There can hardly be a more enigmatic figure in all of the history of Christianity than the writer of the Corpus Areopagiticum (CD). The quest for his identity has been ongoing since the first mention of his works. Many great minds have weighed in on the matter, only to be humbled by the brilliant covertness of our elusive author. Scholars have seemingly narrowed in on a terminus a quo and terminus ad quem. These, however, are widely debated. With each new speculation of a date comes a plentitude of possible authors, each one fitted, trimmed, and tailored to fit the specifications. No one figure has been proposed with a list of similarities that did not also meet with an even longer list of dissimilarities. Yet, the author of the CD tells us that he is that famous Athenian from Mars Hill, Dionysius, who, after hearing St. Paul preach his sermon on the “unknown god’ in the account of Acts 17, cast off his pagan ways and submitting himself to Christ, became a Christian. In his writings, he also speaks of St. Paul as his teacher and addresses the Apostle John, Timothy, Polycarp, and other Apostolic figures. Yet, for reasons which we shall see later, the author of the CD cannot possibly be Dionysius the Areopagite spoken of in Acts 17. And still, this ‘pious forgery’ that is the CD has had a tremendous impact on the history of theological and philosophical thought. Saints and Doctors of the Church have provided numerous commentaries on the CD. It is more than remarkable that a pseudonymous corpus would be so influential on Christian thought. The great nineteenth century Protestant Church historian, Philip Schaff, has remarked:
He furnishes one of the most remarkable examples of the posthumous influence of unknown authorship and of the power of the dead over the living. For centuries he was regarded as the prince of theologians. He represented to the Greek and Latin church the esoteric wisdom of the gospel, and the mysterious harmony between faith and reason and between the celestial and terrestrial hierarchy.
It is precisely the author of the CD’s brilliant theological mind that has served as the impetus in the pursuit of his identity. In this paper, I will explore the history of the appearance of the CD and the opposition to and defense of Dionysius the Areopagite as its author. I do so with no attempt at adding to the many authors suggested, since it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of needle. Instead, I shall highlight the candidates offered and then conclude with a suggestion for the understanding of authorship with respect to the CD, all with the hope of stimulating renewed interest in these rich treatises and the wealth they contain.
We find the first known reference and citation of the Dionysius’ writings in the early sixth century by the Monophysite, Severus of Antioch (ca. 518-528). In his Adversus apologiam Juliani, Severus quotes the Fourth Letter of Dionysius in support of his own theology. Elsewhere, in his Letter to John Higumenus, Severus calls the author of the CD ‘the divinely wise Dionysius,’ which as Ronald Hathaway suggests, “clearly implies acceptance of apostolic authority.” Aside from the fact that Severus was a heretic, we can assume that he was well intentioned and did not forge these works himself. If that is the case, it still begs the question as to where Severus found the writings, the answer to which remains a mystery. Nevertheless, the writings of Dionysius are officially cited in 532 during a council at Constantinople between followers of Severus and supporters of Chalcedon, led by Bishop Hypatius of Ephesus. The Severians quoted from several early Fathers in order to support their theology of a single nature in the incarnate Logos. However, when ‘Dionysius the Areopagite’ is mentioned as one of these authorities, Hypatius immediately questions the authenticity of the writings.
After rejecting their efforts to claim the spirituality of the other fathers as an authority for their Monophysite teaching, he continued: ‘Finally, we say what should have been said at the outset. Those quotations that you claim to have come from the Blessed Dionysius the Areopagite—how can you prove that they are authentic, as you maintain? For if they do come from him, they could not have been unknown to the Blessed Cyril.’
The Severians responded that Cyril did in fact use the CD against the Nestorians. Yet, there is not a single trace of the CD in any of his writings. Jaroslav Pelikan points out that the CD appeared to be entirely unknown to the Chalcedonians:
Nor, on the other hand, did the Orthodox defenders of the Council of Chalcedon counter these quotations with others from Dionysius, presumably authentic, in which he could be shown to have favored a spirituality based on their doctrine of two continuing natures in God the Logos after the incarnation.
In fact, Hypatius went so far as to condemn the CD and included them amongst a group of Apollinarian forgeries, which the Severians had also used as evidence to support their position. With such an anathema cast upon the CD, one would think that they would have been cast aside and left to wither into obscurity. This, however, was not to be the case.
With the writings of the CD championed by the monophysites and condemned as forgeries, extinction seemed to be their fate. This was until John of Scythopolis (c. 536-550) rescued them from their heretical association, thus ensuring that their value would survive and be perpetuated throughout history. John recognized that the CD was not an Apollinarian forgery and began to compose glosses upon them. Maximus the Confessor (d. 662) also composed glosses on the corpus, which soon came to be conflated with those of John of Scythopolis. The glosses of Maximus, however, served to further increase the prestige of the CD:
It had been the historic accomplishment of Maximus Confessor to purge Dionysian spirituality of the interpretations that would have connected it to one or another heresy. The special status of Maximus as a saint and hero of the faith for both West and East lent his aura also to the Dionysian writings.
The orthodoxy of the Dionysian writings came to be affirmed officially when the Lateran Council in 649 cited his Fourth Letter. By the time of John of Damascus, no doubt of its conformity with Chalcedon existed. Also, due to the two great commentators, John and Maximus, the Apostolic nature of the CD came to be taken for granted and passed on almost entirely without criticism for centuries in the East. Robert Grant states:
In any event forgeries came to be exceedingly popular after the middle of the sixth century. The Areopagite’s writings rapidly came to be accepted, and even in the dossiers where they were not present other nonauthentic writings were cited.
The writings of Dionysius also found their way to the West where they took on a life of their own.
The Dionysian corpus made its way to the West when Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604), before his papacy and serving as papal legate to the Emperor Constantine, brought back with him a codex of Dionysius’ writings around the year 585. Gregory, however, rejects the only opinion of Dionysius that he mentions and takes a different account of the angelic ranks. The CD would later be translated (poorly) into Latin for the first time by Hilduin of Saint-Denis in 836. In doing so, he conflated Dionysius the Areopagite with Dionysius, the first bishop of Paris.
In the course of this migration to the West, Dionysius the Areopagite acquired even further prestige, when Hilduin of Saint-Denis, who was responsible for the first translation of the Corpus Areopagiticum into Latin, also wrote a hagiographical account of the Passio sanctissimi Dionysii, in which the Areopagite was identified with Dionysius, bishop of Paris.
The problem with the merging of these two Dionysii, is that the bishop of Paris was martyred in the middle of the third century. This would make the Areopagite over three hundred years of age at his death! It is no surprise that Peter Abelard (d. 1142) would later question this theory. The corpus continued to gain prestige in the West, especially in the Middle Ages, where we find that Albert the Great commented on all the major works of Dionysius. His student, Thomas Aquinas, also wrote a commentary on the Divine Names. Aquinas held Dionysius in such high esteem that he refers directly to him in nearly 2200 texts, which is the most references to any one person besides Aristotle and Augustine. Both of these great theologians and Doctors of the Church accepted the Apostolicity of the CD.
The Dionysian corpus would receive uncritical acceptance of its Apostolic dating until the time of Nicholas of Cusa (d. 1464), who raised some doubts about the early dating. However, the real blow to the Areopagite’s authorship of the CD would come from the noted historical critic, Lorenzo Valla in 1457.
The task of historical criticism appealed strongly to Valla, especially destructive criticism. He proved that Constantine did not grant the Donation and that the Pseudo-Dionysius was an imposter, but he seemed uninterested in the more complicated task of determining who in fact did forge the Donation and who masqueraded as the Areopagite. He ventured nothing on his own, but mentioned (in the Adnotationes only) that certain ‘exceptionally learned Greeks’—meaning no doubt Cardinal Bessarion and his circle—considered the heretic Apollinarius the author of the Pseudo-Dionysius’ works.
“Valla introduced a wide range of historical and philological arguments” which served to disprove the Areopagite as the author of the corpus. He pointed out that the earliest Latin author to quote Dionysius was Gregory the Great and none of the early Greek Fathers mention him. Another point he made was that it was highly “doubtful whether the Areopagite wrote anything at all: The term ‘Areopagite’ denotes a judge, not a philosopher; furthermore, the claim of ‘Dionysius’ in one of the Letters (Ep. 7:2) that he observed the eclipse of the sun at the hour of the Savior’s death outside of Palestine is as blatant a fiction as the epistolary form of the report.” Valla’s criticisms concerning the lack of mention in the early Fathers and Dionysius’ claim to see the eclipse at the hour of Christ’s death outside of Palestine stand on solid ground. However, his dismissal of Dionysius not writing anything because the term ‘Areopagite’ denotes a judge does not hold up. As Hathaway has shown, based off the writings of Plato, an Areopagite would have studied in philosophy as well as other important sciences:
But to judge from the most famous ancient description of such a council of elders, the Laws of Plato (delivered by an Athenian), learning in the laws for an Athenian presupposed learning in all the sciences important to the city. And preeminent among these in Plato’s system of education was what one Platonic character at least calls theology.
Another criticism against the Areopagite, is the mention in the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy of the singing of the Creed in the middle of the liturgy which was not introduced until 476 by Peter the Fuller at Antioch.
The criticisms of Lorenzo Valla, however, went by virtually unnoticed. It was not until the biblical works of Erasmus in 1516 that Valla’s opinions reached a wide audience. Yet, they were often taken as Erasmus’ own. He did this by inserting a critical note on Acts 17:34 in his Greek New Testament, in which he restated Valla’s criticisms. His critique of what had become the traditional understanding of the authorship of the Dionysian corpus, namely that the Areopagite had written them, caused him to undergo repeated attacks for the rest of his life by Catholic theologians, and especially by the Carthusians. The debate over authorship continued to grow as the Protestant Reformation began. Martin Luther originally held for the Areopagite as author, but in the course of time changed his mind.
The turning point is often linked to the Leipzig Disputation of July 1519, where John Eck used the Dionysian writings as evidence for the apostolic origin of papal primacy. In the debate, Luther dismissed the references as irrelevant but did not yet attack the authority of the Dionysian corpus itself. It is true, however, that Luther’s explicit rejection of Pseudo-Dionysius began around that time.
The debate over the authorship of the Dionysian corpus continued on until the nineteenth century, when it was effectively disproven. It was done so by two scholars, Koch and Stiglmayr, who were working independently and yet, reached the same conclusion. Along with the liturgical description in the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, they argued that the author could not have been the Areopagite based on the CD’s use of Neo-Platonic terms and arguments. This would place the writings of the Dionysian corpus, at the earliest, toward the end of the fifth century.
A familiarity [can be seen] with the last and best representatives of Neo-Platonism, especially with Proclus, who died in Athens, A.D. 485. The resemblance is so strong that admirers of Dionysius charged Proclus with plagiarism. The writer then was a Christian Neo-Platonist who wrote towards the close of the fifth or the beginning of the sixth century in Greece or in Egypt, and who by a literary fiction clothed his religious speculations with the name and authority of the first Christian bishop of Athens.
Proclus built his philosophy off of Plotinus and the theme of mediation. Plotinus desired to relate the One with the many. In so doing, he found that any movement from the One immediately leads to the many.
For Proclus this very problem of mediation is the hinge of his philosophy: and because to relate two things is to invoke a third that mediates, his philosophy comes abound in triads. These triads link everything together. Reality itself has a threefold structure: the One, Intellect, and Soul, of Plontinus.
The writings of Dionysius, influenced by Proclus, also abound in triads:
From the Trinity itself, through the ranks of the angels, arranged three by three, down to the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons that ministers to the Christian community, itself arranged in threes.
It is precisely this strong connection between the terms and ideas of Proclus with that of Dionysius that leads scholars to believe he was a student of Proclus at the Academy in Athens before he converted to Christianity.
Stephen Gersh, a foremost scholar of the Middle and Neo-Platonic tradition, is certain of the Christian faith of Denys and also of his attendance at the Academy in Athens. It seems likely to him that Denys would have frequented the lectures of Proclus (c. 410-485), whom we know to have been made ‘scholarch’ (i.e, director) of the Academy in 476.
various striking parallels between Denys and Syrian Christianity: parallels that support the supposition that Denys’s geographical milieu was Syria. It is not surprising then that the very first translation of the Areopagitical Corpus was into Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic that came to serve as the literary language of the majority of Christians living in Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire and, over the frontier, in the Persian Empire. This was made very early indeed, by Sergius of Reshaina who died in 536: it almost certainly antedates the first occasion when the writings of Denys are know to have been cited, at the Council at Constantinople in 532.
To sum up what we have learned about our author so far, we can say that he is a convert to Christianity, having studied as a pagan at the Academy in Athens under Proclus and wrote his corpus at the end of the fifth century. He is most likely from Syria, possibly a monk influenced by the Alexandrian and Cappadocian Fathers, whose writings were at first thought to be heretical but have been proven orthodox and thus have left an everlasting mark of scholarship upon Christianity. But who is he? Stiglmayr posited Severus of Antioch, but this could hardly be the case. There have been a host of other names, including Dionysius the Great of Alexandria, Peter the Iberian, Peter the Fuller, Dionysius the Scholastic of Gaza, Sergius of Reshaina, Damascius Diadochus, etc. Each of these are not without their weaknesses. The one name that almost everyone is certain that it is not, is Dionysius the Areopagite. There are, however, a few who still argue for the Areopagite. The most notable, being John Parker in 1897. He does so in his translation of the Works of Dionysius the Areopagite, which was the first in the English language. Parker is adamant in exerting the Areopagite as the author of the works and answers his critics with much force.
Jahn has followed Dionysius step by step in order to trace the connection between the language of Plato and Dionysius, for the purpose of exploding the puerile supposition that such complex writings as these could have been evolved from the elementary treatises of Proclus and Plotinus. Most probably, some of the lost writings of Dionysius are in part preserved in those writers and in Clement of Alexandria; but Dionysius is the Master, not Pupil!
Elsewhere he states:
The most plausible objection to the genuineness of these writings is thus expressed by Dupin: ‘Eusebius and Jerome wrote an accurate catalogue of each author known to them—with a few obscure exceptions,–and yet never mention the writings of the Areopagite.’ Great is the rejoicing in the House of the Anti-Areopagites over this PROOF;–but what are the facts? Eusebius acknowledges that innumerable works have not come to him—Jerome disclaims either to know or to give an accurate catalogue either of authors or works. The Library of Caesarea contained three hundred thousand volumes, according to the modest computation of Doublet, according to Schneider, many more—Jerome says there are some writings, so illustrious in themselves, that they will not suffer from not being mention by him.
So far, Parker’s arguments are not of any substance. They seem to be packed with more emotion than reason. But then, he goes for the knockout:
Dionysius of Alexandria, writing to Pope Sixtus II., c. 250, respecting the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite, affirms ‘that no one can intelligently dispute their paternity—that no one penetrated more profoundly than Dionysius into the mysterious depths of Holy Scripture—that Dionysius was disciple of St. Paul, and piously governed the Church of Athens.’
The first blow is stunning, but the next is the finisher. Parker refers us to the Chronicon omnimodae historiae, a chronicle of Lucius Flavius Dexter (a friend of Jerome mentioned in his Illustrious Men), found in Migne’s Patrologia Latina 31. In this work, Dexter mentions that Dionysius the Areopagite dedicated his book, The Divine Names, to a man named Marcellus:
Parker cannot contain his excitement at this point:
This touch of nature, preserved in a chronicle, written more than 1400 years ago, by an illustrious statesman, who was son of a Bishop celebrated for learning and sanctity, may fairly be deemed, by an unprejudiced mind, reasonable proof that the ‘Divine Names’ were written previous to A.D. 98.
In a one-two combination, Parker has successfully won the fight. No longer will anyone deny the Areopagite again…or will they? Unfortunately, for the uncritical mind of John Parker, the case is not that simple. Hathaway informs us that “it is known that George of Scythopolis, John’s successor, wrote the Ps.-Dionysius of Alexandria, Letter to Pope Sixtus II, in defense of the Corpus’ authenticity.” On top of that, Dexter’s chronicle is known to be a sixteenth century forgery. It should be noted, though, that Parker still has some like minded friends. The monks of the Monastery of Saint Dionysius on Mt. Athos to this day believe that the disciple of St. Paul, known as Dionysius the Areopagite, became the first bishop of Athens and was a sacred writer. They claim that a writer from the fifth century (Pseudo-Dionysius) relied greatly on the Areopagite’s writings, but did not have the decency to acknowledge his debt. Fran O’Rourke aptly describes the sentiment of the monks:
The myth still survived in this remote haven of fervor and devotion, palpably attested to by the scent of incense and the glow of oil-lamps before the icons of this holy man. It survived, not as a myth, but as a history of love and veneration.
Although we may never find out who the real author is, the writings of Dionysius “will always occupy a prominent place among the curiosities of literature, and among the most remarkable systems of mystic philosophy.” The question remains, though, how are we to think of such an author, one who lived centuries after the time he says he is writing and goes to great lengths in order not to give away his own era? I believe Hans Urs von Balthasar answers correctly:
So the…question is to be approached only with the greatest circumspection: is Denys a forger? If one proves that he was not the convert and disciple of Paul, that he was not in correspondence with the Apostle John, nor with Titus or Polycarp, nor present at the death of Mary, that he did not send his writings to Timothy, nor experience in Egyptian Heliopolis the eclipse of the sun at Christ’s death, has one really done him the slightest injury? Is one telling this Syrian monk in 500 A.D. anything new, if one proves to him that he was not converted by the speech on the Areopagus in 50 A.D.? Or does not the whole phenomenon exist on an utterly different level? On the level, that is, of the specifically Dionysian humility and mysticism which must and will utterly vanish as a person so that it lives purely as a divine task and lets the person be absorbed (as in the Dionysian hierarchies) in taxis and function, so that in this way the divine light, though ecclesially transmitted, is received and passed on as immediately (amesos) and transparently as possible? The identification of his task with a situation in space and time immediately next to John and Paul clearly corresponds for him to a necessity which, had he not heeded it, would have meant a rank insincerity and failure to respond to truth. One does not see who Denys is, if one cannot see this identification as a context for veracity. And one can only rejoice over the fact that he succeeded in vanishing behind the Areopagite for a millennium, and that now afterwards, in the age of the opening of graves, he has been brought out, he stubbornly hides his face, I suppose, for ever. Could he ever have said more than his work has said?
Thomas Campbell also states:
Nevertheless, though in all probability the writings are pseudonymous, there is no reason to consider them a forgery. The historic dress is of meager texture. The author rests his arguments on Scripture and Tradition and reason, not on his own authority. Nothing was more natural than that a later writer, himself greatly influenced by Greek philosophy, should adopt the one name in the New Testament which combined Greek culture with Christian faith. The adoption of the particular title of Dionysius the Areopagite is significant. It was not opposed to the practice of the age, wherein a representative name would describe the spirit and object of the writer, and would not be in itself a sign of willful dishonesty.
It is for this reason that, as Hans Urs von Balthasar states, Dionysius should not be burdened with the prefix of “Pseudo”:
So a monk, dying to the world, assumes the name of a saint, and lives in his encompassing reality; so too the disciples of the great prophets, living centuries later in the tradition of this particular calling and continuing it, unconsciously attribute their own sayings to the founder: and ones speaks rightly of a Deutero- and a Trito-Isaiah, but not of a Pseudo-Isaiah.
So, we end up in the course of our study, baffled by this extraordinary theologian who goes by the name of Dionysius the Areopagite. His identity remains but a mere shadow, while his contribution to the world of philosophy and theology live on.
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Campbell, Thomas L. Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite: The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. Washington, D.C.: C.U.A. Press, 1955.
Froehlich, Karlfried. “Pseudo-Dionysius and the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century.” In Psuedo-Dionysius: The Complete Works. Translated by Paul Rorem and Colm Luibheid. New York: Paulist Press, 1987.
Grant, Robert M. After the New Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967.
Hathaway, Ronald F. Hierarchy and the Definition of Order in the Letters of Pseudo-Dionysius: A Study in the Form and Meaning of the Pseudo-Dionysian Writings. The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1969.
Jones, John D. “An Absolutely Simple God?: Frameworks for Reading Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagite.” The Thomist 69 (2005): 371-406.
Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers. vol. 3. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1979.
Louth, Andrew. Denys the Areopagite. New York: Continuum, 2001.
O’Rourke, Fran. Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas. New York: E.J. Brill, 1992.
Parker, John. The Works of Dionysius the Areopagite. USA: Forgotten Books, 2007.
Pelikan, Jaroslav. “The Odyssey of Dionysian Spirituality.” In Psuedo-Dionysius: The Complete Works. Translated by Paul Rorem and Colm Luibheid. New York: Paulist Press, 1987.
Riordan, William K. Divine Light: The Theology of Denys the Areopagite. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2008.
Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church: Mediaeval Christianity from Gregory I to Gregory VII, A.D. 590-1073, Vol. IV. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979.
Twetten, David B. “Aquinas’s Aristotelian and Dionysian Definitions of ‘God.’” The Thomist 69 (2005): 203-250.
von Balthasar, Hans Urs. The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Volume II: Studies in Theological Style: Clerical Styles. Translated by Andrew Louth, Francis McDonagh, and Brian McNeil. Edited by John Riches. San Francisco: Ignatius, 1984.
 See Andrew Louth, Denys the Areopagite (New York: Continuum, 2001), 1: “The writings themselves locate their writer in first-century Christianity: he speaks of Paul as his mentor, addresses letters to Timothy and Titus, and even to the apostle John in exile on Patmos; he tells of experiencing the darkness that covered the earth at the time of the crucifixion (when he was in Egypt, still a pagan), and (perhaps) presents himself as present, with some of the apostles, at the death of the Blessed Virgin.”
 See William K. Riordan, Divine Light: The Theology of Denys the Areopagite (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2008), 21: “It is widely known and accepted, especially through the historical studies of two German scholars, Koch and Stiglmayr, that the Dionysius of Mars Hill in Athens, a convert of Saint Paul, could not have authored the works that bear his name.”
 : Ronald F. Hathaway, Hierarchy and the Definition of Order in the Letters of Pseudo-Dionysius: A Study in the Form and Meaning of the Pseudo-Dionysian Writings (The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1969), 4.
 This is one of the reasons that led Stiglmayr to later suggest that Severus was the author of the CD. However, it would seem that if Severus did forge the CD, he would have made them more in line with his monophysite views.
 Jaroslav Pelican, “The Odyssey of Dionysian Spirituality,” in Psuedo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, trans. Paul Rorem and Colm Luibheid (New York: Paulist Press, 1987), 13: “In an effort to find support in patristic tradition for their devotion to ‘a single nature of the incarnate Logos,’ the Severians quoted various authorities, including the Orthodox Alexandrian patriarchs Athanasius and Cyril, Gregory Thaumaturgus, and finally ‘Dionysius the Areopagite, all of whom assert that there is one nature of God the Logos after the union.’”
 John D. Jones, “An Absolutely Simple God?: Frameworks for Reading Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagite,” The Thomist 69 (2005): 371. See also David B. Twetten, “Aquinas’s Aristotelian and Dionysian Definitions of ‘God,’” The Thomist 69 (2005): 223-224: “’Dionysius’, remarks Thomas, ‘nearly everywhere follows Aristotle, as is clear to one who diligently examines his books.’ Thomas also contrasts Dionysius with Basil, Augustine, and many other divines, all of whom followed Plato in matters philosophical.”
 Karlfried Froehlich, “Pseudo-Dionysius and the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century,” in Psuedo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, trans. Paul Rorem and Colm Luibheid (New York: Paulist Press, 1987), 38.
 Ibid., 41. Froehlich mentions that John Eck, who was a defender of the Dionysian writings in 1526 “edited the ‘Epistle in Defense of Dionysius’ written by a nephew of the famous Pico, Francesco Pico della Mirandola, because he believed that the criticism of Valla and Erasmus had not succeeded.”
 Schaff, History, 593. See also Hathaway, Hierarchy, 12: “In any case, after Philoponus the only explanation given for the resemblances between Proclus and the ‘Dionysius’ was that Proclus had borrowed his own theories from ‘Dionysius.’” Hathaway also says that Georgius Pachymeres (1242-1310) in Paraphrasis in opera S. Dionysii Areopagitae states “One must know that certain philosophers outside [the Faith], especially Proclus, often used the general theorems of the blessed Dionysius, and even his very expressions. One can suppose from this that the more ancient philosophers in Athens concealed the fact that they were appropriating his writings, with the result that the Fathers alone discerned his divine treatises.” (12-13)
 Pelikan, Odyssey, 13: “It remains tantalizing to ponder the brilliant if erroneous suggestion made in 1928 by Joseph Stiglmayr, on the basis of his researches begun a third of a century earlier on the specific kinds of Neoplatonism at work in Dionysius, that Pseudo-Dionysius was in fact the ‘Monophysite’ Patriarch of Antioch, Severus (ca. 465-538), most of whose writings were destroyed by the Orthodox but survive in ‘Monophysite’ Syriac versions. Stiglmayr argued for his hypothesis on the grounds that Severus was the only Christian writer in approximately the time and place of these works whose genius was equal to that of the great unknown author and whose Neoplatonic-Christian spirituality closely paralleled that of the Pseudo-Dionysian corpus.”
 Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Volume II: Studies in Theological Style: Clerical Styles, trans. Andrew Louth, Francis McDonagh, and Brian McNeil, ed. John Riches (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1984), 148-149.