The Neoplatonic Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite

Eric D. Perl, New York: Suny Press, 2008


The work of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite stands at a cusp in the history of thought: it is at once Hellenic and Christian, classical and medieval, philosophical and theological. Unlike the predominantly theological or text-historical studies which constitute much of the scholarly literature on Dionysius, Theophany is completely philosophical in nature, placing Dionysius within the tradition of ancient Greek philosophy and emphasizing, in a positive light, his continuity with the non-Christian Neoplatonism of Plotinus and Proclus. Eric D. Perl offers clear expositions of the reasoning that underlies Neoplatonic philosophy and explains the argumentation that leads to and supports Neoplatonic doctrines. He includes extensive accounts of fundamental ideas in Plotinus and Proclus, as well as Dionysius himself, and provides an excellent philosophical defense of Neoplatonism in general.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Note on Translations
1. Beyond Being and Intelligibility
2. Being as Theophany
3. Goodness, Beauty, and Love
4. The Problem of Evil
5. The Hierarchy of Being
6. The Continuum of Cognition
7. Symbolism


Centre Léon Robin


Structures ontologiques et cognitives


27 Janvier, 14h30-18h30 Centre Léon Robin, Sorbonne, esc. E, IIe étage (à gauche)
FRANCESCO FRONTEROTTA (Univ. Roma 1 La Sapienza) : Un, deux, trois ? Combien de principes dans le Timée
ANCA VASILIU (Centre Léon Robin, CNRS / Sorbonne Univ.) : La triade ontologique du Sophiste

17 Février, 14h30-18h30 Centre Léon Robin, Sorbonne, esc. E, IIe étage (à gauche)
LAURENT LAVAUD (ENS Lyon) : Proclus, la fonction de la triade imparticipable / participé / participant dans les Éléments de Théologie
ALAIN LERNOULD (CNRS / Univ. de Lille) : Triades dans les Éléments de théologie (titre à préciser)

17 Mars, 14h30-18h30 Via Zoom
ADRIEN LECERF (Univ. Roma 2 Tor Vergata) : Un argument jamblichéen dans un dialogue polémique entre païens et chrétiens.
MAURICIO MARSOLA (Centre Léon Robin / Univ. de Salerne) : Les troix types d’Homme chez Plotin. L éxegèse platonicienne anti-gnostique.

7 Avril, 14h30-18h30 Centre Léon Robin, Sorbonne, esc. E, IIe étage (à gauche)
MARILENA VLAD (Centre d’études Sud-est européennes, Bucarest) : Trois sens de la triade : Proclus et Denys
MICHELE ABBATE (Univ. de Salerne) : The notion of triás in Proclus and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite: a comparison

19 Mai, 14h30-18h30 Maison de la recherche de la Sorbonne, 28 rue Serpente, salle D116
ARNAUD PERROT (Univ. de Tours) : La Trinité en prédication chez Basile de Césarée

ALESSANDRO VALSECCHI (Sorbonne Univ.) : Trinités non-augustiniennes chez Jean Scot Erigène

9 Juin, 14h00-19h00 Maison de la recherche de la Sorbonne, 28 rue Serpente, salle D116
FILIP KARFIK (Univ. de Fribourg) : Plotin et la triade de la Lettre II, 312e de Platon
MARIE-ODILE BOULNOIS (EPHE, Paris) : Trinité chrétienne et triades des philosophes chez Cyrille d’Alexandrie
LENKA KARFIKOVA (Univ. Charles de Prague) : La trinité en Dieu, la trinité dans l’âme : Augustin, De Trinitate


Centre Léon Robin (CNRS, UMR 8061), Sorbonne Université 1, Rue Victor Cousin

F-75230 Paris cedex 05

(Texte des organisateurs)


Eros in Neoplatonism and its Reception

in Christian Philosophy. 

Exploring Love in Plotinus, Proclus and Dionysius the Areopagite

Dimitrios A. Vasilakis, London, Bloomsbury, 2020, 232 p.


A detailed analysis of the fundamental texts on Love (eros) by three key Neoplatonic thinkers, as well as a systematic comparison of them. Showing the ontological importance of eros within the philosophical systems inspired by Plato, Dimitrios A. Vasilakis examines the notion of eros in key texts of the Neoplatonic philosophers, Plotinus, Proclus, and the Church Father, Dionysius the Areopagite. Outlining the divergences and convergences between the three brings forward the core idea of love as deficiency in Plotinus and charts how this is transformed into plenitude in Proclus and Dionysius. Does Proclus diverge from Plotinus in his hierarchical scheme of eros? Is the Dionysian hierarchy to be identified with Proclus’ classification of love? By analysing the Enneads, III.5, the Commentary on the First Alcibiades and the Divine Names side by side, Vasilakis uses a wealth of modern scholarship, including contemporary Greek literature to explore these questions, tracing a clear historical line between the three seminal late antique thinkers.

(Text from the publisher) 

Table of contents

Abstract and Key-words

Chapter 1 Plotinus and Enneads III.5.[50]: “On Love”
1.1. The ontological status of Soul’s Eros
1.2. Potential objections and answers
1.3. Nous and Eros
1.4. Conclusions

Chapter 2 Proclus on the First Alcibiades
2.1. Providential and Reversive eros: Proclus versus Plotinus?
2.2. Locating Eros in the intelligible hierarchy

Chapter 3 Dionysius and the Divine Names
3.1. Divine Eros and its function
3.2. From Christian agape to the Christification of Eros