On the Origins of the Very First Principle as Infinite: The Hierarchy of the Infinite in Damascius and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite

Peitho 10 (1):133-152 (2019)

Abstract

This paper discusses the theoretical relationship between the views of Damascius and those of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. While Damascius’ De principiis is a bold treatise devoted to investigating the hypermetaphysics of apophatism, it anticipates various theoretical positions put forward by Dionysius the Areopagite. The present paper focuses on the following. First, Damascius is the only ancient philoso­pher who systematically demonstrates the first principle to be infinite. Second, Damascius modifies the concept and in several important passages shows the infinite to be superior and prior to the finite. Third, Damascius’ theory of being is the strongest ancient articulation of the nature of the One which is a clear prefiguration of the negative theology developed by Dionysius the Areopagite.

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