normal faţă de confesionalismul istoricilor austrieci şi maghiari de mai înainte. Unul dintre aceştia, de exemplu, este de părere că anumite concluzii formulate de către A. von Ivanka şi de către A. Bodor referitoare la scrierea lui Gerard „trebuie revăzute”53. Tot aşa, numele ereziilor vizate sunt luate după listele întocmite în alte veacuri, cum este cazul cu Epifanie al Salaminei şi cu Isidor de Sevilla54 şi nu reflectă realităţile epocii. Pentru transformarea lui în „terra missionis” de către noii cuceritori, aceştia au atribuit ţinutului Morisenei în mod exagerat anumite scăderi. Se vorbeşte insistent în carte de combaterea neomaniheismului sau bogomilismului55. Alteori se amintesc drept adversari ai episcopului „aceşti catari sau bogomili”56. Erezia medievală a bogomililor nu a avut în nici un caz o răspândire şi consistenţe identice în sudul Bulgariei şi în Bosnia ca în Morisena. În restul provinciilor româneşti, rătăcirea se dovedeşte aproape inexistentă. Ca dovadă a afirmaţilor din urmă, cităm câteva concluzii recente: „despre o răspândire a acestei erezii la românii din

H. Goltz, ibid., p. 139. Armonia lumii, I, 1; p. 70. 53 Gabriel Silagi, Untersuchungen zur „Deliberatio” supra hymnum trium puerorum des Gerhard von Csanad, München, 1967, p. 33. 54 Radu Constantinescu, în Armonia lumii, p. 184. 55 Idem, ibid., p. 164, 173, 226; I, 3; p. 71 (manihei). 56 Radu Constantinescu, în Armonia lumii, p. 184. 51

52


Gerard al Morisenei (+1046)… 199 nordul Dunării nu există nici o ştire istorică pozitivă”57. Mircea Eliade constată şi el „că ipoteza originii bogomilice a mitului cosmogonic întâmpină greutăţi (...), mitul nu este atestat în Serbia, nici în Bosnia, nici în Herţegovina...”și de asemenea „... Un mare număr de credinţe pretinse bogomilice sunt deja atestate în apocrife care nu au nimic comun cu bogomilismul şi-i sunt chiar anterioare”58.

Nici alte elemente întru susţinerea bogomilismului la români59 nu au puterea probantă care li se atribuie. Ele sunt traduceri şi elementele incriminate, existente îndeosebi în sudul Dunării. În general, când se caută identificarea elementelor bogomile în Armonia lumii, se citează ontologia sectei din Antichitate. Totuşi episcopul Morisenei afirmă că Ziditorul a toate „este, aşadar, numai întemeietorul celor bune şi nicidecum al celor rele”60, ca şi Dionisie Pseudo-Areopagitul. Nu vede în cele două principii universale puteri egale şi complet antagonice. Şi Pseudo-Dionisie se gândeşte la un arhanghel. Este vorba de Mihail, iar nu de Uriel, propus de Apocalipsa lui Ezdra. Unirea îngerilor decăzuţi în păcate61 cu muritoarele este un mit ebraic, gnostic62 şi maniheic63. Referitor la vrednicia duhovnicească a slujitorilor altarului, o influenţă donatistă căreia i s-a opus rezolvarea augustiniană, amintitul teolog bizantin stipulează:

Pr. dr. Simeon Reli, Bogomilismul şi românii, în „Candela”, LVII (1946), p. 30. Mircea Eliade, De la Zalmoxis la Genghis – Han, Bucureşti, 1980, p. 99. 59 Cf. Gh. Vlăduţescu, Ereziile Evului Mediu românesc, Bucureşti, 1974, p. 51. 60 Armonia lumii, I, 3; p. 71. 61 Ibid., VII,5; p. 140. 62 F. C. Buritt, Biserica şi gnoza, Bucureşti, 2008, p. 64; É. Turdeanu, Le mythe des anges déchus. Traditions littéraires de l’Europe occ. et or., în „Rivista di studi biz. e slaviă, II (1982), p. 74. 63 M. Tardieu, Maniheismul, Timişoara, 1995, p. 80: „...memoria popoarelor este plină de povestiri privitoare la giganţi”. 57

58


200 Gheorghe I. Drăgulin „Păşirea spre dumnezeiescul altar şi plecarea genunchilor dau tuturor candidaţilor la sfinţirea cea sacerdotală să înţeleagă, în imagini, că ei trebuie să supună întreaga lor viaţă lui Dumnezeu, izvorul harurilor sfinţitoare, şi Lui să-i predea, curate şi sfinţite, puterile lor spirituale: (păstrându-le).pe cât mai cu putinţă vrednice de templul şi altarul cel dumnezeiesc şi preasfânt, ce sfinţeşte în demnitate sacerdotală pe spiritele cele asemenea lui Dumnezeu...”64.

De asemenea, în întreaga Epistolă a VIII-a, dionisiană, se discută problema preoţilor lipsiţi de evlavie. Reforma gregoriană de la Cluny, de care Gerard avea cunoştinţă, accentua şi ea virtutea castităţii viitorilor slujitori ai altarului. Prezenţa scrierilor pseudoareopagitice în câmpul pastoraţiei de la Morisena, dincolo de un bogomilism exagerat care li se atribuie, este legată şi de tradiţiile cirilo-metodiene. Fraţii Chiril şi Metodie ajung la Roma la sfârşitul anului 867 şi rămân acolo un an întreg65. Ca urmare a discuţiilor şi a insistenţelor pe durata activităţii a trei papi, ei obţin aprobarea să propovăduiască şi să traducă Liturghia şi principalele cărţi de slujbă în limba slavă. Acţiunea noii propovăduiri a reuşit, cum se vede şi din faptul că în anul morţii lui Metodie numai în Moravia Mare erau 200 de preoţi66. După dispariţia acestui ierarh, a urmat diaspora moravă, ucenicii săi deplasându-se în grupuri mici. Clement, Naum şi Anghelarie au reuşit să fugă pe Dunăre cu plute până în Bulgaria67. Constantin Prezbiterul, traducător al lui Pseudo-Dionisie, s-a stabilit la Preslav68.

64 Dionisie Ps.-Areopagitul, Ierarhia bisericească. Trad. Pr. Cic. Iordăchescu, Iaşi, 1932, p. 127. 65 Stefano Sakac S. J., op. cit., p. 71. 66 M. Lacko S. J., Il metodo missionario dei SS. Cirillo e Metodio: La Liturgia slava, în vol. cit., p. 68. 67 Dr. Nicolae al Makariopolei, Sfinţii Fraţi Metodie şi Chiril, luminătorii slavilor, în „Biserica Ortodoxă Română”, LXXXVII (1969), nr. 5-6, p. 536. 68 G. Eldarov, L’opera dei SS. Cirillo e Metodio presso i loro discepoli, în vol. Cirillo e Metodio, p. 150.


Gerard al Morisenei (+1046)… 201 6.Subtitlul însuşi al cărţii pe care a compus-o episcopul Morisenei: Tălmăcire a cântării celor trei coconi are legătură de asemenea cu tradiţiile cirilo-metodiene, deşi o întreagă bibliografie leagă originea acestui canon liturgic de Apocalipsul lui Daniil, tradus de Metodie, fostul arhiepiscop al Moraviei Mari69. În realitate, amintita cântare nu este „de veche tradiţie panteistă şi animistă, inspirată de cântecul păsărilor la răsăritul soarelui”70, ci este de origine bizantină, poate, în legătură cu Sfântul Roman Melodul. Misionarul tesalonician venea la Roma cu amintiri din activitatea sa de la Cherson. La găsirea moaştelor Sfântului Clement, Chiril a compus în limba greacă: Brevis historia apoi Sermo declamatorius, pe care le-a şi rostit. A compus în versuri şi un imn în cinstea lui Clement. Operele sunt scrise după toate regulile artei clasice, cu talent, pasiune şi lirism. Imnul s-a cântat mai multă vreme în şcolile greceşti. Primele două opere au fost traduse în limba latină de Anastasie Bibliotecarul, care informează despre acestea în Scrisorile sale din 875 şi 879 către episcopul Gauderic.Textul original grecesc al acestor opere nu s-a păstrat. Ele au fost traduse însă în limba slavă de către Sfântul Metodie şi de ucenicii săi şi s-au păstrat parţial într-o cuvântare istorică de mai târziu despre Transportarea moaştelor preaslăvitului Clement. Această operă a intrat în patrimoniul culturii vechi bulgare şi slave. Opera se regăseşte atât în versiuni glagolitice cât şi chirilice şi sub titlul Legenda din Cherson. „Limba acestei opere are caracter arhaic şi biblico-teologic. Ca să fie înţeleasă e nevoie de o interpretare specială. Se spune s m , nu sobor «adunare»; pee stno sestvie – adică un pelerinaj cu făclii, care simboliza aruncarea celor trei tineri în cuptor (pes tno-) din proorocia lui Daniil (cap. III). Pe tema

69 70

Radu Constantinescu, în Armonia lumii, p. 170. Ibidem, p. 171.


202 Gheorghe I. Drăgulin aceasta s-au scris în evul mediu şi piese de teatru – «misteria». În versiunile croato-glagolitice se spune otok k în loc de ostrovv «insulă»”71.

La Roma, misionarul slav este întâmpinat în afara cetăţii de către Papa Adrian al II-lea, înconjurat de credincioşi, tot cu făclii aprinse72. Armonia lumii mai aminteşte că „în vremea aceasta mai toţi vorbesc de rău, pe la noi, cu înfocare, nu numai slujba dumnezeiască, şi preoţii, ori Biserica (...) Ba unii dintre ei, de nu mă înşel, ar vrea ca puterea bisericească şi vrednicia noastră, după îndemnul părtaşilor lui Metodie, să se şubrezească toată...”73.

Întâlnim aici poziţia vechilor ortodocşi faţă de noii misionari de la Cenad. 7. Episcopul Gerard al Morisenei, trăitor în anii premergători Schismei din 1054, a fost revendicat de români în deceniile trecute ca „acest prim scriitor şi gânditor al nostru”74. Studiul operei lui va trebui să fie reluat şi adâncit sub aspectul realităţilor bisericeşti care au putut să o influenţeze, adică de ciocnire a două tradiţii din epocă şi de problema izvoarelor areopagitice greco-slave. Pe acestea din urmă, ierarhul le va fi întâlnit pe la una din cele 600 de mănăstiri ortodoxe din sudul

Prof. univ. dr. Pandele Olteanu, Sf. Chiril – Constantin „Filosoful” ca omilet şi scriitor, în „Biserica Ortodoxă Română”, cit., p. 540 (sublinierea noastră). 72 G. Vodopivec, op. cit., p. 123. 73 Armonia lumii, IV, 10; p. 109 (sublinierea noastră). 74 Radu Constantinescu, în Armonia lumii, p. 175; comp. ibid., p. 156: „...ea (cartea) fiind de fapt o scriere a unui «roman» din Italia în limba latină, alcătuită pe teritoriul românesc”; Eugen Glück, Une source précieuse de l’histoire de la Roumanie: le manuscrit «Deliberatio» (XI e siècle), în „Revue roumaine d’ histoire”, t. XVIII (1979), no 2, p. 265: „Une autre catégorie d’ information se rapportent à la pensée socio-politique de l’époque, contenant des relations d’ idées philosophico-religieuses contemporaines, inséparablement liées aux mouvements de masse directement entrés dans la sphère des intérêts de l’évêque Gérard”. 71


Gerard al Morisenei (+1046)… 203 Ungariei, existente înainte de anul 124175. Să nu se uite de asemenea că, la zidirea bisericii „Sfântul Ioan Botezătorul”, au fost aduşi călugări de la Muntele Athos şi stareţul lor de la Vidin, cum am mai amintit. Alte elemente valoroase în viitoarea discuţie sunt: acţiunea unui misionarism macedonean şi sârb în epocă pe teritoriul de astăzi al Ungariei şi al României apusene76, precum şi proprietăţile mănăstirii „Sfântul Teodosie Chinoviarhul” din Palestina, existente în părţile Aradului, chiar şi în veacul al XIII-lea77. Pentru fundamentarea ipotezei noastre că episcopul Gerard al Morisenei a fost în realitate un nostalgic al rânduielilor stăpânirii bizantine din eparhia sa, mai adăugăm trei argumente: a) referirea la paradigmele divine, capitol care lipseşte în dogmatica romano-catolică; b) citarea adversităţii discipolilor fostului arhiepiscop Metodie al Moraviei şi c) subtitlul cărţii Deliberatio, care sugerează o situaţie de persecuţie şi de apăsare străină faţă de tradiţiile străbune. Evidenţiem de asemenea critica acerbă a tuturor categoriilor societăţii vremii sale: preoţi, episcopi, prinţi, rege. Deşi a fost martirizat pentru ideile sale de căutare a lumii desăvârşite, opera episcopului Morisenei rămâne interesantă în câmpul cercetării din zilele noastre, continuând să ofere şi unele elemente ale gândirii areopagitice de la noi. Aceste precizări ştiinţifice sunt cu atât mai necesare cu cât Patriarhia Ecumenică a Constantinopolului a definitivat canonizarea ortodoxă a contemporanilor săi, episcopul Ierotei „al Turkiei” şi regele Ştefan I al Ungariei (+1038).

I. D. Suciu, Monografia Mitropoliei Banatului, Timişoara, 1977, p. 44; Aloisie Tăutu, Mănăstiri greceşti în Ungaria medievală, în „Acta historica”, 1965, t. IV, p. 368 şi urm. 76 Radu Constantinescu, ibid., p. 36. 77 Pr. prof. dr. I. G. Coman, Şi „Cuvântul trup S-a făcut”, Timişoara, 1993, p. 257. 75


204 Claudiu Mesaroş

TWO AREOPAGITIC SUBJECTS IN DELIBERATIO SUPRA HYMNUM TRIUM PUERORUM BY GERARD OF CENAD

Claudiu Mesaroş

T

he work of Saint Gerard of Cenad is certainly a priority for the historical, philosophical and ecclesiastical research in Transylvania and Banat. As a first Christian bishop in the region known today as Banat, Gerard was an important intellectual pertaining to the Central European cultural history. He contributed to the conversion of the domestic inhabitants in the region by an extremely significant missionary activity; founded a school, the oldest on the actual Romanian territory; most probably he organized a library there, according to the usual Benedictine practice; and, most important, he authored, some moment within the interval 1030-1046, one of the oldest Latin books known on the Central European area: the treatise Deliberatio supra hymnum trium puerorum ad Isingrimum liberalem, kept in München nowadays (Codex Latinus Monacensis 6211), discovered by Karl Meichelbeck in the Freising library in 1724 and printed for the first time in 1790 by the Transylvanian Bishop


Two Areopagitic subjects in Deliberatio supra hymnum… 205 Ignatius Batthyány1 and then edited during the XXth century only twice2. In Romania there is only a partial translation of the text, very truncated and bringing more damage to the reception of Gerard’s work3. The Deliberatio supra hymnum trium puerorum ad Isingrimum liberalem is an exegetic treatise of mystical facture, commenting the Song of the three young boys (Daniel 3.57–65), a text that is a part of the monastic liturgy. We do not have sufficient information on the intellectual and writer Gerard of Cenad. Gabriel Batthyány introduced him in 1790, for the first time, as a theologian, philosopher, saint martyr and school founder. During the Middle Ages there are no literary traces of Gerard’s work and therefore it is not safe to assert that the manuscript had eventually been studied between the 11th and the 18th centuries4. The commentary (deliberatio) is dedicated to a fictional character, Isingrim the liberal, designed as an adept of dialectic, probably a promoter of logic, the dramatic mute voice of the dialecticians: Gerard addresses him with the appellation beatissime and often moments uses names of philosophers like Porphyry (“this Porphyry of yours”) or Plotinus as associated with Isingrim. The Munich unique and original manuscript originates from the Medieval library of Freising5; as it is unique, comparisons are impossible and the circulation of the text has been modest all the time. There are no traces of any medieval

Batthyány, Ignatius. 1790., Sancti Gerardi episcopi Chanadiensis scripta et acta hactenus inedita cum serie episcoporum Chanadiensium. Albae-Carolinae. 2 Gabriel Silagi, (Ed.). Gerardi Moresenae Aecclesiae seu Csanadiensis Episcopi Deliberatio supra hymnum trium puerorum, (Brepols. Turnhout, 1978). XVII, 217 p; Béla Karácsonyi, Szegfű László, ed., Deliberatio Gerardi Moresanae aecclesiae episcope supra hymnum trium puerorum. Szeged: Scriptum, 1999. 3 Gerard din Cenad, Armonia lumii sau tălmăcire a cântării celor trei coconi către Isingrim Dascălul, traducere și note de Radu Constantinescu, prefață de Răzvan Theodorescu, Editura Meridiane, Bucureşti, 1984. 4 Előd Nemerkényi, Latin Classics in Medieval Hungary 11 th Century. (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2004, pp. 77-80. 5 Cf. Nemerkényi, op. cit., p. 79. As well, Adrian Papahagi, Adinel-Ciprian Dincă: „Latin Palaeography and Codicology in Romania”, Chôra, 5 (2007): 159-186. 1


206 Claudiu Mesaroş circulation6 but it still contains some marginalia from the 11th, the 12th and 15th centuries. Contemporaneous audience is therefore unknown and irrelevant, as long as it is impossible to know who annotated the manuscript. Still, there is an interesting debate concerning the intended audience, unknown, but most probably a political figure. As for the intermediary audience, the librarian’s note from the twelfth century (diocese of Freising) might mean that there was a handling of the manuscript. The first reader of the manuscript was identified with bishop of Freising, (1392–1452), the first interpreter of the text (yet not systematic), as the marginalia show a careful and dedicated lecture7. In the eighteenth century there were several canonical readers (Karl Meichelbeck, György Pray, probably the Cardinal Giuseppe Garampi) and then Bishop Ignác Batthyány of Transylvania, the first editor and commentator, still not an intentional audience but intermediary8. Batthyány will be its first critical editor and commentator but it is still difficult to say concluding things about this edition’s circulation. It is sure that it did not catch attention of de J. Migne for the Patrologia Latina and this contributed once more to the neglecting of the text. The first contemporary critical edition made by G. Silagi9 merituously contributed to the apparition of modern historiography on the subject. The first philological commentary published in English dates as late as 2004 and has been authored by the Hungarian classicist E. Nemerkényi10. Gerard of Cenad is a typical figure for the early years of Christianity in Medieval Hungary. He was born in Venice on April 23rd, in 977 or 980, in a Longobard family named Sagredo. In his Nemerkényi, op. cit., p. 80. Nemerkényi, op. cit., p. 81. 8 I have discussed the problem in: Claudiu Mesaroș, „Audience of Philosophy in the Periphery: Gerard of Cenad”, in, Raţă, et al., Applied Social Sciences: Philosophy and Theology Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013, pp. 71-78. 9 Gabriel Silagi, (Ed.). Loc. cit. 10 Előd Nemerkényi, Loc. cit.. 6 7


Two Areopagitic subjects in Deliberatio supra hymnum… 207 early childhood he entered San Giorgio benedictin monastery and, in his youth, he changed his name from Giorgio to Gerardo11. The Latin version of the name was Gerardus but later he remained Gellert for the Hungarian people. For the German speaking people the name spells Gerhardus (or Gherardus)12, but Gerhard is used as well. For Romanian, the form Gerard has been used mostly. Later he was appointed teacher in the monastery and sent over to develop his studies in Bologna. In 1012 he got elected abbot at San Giorgio Magiore. After only three years he joined some brothers into a journey to Jerusalem but stoped in Istria due to bad wheather and eventually got convinced to head towards Hungay where the King Stephen was in search for missionaries and educators for his newly conquered territories. In 1015 he arrived in la Pécs and became the private educator of king’s son, Emeric (1015 – 1023). It was during this time that he received the official title of Bishop of Urbs Morisena. After 1023 Gerard retired as a hermit in the Beel monastery and in 1030 he arrived in his new diocese together with a group of benedictine monks. In Morisena and settles as a Bishop in the old edifice of a former Byzantine monastery. Information regarding life of St. Gerard has been transmitted to us by the Legenda S. Gerardi, a collection of two hagiographical sources, both relying on a common lost source. The older is „Legenda Minor”, dated 12th Century13, while the second and newer text is

Details in Claudiu Călin, “De la Dieceza de Cenad la cea de Timi șoara sau de la Gerard de Sagredo la Augustin Pacha. Un mileniu de istorie ecleziastică (1030-1919/1930)”, in: Mesaroş, Claudiu (ed.). 2013. Filosofia Sfântului Gerard de Cenad în context cultural și biografic. Szeged: Jate Press, pp. 112-113. 12 The version „Gherardus” appears in Codex latinus 1733 in Paris, codex mentioned in the 14th century. Cf. Martin Roos, „Izvoare istorice cu privire la Vita Gerardi”, in: Mesaroş, Claudiu, op. cit., pp. 23-28. 13 [BHL 3426] (12th c.): Passio beatissimi Gerardi, compilation of a lost source, survived in two manuscripts: Venice, Bibl. S. Marci, cod. lat. 28 cl. IX (13th c.), and Paris, Mazarine, cod. lat. 1733 (end of 15th c.) 11


208 Claudiu Mesaroş „Legenda Major”14, dated 14th Century15. The information they contain is ammendable and new critical editions are being expected16. The most intriguing and important issue related to activity of Gerard in general and to his Deliberatio… in particular is the problem of the sources or libraries accessible to him. Hypotheses are that Gerard could have studied in the monastic library of Venice, then perhaps in the library of Cenad, possibly a continuation of the presupposed monastic library of the former Byzantine monastery of Morisena; some historians support as well the existence of a personal library. In spite of the argumentations, there is no evidence for any of these hypotheses17. The problem of Gerard’s knowledge of the Greek language is even more exquisite, since he used some Areopagytic vocabulary, but not necessary from a Greek sources. There is absolutely no direct evidence for book holdings of the Csanád cathedral library or any probable presence of Greek manuscripts in the Greek monastery of Morisena in the Cenad diocese. Legenda maior [BHL 3425] (13th/14th c.): De sancto Gerhardo episcopo Morosenensi et martyre regni Ungarie, later compilation of various sources, some of which unknown, based on the same original text as the Legenda minor; survives in three manuscripts: Vienna, ÖNB, cod. lat. 3662 (end of 15th c.); Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibl. cod. lat. 18.624 (15th c.); Padova, Bibl. Universitaria, cod. lat. 1622 (15th c.) 15 For details see Imre Szentpéteri (editor, et alii), Scriptores Rerum Hungaricarum (SSRH), Vol. II, 471-179, Egyetemi Nyomda, Budapest, 1938, p. 480-506; Florio Banfi, Vita di San Gerardo da Venetia dal Codice 1622 della biblioteca universitaria di Padova, in Benedictina II (1948), p. 275-286; Eugen Glück, Considerații privind izvoarele istorice scrise referitoare la ducatul lui Ahtum, în Ziridava 11 (1979), p. 243-278; German translation: Thomas von Bogyay, János Bak, Gabriel Silagi, Die heiligen Könige. Übersetzt, eingeleitet und erklärt von Thomas von Bogyay, János Bak und Gabriel Silagi, in Ungarns Geschichtsschreiber 1, Graz-Wien-Köln 1976, pp. 77-85, 86-119. Apud Martin Roos, loc.cit. 16 Cristian Gașpar, presented paper: “An intellectual on the Margin and His Hagiobiographers: For a New Edition of the Vitae of St. Gerard”, at the International workshop on the Historiography of Philosophy: Representations and Cultural Constructions, West University of Timișoara, Romania, September 22-23, 2012. 17 See Előd Nemerkényi, „The Deliberatio of Bishop Saint Gerard of Csanád”, in: Mesaros, op. cit., p. 34. 14


Two Areopagitic subjects in Deliberatio supra hymnum… 209 In his Deliberatio, Gerard mentions as well many ancient philosophers names like Thales, Zeno, Socrates, Aristarchus, Aristotle, Chrysippus, Galenus, Gorgias, Hermagoras, Porphyry and others. Constant allusions are made to Christian authors, both Latin and Greek, like: Augustine, Ambrosius, Boethius, Cassiodorus, Hyeronimus, Dyonissos the Areopagyte, Gregory the Great, Maxim the Confessor, Isidorus of Seville, Hrabanus and Beda; among all, Isidorus of Seville is the main source of information for Gerard. Still, Nemerkényi claims that proving the direct access of Gerard to the text is rather impossible18. The biblical Song of the Three Young Boys is yet the main source of Gerard, giving the very substance and the pretext19 for Gerard’s commentary and its numerous references to ancient culture. There are indirect references to the Corpus Areopagiticum in the Deliberatio, which raise the question of the possible influence of the Pseudo-Dyonissus Areopagite on the book, based on terminological analysis. Terms such as essentiatio, theosophi, therapeutas, nostros beatissimos perfectores, potentes in theoricis, potentes, theologi, hieromistas, doctores,or diuini perfectores, and expressions like diuinus noster sanctus perfector, may have arrived to Gerard from the Latin translation of the Corpus Areopagiticum made by Hilduin and John Scottus Eriugena, or the commentaries of Maximus Confessor in the Latin translation by Anastasius Bibliothecarius, and with possible influence from Priscian. At the same time, it is argued that Gerard may have had access to a part of the De caelesti hierarchia of Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita in the Latin translation of John Scottus Eriugena in a mid-eleventh-century codex fragment (Budapest, University Library, U.Fr.l.m. 9, codicologist László Mezey)20.

Nemerkényi, Latin Classics in Medieval Hungary 11th Century, pp. 178-179. Claudiu Mesaroş, „Deliberatio supra Hymnum trium puerorum, un text filosofic”, in: Mesaroş, Op. cit., pp. 69-90. 20 Cf. Nemerkényi, op. cit., p. 86. 18 19


210 Claudiu Mesaroş It is for the moment difficult, according to strict philological analysis, to associate Gerard of Cenad directly to any of the authors mentioned above, since the work done so far by Silagi and Nemerkényi produced important working hypotheses rather than positive results. Nevertheless, text analysis may possible produce further surprising news, as Alexander Baumgarten’s presentation to this symposium21 pointed out. The content analysis is able as well to offer further new exploratory directions. We propose to focus our debate on two philosophical subjects of Areopagitic nature: a) the universal processio; b); the cosmic harmony as concordia doctrinarum. The universal processus is the hermeneutic key for interpreters of scriptures and it is strictly linked to the idea of the cosmic hierarchy. Gerard uses several times the terms processio and processus (diuinus processus) meaning the work of the Holy Spirit22. Thus, the prologue to the Deliberatio contains the following lines: „Sudor enim in hoc omni sopore suavior aestimandus, praesertim cum divinus processus cuncta confidat ad optimum respicentia perficere”23

It is a difficult line which roughly says that it is worth sweating during such difficult endeavor because the divine procession strengthens our efficiency. According to Nemerkényi, the term diuinus processus is peculiar, and has a diverse range of meanings, from

Alexander Baumgarten, “Saint Gerard’s Deliberatio Prologue”, presentation given to the international symposium „Dionisie Areopagitul. Izvoare, context, receptare (Dyonissus the Areopagyte: sources, context, assimilation)”, Cluj-Napoca, 16-17 October 2014. As well, the presentation „The Prologue to Saint Gerard’s Deliberatio. A Dyonisian schematism and an auctorial digression” given to the International symposium „Saint Gerard of Cenad: Tradition and Innovation”, Timișoara, 13-14 November 2014. 22 Cf. Nemerkényi, op. cit., p. 133. 23 Gerard of Cenad, Deliberatio..., Prologue, text from the Batthyány edition. I will be quoting after Batthyány edition all along this paper, assuming emendations by Silagi (1978). 21


Two Areopagitic subjects in Deliberatio supra hymnum… 211 proceeding to method, event trial and judgment, or divine help24. Still, it occurs in John Scottus Eriugena (per diuinam processionem, diuine processionis), meaning divine procession as Latin version of the Areopagytic πρόοδος, meaning literally „emanation” or exiting, descending. Gerard apparently understands his hermeneutic endeavor as part of a divine processio and therefore dependant on the divine active participation. One is expected to be able to read and understand a biblical text only to the extent that the divine procession strengthens human efficiency in interpreting. The act of interpretation is thus a consequence or rather a part of the cosmic procession, that is, the very act and substance of interpreting the text comes from God and must be guided by a Perfector. Perfectores are, according to the Areopagitic meaning, those who lead an initiation, a mystagogue. It includes apostles, fathers of the Church and bishops, therefore Gerard considers himself as one of the servants compelled to offer guidance to the biblical text as a member of the church hierarchy. But this service is essentially itself an ascetic endeavor: the bishop is able to guide readers into the biblical text exactly because he assumes an experience that is similar with that of the three young boys in the Nabucodonosor’s furnace: the exordium announces „high contemplations” to be experienced together: „Erigendum in optimis ex consuetudine contemplationibus et admodum duris incitationibus circa virium robor)”25

and the reader is expected to feel, along with Gerard, the heat (cauma improbita) of the furnace. There are two occurences of the term cauma, both charged with strong mystical denotation, especially that this term is rare in medieval Latin26 and used in stilistically meant contexts. Cf. Nemerkényi, Loc. cit. Deliberatio, cf. Batthyany text, pp. 3-4. 26 Nemerkényi, op. cit., p. 139. 24 25


212 Claudiu Mesaroş Again, Gerard will use the burning fire when he ends the Book I with the words: „Sed cuperem longius dicere, hora autem nos expectat, et cauma usquequaque conturbat”, and in the second book: „Multos quidem numeros mysticos adverto, sed caumatis improbitas et temporis brevitas non patitur dicere”.

At the end of book VII Gerard says again, using these words taken from Isidor of Seville to relate the power of divine word with the heat of the interpreter: „Ros suum non deficit caumate, non artatur frigore, non congelatur algore,” (Its dew does not evaporate in heat, does not shrink in the cold, does not freeze in the frost...).

But Gerard uses the word ignus as well to signify the physical fire. In an absolutely different way he refers to the inhabitants of Sodome and Gomorre in the book IV and laments the readers who are not strong enough and become posited in the fire (ignus, this time): „and fire we are”, just like the sodomites and gomorrites who were burnt by God and turned from shinig stars into smoke and from ornaments of the skies into walls of hell, from distinguished elects into doomed: „Infelices autem nos, qui in igne positi ea, quae ignis sunt, constanter appetimus, quasi minus haberi videntes Gomorritis et Sodomitis utroque incendio dissipatis, de claritudine stellarum in piceum fumum conversi, ad


Two Areopagitic subjects in Deliberatio supra hymnum… 213 ornatum firmamenti aedificati erigentes murum inferni, ad laudem electi, in derogatione proni”27

This fragment supplements the meanings of the word and brings negative conotations: it is possible to feel a heat that is different from that of the furnace containing the three young men, namely, the fire of God’s wrath. There is mystical fire on one hand, the fire of pray, and the burning fire of damantion on the other hand, which is still different from the physical fire that the king Nabucodnosor ordered to be lit up. And there is still a fourth kind of fire involved, the interior burning of deeds that finally led the Sodomites into the fire of damnation. Such an understanding seems to be the Gerardian original application of the Areopagitic theory of divine procession: the prohodos is just as well including text interpretation, namely, hermeneutic, which is part of the mystical effort of Christ’s followers. They have a common voice and form a unity with the celestial Angels and with the doctors of the church. The book VIII starts with another prologue that uses the words processio and calor in the same phrase. We expect this fragment to contain references to the motivations and power of the author, just like the general prologue quoted above. „In residuo ex admisso promovenda vis inspectionis ex more, antequam calor frigescat, si fas videtur, quemadmodum optime videtur potioribus ex parte decursis et non languescente robore processionis...”28

It says, according to a very approximate translation, that „in the remainder we will continue our inspection, according to our initial agreement, before our heat cools down, as it seems the case, according to the 27 28

Deliberatio, Book IV.. Deliberatio, prologue to the eighth book.


214 Claudiu Mesaroş manner one can optimally see, and depending on the remaining part, and depending on the not diminishing power of the procession”.

It is evident that the association of the two words work as a semantic unity claimimng that our <spiritual, mystical> heat is cooling down to the extent that the power of procession diminishes within us. Is is of course not claiming that God’s active processio diminishes but it is our own strength or attention that diminishes and lmits our capacity of recepting or being an active participants to the divine act. That is, our power of pray may slow down as we get tired. We might remenber the saying in the prologue: „Sudor enim in hoc omni sopore suavior aestimandus, praesertim cum divinus processus cuncta confidat ad optimum respicentia perficere...”.

The cosmic harmony or concordia doctrinarum is perhaps the most interesting subject of the text. The universal processio means that the strength of prayer and accordingly the power to interpret the sacred text are justly synchronized with the hyper-praising (superlaude, or superexaltare in Gerard) to compose one single chanting voice, common to Angels and humans: „Hortatis et invitatis generaliter omnibus ad hymnificam benedictionem confestim angelos invitant et caelos ad hoc ipsum quasi uno ore dicentes” (Liber I)29.

This cosmic unique voice acts like a universal performative speech common to all creatures, an act of partnership between creatures and their Creator, a choir that indifferent to time and space, but still belongs to the entire array of creatures, from Angels to the animals and plants, minerals and celestial stars. What does this choir 29

Deliberatio, Book I.


Two Areopagitic subjects in Deliberatio supra hymnum… 215 sing is the very start of the song of the three young boys: „Benedicite angeli Domini Domino, benedicite caeli Domino.” That is, creatures sing the doxology and it is the very ground of the Concordia doctrinarum: „Quod quasi uno ore id agunt iuxta eloquium, in sacris doctoribus una demonstratur esse concordia doctrinarum, quemadmodum Christo concordante propitio est. Non invenies Petrum distare a Paulo, non Iacobum a Iuda sancto, non Ioannem a ceteris, excepto quia investigabilem manifestavit thesaurum dicens: In principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat verbum, hoc erat in principio apud Deum.” (Liber I)30

And it is not only the apostles and the curch fathers that take part to the concordia doctrinarum but the bishops and the entire chirch as well, except heretics and Jews: „Invenies autem non solum istos in dictis concordes, quin potius omnes divina sapientissime deliberantes. Solius haeretici et Iudaei discordes sunt, ideo in ecclesia, quae divina concordia pollet, stare non potverunt” (Liber I)

Again, after describing the main heresies, Gerard says that our blessed Perfectores are united by the harmony of their chants within the Church of Christ, just as were those who, being thrown into the burning furnace, had chanted in a single voice: „Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever”31, and that the heretics cannot take part to the concordia because of their diversity by nature (diversissimos ex diversitate): „nostros beatissimos perfectores sic pari concordia in eloquiorum castissimis vociferationibus esse in Christi ecclesia unitos, quemadmodum illi, qui in

30 31

Deliberatio, Book I. Daniel, 3, 57 (The New American Bible, Revised Edition).


216 Claudiu Mesaroş camino ignis ardentis missi uno quasi ore, ut venerabiliter dicitur, clamabant dicentes: Benedicite omnia opera Domini Domino, laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula” (Liber I)

More details related to heretics are offered in Book IV, for instance that they cannot praise God, as their offerings will not be blessed (diabolicae virtutes dicendi); immediately Gerard refers to the Antichrist and then says that we should not be afraid of these words, as they only strenghten our awareness of belonging to the cosmic harmony of the sacred Scripture (Hoc autem dictum, ut scires divini et terribilis dicti nos esse concordes – Liber IV). Again, that who wants to meditate to the sacred word will indeed find many proofs that the Old and the New Testament are in concordia too. „Qui vero vult meditari evangeliorum dicta, his inveniet multiplicia, quibus optime indagatis prophetiam et apostolicam exuberationem nihilominus concordiae parilis” (Liber VIII).

Concordia is understood as beauty on the other hand. Philosophy is an embellishment for the saints (ab ineffabili totius sapientiae pectore non abnego descendisse)32 and leads to salvation to the extent it is built on the grounding of Christian virtues practiced continuously. To the philosopher living a Christian life Gerard seems to be preaching that God is rather seeking „scientia in Sacri … quam Holocaustum”33. Such a philosophical practice is able to intimately relate the philosopher to the divine creature as physis and finally provide understanding of the reason for the presence of physical elements into the liturgical act of the Song of the three young boys. The human model for this philosopher according to Gerard is Saint Peter, who had no initiation in dialectic but understood the Divine Word when recognized Christ as the Son of God. 32 33

Deliberatio, ed. Batthyany, p. 53. Deliberatio, ed. Batthyany, p. 55. Gerard is quoting here Osea. 6,6.


Two Areopagitic subjects in Deliberatio supra hymnum… 217 To the same extent, there is a concordance between pagan philosophy and Christian philosophy as well. Gerard does not use the word concordia in this case but he is very close to suggesting that it should be used with several conditions. He consistently proposes the use of pagan philosophy as a source of knowledge and understanding of Scriptures, necessarily associated with living a life of love („Illa igitur mortalis, quae ad amorem vitae non sectatur, solius imprimenda” – Liber III). To this extent, and being aware that the vera benedictione is owed only to the Creator, we can still elogiate the ingenium of the antique philosophers because of their effort for science (studia). The Church Fathers themselves made use of profane philosophy which is compared by Gerard with the vessels of gold and silver that Moses was given by God from the Egyptians.

Bibliography Batthyány, Ignatius. Sancti Gerardi episcopi Chanadiensis scripta et acta hactenus inedita cum serie episcoporum Chanadiensium. Albae-Carolinae, 1790 Claudiu Călin, “De la Dieceza de Cenad la cea de Timişoara sau de la Gerard de Sagredo la Augustin Pacha. Un mileniu de istorie ecleziastică (1030-1919/1930)”, in: Claudiu Mesaroş, (ed.).. Filosofia Sfântului Gerard de Cenad în context cultural şi biografic. Szeged: Jate Press, 2013, pp. 112-113 Constantinescu, Radu, ed. Gerard din Cenad: Armonia lumii sau tâlmâcire a cîntârii celor trei coconi către Isingrim dascălul, Bucureşti: Meridiane, 1984 de Lubac, Henri. Medieval Exegesis, Edinburgh, 2000 Gaşpar, Cristian. “An intellectual on the Margin and His Hagiobiographers: For a New Edition of the Vitae of St. Gerard” (paper presented at the International workshop on the Historiography of Philosophy: Representations and Cultural Constructions, West University of Timişoara, Romania, September 22-23 Gerard din Cenad, Armonia lumii sau tălmăcire a cântării celor trei coconi către Isingrim Dascălul, Studiu introductiv, selecţie, traducere şi comentarii de Radu Constantinescu, Cuvânt înainte de Răzvan Theodorescu, Bucureşti, Meridiane, 1984


218 Claudiu Mesaroş Karácsonyi, Béla, and László Szegfű, ed. Deliberatio Gerardi Moresanae aecclesiae episcope supra hymnum trium puerorum. Szeged: Scriptum, 1999 Mesaroş, Claudiu (ed.), Filosofia Sfântului Gerard de Cenad în context cultural şi biografic. Szeged: Jate Press, 2013 Mesaroş, Claudiu. „Philosophical Contributions in Deliberatio Supra Hymnum Trium Puerorum by Gerard of Cenad”, în: Philosophy Today, Volume 57, Issue 2, Summer 2013 Mesaroş, Claudiu. „Audience of Philosophy in the Periphery: Gerard of Cenad”, in Raţă, et al., Applied Social Sciences: Philosophy and Theology, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013 Nemerkényi, Előd, „The Seven Liberal Arts in the Deliberatio of Bishop Gerard of Csanad” Studi Veneziani 42 (2001): 215–23 Nemerkényi, Előd. „Fictive Audience: The Second Person Singular in the Deliberatio of Bishop Gerard of Csanad”, In Oral History of the Middle Ages: The Spoken Word in Context, ed. Gerhard Jaritz and Michael Richter, 39–48. Krems: Medium Aevum Quotidianum; Budapest: Central European University, 2001 Nemerkényi, Előd. “Greeks and Latins in Mediaeval Hungary.”Classica et Mediaevalia 59 (2008): 213–24 Nemerkényi, Előd. „Review of Deliberatio Gerardi Moresanae aecclesiae episcopi supra hymnum trium puerorum ed. and trans. Bela Karacsonyi and Laszlo Szegfu”, Budapesti Konyvszemle 12.4 (2000): 402–5 Nemerkényi, Előd. „Ancient Rhetoric and the Deliberatio of Bishop Gerard of Csanád”. In The Journal of Medieval Latin. Brepols Publishers, vol. 14(2004), 118–127 Nemerkényi, Előd. Latin Classics in Medieval Hungary 11th Century. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2004 Papahagi, Adrian, Dincă Adinel-Ciprian. „Latin Palaeography and Codicology in Romania”, in Chôra, 5 (2007): 159-186 Roos, Martin, “Izvoare istorice cu privire la Vita Gerardi”, in: Mesaros, C. (ed.) 2013, 23-28 Silagi, Gabriel (Ed.). Gerard of Csanád. Deliberatio supra hymnum trium puerorum CCCM 49. Turnhout: Brepols, 1978


God’s self-communication… 219

GOD’S SELF-COMMUNICATION: THE INFLUENCE OF DIONYSIUS’S DOCTRINE OF BEAUTY ON THE THEOLOGY OF ST THOMAS AQUINAS

Tereza-Brînduşa Palade

„La beauté du monde est le sourire de tendresse du Christ pour nous à travers la matière”. Simone Weil, Formes de l’amour implicite de Dieu

D

ionysius’s treatise On the Divine Names can be quite inspiring for a study of the „multidimensional” aspects of God, since it presents, as a feature of originality, a transformation of the Neoplatonic theory about the One and the nous into an approach of the two dimensions of the one God: the divine hiddenness and the divine self-communication. It is now believed that the Areopagite „splits” the rather monistic Neoplatonic thought in two different approaches of the one Judeo-Christian Godhead, by aligning the One with God as He is in Himself, and the nous with God as He is in His self-communication1. At the same

Brendan Thomas Sammon, The God Who is Beauty:Beauty as a Divine Name in Dionysius the Areopagite and Thomas Aquinas (Princeton: Princeton Theological Monograph Series, 2013), p. 9.

1


220 Tereza-Brînduşa Palade time, his treatise On the Divine Names blends somehow the biblical Judeo-Christian tradition and the Neoplatonic tradition in order to bring out beauty as a divine name, thus identifying for the first time God as beauty. The Dionysian theological „canonization” of beauty is the origin of the later Medieval consideration of pulchrum as a transcendental of being by St Albert the Great and St Thomas Aquinas. According to the recent interpretation provided by B.T. Sammon, beauty is both associated in The Divine Names with divine hiddenness and divine self-communication. First, as identical with God Himself, beauty is the transcendent splendor and plenitude. This beauty, however, remains hidden – which is why Dionysius refers to it in relation to divine hiddenness, in the sense that such beauty surpasses all conceptualization and knowing, and remains hidden in its transcendent fullness of intelligibility. At the same time, the beauty as God, being plenitude, calls (kalos) to other beings by attracting them to Himself, since He is also their unifying source. Secondly, the Areopagite refers to the beauty by which God causes created things to be beautiful, thus disclosing Himself to His own creation. Beauty is thus a principle of determination through which God gives every entity its ontological constitution – its own intelligibility. This causation is not, however, strictly formal, being understood by Dionysius as a communication of the volitional fulness of God to all things, like an overflow of the content (the divine beauty) into a recipient (the entity which is thus beautified, though its beautiful uniqueness pre-exists in the plenitude of God). Beauty is thus seen as an excess of intelligible content through which God gradually communicates Himself to the world, the highest self-communication of God being through His disclosure to the rational beings that are given the grace to advance in their quest to the divine.


God’s self-communication… 221 St Albert the Great’s notion of beauty and the earlier tradition St Albert’s metaphysical account of beauty was developped especially in his Summa de bono (ca. 1240) and his De Pulchro et Bono (ca. 1252), the later being usually attributed to Albert’s assistant, Thomas Aquinas. Albert emphasizes in these texts the identification of God with the name beauty derived from Dionysius, in the context of a discussion about the simplicity of the divine substance which causes beauty in things. Thus, Albert follows the Dionysian explanation of beauty insofar as he sees it as a principle of determination by which God bestows to all created things visibility and intelligibility (that is to say, both their outward appearance and their ontological constitution). Beauty is thus seen as the differentiating, intelligible manifestation of God within His own creation. Albert’s treatment of beauty is clearly more metaphysical than it used to be in the earlier Scholastic thinkers. In early scholasticism, beauty was seen as an „agency” that mediates the self-disclosure of divinity and plays an „anagogical” function for the human intellect: beauty, as an excess an intelligible content, is thus the means through which God communicates with the world in order to allow the rational intellect to move forward in its quest for the divine. Beauty was thus understood as the plenitude of intelligibility through which God communicates Himself both to the physical eye and to the spiritual contemplation, but was not yet explicitely identified with the divine (although all the early Scholastic schools – the Cistercian, the Victorine, and the Chartrian – advanced in a way or another towards this identification between beauty and the divine). In the early thirteen century, beauty was increasingly seen as the „object” of a metaphysical approach and its mysterious relation to the divine was set as a task of many schoolmen, though this


222 Tereza-Brînduşa Palade relation also involved the notions of the good, the light, the true, and the one. The main characteristic of these approaches was however that it preserved the „relationalism” of the earlier descriptions of beauty as a mediating agency between God and the world. According to most early thirteenth-century schoolmen, beauty was more specifically understood as God’s creative causality which gives form, measure, and order to every intelligible entity. Since God Himself was seen by these schoolmen as the self-diffusive good of Neoplatonism, beauty was supposed to be that aspect of the good that allows the fulfillment of the cognitive desire of the intellect. Thus, the beauty of creation was perceived as a „vestige” that allows the knowledge of the uncreated beauty of God. The relational power of beauty was, accordingly, clearly emphasized by the early thirteenth-century schoolmen, who also developped a hierarchy between a lower beauty that appears in corporeal forms, and a higher beauty that is present in spiritual forms.2 Such a hierarchy was also conceived through the notion of light, that was supposed to be the most noble of all essences because of its priority in the order of (corporeal) forms. Through light, beauty enters the intellectual perception with a nearness that is superior to corporeal measures and weights.3 Thus, the schoolmen of the early thirteenth-century made significant contributions to beauty as a divine name, which was subsequently developped into St Albert’s metaphysical approach of beauty. Albert secures in his above-mentioned writings related to beauty the identification of beauty with the divine – of God with the name beauty – and passes this rearticulated Dionysian tradition to his assistant, Thomas Aquinas.

2 3

Summa Alexandri, II, n. 40 (Quaracchi: Collegii S. Bonaventurae, 1948), p. 49. Edgar de Bruyne, Etudes d'esthétique médiévale, II, pp. 127-128.


God’s self-communication… 223 Metaphysical beauty and substance in Dionysius and Aquinas In his Commentary to The Divine Names (4, 5), Thomas closely follows the Dionysian distinction between the beauty attributed to God Himself, Who is the supersubstantial beauty, and the participated beauty of the creatures through their likeness to the divine beauty. All things created thus participate to the first cause of their beauty which has made all things beautiful. In Aquinas’ words, „pulchritudo enim creaturae nihil est aliud quam similitudo divinae pulchritudinis in rebus participata ([84848] In De divinis nominibus, cap. 4, l. 5)”, the beauty of creatures is the likeness of divine beauty in participated things. Thus, God Who is beauty communicates Himself through the beauty of creatures. This self-communication of God through participated beauty is related by Aquinas in the same Commentary with the properties of consonance (consonantia) and clarity (claritas), which are caused by God in beautiful things. In rational creatures, consonance leads to friendship and communion. Later on, in Summa Theologiae, Aquinas will mention three conditions that are to be attained by an object in order to be perceived as beautiful: integrity (integritas) or perfection, proportion (proportio) or harmony, and splendor or clarity (claritas) (ST I, q. 39, a.7). At any rate, the universality of beauty (seen as a divine name) is communicated in and through the particular, i.e. throug the beautiful thing – the beautiful indicating a suppositum which participates beauty. This is explained in such scholastic terms by Aquinas, but the doctrine itself is accurately received from Dionysius. And, since beauty has an intimacy to the beautiful thing, it does not naturally yield


224 Tereza-BrĂŽnduĹ&#x;a Palade abstract concepts, but is perfectly suitable to the act of communication of the universal beauty through the particular. B.T. Sammon also derives from the twofold dimensions of the Dionysian beauty, as the divine in itself (transcendent plenitude) and the divine in its act of self-communication, both being united through the gathering power of beauty which brings the many into the one wihout disparaging either the many or the one, a configuration of beauty based on a community of being.4 Since beauty is for Dionysius the principle of determination through which the transcendent plenitude overflows into the recipient and gives every entity its own intelligibility (the highest expression of this dynamic being attained by the intellects which perceive an intelligibility beyond a determinate form in their anagogical ascent to the divine truth), beauty clearly has a metaphysical meaning that explains how every given thing (substance) embodies beauty in its own unique way. Although Dionysius does not use specific metaphysical terms, substance is not for him an isolated, static entity, but a unique, dynamic synthesis of difference, identity, diversity, similarity etc. Given the dynamic relation to the otherness of every individual entity in Neoplatonism, the process of determination that leads to a substance is understood by the Areopagite as a relation of dependence of the determined on its determination (and thus as a dependence of all created things on their first cause, God), and by no means as a process of determination based on inherent principles (matter and form) as in Aristotelianism. To this relation of each thing to God, Dionysius adds also the relations of created things among themselves, and their self-relativity, thus enlarging the ontological community created by the unifying power of beauty. Nevertheless, despite Aquinasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; usual preference for a more Aristotelian character of substance, the Dionysian dynamic that leads to the determination of substance is not rejected either in his reading 4

The God Who is Beauty, ed. cit., p. 368.


God’s self-communication… 225 to The Divine Names, or in his Trinitarian theology of the Son. Indeed, in both his Commentary to The Divine Names and his Trinitarian treatise from the Summa Theologiae Aquinas uses a Dionysian-like doctrine of beauty (based on a thing’s integrity that involves consonance and excels by clarity) in order to support a notion of substance conceived as a unity in relation to diversity. For those who are still inclined to believe that Thomas Aquinas was trapped into a static Aristotelian metaphysics, this provides a clear counterexample. Final remarks In conclusion, by emphasizing a dynamic community of being between God and His creatures which also explains the dynamic process of God’s self-disclosure by causing things to be intelligible, and therefore beautiful, one may shed a different light on Aquinas’ metaphysical theology than the one allowed by most of the contemporary Thomistic scholarship. The Dionysian-Thomistic beauty is primarily a metaphysical phenomenon, but it also bears relevance for the theological thought. In a theological sense, beauty seen as a „middle” or as a mediating agency allows us to think both of God as He is in Himself and in His self-communicative act. Likewise, it helps us conceive theologically the union between the finite and the infinite, the transient and the eternal, the material and the spiritual – that is, the relation between God and the world. As B. T. Sammon suggests, a God Who is beautiful and Who discloses Himself by beautifying the created realities clearly invites to a theological thought that becomes itself beautiful. Thomas’s approach to the Dionysian doctrine of beauty may also, as I have already suggested, rectify the methodological reduction of Thomistic thought to the Aristotelian elenchus-like mode of thinking, which forgets that the actual Aquinas, whose own views were shaped by the tradition of commentaries to which he belonged, synthesized Aristotelianism with the open dialectic of Dionysius, thus


226 Tereza-Brînduşa Palade leaving space also for mysterium and Neoplatonic complexity. Whether or not Thomas was fully aware of the Neoplatonic Denkform used by Dionysius is a debatable question among his exegetes, some of them speaking of both a conscious and an unconscious Neoplatonic dimension of Thomas’s thought. Nevertheless, it is clear that a depiction of Aquinas as a thinker who reduces mystery and unknowing to concepts and formal statements is incomplete. To be sure, his style and his idiom are products of the scholastic forma mentis, but in his Commentary to Dionysius’s On the Divine Names his concern with clarity and order does not interfere with the Dionysian metaphysics and with the Areopagitic dialectic methodology, even if Thomas could not probably place the latter in a historical context, since he lacks an appropriate awareness of the Neoplatonic tradition. As for the Dionysian doctrine of beauty seen as a divine name, this is clearly integrated into Aquinas’s own metaphysics and provides it with a dynamic that is also instilled into other aspects of Thomism. Aquinas was himself the heir of a tradition of reception of the Dionysian works. He never had direct access to the Greek texts of Dionysius and used, for De divinis nominibus, the translation of John Saracene. To this apparent distance from the „authentic” Dionysius one must add his scholastic terminology and his interest for a logical structure which may seem remote from the Dionysian emphasis on mystical unknowing, praise and worship, and on a theology that uses „names” rather then „concepts”. But despite all these differences, as far as his analysis of beauty is concerned, Thomas maintains much of the „authentically Dionysian” mystery and ineffable dynamic of beauty as a divine name. The genius of Aquinas is indeed proved here by his ability to use a very precise conceptual method without however blocking the way to the mystery he is interrogating.


Le statut de la mystique… 227

LE STATUT DE LA MYSTIQUE. ARGUMENTS (ANTI)DIONYSIENS DANS LA CONTROVERSE QUIETISTE ENTRE BOSSUET ET FENELON

Cristian Moisuc

L

e XVIIe siècle peut être caractérisé comme un siècle où l’on assiste au „crépuscule des mystiques” (L. Cognet) ou comme un siècle où les controverses doctrinaires sur la grâce et l’interprétation „correcte” de Saint Augustin ont généré une revitalisation des sources patristiques, du à effort des parties engagées dans la disputes de se légitimer par recours aux autorités de la tradition. Le „retour aux sources patristiques” tenté par le catholicisme classique dans la période 1669-1713 (dont parlait Jean-Louis Quantin) a été un vaste programme de récupération des Pères de l’Eglise. Cet effort n’a pas été, lui non plus, dépourvu de controverses. Une de ces controverses a été celle de l’amour pur de Dieu, doctrine thématisée par Madame de Guyon et ensuite par François Fénelon, archevêque de Cambrai et combattue par Bossuet, archevêque de Meaux. C’est peut-être la dernière controverse avant l’époque des Lumière et dans laquelle on a tenté une dernière récupération de l’héritage patristique. Ce n’est peut être pas au hasard que les deux archevêques ont écrit des livres intitulés „La tradition


228 Cristian Moisuc secrète des mystiques” (Fénelon) et „La tradition des nouveaux mystiques” (Bossuet). Tout en revendiquant la possibilité pour un fidele d’aimer Dieu d’une manière pure (c’est-à-dire sans intérêt, même pas le salut) et d’être divinisé en vertu de cet amour même et non pas en regard des „mérites” acquises en suite des actions personnelles ou des sacrements de l’Eglise, Fénelon a essayé de rattacher la doctrine de l’amour pur à une tradition mystique respectable dans lequel il privilégiait saint Clément d’Alexandrie, Denys Aréopagite et tout le monachisme oriental. D’autre part, Bossuet, attaché à un augustinisme plutôt politique que spirituel, craignait que l’ancrage de la foi dans le théandrisme ne mette pas en danger le caractère ecclésial et sacramental de la foi. Bossuet considérait d’ailleurs Denys Aréopagite comme un „habile inconnu” responsable (du moins en partie) de „l’exagération des nouveaux mystiques”. Le présent travail se propose de mettre en évidence quelques arguments (anti)dionysiens utilisés dans la controverse entre Bossuet et Fénelon. *** Le problème de l’amour pur pour Dieu qui a fait l’objet de la célèbre controverse entre les deux grands évêques (Bossuet, évêque de Meaux et Fénelon, évêque de Cambrai) dans la période 1697 et 1699 et qui a provoqué une intervention officielle du Pape Innocent IX (la bulle Cum alias du 13 mars 1699) doit être replacé dans son contexte originaire, afin de comprendre comment une question qui regardait initialement des problèmes de mystique a finalement été tranchée officiellement par le Magistère romain. Puisque les aspects généraux de la dispute ont été déjà analysés dans des travaux consacrés1, je me contenterai de reprendre seulement Nous nous contentons de signaler quelques travaux incontournables: les ouvrages de Louis Cognet, Crépuscule des mystiques, Paris, Desclée, 1958; La Spiritualité moderne. 1 : L’essor (1500-1650) de l’Histoire de la spiritualité chrétienne, Paris,

1


Le statut de la mystique… 229 les détails utiles pour comprendre la manière dont les parties impliquées dans la controverse se sont rapportées à l’héritage patristique en général et au corpus dionysien en spécial. Il s’agirait donc dans cet article de la réception de saint Denys au XVIIe siècle, notamment des arguments (anti)dionysiens utilisés par les deux évêques mentionnés. Le concept d’amour pur pour Dieu devient matière de controverse une fois que la célèbre madame de Guyon le met en discussion et déclenche le scandale théologique. On peut placer les débuts de la controverse en 1685, lorsque cette dame fait publier un livre intitulé Moyen court pour l’oraison, que tous peuvent pratiquer et arriver par-là à une haute perfection2. C’est dans ce livre qu’elle parle de l’oraison du cœur, qu’elle définit comme „l’application de l’âme à Dieu et l’exercice intérieur de l’amour”. En résumé3, cette méthode d’oraison comporte quelques étapes:

1966; les articles « Fénelon » et « Guyon » du Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique (Paris, Beauchesne, t. 5, 1962 si t. 6, 1967); « La spiritualité de Mme Guyon », XVIIe siècle, n° 12-14, 1952, p. 269-275 ; J. Le Brun, La Spiritualité de Bossuet, Paris, Klincksieck, 1972; le premier volume des Œuvres de Fénelon, Paris, Gallimard, « Bibliothèque de la Pléiade », 1983; l’article « Quiétisme » du Dictionnaire de spiritualité […], t. 12, 1986 ; J. Orcibal, Jean Duvergier de Hauranne abbé de Saint-Cyran et son temps, Paris, Vrin, 1947; l’article « Madame Guyon devant ses juges », in Travaux de littérature et de linguistique. Mélanges offerts à René Pintard, Strasbourg, 1975, p. 409-423. A part ceux-ci, plusieurs ouvrages récents méritent d’etre signalés: Anne Ferrari, Bossuet et Fénelon, la lettre qui tue, in Lettres classiques, vol. 59/2006, pp. 299-316; Michel Terestschenko, La querelle sur l’amour pur au XVIIe entre Fénelon et Bossuet, La Découverte, Revue de Mauss, tome 2, nr. 34/2008, pp.173-184. La littérature sur ce sujet et vaste et une bibliographie exhaustive dépasse les prétentions du présent article. 2 Ce volume est paru pour la première fois à Grenoble, chez l’éditeur Jacques Petit. Des éditions ultérieures ont été imprimées à Lyon et Paris (1686) et à Paris et Rouen (1690). La traduction en italien a été inscrite sur la liste des ouvrages interdits pas la Commission de l’Index le 3 mai 1689. 3 Nous abrégeons la description de la méthode faite par Louis Cognet dans le livre Le crépuscule des mystiques, pp. 96-99.


230 Cristian Moisuc - le fondement de la prière est assez indéterminé; on peut l’établir soit dans l’omnipuissance divine, soit dans la présence personnelle de Dieu dans le cœur du fidele4; - les étapes suivantes sont la méditation et la lecture commentée des Livres Saints; - on passe ensuite l’oraison de simplicité, nommée aussi le gout de la présence de Dieu, qui s’acquiert grâce au repos intérieur; - c’est après cette étape que le fidele commence à s’abandonner: c’est l’étape du „dépouillement de tout soin de nous mêmes”, qui prépare la - „conversion totale”, décrite comme un effort de l’âme pour se tourner et ramasser au-dedans. C’est l’avant dernier moment d’un trajet spirituel qui doit culminer dans - la contemplation active, où le fidele doit „faire cesser l’action et l’opération propre pour laisser agir Dieu”5. A ce stade, la présence de Dieu est „infuse et presque continuelle”. Le succès du livre a suscité aussi les premières accusations, conformément auxquelles la méthode „épurée” de l’oraison ferait inutile la confession et engendrait de fausses promesses de déracinement de la concupiscence (des accusations qui auraient pu être proférées à l’encontre de n’importe quel mystique). La rencontre du 1686 entre madame de Guyon et l’évêque de Cambrai, Fénelon (qui allait devenir son confesseur et son défenseur), ainsi qu’une préface écrite par la dame, intitulée Courte apologie pour le moyen court (initialement approuvée, mais ensuite rejetée par 4 „Rien n’est plus aisé que d’avoir Dieu et de le gouter. Il est plus en nous que nous mêmes. Il a plus de désir de se donner à nous que nous de le posséder. Il n’y a que la manière de la chercher, qui est si aisée et si naturelle, que l’air qu’on respire ne l’est pas davantage”, Moyen Court, ch.1, 5, apud Cognet, p.94. Sur la manière dont saint Augustin (dont s’inspire ici madame de Guyon) a „trouvé” Dieu, voir: G. Madec, La Patrie et la Voie. Le Christ dans la vie et dans la pensée de saint Augustin, Paris, Desclée, 1989 ; C. Boyer, Comment saint Augustin a trouvé Dieu, in Essais anciens et nouveaux sur la doctrine de saint Augustin, Milan, Marzorati editore, 1970, pp. 137-149. 5 Cognet, op.cit., p.97.


Le statut de la mystique… 231 Jean-Jacques Beaulaigue, le précepteur du duc de Luynes) allaient déclencher le scandale théologique. Dans cette préface, la dame parlait pour la première fois de état passif de l’âme, définie comme une „parfaite soumission [de l’âme] à Dieu” qui précède la connaissance de Dieu et du soi; c’est de cette double connaissance que jaillit l’amour pur et désintéressé, qui, „voulant tout pour le Tout…, ne veut rien pour le néant que le néant même”. Madame de Guyon explique dans la préface du livre qu’elle décrit en effet un état dans lequel l’exercice et la présence de Dieu est „si aisée et si naturelle que l’air qu’on respire ne l’est pas davantage”6. Plusieurs incidents relevant de la discipline monastique dans le couvent de Saint Cyr ont provoqué l’imixtion de Bossuet (évêque de Meaux) dans l’affaire, en septembre 1693. Dans les lettres échangées par celui-ci avec madame de Guyon, les positions ont été dès le début divergentes. La mystique a expliquée ce qu’elle comprend par „état passif”7, tandis que le prélat écrivait à une tierce personne: „Les nouveaux spirituels se font un jargon que je n’entends pas. Ils parlent trop de passivité. Je n’en reconnais point de pure, parce qu’il y a toujours un acte très libre et très paisible, aussi bien que très intime, de la volonté, et un libre consentement, sans quoi l’oraison ne pourrait avoir ce mérite chrétien, qui est tout ensemble notre mérite et un don de Dieu”8.

ibid., p.96. „Lorsque j’appelle un consentement passif, je veux dire un commandement que le même Dieu qui le demande fait faire. J’avais cru jusqu’a présent que Dieu état également auteur d’un certain silence qu’il opère dans l’âme et de certains actes qu’il fait faire, ou il parait à la créature qu’elle n’a d’autres part que celle de se laisser mouvoir au gré de Dieu; ils sont si simples que l’âme qui les fait ne les distingue pas” (Cognet, op.cit., p.179). 8 ibid., p.179. 6 7


232 Cristian Moisuc Le 30 janvier 1694 les deux parties se rencontrent et madame de Guyon écrira plus tard: „Les difficultés qu’il me faisait ne venaient, comme je crois, que du peu d’expérience qu’il avait des auteurs mystiques, qu’il avouait n’avoir jamais lu, et du peu d’expérience qu’il avait des voies intérieures”9.

En 1694 une commission ecclésiastique (dont Bossuet faisait partie) se charge d’examiner le caractère orthodoxe de la mystique de madame Guyon (il s’agit des célèbres conférences d’Issy). Or, Fénelon10 (qui était devenu en 1688 le confesseur de madame Guyon et s’était empreigné des idées mystiques de celle-ci) a considéré devoir intervenir dans la dispute avec un livre de commentaires11 au Stromates de saint Clément d’Alexandrie, pour défendre sa propre conception sur l’amour pur. Il ne fallait pas plus pour qu’une question de plutôt de foi personnelle, sans enjeu théologique officiel, deviennent un motif de controverse entre évêques dont l’enjeu était le statut de l’expérience mystique. Dans la multitude d’arguments et contre-arguments, répliques, remarques, accusations, observations, accusations et invectives proférés par les deux évêques12 on peut distinguer deux attitudes ibid., p.188. Cf. François Varillon, Fénelon et l’amour pur, Paris, Seuil, 1957 ; Monika Simon, Fénelon platonicien ? Etude historique, philosophique et littéraire, Litteratur Verlag, Munster, 2005 : « Leur longue correspondance a fait s’établir entre eux une certaine communauté de vie spirituelle » (p.175). 11 La tradition secrète des mystiques ou Le Gnostique de saint Clément d'Alexandrie. 12 Fénelon écrit en 1697 le livre Explication des maximes des saints sur la vie intérieure, tandis que Bossuet écrit, la même année, Instruction pastorale sur les états d’oraison. Suit après une réponse directe (Divers écrits ou mémoires sur le livre intitulé : Explication des maximes des saints), à laquelle Fénelon réplique par 5 lettres successives (Première Lettre à Monseigneur l’Évêque de Meaux en réponse aux divers écrits ou mémoires sur le livre intitulé Explication des Maximes des Saints, Deuxième Lettre etc). Bossuet ne reste pas les bras croisés, écrivant dans la deuxième partie de l’année 1698 une Réponse de Mgr l’Évêque de Meaux à quatre lettres de Mgr l’Archevêque Duc de Cambrai. A un moment donné, entre août et novembre 9

10


Le statut de la mystique… 233 fondamentalement opposées: Bossuet essaie de diminuer la force de toute perspective mystique et de toute autorité patristique invoquée par la transformation du rapport du mystique avec Dieu en un élément accessible à tout fidele; d’autre part, Fénelon essaie de raccorder sa propre doctrine de la passivité de la volonté13 à une tradition mystique respectable qui incluait aussi plusieurs Pères de l’Eglise, parmi lesquels saint Denys Aréopagite. L’exagération est donc monnaie courante des deux cotés. Ce qui nous intéresse dans cet article est la manière dont les deux évêques se sont rapportes au corpus dionysien dans leur tentative de justifier ou de discréditer la mystique de l’amour pur. *** Il serait fastidieux et en même temps impossible de passer faire une recherche sur tous les ouvrages écrits par les deux évêques. Nous avons choisi de nous rapporter seulement aux œuvres initiales parce que celle-ci sont révélatrices de l’impulsion initiale, ainsi que du rapport encore spontané des auteurs au corpus dionysien. Au fur et à mesure que la controverse avançait, les arguments ont été raffinés ou nuancés sans pour autant faciliter un réel dialogue sur le statut de la mystique.

1698, le „débat” devient baroque et impossible à suivre par autrui que les deux protagonistes: Bossuet écrit une Relation sur le Quiétisme, et Fénelon réplique par Réponse à l’Écrit intitulé Relation sur le Quiétisme. Bossuet ne se laisse pas et sort des Remarques sur la Réponse de M. l’Archevêque de Cambrai à la Relation sur le Quiétisme. Le comble du „dialogue”, Fénelon charge avec une Réponse aux Remarques de Mgr l’Évêque de Meaux sur la Réponse à la Relation sur le Quiétisme! 13 Sur la passivité de la volonté dans l’acte mystique et sur la prédestination augustinienne qui est à l’origine de cette thèse, voir Michel Terestschenko, La querelle sur l’amour pur au XVIIe entre Fénelon et Bossuet, p.181 sq. En somme, le dilemme de la passivité de la volonté peut être formulé ainsi: pour se vider de soi-même, l’ego doit s’abandonner à Dieu. Or, dans l’acte même d’abandon mystique il y a encore une intentionnalité de la volonté qui la rend encore active (la volonté d’abandon est encore volonté de quelque chose). Peut-on concevoir un acte de la volonté qui ait comme but l’annihilation de la volonté elle-même? Théologiquement, la passivité de la volonté semble conduire au désintérêt du salut et à l’abandon de la dimension ecclésiale de la foi, sous prétexte du retrait mystique en Dieu.


234 Cristian Moisuc Le premier qui fait appel à l’autorité de saint Denys est Fénelon, dans le Mémoire sur l’état passif. C’est le premier ouvrage rédigé par Fénelon dans la controverse et envoyé à Bossuet le 23 juillet 169414, âpres les conférences d’Issy. Saint Denys Aréopagite est présenté dans le mémoire comme la source par excellence de la mystique, l’évêque de Cambrai essayant dans la dernière partie de rapprocher les chapitres IX-X des Confessions de saint Augustin et les écrits de saint Denys15. Du point de vue tactique, Fénelon veut raccorder la mystique augustinienne à celle de saint Denys, pour se prémunir contre les possibles objections des théologiens augustiniens comme Bossuet qui auraient été tentés de rejeter la mystique de saint Denys sous prétexte que le langage y est extravagant. Ce qui intéresse Fénelon, à part l’approche entre saint Augustin et saint Denys, c’est de conférer un caractère théologiquement orthodoxe aux spéculations guyonniennes. Dans cette perspective, il affirme qu’on ne peut pas invoquer le prétendu caractère vétuste (loin s’en faut!) de saint Denys et qu’on ne peut pas non plus disqualifier son langage sous prétexte que celui-ci serait un „galimatias”16. En même temps, Fénelon fait appel au Noms divins pour montrer que l’état passif dont parlait madame de Guyon se trouve déjà Fénelon envoie ce mémoire auquel il joint une lettre dans laquelle il exprime sa confiance que les arguments patristiques feront dissiper tout malentendu de Bossuet à l’adresse de madame Guyon et de sa mystique – cf. Henri Gouhier, Fénelon philosophe, Paris, Vrin, 1977, p.77. 15 „Il est manifeste que saint Augustin représente une contemplation absolument conforme à celle dont parle saint Denys; il s’élève vers ce qu’il appelle idpsum; nous verrons dans son explication des Psaumes que cet idipsum selon lui est l’être immobile de Dieu, il passe de degré en degré au dessus de tout ce qui est corporel, il monte intérieurement encore plus haut, pensant néanmoins et raisonnant encore” – Mémoire sur l’état passif, dans J-L. Gorré, La notion d’indifférence chez Fénelon et ses sources, Paris, PUF, 1956. 16 „On dira que saint Denys n’est qu’un auteur d’un siècle assez reculé, n’importe. Il dit ce qu’il suppose comme certain et fréquent dans les premiers siècles, il croit tout cela si autorisé qu’il ne craint point de l’attribuer aux hommes apostoliques, du moins il est bon pour être témoin de la tradition de son temps qui est sans difficulté fort ancienne” – Mémoire, pp.229-230. 14


Le statut de la mystique… 235 chez saint Denys17. L’enjeu doctrinaire de Fénelon est de laisser parler la lettre des écrits dionysiens pour prouver que l’état passif dont parlait madame de Guyon se caractérise par une privation d’images et de représentations, mais aussi par un anéantissement de la volonté. Fénelon considère que les mystiques vivent „une sainte indifférence” lorsqu’ils s’unissent à Dieu18 et que l’état passif en litige en 1694 n’est pas une invention des „nouveau mystiques”, comme pensait Bossuet, mais le noyau même de la mystique dionysienne. Pour le prélat de Cambrai, ce qui compte, c’est de prouver que l’acte de contemplation est un acte entièrement „passif” (dans le sens que la contemplation n’est pas un acte intellectuel ou relevant de la volonté)19. Fénelon considère que ces découvertes de saint Denys ne proviennent pas d’une „spéculation philosophique”, mais sont l’effet de la participation du mystique à Dieu. Or, c’est ici que se trouve le point faible du rapport que Fénelon établit entre la mystique de madame de Guyon et la mystique patristique: dans le rapport au corpus dionysien et a la mystique en général. Essayant d’expliquer la transmission de ce qui ressentent les mystiques lors des contemplations, l’évêque de Cambrai introduit une distinction risquée, accréditant l’existence d’une tradition secrète dans le cadre du christianisme:

„Voilà sans doute un état passif et de déification où l’on n’est plus instruit par les hommes. Saint Denys parle du bienheureux Hiérothée comme d’un homme qui surpassait presque tous les hommes dans cette voie ; mais Hiérothée était-il parvenu à cette sublimité par son travail actif ? Non – il avait profité par les instructions des Docteurs, par l’étude des Ecritures, mais de plus il avait puisé beaucoup de chose par inspiration – il y avait atteint, non seulement en apprenant, mais aussi en souffrant les choses divines et par elles » – ibid., pp.223-224. 18 „[Hiérothée] était hors de lui-même, tout s’abandonnant soi-même, tout passif dans l’expérience des choses divines” – ibid., p.226. 19 „Il dit encore ailleurs: nous atteignons à Dieu par la cessation de toutes les opérations de l’entendement puisque nous ne voyons aucune œuvre de Dieu, nulle vie, nulle essence qui soit semblable à cette cause” – ibid., p.228. 17


236 Cristian Moisuc „Il faut observer qu’il y a deux traditions des théologiens, l’une secrète et mystique, l’autre ouverte et publique – l’une symbolique et qui traite les mystères, l’autre philosophique et démonstrative. Ce qui est caché est joint avec ce qui est public et ce qui est public et ce qui est public établit la foi et raffermit la vérité de ce qui est enseigné. Ce qui est caché établit en Dieu par les Mystagogies qui ne peuvent être enseignées”20.

La référence de ce passage est l’Epitre IX de saint Denys, mais la manière dont Fénelon l’interprète est certainement contraire à l’intention de sait Denys21. C’est un prétexte que Bossuet, évêque formé dans l’esprit d’une tradition théologique démonstrative, ne pouvait pas rater dans la controverse. Bossuet répond à Fénelon évitant au début les questions relatives à la grâce et à la contemplation, mais visat directement le point faible de la doctrine de l’évêque de Cambrai, à savoir la prétendue tradition secrète dans le christianisme. Dans la première œuvre-réponse22, La tradition des nouveaux mystiques, Bossuet entreprend un effort de réinterprétation des principaux auteurs invoques par Fénelon (saint Augustin, Clément d’Alexandrie, Denys Aréopagite, Jean Cassien), pour montrer que ceux-ci ne peuvent pas être utilisés comme références par ceux qu’il nomme „les nouveaux mystiques”. L’enjeu de Bossuet est double: d’une part, „dénouer” le lien entre les auteurs invoqués par Fénelon, grâce a une mise en évidence des différences doctrinaires concernant la mystique et la contemplation23; d’autre ibid., p.229. Dans le Gnostique, Fénelon intitule le XVI chapitre La gnose [la connaissance des choses divines] est fondée sur une tradition secrète”. Des commentateurs avises comme Jeanne-Lydie Gorré (Néoplatonisme et quiétisme: Fénelon et l'Aréopagite, RHLF, mai-août, p.596 583-602) reconnaissent ce point faible de l’œuvre fénelonien et essaie de diminuer son impact ; il ne reste pas moins vrai que Fenelon a bien soutenu l’existence de deux traditions dans le cadre du christianisme. 22 La Tradition des nouveaux mystiques, in Œuvres de Bossuet, Evêque de Meaux, revues sur les manuscrits originaux et les éditions les plus complètes, Tome XXVIII, Paris, Imprimerie J.A Lebel, 1817. 23 „Mais au contraire, il paraitra que tous ces auteurs, soit des premiers, soit des derniers siècles, ont des vues très différentes […] de sorte que le contemplatif qu’on 20 21


Le statut de la mystique… 237 part, contester ouvertement l’existence d’une tradition „secrète” dont les mystiques puiseraient leur légitimité. Dès le début, l’accusation d’hérésie est jetée sur la table24; Bossuet, rhéteur habile, sait faire son entrée, avouant à Fénelon une surprise et une horreur bien feintes25. Pour comprendre la position de Bossuet, il faut déterminer ce que l’évêque de Meaux comprend par le mot „tradition”. Dans l’œuvre La tradition des nouveaux mystiques, il définit la tradition comme étant „la doctrine révélée par Dieu aux fidèles, ou de vive voix, ou par écrit”26. S’appuyant sur la définition que saint Augustin donne aux traditions non-écrites27, Bossuet soutient que „l’Eglise n’en connait point que d’universelles […] toutes sont publiques et universelles”28. Or, Bossuet opère avec un certain rapport entre ce qui est caché et ce qui est révélé, privilégiant la dimension argumentative et démonstrative, au détriment de la dimension mystique. Cette manière d’interpréter la tradition peut être mise en rapport avec la pensée ecclésiologique de Bossuet, caractérisée par une hypertrophie de la figure centrale de l’évêque29 (la fonction de l’évêque devenant chez lui

nous donne est un homme tout nouveau, très éloigné de tous les autres et fabrique par les mystiques de nos jours” – ibid., p.4. 24 „Ces traditions secrètes ont été dans l’Eglise une source d’hérésies” – ibid.. p.156. 25 „J’avoue que trouvant pour la première fois de ma vie dans un de vos écrits ces traditions particulières et ce secret de religion pour les chrétiens, je ne pus lire cet endroit sans une secrète horreur, et je sentis que le chapitre ou vous expliquiez avec beaucoup de subtilité et d’insinuation, pouvait être une préparation à des nouvelles doctrines […] Quand après je suis venu à l’examen de vos preuves, combien, hélas! n’ai-je point déploré les hardiesses et les préventions de l’esprit humain, et combien me suis-je senti humilié de voir dans les écrits d’un si habile homme de telles propositions si affirmativement hasardées” – ibid., pp.157-158. 26 La tradition, p.158. 27 „une chose qui est répandue dans l’Eglise entière, sans que l’on connaisse son origine, ne peut venir que des Apôtres” – De baptismo IV 24, 31, in Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 51, p. 259. 28 La tradition, p.159. 29 Voir en ce sens l’excellent article d’Anne Régent-Susini, Dionysisme et gallicanisme : la figure de l'évêque selon Bossuet, in Revue de l’histoire des religions, 3/2009, pp.413-428.


238 Cristian Moisuc une simple fonction d’autorité30 investie avec le pouvoir de transmettre la doctrine31), et par la perte des trois fonctions de la hiérarchie dionysiennes (purification, illumination, divinisation). Ainsi, la hiérarchie dionysienne est privée de sa fonction sotériologique, devenant une simple ligne verticale du pouvoir au sommet duquel siège l’évêque: „Le mystère de l’autorité ecclésiastique est dans la personne, dans le caractère, dans l’autorité des évêques. En effet, Chrétiens, ne voyez vous pas qu’il y a plusieurs prêtres, plusieurs ministres, plusieurs prédicateurs, plusieurs docteurs ; mais il n’y a qu’un seul évêque dans un diocèse et dans une église”,

prêche Bossuet32. Dans l’ouvrage La tradition des nouveaux mystiques, Bossuet consacre un chapitre à saint Denys, qu’il interprète essayant de prouver qu’il n’y a aucune tradition „cachée” dans l’Eglise. La célèbre expression qui décrit la position de Bossuet par rapport à saint Denys („l’habile inconnu”) se trouve dans la section V (l’analyse de l’œuvre de saint Denys occupe les sections IV-VI). Bossuet ne peut pas cacher son irritation à l’encontre de saint Denys, dont il fait un peu élogieux: „Il faut présupposer, premièrement, que cet auteur, qui est tout mystérieux, affecte partout de faire valoir des traditions cachées, qu’il appelle hiérarchiques, sacerdotales, incommunicables au vulgaire et le reste”33. Bossuet affirme d’emblée son principe d’herméneutique biblique (il n’y a pas de tradition secrète dans l’Eglise) et essaie de neutraliser tout passage dionysien qui fait référence à une tradition secrète. Il est ibid., pp.420-421. Voir dans ce sens, Bossuet, Catéchisme du diocèse de Meaux in Œuvres complètes éditées par F. Lachat, 31 vol., Paris, Louis Vivès, 1862-1866, vol. V, p. 69. 32 Bossuet, Oraison funèbre du Père Bourgoing, supérieur de l’Oratoire (1662) in Œuvres complètes éditées par F. Lachat, vol. IV, p. 414. 33 La tradition, p.158. 30 31


Le statut de la mystique… 239 remarquable de voir Bossuet attaquer le célèbre fragment de l’Epitre IX (que Fénelon avait utilisé) pour essayer le désamorcer: „Il faut présupposer, secondement, que sous le nom de tradition, il [saint Denys] entend souvent l’Ecriture, comme par exemple, quand il dit qu’il est constant, par nos traditions sacrée, que Jésus a été consolé et fortifié par un ange”34.

Dans un autre endroit il soutient que les traditions „secrètes”, si elles existent, ne visent pas les fideles: „Ce qu’on appelle caché n’a pas ce nom parce qu’on en fait un mystère aux fideles mêmes, mais parce qu’elle est enveloppée des symboles sacrés; c’est pourquoi elle est appelée symbolique”35.

Selon l’évêque de Meaux, saint Denys ne parle pas d’une tradition „secrète” dans le sens fort du terme, mais fait seulement usage des termes „enveloppés et figurés”36. Pour le prélat, l’équivalence entre „symbolique” et „caché” est incontestable: „Il ne s’agit d’autre chose que de l’explication qu’on fait aux fideles des symboles sous lesquels les grandeurs de Dieu sont enveloppées, et non d’aucun mystère qu’on aurait dessein de leur cacher”37. Ainsi, au nom du principe il n’y a rien de caché pour les fidèles, Bossuet soutient que toute tradition considérée „secrète” n’est que la tradition publique représentée par des symboles. Le symbolique devint donc l’autre nom de la dimension cataphatique et démonstrative de la théologie, et non pas le signe d’une autre réalité. ibid., pp.165-166. ibid., p.167. 36 ibid., p.167. 37 ibid., p.168. 34 35


240 Cristian Moisuc Pareille réduction de la dimension apophatique et symbolique de la théologie en faveur de la dimension démonstrative est singulière chez un prélat catholique comme Bossuet, mais en même temps elle prouve l’incapacité de celui-ci de concevoir la théologie autrement que sous la forme d’un discours rationnel sur Dieu38. Sous cet aspect, Bossuet fait sienne la définition malebranchiste de la théologie comme science sur l’infinité de Dieu expliquée au peuple par les théologiens qui doivent traduire dans un langage „exact” les éléments symboliques. Il est cependant bizarre de voir Bossuet, qui avait auparavant critique Malebranche pour cette interprétation strictement rationnelle de l’Ecriture39, devenir malebranchiste dans cette question cruciale! Tout comme Malebranche, Bossuet soutient que les expressions ambigües qui apparaissent dans l’Ecriture doivent être toute obscurité et mystère. S’il y a quelque chose de caché dans la tradition, cela n’est valable que pour les païens. Bossuet reconnait que dans l’Epitre IX saint Denys parle d’une „science cachée” et des „secrets caches pour les profanes”, mais il soutient que ces termes se réfèrent à ceux qui ne sont pas encore baptisés, et non pas aux fidèles qui participent aux Sacrements, auxquels personne n’a dessein de cacher quoi que ce soit. Par conséquent, ces termes qui signalent l’existence d’une tradition secrète „Il y a aussi quelques endroits dans saint Clément qui regardent la distinction et la subordination des hiérarchies célestes. Saint Denys n’a fait que l’étendre et le relever par des expressions extraordinaires. Il n’y a rien à cacher aux fidèles dans tout cela, ni dans tout ce qu’il dit des anges, ni dans tout ce qu’il dit des noms divins, qui n’est au fond qu’une explication de la théologie qu’on appelle symbolique, ou une perpétuelle démonstration que Dieu est infiniment au dessus de tout ce qu’on peut dire et penser de lui, qui est, à la vérité, une doctrine très haute, mais en même temps très commune parmi les chrétiens” – ibid., pp.172-173. 39 Nous renvoyons à notre article, Cristian Moisuc, Parler exactement de Dieu. L’interprétation rationnelle de l’Ecriture chez Malebranche, in Meta. Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology and Practical Philosophy, nr.1/2011, pp.175-194, plus précisément 183 sq. (disponible en ligne: http://www.metajournal.org/articles_pdf/ 175-194-c-moisuc-meta5-tehno.pdf) 38


Le statut de la mystique… 241 „ne peuvent regarder les fidèles, à qui l’on n’a pas dessein de cacher la perfection de la nature divine, comme on fait aux infidèles qui, faute d’avoir la foi, souvent n’en peuvent supporter la grandeur”40.

Toutefois, il faut observer que Bossuet contredit ouvertement ce que saint Denys affirme dans la Hiérarchie ecclésiastique: „Ces grands prêtres inspirés de Dieu n’ont pas abandonné pour autant ces mystères à l’usage commun du culte saint en usant de formules ouvertement Intelligibles, mais bien à travers des symboles sacrés, car tout le monde n’est pas saint, et, comme dit l’Ecriture, «il n’y a pas en tous la même connaissance (I Co. VIII, 7)»”41.

La transformation de l’illumination et de la purification (come effets de la participation des fideles aux sacrements) dans une simple réception passive des symboles a aussi un impact sur divinisation (comme suprême dessein du fidele). Celle-ci est réduite à un effet quasi-mécanique de l’Eucharistie42, comme si la simple participation (régulière ou occasionnelle) aux sacrements de l’Eglise garantit la divinisation dont parlent les mystiques! La métamorphose de la divinisation en un effet „naturel” des sacrements est, peut-être, la preuve que dans le XVIIe siècle, la mystique dans l’Occident, en dépit d’une tradition respectable qui se réclamait encore de saint Denys, se préparait à de la scène, succombant sous l’interprétation strictement fonctionnelle de la La tradition, p.169. Traité de la hiérarchie ecclésiastique, chap.I, § 4, dans Œuvres complètes de saint Denys l’Aréopagite, traduction Maurice de Gandillac, Paris, Aubier, 1943. Texte disponible en ligne à l’adresse: http://livres-mystiques.com/partieTEXTES/ Lareopagite/Ecclesiastiq.htm#_Toc75170651. 42 „Quant à la déiformité, c’est-a-dire à l’imitation, autant qu’il se peut, de Dieu et de Jésus-Christ, qui est le plus haut état où il élève les fideles, il fait voir partout dans le livre de la Hiérarchie ecclésiastique, qui est tout plein de traditions cachées, comme tous les autres; et néanmoins qui est tout fait pour les fideles, pour montrer que ce n’est pas à eux qu’il se veut cacher” – La tradition, p.173. 40 41


242 Cristian Moisuc hiérarchie dionysienne (que Bossuet réduit à une simple hiérarchie du pouvoir temporel). L’effort d’un prélat subtil comme Fénelon de raccorder la mystique guyonienne (avec ses incontestables erreurs doctrinaires) à l’héritage dionysien marque la limite jusqu’où saint Denys a pu être invoqué et respecté comme autorité théologique. Les exagérations et les erreurs d’interprétation de Fénelon ont permis à Bossuet de rejeter non seulement l’idée d’une tradition mystique secrète (transmise par la pratique monastique et érémitique), mais l’idée même de mystique. Certes, Bossuet reconnait la mystique en tant que réalité spirituelle, mais seulement dans le passé. Il y a chez lui une aversion manifeste pour le resurgissement de la mystique dans le monde du XVIIe siècle. C’est pour cette raison qu’il s’efforce de la réduire la mystique à un procédée de voilement symbolique de l’infinité et la majesté de Dieu. Conformément à cette théorie, il revenait à l’évêque de dévoiler les vérités symboliques au peuple et de les traduire dans un langage accessible. Tout devait être connu par tous, du moment que tous étaient des „fideles”: une parfaite mise-à-plat de la hiérarchie dionysienne, dominée désormais par la figure singulière et anti-mystique de l’évêque.

Bibliographie Aréopagite, saint Denis, Œuvres complètes de saint Denys l’Aréopagite, traduction Maurice de Gandillac, Paris, Aubier, 1943 Boyer, C., « Comment saint Augustin a trouve Dieu », in Essais anciens et nouveaux sur la doctrine de saint Augustin, Milan, Marzorati editore, 1970, pp.137-149 Bossuet, Jaques, La Tradition des nouveaux mystiques, in Œuvres de Bossuet, Evêque de Meaux, revues sur les manuscrits originaux et les éditions les plus complètes, tome XXVIII, Paris, Imprimerie J.A Lebel, 1817


Le statut de la mystique… 243 - Oraison funèbre du Père Bourgoing, supérieur de l’Oratoire (1662), Œuvres, tome IV, p. 414 - Catéchisme du diocèse de Meaux in Œuvres complètes, éditées par F. Lachat, 31 vol., Paris, Louis Vivès, 1862-1866, vol. V, p. 69 Cognet, Louis, Crépuscule des mystiques, Paris, Desclée, 1958 - La Spiritualité moderne. 1 : L’essor (1500-1650) de l’histoire de la spiritualité chrétienne, Paris, 1966 - « Fénelon », in Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, Paris, Beauchesne, t. 5, 1962 - « Guyon », in Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, Paris, Beauchesne, t. 6, 1967 - « La spiritualité de Mme Guyon », in XVIIe siècle, n° 12-14, 1952, pp. 269-275 Fénelon, François, Mémoire sur l’état passif, in Jeanne-Lydie Gorré, La notion d’indifférence chez Fénelon et ses sources, Paris, PUF, 1956 Ferrari, Anne, Bossuet et Fénelon, la lettre qui tue, in Lettres classiques, vol. 59/2006, pp.299-316 Gorré, Jeanne-Lydie, Néoplatonisme et quiétisme, Fénelon et l’Aréopagite, in Revue d’histoire littéraire de la France, 1969, pp.583-602 Gouhier, Henri, Fénelon philosophe, Paris, Vrin, 1977, p.77 Le Brun, J., La Spiritualité de Bossuet, Paris, Klincksieck, 1972 - Œuvres de Fénelon, Paris, Gallimard, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1983; - « Quiétisme », in Dictionnaire de spiritualité, t. 12, 1986 Madec, G. La Patrie et la Voie. Le Christ dans la vie et dans la pensée de saint Augustin, Paris, Desclée, 1989 Moisuc, Cristian, Parler exactement de Dieu. L’interprétation rationnelle de l’Ecriture chez Malebranche, in Meta. Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology and Practical Philosophy, nr.1/2011, pp.175-194, http://www.metajournal.org/articles_pdf/175-194-c-moisuc-meta5-te hno.pdf Orcibal, Jean, Jean Duvergier de Hauranne abbé de Saint-Cyran et son temps, Paris, Vrin, 1947 - « Madame Guyon devant ses juges », in Travaux de littérature et de linguistique. Mélanges offerts à René Pintard, Strasbourg, 1975, p. 409-423 Régent-Susini, Anne, Dionysisme et gallicanisme : la figure de l’évêque selon Bossuet, in Revue de l’histoire des religions, 3/2009, pp.413-428 Simon, Monika, Fénelon platonicien ? Etude historique, philosophique et litteraire, Litteratur Verlag, Munster, 2005 Terestschenko, Michel, La querelle sur l’amour pur au XVIIe entre Fénelon et Bossuet, La Découverte, Revue de Mauss, tome 2, nr. 34/2008, pp.173-184 Varillon, Francois, Fénelon et l’amour pur, Paris, Seuil, 1957


244 Nicolae Turcan

PHENOMENOLOGY AND APOPHATIC THEOLOGY: THE RECEPTION OF ST DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE IN JEAN-LUC MARION’S THOUGHT

Nicolae Turcan

J

ean-Luc Marion’s phenomenology and theology are influenced decisively by St Dionysius the Areopagite’s thought, to which Marion has a „fundamental attraction.”1 On the one hand, Marion comments on the work of Dionysius, remaining in agreement with Orthodox hermeneutics; on the other hand, he quotes him for apologetical purposes in contemporary philosophical contexts. The Dionysian influence is visible in many themes tackled by the French phenomenologist: the visible and the invisible, the concept of „distance,” the „hymnic” discourse2, the notions of icon and idol, the reflection of God’s glory in the immanent world, the esthetics of theology with its concordance between the beauty of the world and the beauty of God, the logic and the language of the gift, the divine

Tamsin Jones, A Genealogy of Marion's Philosophy of Religion: Apparent Darkness, Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011), 98. 2 Acording some scholars, the “hymnic” discourse is not influenced by Dionysius, but by Gregory of Nyssa. See ibid., 14, 36. 1


Phenomenology and Apophatic Theology… 245 incomprehensibility, the relationship between the divine Giver and the receivers3, the saturated phenomenon, and „God without being.”4 Trying to propose a postmetaphysical thought, and thus, an answer to Heidegger’s accusation that the Western tradition of metaphysics is, in fact, a form of onto-theology, Marion uses the apophatic theology of Dionysius to various extents.5 He prefers Dionysius to Thomas Aquinas6 and uses Dionysius „rhetorically and polemically” to argue that the names of „cause” and „Being” cannot be attributed to God without a paradoxical distance;7 he uses Dionysius against Heidegger, as we have mentioned, providing an answer to Heidegger’s critique of metaphysics; he defends Dionysius against Derrida’s attack regarding apophatic theology; in other words, Marion resorts to Dionysius whenever he is dealing with the onto-theological tradition of Western metaphysics, using him as an authoritative argument for theo-logy against theo-logy and to defend a God that is beyond Being or „without Being.”8 In the following pages, we will focus on Marion’s understanding of the apophatic theology of Dionysius as it results from Marion’s debate with Jacques Derrida. We will also try to show that Marion’s Ibid., 99. I have written about some of these topics in two previous texts. See Nicolae Turcan, „Postmetaphysical Philosophy and Apophatic Theology. From Jean-Luc Marion to the Paradoxical Status of Thought in Vladimir Lossky’s Theology”, Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai, Theologia Orthodoxa 58, no. 2 (2013); „Sf. Dionisie Areopagitul în contextul filosofiei postmetafizice,” Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai. Theologia Orthodoxa LV (2010). 5 See Christina M. Gschwandtner, Reading Jean-Luc Marion. Exceeding Metaphysics, Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2007), 3-5 sqq. 6 Vezi Robyn Horner, Jean-Luc Marion: a theo-logical introduction (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Pub. Co, 2005), 10. Marion was criticised by Tony Kelly and others for not understanding that being is a non-reductive concept in St Thomas thought (apud ibid., 98). Marion has corrected his attitude towards St Thomas in a new text. See Jean-Luc Marion, „Saint Thomas d'Aquin et l'onto-théologie,” Revue thomiste, no. 1 (1995). 7 Jones, A Genealogy of Marion's Philosophy of Religion, 29. 8 Jean-Luc Marion, Dieu sans l'être, 2ème éd. ed. (Paris: Quadrige/Presse Universitaire de France, 1991), 10-11. 3

4


246 Nicolae Turcan hermeneutics remains loyal to the Orthodox understanding of apophaticism. Interpreted as a saturated phenomenon, apophaticism becomes problematic for the passivity of the subject in Marion’s radical phenomenology. This is why we will also try to answer the following question: is there a gifted (adonné), or does the metaphysical subject remain active, undermining Marion’s intentions? Our answer will be that, in the case of apophatic experience, there is a paradoxical situation—the subject and the gifted are present together without a decrease in saturation.

Marion, a Reader of Dionysius’ Apophatic Theology. An Answer to Jacques Derrida Derrida claimed that, by continuing to affirm something about God through negations, negative theology remains the prisoner of the „metaphysics of presence,” so it could be deconstructed. Marion split this accusation into four objections: (1) negative theology is a form of Christian philosophy, a form of Greek onto-theology; (2) negative theology acts within the horizon of Being; (3) negative theology ultimately restores a quasi-affirmation, returning to the affirmations it denied initially, thus, its approach became hyperbolic, but still predicative; (4) albeit Marion answers this objection with the argument that mystical theology exceeds affirmative and negative predication to reach a form of non-predicative discourse, namely prayer (hymnein), the fourth objection insists that, in this case, there is a disguised predication, because „one always praises with the title… or insofar as… thus by naming.”9 For Derrida, this is the opposite of simple prayer (euchē).10 The violence of these objections raises the following question: In the spirit of Revelation, is Christian theology 9 Jean-Luc Marion, In Excess: Studies of Saturated Phenomena, trans. Robyn Horner and Vincent Berraud (New York: Fordham University Press, 2002), 134. 10 All these objections can be found in ibid., 133-34.


Phenomenology and Apophatic Theology… 247 free from the metaphysical conditions of possibility and from the metaphysics of presence—or does it comply with deconstruction?11 Objection 3. Marion will reject these objections in the following order: 3, 4, 2, and 1. For the third objection, which claims that negative theology expresses only two ways, the affirmative and the negative one, Marion interprets that—without isolating the theology of affirmations from the one of negations—St Dionysius proposes a third way, which is beyond both of them. Even if affirmations and negations do not contradict each other, as Dionysius claims12, the third way goes beyond both. In Marion’s view, Thomas Aquinas and Nicolas of Cusa also observed this tripartition.13 We can state, therefore, that this attitude is shared by the theological tradition of the first Christian millennium.14 It is well known that, for Dionysius, cataphatic and apophatic theology are interconnected through the language of the Bible and of philosophy. The Dionysian hermeneutics of the Scripture reveal that Dionysius’ God is the same as the God of the Revelation.15 It is important to say that the third way overcomes the binary logic of metaphysics; it overcomes both affirmations and negations, not only the true, but also the false, transgressing the values of truth of the metaphysical logic and refusing to dissimulate the affirmation underneath a negation. For Marion, Dionysius places affirmations and negations in an „unambiguous hierarchy,” wherein, firstly, negation is superior to affirmation and, secondly, negation itself is transgressed

Ibid., 134. ς αποφάσεις αντικειμένας ε ναι ταις καταφάσεσιν”. S. Dionisii Areopagitae, „De mystica theologia,” in Patrologia Graeca, ed. J.-P. Migne, I, 2, 540 b. 13 Marion, In Excess, 136. 14 Cf. Claudio Moreschini, Istoria filosofiei patristice, trans. Alexandra Cheșcu, Mihai-Silviu Chirilă, and Doina Cernica (Iași: Polirom, 2009), 683. The tripartition is also common to orthodox neopatristic theology, e.g. Vladimir Lossky, Dumitru Stăniloae, Christos Yannaras, Andrew Louth and others. 15 See Kevin Hart, The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology and Philosophy (New York: Fordham University Press, 2000), xxii-xxiii. 11

12


248 Nicolae Turcan and submits itself to the final spiritual ascent.16 Marion observes how the Dionysian negations in Mystical Theology17 do not conceal any superior restored affirmation. After the negations, Dionysius proposes a knowledge „with no idea”18, in which apophasis is not of an intellectual essence anymore.19 More than that, God’s name, which seems to remain after negations in the Dionysian text, aitia—translated by Marion as „The Requested” [Requisit20]—is not a proper name anymore, because it escapes the predicative function of the language and becomes a simple „de-nomination” whose role is strictly pragmatic. The ambiguity of the French verb „to name” (dénommer) implies both affirmation and negation, thus affirming negatively. Therefore, the de-nomination is not a nomination, as it does not give names, nor does it say someone’s name as if it were his proper name; it only indicates, pragmatically, in order to call someone, and, in the case of God, to worship Him and to pray to Him.21 Marion also warns that aitia is not a simple demotion to affirmation after the most radical negations have been told. Here, we find exactly the de-nomination that overcomes affirmation: „The αἰτία in no way names God; it de-nominates by suggesting the strictly pragmatic function of language—namely, to refer names and their speaker to the unattainable yet inescapable interlocutor beyond every name and every denegation of names. With αἰτία, speech does not say any more than it Marion, In Excess, 137-38. See Dionisii Areopagitae, „De mystica theologia,” V, 572 a-b. 18 Jean-Luc Marion, Idolul și distanța, ed. Daniela Pălășan, trans. Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet, control științific de Cristian Ciocan ed. (București: Humanitas, 2007), 213. 19 See also Dan Chițoiu, Repere in filosofia bizantina (Iași: Ed. Fundației Axis, 2003), 101. 20 See Marion, Idolul și distanța, 228-31. This translation based on a scholium of St Maximus the Confessor is criticized by some exegetes and is regarded as abnormal. See Jones, A Genealogy of Marion's Philosophy of Religion, 22, 79-80, 99-100. 21 Marion, In Excess, 139. 16 17


Phenomenology and Apophatic Theology… 249 denies—it acts by transporting itself in the direction of the One whom it de-nominates.”22

Consequently, there is no suspect return to the affirmation after the negations, as Derrida claimed: „Denys always thinks negation exactly as he thinks affirmation—as one of the two value truths can have, one of the two forms of predication that it is precisely a matter of transgressing completely, as the discourse of metaphysics. With the third way, not only is it no longer a matter of saying (or denying) something about something, it is also no longer a matter of saying or unsaying, but of referring to the One who is no longer touched by nomination, a matter no longer of saying the referent, but of pragmatically referring the speaker to the inaccessible Referent. It is solely a matter of de-nominating.”23

Thus, the third objection is denied and apophatic theology proves to be different from „negative theology,” a phrase that Marion had intended to overcome at the beginning of his text, alongside with that of „metaphysics of presence.”24 Objection 4. The fourth objection stated that hymnic discourse (hymnein) should also be suspected as a predicative discourse, because it actually names, while a simple prayer (euchē) needs neither affirm nor negate the name. Marion provides his answer in two steps, according to the two parts of the objection. First, he argues that the proper name does not designate the essence even for people, let alone for the divine. God’s name „does not name God properly or essentially, nor does it name Him in presence,” but „it marks God’s absence, anonymity, and withdrawal.”25 Second, Marion holds that prayer cannot be made without a name, even if this name is an improper one, Ibid., 140. Ibid., 142. 24 Ibid., 128-30. 25 Ibid., 143. 22 23


250 Nicolae Turcan because prayer, hymnic discourse, and sacrifices must be addressed to someone. The marks of comparison used to name God (as, inasmuch as) show that His name is improper and only the reference to Him is significant in this case. Hence â&#x20AC;&#x17E;prayer definitively marks the transgression of the predicative, nominative, and therefore metaphysical sense of language.â&#x20AC;?26 Consequently, the fourth objection is denied because the apophatic language is not a predicative, but a pragmatic one.27 Objection 2. The second objection claims that mystical theology remains within the horizon of being, and thus it is reduced to onto-theology and metaphysics. Marion does not consider that the call of being, when speaking of God, is automatically onto-theology. The conditions for this failure should be: the existence of a concept of being, univocally applied both to God and creation; the necessity that both creation and the Creator be founded either on principles or on causes. Whenever these conditions are not met and the being remains inconceivable, there is no onto-theology.28 Furthermore, for Dionysius, the proper name of God is neither the name of being, nor the name of beings, because the being (to on) is constantly overcome by the good (to agathon). The good is superior to the being and to the One (so high for Neoplatonists), but even goodness cannot designate the One who is beyond all things. The third way cannot predicate anything about being or about goodness, because it overcomes them. If it did predicate something, it would become self-contradictory.29 Not even good can name God properly, for

Ibid., 145. See also Horner, Jean-Luc Marion: a theo-logical introduction. 28 Marion, In Excess, 145. 29 Ibid., 147. 26 27


Phenomenology and Apophatic Theology… 251 „With praise, it is no doubt no longer a matter of saying but of hearing, since according to the conventional etymology that Denys takes from Plato, bountiful beauty bids—καλλὸς καλλεῖ [kallos kalei].”

Objection 1. The first objection claims that negative theology is a form of Christian philosophy, which is marked by the Greek onto-theology. To deny this, Marion resorts to knowing by unknowing, whereof both Dionysius and a long-standing theological tradition speak. „It is not much to say that God remains God even if one is ignorant of God’s essence, concept, and presence—God remains God only on condition that this ignorance be established and admitted definitively. Every thing in the world gains by being known—but God, who is not of the world, gains by not being known conceptually. The idolatry of the concept is the same as that of the gaze: imagining oneself to have attained and to be capable of maintaining God under our gaze, like a thing of the world. And the Revelation of God consists first of all in cleaning the slate of this illusion and its blasphemy.”30

Besides, the insistence on God’s unknowability is found in all patristic tradition and Marion uses this argument citing Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Philo (the Jew), Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, John of Damascus, Augustine, Bernard, and Thomas Aquinas anthologically. Indeed, he affirms that it is the heretics who want to reduce God to the level of Greek onto-theology, not the theologians of the Church: Acacius who claims that divine essence is unbegotten, or Eunomius who believes the name of God expresses the essence itself.31 So,

30 31

Ibid., 150. Ibid.


252 Nicolae Turcan „De-nomination, therefore, does not end up in a ‘metaphysics of presence’ that does not call itself as such. Rather, it ends up as a pragmatic theology of absence—where the name is given as having no name, as not giving the essence, and as having nothing but this absence to make manifest.”32

Finally, Marion argues that the Greek Fathers sought precisely to free the concepts of Christian theology from the horizon of Greek metaphysics. Marion claims that there is „No ground, no essence, no presence,” thus rejecting Derrida’s first objection.33 The conclusions to Derrida’s objections cohere around this „pragmatic theology of absence”, whereby one understands „not the nonpresence of God but the fact that the name that God is given, the name that gives God, which is given as God (each of these going hand-in-hand, without being confused), serves to shield God from presence— weakness designating God at least as well as strength—and to give God precisely as making an exception to it.”34

In other words, instead of accepting that we are those who give God His name, we must understand that it is us who receive our names, according to the sacrament of Baptism, when „far from our attributing to God a name that is intelligible to us, we enter into God’s unpronounceable Name, with the additional result that we receive our own.”

In what concerns mystical theology, it „no longer has its as goal to find a name for God but rather to make us receive our own from the unsayable Name”.

Ibid., 155. Ibid., 156. 34 Ibid. 32 33


Phenomenology and Apophatic Theology… 253 Here, we can notice a passage from the theoretical function of language to the pragmatic function that we can see, for example, in liturgical service.35 In this way, the concept of „absence” of apophatic theology is opposed to the Derridean metaphysics of presence. Marion’s hermeneutics on St Dionysius the Areopagite proves that apophatic theology is not onto-theology, does not act in the metaphysical horizon of being, is a third way, beyond affirmations and negations, and praise is not a disguised predication, but has a pragmatic function wherein calling and listening are implied. In fact „The Name—it has to be dwelt in without saying it, but by letting it say, name, and call us. The Name is not said by us; it is the Name that calls us. And nothing terrifies us more than this call…”36.

The answer of man should follow a different way than the words of predication. The Saturated Phenomenon and The Hermeneutical Problem of the Gifted (l’Adonné) The refutation of Derrida’s argument ends with the call of the saturated phenomenon—a good descriptor of apophatic theology.37 This is a key concept in Marion’s phenomenology. It delineates a phenomenon, which overcomes the limits imposed by mathematical clarity (Descartes), by a priori categories of intellect (Kant), and by the constraints of Husserl’s phenomenology.38 Husserl speaks about Ibid., 157. Ibid., 162. 37 Ibid., 158-62. 38 See Vizibilul și revelatul: teologie, metafizică și fenomenologie, trans. Maria Cornelia Ică jr (Sibiu: Deisis, 2007), 38-39, 171-220. See also John D. Caputo and Michael J. Scanlon, „Introduction: Apology for the Impossible: Religion and Postmodernism,” in God, the Gift, and Postmodernism, ed. John D. Caputo 35

36


254 Nicolae Turcan phenomenon as appearing and what appears, namely, signification and fulfillment, intention and intuition, noesis and noema. Marion analyzes this duality and finds three possibilities: (1) an adequation between concept and intuition; (2) a situation where the concept exceeds the intuition; (3) the saturated phenomenon, namely, the intuition exceeds the concept.39 This excessive phenomenon can describe religious phenomena (for example, theophanies)40 and the third way of the apophatic theology.41 Such a phenomenon is no longer described convincingly by Kantian categories, for it overcomes quantity, quality, relation, and it transgresses modality; its donation has a distinctive form of visibility; it shows itself dazzlingly. Here, the discourse addresses the invisibility and this is an influence of Dionysius the Areopagite on Marion’s thought.42 At this point, the problem concerns the hermeneutics of the receiver of the saturated phenomenon and, by extension, of askesis. There are a lot of questions: If Marion claims that the subject has no role in the constitution of the saturated phenomenon, because this is dazzling, how can one make the difference between divine and non-divine saturation, between excess and limits?43 What is the role of hermeneutics in this extreme point of saturation?44 In case the subject refuses saturation, does not the passive gifted (l’adonné) revert to the modern subject, active and with a hermeneutical horizon?45 In other words, does not Marion become obscure46 when he is in such a and Michael J. Scanlon (Bloomington – Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999), 7. 39 See Marion, In Excess, 159. 40 See Vizibilul și revelatul, 87. 41 In Excess, 159. 42 See Vizibilul și revelatul, 114. 43 See Richard Kearney, The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), 33. 44 See Debates in Continental Philosophy: Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers, Perspectives in Continental Philosophies (New York: Fordham University Press, 2004), 15. 45 Jones, A Genealogy of Marion's Philosophy of Religion, 114, 16. 46 This is the term used by ibid., 135.


Phenomenology and Apophatic Theology… 255 paradox (if he accepts the ‘I’ as a sole condition of possibility for phenomenological reduction, the reduction itself dismisses all conditions of possibility)?47 More critics formulated these objections in various forms.48 Marion claims that l’adonné comes after the modern subject; this is a passive receiver with no conditions of possibility, mainly no modern transcendentalism. This vision led to a very important question: Does the saturated phenomenon imply the existence of a type of hermeneutics or does the gifted (l’adonné) reject every type of hermeneutics?49 Marion answers these questions by claiming that there is indeed a derivative hermeneutics after the receiving of a saturated phenomenon, but this is an infinite one.50 This discussion is very relevant for theology because a paradox remains: on the one hand, if the saturated phenomenon has no hermeneutical and ascetic conditions of possibility, the apophatic theology becomes nihilism or a sort of mystical experience that is not a Christian one and this was not the intention of Dionysius; on the other hand, if faith is a condition of possibility for apophaticism, the saturated phenomenon really has conditions of possibility. Therefore, Marion’s l’adonné is deficient in ascetics and ethics. The solution we propose here for all these problems is a theological one. First, we have to make a distinction between a Kantian transcendentalism and any other historical, hermeneutical, and ascetic conditions of possibility. Marion rejects any a priori for the saturated phenomenon, so the intuition of the phenomenon will exceed the concept of the mind. But Christian askesis and Church Tradition are a This is the Kevin Hart’s argument. See ibid., 134). For example, Jean Grondin, Jean Greisch, Kevin Hart, Richard Kearney, Joeri Schrijvers and Tamsin Jones. 49 Kearney, Debates in Continental Philosophy: Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers, 15. 50 See Jean-Luc Marion, Givenness & Hermeneutics, trans. Jean Pierre Lafouge (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Marquette University Press, 2013); Jones, A Genealogy of Marion's Philosophy of Religion, 117. 47

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256 Nicolae Turcan posteriori conditions, a kind of gained „transcendentalism.” These conditions can be both saturated phenomena (see paradoxical dogmata, icons, conversions etc.) and hermeneutics for the saturated phenomena. If we add to them the askesis, liturgy, morality, and so on, we can see that the saturation remains a magnificent one. We can conclude that Marion understands Dionysius’ apophaticism in the same way Eastern Church Tradition does. The difference is indicated by the role that the preparation of l’adonné has in receiving the gift. Ultimately, if one accepts the active role of the subject, one is no longer a modern subject, but a liturgical person: he knows he does not deserve the gift of apophatic encounter, although he tries to become worthy of it; he knows that everything he has is a gift, so he has nothing by himself; he is aware that he knows God only by unknowing; he knows that his conditions of possibility are nothing, even he tries hardly to meet them; he knows that every saturated phenomenon is a gift of divine grace. Consequently, Marion’s l’adonné can be paradoxically understood as being gifted and having an active role as well: on the one hand, no modern a priori jeopardizes it; however, man has received the „conditions of possibility” through God’s grace, also received sometimes as saturated phenomena. The apophatic richness is so vast that it cannot be diminished by any active receiver, whose activity—compared to the amplitude of donation— remains absolutely insignificant.

Bibliography Caputo, John D., and Michael J. Scanlon. “Introduction: Apology for the Impossible: Religion and Postmodernism.” In God, the Gift, and Postmodernism, edited by John D. Caputo and Michael J. Scanlon, 1-19. Bloomington – Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999 Chiţoiu, Dan. Repere in filosofia bizantina [in Romanian]. Iaşi: Ed. Fundaţiei Axis, 2003 Dionisii Areopagitae, S. De mystica theologia. In Patrologia Graeca, vol. 3, edited by J.-P. Migne


Phenomenology and Apophatic Theology… 257 Gschwandtner, Christina M. Reading Jean-Luc Marion. Exceeding Metaphysics. Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2007 Hart, Kevin. The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology and Philosophy. New York: Fordham University Press, 2000 Horner, Robyn. Jean-Luc Marion: a theo-logical introduction. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Pub. Co, 2005 Jones, Tamsin. A Genealogy of Marion’s Philosophy of Religion: Apparent Darkness. Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011 Kearney, Richard. Debates in Continental Philosophy: Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers. Perspectives in Continental Philosophies. New York: Fordham University Press, 2004 ———. The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001 Marion, Jean-Luc. Dieu sans l’être [in French]. 2ème éd. ed. Paris: Quadrige/Presse Universitaire de France, 1991. me Fayard, Paris, 1982 ———. Givenness & Hermeneutics. Translated by Jean Pierre Lafouge. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Marquette University Press, 2013 ———. Idolul şi distanţa [in Romanian]. Translated by Tinca Prunea-Bretonnet. edited by Daniela Pălăşan. Scientific control by Cristian Ciocan. Bucureşti: Humanitas, 2007 ———. In Excess: Studies of Saturated Phenomena. Translated by Robyn Horner and Vincent Berraud. New York: Fordham University Press, 2002 ———. „Saint Thomas d’Aquin et l’onto-théologie.” Revue thomiste, no. 1 (January-March 1995) ———. Vizibilul şi revelatul: teologie, metafizică şi fenomenologie [in Romanian]. Translated by Maria Cornelia Ică jr. Sibiu: Deisis, 2007 Moreschini, Claudio. Istoria filosofiei patristice [in Romanian]. Translated by Alexandra Cheşcu, Mihai-Silviu Chirilă and Doina Cernica. Iaşi: Polirom, 2009 Turcan, Nicolae. „Postmetaphysical Philosophy and Apophatic Theology. From Jean-Luc Marion to the Paradoxical Status of Thought in Vladimir Lossky’s Theology.” Studia Universitatis Babeş-Bolyai, Theologia Orthodoxa 58, no. 2 (2013): 215-26 ———. „Sf. Dionisie Areopagitul în contextul filosofiei postmetafizice” [in Romanian]. Studia Universitatis Babeş-Bolyai. Theologia Orthodoxa LV (2010 2010): 179-94


Contributors 258

CONTRIBUTORS

Cardinal Kurt KOCH, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Vatican City Ioan-Aurel POP, Rector of Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania Msg. Florentin CRIHĂLMEANU, Bishop of the Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Cluj-Gherla, Romania Cristian BARTA, Dean of the Greek-Catholic Faculty, University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania John RIST, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto, Canada Sever Juan VOICU, Augustinianum, Vatican City Florin CRÎŞMĂREANU, University of Iaşi, Romania Lucian DÎNCĂ, Augustinian of the Assumption, Bucharest, Romania Gheorghe DRĂGULIN, Alba-Iulia, Romania

Professor

Emeritus,

University

Florin-Cătălin GHIŢ, University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania Claudiu MESAROŞ, University of Timişoara, Romania Cristian MOISUC, University of Iaşi, Romania Petru MOLODEŢ-JITEA, University of Bucharest, Romania Nicoleta NEGRARU, University of Bucharest, Romania Tereza-Brânduşa PALADE, University of Bucharest, Romania

of


Contributors 259 Marius PORTARU, University of Bucharest, Romania Isabela STOIAN, University of Bucharest, Romania Alin TAT, University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania Nicolae TURCAN, University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania Claudiu TUลขU, University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania

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Saint Dionysius the Areopagite - sources, context, reception - 2018  

Saint Dionysius the Areopagite - sources, context, reception - 2018

Saint Dionysius the Areopagite - sources, context, reception - 2018  

Saint Dionysius the Areopagite - sources, context, reception - 2018

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