Hierarchy and Likeness – Ways to Union with God in Pseudo-Dionysius and Aquinas

Andrej Kutarňa

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/BPTh.2020.008


The influence of Pseudo-Dionysius’ apophatic theology, especially of his treatise On the Divine Names, is well documented. My aim is to explore a different theme of his work, of which an echo could possibly be found in later authors including Aquinas. One of the key elements in the oeuvre of the Areopagite is his idea of relationship between the earthly and heavenly, between the celestial and ecclesial – as if one was mirroring the other.

The idea of the Image of God in Man is nothing new; the Fathers have been commenting on Gn 1:26 and developing this theme from the earliest centuries. It could be argued that the Image is not something “static” so to speak but has a dynamic aspect – of procession from the original and return back to the original, of exitus and reditus. This notion of exitus and reditus is very deeply interwoven in the whole of Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae and may allow one of many possible approaches to thinking about Man and his return to God.

In this paper I will try to argue that Dionysius’ notion of hierarchies is very closely connected with Aquinas’ use of the terms imago and similitudo and I will attempt to trace possible influences of Dionysius in this aspect of anthropology of the Angelic Doctor.

Słowa kluczowe

Pseudo-Dionysius; anthropology; hierarchy; union; imago Dei

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ISSN (print) 1689-5150
ISSN (online) 2450-7059

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