Areopagitic influence and neoplatonic (Plotinian) echoes in Photius' Amphilochia: question 180

Theodoros Alexopoulos
Focusing on one of the most representative works of Patriarch Photius, the Amphilochia and precisely on the Question 180, the present study tries to advance our understanding of Photius' thought and especially to investigate the following important question, namely to what extent Patriarch Photius was influenced by neoplatonism and in which way. In this point lies exactly the contribution of present study, to assess and evaluate the areopagitic and neoplatonic (mostly Plotinian) elements in the
more » ... thought of this great theological figure of the Eastern Church. The analysis of this specific source from Amphilochia shows a direct influence of the unknown writer of the areopagitic works on Photius and an indirect transfer of neoplatonic elements (through Dionysius) to the philosophical thinking of the famous Patriarch. So Dionysius Areopagites proves to be the mediator between neoplatonic and Christian byzantine thought. Although the mediation of Dionysios between Plotinus and Photius is undisputable, a direct knowledge of the work of Plotinus from Photius cannot be excluded at all. For, central ideas of the metaphysics of the One such as the idea of unity and the apophatic method as a proper way for man to approach God are clearly found in this specific passage of Amphilochia. This result is not only for Photius' theological system but also for the byzantine Theology and Philosophy in general of great importance. So the study shows something, which was not very well demonstrated so far: Photius' extensive use not only of Aristoteles but also of Neo-Platonism and through that: The continuity of the byzantine with the ancient Greek thought.
doi:10.7892/boris.115047 fatcat:6owa6276jzfjlkz2xcdbsyx34a