Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

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DCHindley
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Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by DCHindley » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:12 pm

While rooting about for something to connect Secret Mark with Theosophy, I came across something in Mead's theosophically inclined book Quests Old & New (1913).

One chapter is entitled "THE ' BOOK OF THE HIDDEN MYSTERIES BY HIEROTHEOS."
...

Who the writer of the famous treatises on Mystic Theology, on the Divine and Ecclesiastical Hierarchies and on Divine Names, and of the nine Letters, [who took the name Dionysius the Areopagite,] actually was, we shall perhaps never know. For scholars of the history of the evolution of dogma, however, he had a long line of predecessors ; while for himself he emphatically acknowledges his special debt to one of them in his own peculiar way. Thus he proclaims as his master and teacher, next after Paul, a certain Hierotheos, of whom he speaks in the very highest terms as an illuminate. This Hierotheos, he tells us, had written books of the greatest value; indeed he refers to these writings as inspired Logia second only to the scriptures. Of these works he explicitly mentions two by title — namely a collection of ecstatic hymns and a book on the elements of theology, and from the latter he quotes textually. These quoted passages are evidently the product of an independent mind of high attainment and marked individuality. They cannot possibly be dismissed as inventions of the Dionysian writer himself ; he is only too eager to praise them and to draw a marked distinction between them and his own work. The writings of Hierotheos, he says, are ' solid food ' intended for mature minds, that is for the perfect, whereas his own compositions are in a subordinate category; they are milk for babes, instruction for " newly-initiated souls.'' " Therefore," he continues, " do I assign this teacher of perfect and mature intelligences unto those who are above the crowd, as second scriptures (lit. oracles) analogous to those divinely inspired."

This clearly suggests that the writings of Hierotheos were never in general circulation but were kept withdrawn among the ' perfect.' It further suggests that in all probability these writings contained what the general Church would have condemned as heretical. If, as has been supposed, the Dionysiana are the product of a school and not of an individual, that school possessed a body of ' withdrawn ' writings ascribed to Hierotheos from which it drew its chief inspiration.

Who then is this mysterious Hierotheos, the supposed hearer of Paul and the first bishop of Athens, of whom history knows nothing prior to the appearance of the Dionysian documents? Speculation has been rife, but of the few bearers of the name known to us none is in any way suitable. Hierotheos is, like Dionysius, in high probability a pseudonym.

Now of the two Books of Hierotheos referred to by Dionysius no further mention or trace is known in history. There is, however, both mention and trace of another work ascribed to Hierotheos. We know of a Book of Hierotheos which was said by some to have been forged by a certain Stephen Bar Sudaili. This Stephen was a Syrian mystic of Edessa, who flourished at the beginning of the sixth century, when he was bitterly attacked by an orthodox Bishop of Mabug for his heretical opinions, the most obnoxious of which was that of the noneternity of hell; in brief that all, including the very demons themselves, would ultimately be saved. This doctrine of universal salvation was by no means new, we are glad to say, but was in the line of tradition of Origenistic optimism and prior even to Origen himself ; and as a matter of fact Stephen while he lived at Jerusalem was in an Origenistic monastery. Two centuries later on, this same Stephen is said by Kyriakos, Patriarch of Antioch (793-817), to have been ' probably ' the writer of a certain Book of Hierotheos ; while John Bishop of Dara, who was well acquainted with the Dionysian writings, makes the same accusation about the same date, on the ground that the book teaches that there is to be an end to condemnation.

I had, however, no idea that any work claiming to be by Hierotheos [mentioned in the works of Pseudo-Dionysius] was actually in existence, until chance brought into my hands a copy of a monograph of 111 pages, by A. L. Frothingham, Jr., and printed by Brill, of Leyden, in 1886 ;* it is entitled Stephen Bar Budaili and the Book of Hierotheos. Beyond a bibliographical reference in Herzog, I have not been able to discover that any notice has been taken of this instructive study.

The special interest of Mr. Frothingham's essay is that among the Syriac treasures of the British Museum he found the unique MS. of a work ascribed to Hierotheos, together with an extensive commentary upon it by Theodosios, Jacobite (and presumably Monophysite) Patriarch of Antioch (877-896). This Book of Hierotheos seems to have been jealously withheld from circulation, for Theodosios tell us that he and his friend Lazaros, Bishop of Kyros, had experienced the greatest difficulty in procuring a copy. They had searched for it high and low, desiring to take it as their guide, from what they had heard of it. Here, then, we have a high dignitary of the Syrian Church — who though of incomplete orthodoxy, as judged by the general Church, was yet by no means a scandalous heretic — holding the Book of Hierotheos in the highest veneration. Not only so, but three centuries later, Gregory Bar Hebraeus, the Monophysite Patriarch of the thirteenth century, who in his earlier writings had repeated from Kyriakos the accusation that the Book of Hierotheos was a forgery by Stephen Bar Sudaili, is loud in its praise, when later on, and again after great difficulty, he obtained a copy of the Book itself. Curiously enough this very same thirteenth century MS. in the British Museum is the actual copy of the commentary of Theodosios that Gregory used for the purpose of making a compendium or rather a rehash of the Hierothean document, to which he now refers as ' the Book of the illustrious, wise and learned Hierotheos a ' great and wonderful' work, Gregory has evidently entirely abandoned the idea of its being a forgery by Stephen.

Nevertheless, Mr. Frothingham still maintains that it was. He bases his contention mainly on the similarity of some of the ideas in a book of Stephen's (which was bitterly attacked by his contemporary Mar Xenaias, Bishop of Mabūg, in a still extant letter) to some of the ideas in the Book of Hierotheos. It is, however, quite evident from the quotations of the Bishop, who had the book of Bar Sudaili before him, that Stephen's book was not the Book of Hierotheos which is known to us. Moreover, the Bishop characterises Stephen's style as contemptible, while Mr. Frothingham himself admits that the style of the Book of Hierotheos is admirable. Further, if the Book of Hierotheos was a forgery by Stephen we should expect to find him attempting to authenticate it by incorporating the Dionysian quotations, or at least to find his forgery in some way dependent on the writings of Dionysius ; but this is by no means the case. The Book of Hierotheos is the work of an original and independent mind. This even Mr. Frothingham himself has to admit when he writes :

" The intellectual position of the two minds is entirely different : Pseudo-Hierotheos is a simple monk whose thought is entirely distinct from any philosophical system, claiming direct vision, drawing his theories from his own consciousness [he professes to have more than once attained to the highest point of mystic union with the Good] , and expressing them with great naiveté and freshness; it is the divine seer, and not the philosophic genius who speaks. On reading his book we feel it to be the genuine outpouring of a strongly-excited religious imagination, and the work of an original mind, but of no eclectic or imitator."

This, we may note, is precisely the characteristic of the writings of Hierotheos on which Dionysius insists. The above estimate, however, has to be somewhat modified, for no seer can be really independent of his environment or of tradition. As we might expect, we find in the Book of Hierotheos reminiscences of ideas from the schools of Alexandria both Christian and Pagan, echoes of Gnosticism and of Babylonian and Persian conceptions of cosmology and soteriology ; all, however, is " marshalled into a perfectly symmetrical and harmonious whole, in subordination to the ideal peculiar to Hierotheos himself."

Taking everything into consideration, then, we see no reason why this Book may not just as well be one of the Hierothean writings of the ' solid food ' order, referred to by Dionysius, as a later forgery by Stephen Bar Sudaili. This of course leads us to expect in any case that its contents would be heretical; but they need not on that account be any less interesting, at any rate for those who prefer the flight of the mystic to the pedestrian gait of the systematisers, who would reduce all illumination to the dead level of common terms and stereotyped notions.

Though Mr. Frothingham promised us twenty seven years ago a full translation of this interesting document, he has so far, unfortunately, not fulfilled his promise. We have, therefore, to be content with his version of a few only of the more salient passages, and for the rest with a summary which is by no means easy to follow. The work consists of five books, and the whole is entitled ' The Book of the Holy Hierotheos on the Hidden Mysteries of Divinity (lit. of the House of God),' The major part of it-is a veritable epic of, the soul setting, forth the mystical stages of the ascent of the mind or spirit to the Supreme, in a series of ' vivid pictures ' of spiritual combat, of which we will now attempt to indicate the salient features ; though, unfortunately, their vividness has already largely disappeared in Mr. Frothingham's summary.
The drama of a secret book, jealously guarded by the Dionysians, which has a fuller version of the commonly released doctrine that went under the name Dionysius the Aeropagite, seems quite a bit - not exactly but yet rather similarly - what 'Clement of Alexandria' is made to say about Secret Mark in the Letter of Theodore.

I thought this might be of interest to both Andrew Criddle as well as Stephen Huller. Naturally, if M. Smith was creating a hoax, he would find a nice obscure model like this to use as a source of inspiration. To bad Hierotheos doesn't mention naked initiations ... :confusedsmiley:

Stop the presses! Here it is, at chapter end (no pun intended):
...

The writer of the Book of Hierotheos draws a distinction between union with Christ and commingling with the Arch-Good. The latter consummation Mr. Frothingham translates as ' absorption,' though he admits that he has no support for this rendering from the lexicons. Christ is then the name of ' our union ' ; but there is a state that transcends even this ; to it no name can be given. It is, therefore, not very helpful to translate it by ' absorption,' for there is, as we have seen, a new creation; and mystically this renovation is an eternal process.
...
Such are the ' speculations ' of the seer who wrote the Book of Hierotheos. Judged by the standard of Patristic theology they are of course heretical ; they go far beyond any doctrine taught by the orthodox. It is, however, by no means improbable that documents of this nature were known to the writer of the Dionysian tractates, who explicitly admits that he adapted the teachings of Hierotheos to the capacity of newly-initiated souls. This means in plain words that in his own expositions he endeavoured to keep more within the limits of the ordinary and orthodox. In this he succeeded so well that, as we have seen, he has been accepted as orthodox by Latin theology. But the true charm of ' Dionysius ' does not flow from his orthodoxy. That element to which he chiefly owed his charm was to be found more nakedly in the writings of Hierotheos. We might even go further than this and say that, at present, we can see no insurmountable objection to considering ' The Book of the Hidden Mysteries of the House of God ' precisely such a document as allows us a far more extended view into the mind of the more intimate circle of ' Hierotheos,' than does the unsatisfactory glimpse afforded by the few quotations from ' Hierotheos ' in the Dionysian writings for the ' newly-initiated.
DCH

*https://ia802702.us.archive.org/33/item ... argoog.pdf

PS: Stephen, have you been secretly reading Mead? :lol:

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Re: Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by andrewcriddle » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:45 pm

The Book of Hierotheos was translated and published by FS Marsh in 1927. In its present form it is generally regarded as later than pseudo-Dionysius. However the existing manuscripts may be a revised form of an earlier text.

It is still disputed whether the Hierotheos who supposedly taught Dionysius really existed. (Maybe he was really the pagan philosopher Proclus )

There does seem to be a connection between the Mar Saba letter and the type of esotericism associated with Proclus pseudo-Dionysius and the supposed Hierotheos.

Andrew Criddle

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Re: Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by DCHindley » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:53 am

andrewcriddle wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:45 pm
The Book of Hierotheos was translated and published by FS Marsh in 1927. In its present form it is generally regarded as later than pseudo-Dionysius. However the existing manuscripts may be a revised form of an earlier text.

It is still disputed whether the Hierotheos who supposedly taught Dionysius really existed. (Maybe he was really the pagan philosopher Proclus )

There does seem to be a connection between the Mar Saba letter and the type of esotericism associated with Proclus pseudo-Dionysius and the supposed Hierotheos.

Andrew Criddle
I had paged through Frothingham's monograph but only saw a form of heavenly ascent.

As I started the pursuit of a copy of March's edition and translation of The Books of Hierotheos," I stumbled across this:

(Merkur, Dan ) The Mystery of Manna: The Psychedelic Sacrament of the Bible (2000, pp 74-75)
https://books.google.com/books?id=isUMf ... navlinks_s

Merkur does not come across as a "mad" scholar. He uses the Books of Hierotheos as one of several examples of mystical ascents that involved breaks with reality. There is a similarity with Gnostic ascents as the soul unites with the Godhead, and Merkabeh mystical ascents to worship God in the highest heaven. Merkur thinks that at one time this may have been part of Judaism from which Jesus and his movement sprang, but adds:
The major patristic writers were apparently otherwise ignorant of the mystery of manna. Knowledge of the psychedelic sacrament survived, however, in the Syriac Church. The pseudonymous Book of Hierotheos, written possibly in the sixth century, outlines a Syriac Christian mystical practice that was surrounded with some secrecy. Seeking to die and be reborn with Christ, the mystics cultivated visions in which they beheld themselves crucified.4 As I understand the text, the practice outlined in The Book of Hierotheos involved the use of a psychoactive substance in the Eucharist, followed by the ritual enactment of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection as means by which to guide the drug experience through ecstatic death to mystical union.

The fifth-century Syriac mystic who wrote in Greek under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite claimed, as a contemporary and student of Paul’s, to have also had a teacher named Hierotheos.5 Presumably subsequent to the successful circulation of Pseudo-Dionysius’s writings, another Syrian author sought to capitalize on Pseudo-Dionysius’s fame by issuing a book under the name of Hierotheos.6 The author was possibly Stephen bar-Sudhaile (fl. 500-520).7 The translator of the Book of Hierotheos, F. S. Marsh, stated that it seems to have been in constant, if secret, use as a “Mystic’s Guide” for more than thirteen centuries. Its authorship was a subject of discussion at the end of the eighth century; it was accounted worthy of a long commentary by a Jacobite patriarch of Antioch at the end of the ninth century, to find a copy of it was the eager desire of a monk of Mosul in the middle of the thirteenth century . . . and Bar-Hebraeus, who was able after diligent seeking to fulfil the monk’s desire, was himself fascinated by the book . . . and re-issued it in a revised and annotated edition; in spite of the greater popularity of the “abridged” edition of Bar-Hebraeus, new copies of the original were made in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries;... it was still being bought and sold and read by Syriac ecclesiastics in the middle of the nineteenth century.8

Marsh understood the book as a “Story of the Ascent of the Mind” that was based partly on experience, partly on the testimony of other mystics, but largely “on evidence derived, by patient though misdirected study, from the books which he reckoned as ‘divine Scriptures.’”9 In my view, the book is not a story but a manual, and its account of the mind’s ascent pertains to a practice that was both ritual and ecstatic.
But this sounds like the world of John Allegro's (The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (1970), not Morton Smith. However, Smith does make some curious references to "purgations" (preparations for the ascents mentioned in the Books of Hierotheos) and altered states among magicians practiced in the kind of incantations said to have been used by the "Magi." See his Jesus the Magician (1978). This may require further investigation.

Meanwhile, we having a cook-out to celebrate our 4th of July Independence day. :wave:

DCH

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Re: Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by DCHindley » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:15 pm

Now that I read again Smith's Jesus the Magician I am not coming up with anything, so I must have conflated Smith with the views of Allegro in The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross.

The closest thing I find in Smith's book was this:
These [magical] texts are the closest known parallels to the text of the eucharist. In them as in it a magician-god gives his own body and blood to a recipient who, by eating it, will be united with him in love. Next to these comes the text from the Sidonian ritual already mentioned (p. 120), a Dionysiac parallel to the eucharist, but not its source — the wine is the god's creation, not his blood, whereas "this is my body" and "this is my blood" define the eucharistic miracle. (To try to derive them from the passover ritual or any other Jewish rite is ludicrous. Strange as some rituals of Judaism may be, they do not include eating people.)

The purpose of the rite — to unite the recipients with Jesus, and thus with each other, in love — explains the discourse John Substitutes for the story of the eucharist: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you . . . By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for (literally, "in") each other." The purpose of the rite also explains the agreements and variants of the New Testament texts. They all agree in the words "This is my body" and "this. . . my blood." In the last clause Mark and Matthew have "my blood of the covenant," Paul and most manuscripts of Luke have "the new covenant in my blood." The differences in form of the references to the covenant suggest that it is a secondary element introduced into the primary formula in different places by different Christian circles. It shows an Interpretation of the rite by reference to Ex. 24.8 where Moses sprinkles the people with blood from the offerings made on their acceptance of the covenant — their agreement to keep the Law — at Sinai. This Interpretation is amazing because for the Christian rite it is essential that this blood should be drunk. But one of the strongest traits of Israelite tradition is the tabu against blood; blood in food was strictly forbidden (Gen. 9.4, and often). That the blood of the sacrifice of the covenant should be drunk (!) is by traditional Jewish Standards an atrocity that can have been conceived only by a circle bent on demonstrating its freedom from the Law. Therefore the apparently secondary addition of a covenantal interpretation to the original magical formula, "This is my body; this is my blood," suggest that some of Jesus' earliest followers went even further than he did in rejection of the Law — or, at least, that they adapted his magical rite of union so as to make it also a ritual expression of his libertine teaching. (The other additions to the basic formula are clearly secondary; some appear only in one group of texts, some only in another, and all are interpretive, disciplinary, or hortatory.)
Now this clearly parallels the way that Smith had earlier interpreted the nature of the initiation of the youth by Jesus, in the Letter to Theodore, an act of a libertine (hence the connection to Cerenthus) not as a divine ascent as would be the case with the POV of the author of the Books of Hierotheos.

DCH

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Re: Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by DCHindley » Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:00 am

DCHindley wrote:As I started the pursuit of a copy of March's edition and translation of The Books of Hierotheos," I stumbled across this:

(Merkur, Dan ) The Mystery of Manna: The Psychedelic Sacrament of the Bible (2000, pp 74-75)
https://books.google.com/books?id=isUMf ... navlinks_s

Merkur does not come across as a "mad" scholar.
Because this has crossed into the world of Sacred Mushrooms, which mainstream scholarship refuses to acknowledge as a "legitimate" pursuit, I looked closer at Dan Merkur. He is apparently a professional Psychoanalyst (meaning he is a genuine Medical Doctor with a practice in psychiatry, and this shows in his work). He has published at least 3 books on the likely use of psychotropic substances in certain religious contexts: one a study of Inuit shamanism and two on their possible use to commune with god in Judeo-Christian contexts.

DCH

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Re: Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by andrewcriddle » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:06 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:00 am
DCHindley wrote:As I started the pursuit of a copy of March's edition and translation of The Books of Hierotheos," I stumbled across this:

(Merkur, Dan ) The Mystery of Manna: The Psychedelic Sacrament of the Bible (2000, pp 74-75)
https://books.google.com/books?id=isUMf ... navlinks_s

Merkur does not come across as a "mad" scholar.
Because this has crossed into the world of Sacred Mushrooms, which mainstream scholarship refuses to acknowledge as a "legitimate" pursuit, I looked closer at Dan Merkur. He is apparently a professional Psychoanalyst (meaning he is a genuine Medical Doctor with a practice in psychiatry, and this shows in his work). He has published at least 3 books on the likely use of psychotropic substances in certain religious contexts: one a study of Inuit shamanism and two on their possible use to commune with god in Judeo-Christian contexts.

DCH
I read Gnosis by Dan Merkur and found it very interesting. It was written in 1993 and although interested in the use of psychotropic substances as a source of mystical experience does not see such substances as important in the mysticism of the ancient mediterranean world. I have not read Merkur's later work, his views may have altered.

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Re: Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by DCHindley » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:26 am

andrewcriddle wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:06 pm
DCHindley wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:00 am
DCHindley wrote:As I started the pursuit of a copy of March's edition and translation of The Books of Hierotheos," I stumbled across this:

(Merkur, Dan ) The Mystery of Manna: The Psychedelic Sacrament of the Bible (2000, pp 74-75)
https://books.google.com/books?id=isUMf ... navlinks_s

Merkur does not come across as a "mad" scholar.
Because this has crossed into the world of Sacred Mushrooms, which mainstream scholarship refuses to acknowledge as a "legitimate" pursuit, I looked closer at Dan Merkur. He is apparently a professional Psychoanalyst (meaning he is a genuine Medical Doctor with a practice in psychiatry, and this shows in his work). He has published at least 3 books on the likely use of psychotropic substances in certain religious contexts: one a study of Inuit shamanism and two on their possible use to commune with god in Judeo-Christian contexts.

DCH
I read Gnosis by Dan Merkur and found it very interesting. It was written in 1993 and although interested in the use of psychotropic substances as a source of mystical experience does not see such substances as important in the mysticism of the ancient mediterranean world. I have not read Merkur's later work, his views may have altered.

Andrew Criddle
He also has a PhD in Comparative Religion from a recognized school. From what I can gather so far, he speaks of use of psychotropic substances like henbane & mandrake (used in the Dionysian mysteries) and ergot mold toxins (this last one is chemically related to LSD and has been proposed as the source of the madness that resulted in several "witches" being burned at the stake in Salem, Massachusetts). I think his cited book mentions mushrooms only once, so my allusions to John Allegro may have been premature.

And yes, I agree he does not see the use of such things being common in Jesus' time (although Jesus himself used them, it seems). I have not read his book Gnosis but might do so soon.

I plan to visit a Univ. Library close to me later today that holds the 1927 Marsh edition/translation of the Book of Hierotheos (surprisingly the two Ohio educational libraries who hold it are both within 15 miles of me). I'll check for Merkur's books while I am there. I might have to wait until Wednesday to pick them up, as my "Friend of the Library" ID had expired many years ago. I have to use a CC and they do not run them on weekends.

DCH

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Re: Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by DCHindley » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:50 am

Until recently I had only encountered Dionysius the Areopagite in passing. He is mentioned in connection with Dionysius the Bishop of Corinth, as they had been equated by some. Others have thought that the real writer behind the pseudonym was Clement of Alexandria. This latter connection may be relevant to the source of the backstory of the Letter to Theodore.

For those who do not have access to the latest translations of the Corpus Dionysium (if that is what it is called), which has been aided by Syriac manuscripts edited in the 1970s, most of his alleged works are available in ET from the Greek mss by John Parker, part 1 (DIVINE NAMES, MYSTIC THEOLOGY, LETTERS, &c.) published 1897 and part 2 (THE HEAVENLY HIERARCHY, AND THE ECCLESIASTICAL HIERARCHY.) in 1899. The archive PDF below contains both parts (they were apparently originally published separately and someone combined them together):

https://archive.org/details/worksofdion ... t/page/208

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Re: Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by DCHindley » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:05 pm

Pseudo-Dionysius was basically selling the Neoplatonism of Plotinus in Christian garb, while fictitiously claiming to be the Areopagite who was converted by Paul in Athens (Acts) to gain audience for it. In Ps-Dionysius, Hierotheos is basically Plotinus. The later Book of Hierotheos was presented to the devotees of Ps-D as a work of that Hierotheos who Ps-D revered so much, but it turned out to be a manual to mystical union that was quite different than the means offered by Plotinus.

Going through Pseudo-Dionysius' writings seems to use the metaphor of veils frequently. They protect the supplicant from direct exposure to the supernatural light revealed to them.
DN 1.4 And whatever other divinely-wrought illuminations, conformable to the Oracles, the secret tradition of our inspired leaders bequeathed to us for our enlightenment, in these also we have been initiated ; now indeed, according to our capacity, through the sacred veils of the loving-kindness towards man, made known m the Oracles and hierarchical traditions, which envelop things intellectual in things sensible, and things superessential in things that are; and place forms and shapes around the formless and shapeless, and multiply and fashion the supernatural and formless simplicity in the variedness of the divided symbols

MT 1.3 He seems to me to have comprehended this supernaturally, that the good Cause of all is both of much utterance, and at the same time of briefest utterance and without utterance; as having neither utterance nor conception, because It is superessentially exalted above all, and manifested without veil and in truth, to those alone who pass through both all things consecrated and pure, and ascend above every ascent of all holy summits, and leave behind all divine lights and sounds, and heavenly words, and enter into the gloom, where really is, as the Oracles say. He Who is beyond all.

MT 2.1 For, we used to place these latter by beginning from the foremost and descending through the middle to the lowest, but, in this case, by making the ascents from the lowest to the highest, we abstract everything, in order that, without veil, we may know that Agnosia which is enshrouded under all the known, in all things that be, and may see that superessential gloom, which is hidden by all the light in existing things.

Letter viii. To Demophilus, Therapeutes,
For even those who always stand around the Divine Altar, for a symbolical purpose, see and hear things Divine revealed to themselves in all clearness ; and advancing generously to things outside the Divine Veils, they shew, to the subject Therapeutae, and to the holy people, and to the orders under purification, according to their meetness, things holy which had been beautifully guarded without pollution

Liturgy of St. Dionysius, Bishop of the Athenians

from Jesus, the son of Josedec the High Priest, Thou didst take away the filthy garments, and adorn us with piety and justice, as Thou didst adorn him with a vestment of glory; that clothed with Thee alone, as it were with a garment, and being like temples crowned with glory, we may see Thee unveiled with a mind divinely illuminated, and may feast, whilst we, by communicating therein, enjoy this sacrifice set before us ; and render to Thee glory and praise.''

Seraphin, furnished with six wings intertwined, cry Sanctus unto Thee. Those very ones, who veil their faces with their wings, and cover their feet with wings, and flying on every side, and clapping with their wings, (that they may not be devoured by Thy devouring fire) sing one to another with equal harmony of all, sweet chants, pure from every thing material, rendering to Thee, eternal glory; crying with one hymn, worthy of God, and saying," P. Holy, holy, holy."

HH 1.2 For it is not possible that the supremely Divine Ray should otherwise illuminate us, except so far as it is enveloped, for the purpose of instruction, in variegated sacred veils, and arranged naturally and appropriately, for such as we are, by paternal forethought.

HH 1.5 At one time, indeed, they extol It under exalted imagery as Sun of Righteousness, as Morning' Star rising divinely in the mind, and as Light illuming without veil and for contemplation;

EH

When the supremely Divine love towards Man has thus been religiously celebrated, the Divine Bread is presented, veiled, and likewise the Cup of Blessing, and the most Divine greeting is devoutly performed, and the mystic and supermundane recital of the holy-written tablets.

For when he has unveiled the veiled and undivided Bread, and divided it into many, and has divided the Oneness of the Cup to all, he symbolically multiplies and distributes the unity, completing in these an altogether most holy ministration.

The Hierarch makes known these things to those who are living religiously, by bringing the veiled gifts to view, by dividing their oneness into many, and by making the recipients partakers of them, by the utmost union of the things distributed with those who receive them.

Then the Hierarch takes the Muron and places it, veiled under twelve sacred wings, upon the Divine Altar, whilst all cry aloud, with most devout voice, the sacred melody of the inspiration of the God-rapt Prophets, and when he has finished the prayer offered over it, he uses it,

The elementary teaching, then, of this the perfecting service, through the things done over the Divine Muron, shews this, in my judgment, that, that which is holy and of sweet savour in the minds of devout men is covered, as with a veil, since it Divinely enjoins upon holy men to have their beautiful and well-savoured assimilations in virtue to the hidden God not seen for vain glory.

Naturally, then, the divine copyists, who unflinchingly mould their own intellectual contemplation to the superessentially sweet and contemplated comeliness, so none of their divinely imitated virtues "to be seen of men," as the Divine text expresses it; but reverently gaze upon the most holy things of the Church, veiled in the Divine Muron as in a figure.

Come, then, since we have viewed the exterior comeliness of the entirely beautiful ministration, let us now look away to its more godly beauty (whilst itself, by itself, has uncovered the veils), gazing upon its blessed radiance, shedding its bright beams openly around, and filling us with the fragrance unveiled to the contemplators.

Now it is superfluous, as I think, to run over, by the same statements, these things already so often mentioned, and not to pass to the next, viewing the Hierarch, devoutly holding the Divine Muron veiled under twelve wings, and ministering the altogether holy consecration upon it.
The number of veils mentioned I have yet to count.
Porphyry, on the Life of Plotinus 15. Once on Plato's feast I read a poem, 'The Sacred Marriage'; my piece abounded in mystic doctrine conveyed in veiled words and was couched in terms of enthusiasm; someone exclaimed: 'Porphyry has gone mad'; Plotinus said to me so that all might hear: 'You have shown yourself at once poet, philosopher and hierophant.'

3rd Ennead, 5 (Love) section 7. This is the significance of Plato's account of the birth of Love. The drunkenness of the father Poros or Possession is caused by Nectar, 'wine yet not existing'; Love is born before the realm of sense has come into being: Penia (Poverty) had participation in the Intellectual before the lower image of that divine Realm had appeared; she dwelt in that Sphere, but as a mingled being consisting partly of Form but partly also of that indetermination which belongs to the Soul before she attains the Good and when all her knowledge of Reality is a foreintimation veiled by the indeterminate and unordered: in this state (of fore-feeling and desiring The Good) Poverty brings forth the Hypostasis, Love.
DCH

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DCHindley
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Re: Secret Mark, GRS Mead and Morton Smith

Post by DCHindley » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:44 pm

The "pseudo-" tells us that the person claiming to be Dionysius the ruler of the Athenian Areopagus who was converted by Paul, is not considered to be the real Dionysius (if is not a fictional figure).

The history goes as follows:
410 A.D. birth of Proclus.

485 A.D. Proclus, chief of the philosophers, died in Athens.

494—512? A.D. Stephen bar-Sudhaile lived in Jerusalem between these dates.

518 a.d. deposition of Philoxenos (see above).

515—520 a.d. The Areopagite writings quoted by Andreas of Caesarea who wrote at this time (see Koch: PseudosDionysius, pp 6, 259).

533 A.D. The Areopagite writings quoted at the Council of Constantinople.

536 A.D. The Areopagite writings translated into Syriac by Sergius of Ras'ain who died in this year (see Frothingham, op. cit., p 3).

793—817 a.d. The “Book of Hierotheos " called by that name and attributed to Stephen bar-Sudhaile by Kyriakos, patriarch of Antioch.
DCH

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