restricted access “Through a Glass, Darkly”: Evidence for Knowledge of Pseudo-Dionysius in Anglo-Saxon England
Abstract

abstract:

Despite his importance to later English medieval spirituality, the possibility of Pseudo-Dionysius’s influence in Anglo-Saxon England remains unresolved, having been merely subjected to brief speculation. This article quantifies Pseudo-Dionysius’s potential influence by tracing all evidence for Anglo-Saxon contact with the Corpus Areopagitum. Using Stock’s model of “textual communities,” it reviews the study of Pseudo-Dionysius at Rome and the Carolingian court and discusses the level of intellectual exchange between Anglo-Saxon England and these Continental centers, with particular focus on Israel the Grammarian. It then discusses the unacknowledged presence of Pseudo-Dionysius’s thought in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and analyzes Hilduin’s exposition of his theology in Passio Sancti Dionysii. It concludes that Pseudo-Dionysius was an influence on Anglo-Saxon thought. Beyond signaling the need for his influence on Anglo-Saxon spirituality and texts to be reconsidered, this article’s suggestion of Pseudo-Dionysius’s preconquest influence has implications for the accepted history of English medieval spirituality.


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