Dionysius the Areopagite’s Divine Names and the Meaning of ‘God is Love’


in Eros Unveiled

Published in print April 1996 | ISBN: 9780198267669
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683336 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Dionysius the Areopagite’s Divine Names and the Meaning of ‘God is Love’

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It is nothing new to have much to say about the love of God, but there remains something very different about twentieth-century talk of the love of God that marks it out from both Eastern and Western traditional doctrines. This chapter picks out the characteristic themes that can be illustrated from Process theology and from Jürgen Moltmann (or rather one work of Moltmann, since the chapter shall focus on The Crucified God; this should not be taken to imply that what it says here would apply to his later work). By juxtaposing these with the text from Dionysius the Areopagite, this chapter hopes to clarify the differences and explores why formulations that superficially have some resemblance lead to such different results. Dionysius is particularly concerned with apophatic theology, the way of negation, and the general problem of how it is possible to speak about God. It is in this connection that he embarks upon his discussion of the Divine Names. These names include love, Eros, discussed by Dionysius.

Keywords: love; God; Process theology; Jürgen Moltmann; Dionysius the Areopagite; apophatic theology; negation; Divine Names; Eros

Chapter.  6626 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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