Monday, January 31, 2011

notes/layout for Dionysius bit

Why are angels a "problem" for Dionysius?
they translate the emanations from an ineffable Godhead
and illuminate man who does not have capacity to receive.
passivity of Dionysian interaction with angels no different in Pico?

when Pico describes the life of angels as a contemplative one he doesn't
explain much because he's taking for granted Dionysian notions (blanks get filled by angel magic interpretations)
angelic theoria - contemplation of angels is better than humans b/c not discursive, but worse than God still needs ritual--angels do theurgy on each other
angelic illumination points to passivity of things illuminated, but doing the illuminating makes angels godlike

Dionysius did not lift Neoplatonic angelology unaltered, but adapts Neoplatonic principles to his new and original view.
Dionysian hierarchy is not the same hierarchy
theurgy language an inspiration for the way angels do providential and anagogical work, but Christology changes the angel hierarchy considerably
Dionysius' system is not a thin veneer of Christianity pasted onto Neoplatonism, but a reworking. Pico's interest in Neoplatonism can be compared--he's not trying to import, but to transform and Christianize like Dionysius did.

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