By Valentina Izmirlieva

Christians face a conundrum in terms of naming God, for if God is unnamable, as theologians preserve, he can be known as via each identify. His right identify is hence an open-ended, all-encompassing checklist, a secret the Church embraces in its rhetoric, yet which many Christians have chanced on tough to just accept. To discover this clash, Valentina Izmirlieva examines lists of God’s names: one from The Divine Names, the vintage treatise through Pseudo-Dionysius, and the opposite from The seventy two Names of the Lord, an amulet whose heritage binds jointly Kabbalah and Christianity, Jews and Slavs, Palestine, Provence, and the Balkans.             This unforeseen juxtaposition of a theological treatise and a mystical amulet permits Izmirlieva to bare lists’ rhetorical capability to create order and to operate as either instruments of data and of energy. regardless of the 2 diversified visions of order represented through every one record, Izmirlieva reveals that their makes use of in Christian perform aspect to a complementary courting among the existential desire for God’s safeguard and the metaphysical wish to undergo his countless majesty—a compelling declare guaranteed to impress dialogue between students in lots of fields.

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Extra info for All the Names of the Lord: Lists, Mysticism, and Magic

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8 Dionysius’s arguments are paradoxical, luxuriously thick, labyrinthine. 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.

Yet such a theological commitment is fueled by the assumption—the hope—that the act of trying itself has both an epistemological and a salvific value. This is the raison d’etre of theology according to Dionysius, calling to ˆ mind T. S. Eliot’s stoic resolution in The Four Quartets, “For us, there is only the trying. ” Even though the goal is unattainable, perpetually hidden, the increasingly closer approximations to it that result from the ascent are by themselves productive, progressively revealing.

More important still, these biblical terms are commonly used as divine names in the ritual language of worship to cope with the practical problems that thrive in the absence of a direct name revelation. Thus, on the one hand, the Bible consistently refers to a single name of God that remains mysterious, while, on the other hand, it provides an array of God-terms that are never defined explicitly as his names. 10 What is the name that the Christians worship and confirm? Is it, to paraphrase T. S.

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