THE “HAZY OUTLINE” OF DISSIMILAR IMAGES: THE SYMBOLIC WORLD OF CORPUS AREOPAGITICUM

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Transliteration of original Title: 
«Tuskloe steklo» nepodobnykh obrazov: simvolicheskiy mir Areopagidik
Author(s): 
Nataliya Nikolaeva
Kazan Federal University
Issue number: 
No. 2 (Vol. 48)
Pages: 
193-208
Abstract: 

The symbolic world of Corpus Areopagiticum is  considered here from the prospect of the dichotomy in similar and dissimilar similarity (the images). The dissimilar images are divided into decent, average and the distant ones. The similar and dissimilar images of Areopagite describe the world system by cataphatic and apophatic approach. The apophatic one seems to be noticeably more important for the author, as in denial (what God is not) or as in applying of unworthy predicates concerning him, his fundamental transcendence and unknowability become more expressive. Similar and dissimilar images are both the divine names from the New Testament and the Old Testament respectively. They allow the agent of cognition get closer to the understanding of the universe structure. The divine names correspond to the so-called universal concepts which are considered in the works of contemporary linguistic conceptualistics. Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic characters of the Scripture belong to the dissimilar images, such as parts of the human body, wild animals etc. The most distant dissimilar images should be analyzed as the manifestations of the human passions applied to the naming or description of God. This is the most controversial aspect of the dissimilar similarities because of their provocative character for a profane reader. Thomas Aquinas, one of the ardent admirers of the Corpus, has denied it while considering the theory of images (“The Mystical Theology”). The works of Areopagite have become an example of combining the Eastern and Western traditions of argumentation which still remains within the framework of the Christian experience.

Keywords: 
Dionysius the Areopagite, image, symbol, the cognition of God, the apophatic method, technique and art of translation, art of argumentation
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