By Valentina Izmirlieva
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Extra info for All the Names of the Lord: Lists, Mysticism, and Magic
9 That difficulty is, I believe, deliberate, and very much part of the theological project of the corpus. The reader’s effort to understand the text is meant to approximate the experience of being in God’s presence, and it aims to cultivate a particular state of mind: not only receptivity, but also responsiveness—by deed as well as words—to a divinity beyond being, beyond language and comprehension. It should not surprise us, therefore, that almost every generation of Christian thinkers has felt compelled to revisit Dionysius and find new treasures of meaning and insight in his works.
Catherine on Mt. Sinai, fourteenth-fifteenth century, fol. 46v. 322 Greek, the St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai. G chapter two Back to the Sources T o get a more adequate view of the Dionysian synthesis in its immediate intellectual context, it helps to step back and observe the more inclusive landscape of concerns, preoccupations, and practices that constituted over time the Christian theology of divine names. It is common to regard Christianity as a religion of the Word, though to call it “a religion of the Name” might sound like a stretch at first.
The Bible and the Name It is, I believe, the Hebrew Bible that prepared the stage for the quirks and the crux of Christian onomatocentrism. It suggests—simultaneously and in an apparently non-contradictory fashion—that God has one name, no name, and a multiplicity of names, a paradoxical proposition that invites, if not necessarily trouble, certainly some prickly hermeneutics. On the face of it, the Jewish Scripture—both in its original form and as the Christian Old Testament—makes abundant references to “the name of God,” a name that, in accordance with the grammar of monotheism, is single and singular.