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A Body of 72 Parts and the 72 Diseases

A Body of 72 Parts and the 72 Diseases

Chapter:
(p.79) Chapter Six A Body of 72 Parts and the 72 Diseases
Source:
All the Names of the Lord
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226388724.003.0007

Dionysius the Areopagite—and those who identify with his vision—represent only the ideological center of a rather nebulous universe. This center, despite its privileged position and all the power concentrated in it, is still a minority in its own realm—as representative of its margins as is the palace or cloister of the world outside the walls. This means, among other things, that we ought to take the lessons of theology with a grain of salt whenever we take them out of the cloister into “the world.” The text that has been chosen as the first epigraph to this part of the book offers a good case in point. All lessons of theology aside, it inquires about the number of God's names both unapologetically and with no sign of rhetorical flair. It is a matter-of-fact question that presumes—and expects—a straightforward answer. The context of the query itself suggests such serious intent. The text stems from the strong tradition of Christian erotapocriseis, or the genre of questions and—that is, with—answers: a sui generis heterodox catechesis.

Keywords:   Dionysius the Areopagite, epigraph, theology, God, names, catechesis

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