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How Many Are the Names of God?

How Many Are the Names of God?

Chapter:
(p.69) Chapter Five How Many Are the Names of God?
Source:
All the Names of the Lord
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226388724.003.0006

The entire edifice of Dionysius the Areopagite's elegant synthesis on the subject of divine names rests on four propositions: the essentially unnameable divinity can be referred to by numerous names; they are all to be found in Scripture; all these names are meaningful terms; they are coextensive with one another since they designate the united differentiations of the divinity. This chapter reexamines Dionysius's theory based on the general assumption that practice informs the production of speculative models, which in turn transform, more or less radically, the practices they purport to reflect. Dionysius's position, that divine names are exclusively biblical, envisions practical onomatology as an extensive hermeneutical project. This rich and extensive tradition of listing the names of God, which both preceded and followed the time of Dionysius, is the backdrop against which the Areopagitical theology of the name took its shape. Dionysius's onomatological views were rooted in existing listmaking practices and in the biblical exegesis of the name that was inseparable from those practices.

Keywords:   divine names, Dionysius the Areopagite, theory, practice, divinity, Scripture, onomatology, listing, God, biblical exegesis

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