Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas (review)

Journal of the History of Philosophy 34 (3):456-458 (1996)
Abstract
456 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY or PHILOSOPHY 34:3 JULY 1996 of reflection about rhetorical practices that I suspect Aristotle was trying to elicit in his own time and that Garver is trying to elicit in his. DAVID J. DEPEW California State University, FuUerton Fran O'Rourke, Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1999. Pp. xvi + 3oo. Cloth, $8o.oo. The importance of doctrines found in the Latin translations of the late fifth-century Greek works of pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite for the formation of the theologi- cal and philosophical thought of Thomas Aquinas is obvious to anyone well-versed in the texts of Aquinas. However, it is by no means obvious how Aquinas read, under- stood, and transformed the Christian Neoplatonic theology of this apparent disciple of Proclus or Damascius so as to make it an integral part of his understanding of God and creation. O'Rourke rightly conceived his task as twofold: first, the texts of Dionysius must be properly understood; second, the interpretation and use of these by Aquinas can itself be assessed and appreciated in its own thirteenth-century con- text. In the first part of the book he examines the question of knowledge of God, with one chapter devoted to Dionysius and a second devoted to Aquinas's use of "Dionysian Elements" in discovering God. Part Two examines their teachings on the "Transcendence of Being and Good" in chapters 3 and 4. Part Three contains three chapters on the "Unity..
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