ATRS Greek: Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, excerpts from the Corpus

Course Description: 

The course is intended to be a supplement to the one on the reception history of the Dionysian Corpus for those who are able to read the Greek sources in the original. Yet, it is also open to students who only want to practice their Greek reading skills and are not taking the thematic course. During the term, excerpts from the Corpus will be read in the critical edition of the Göttingen group of scholars (B. R. Suchla, G. Heil, A. M. Ritter). Yet, given that the instructor has spent some 25 years on clarifying the textual history of the Corpus, the edited text will be read critically and will be modified. Thus, the course, in order to be a real introduction to the reading of a difficult and influential text of European intellectual history, will also be an introduction to text criticism. If the students are interested, we also can use some manuscripts of the Corpus, such as the famous Parisinus Graecus 437, being the oldest Greek manuscript of the Corpus, an uncial manuscript that had been sent by the Byzantine emperor Michael the Stammerer to Louis the Pious in 827, or Vaticanus  Graecus 504, a minuscule manuscript, dated 1105. Equal emphasis will be laid on the correct understanding of the grammatical structures and the correct understanding of the content. Syriacist students taking the course can contribute with alternative readings from the first translation ever of the Corpus, that of Sergius of Reshaina, contained in Sinaiticus Syriacus 52 and partly edited by Emiliano Fiori (Divine Names, Mystical Theology, Epistles) and partly being edited by the instructor (Celestial Hierarchy, Ecclesiastic Hierarchy).

Learning Outcomes: 

1. Improvement of the students’ grammatical and text reading skills. 2. Learning the basics of textual criticism. 3. Learning how to handle critical editions and their critical apparatus. 4. Learning to read Greek manuscripts on an experimental basis, without a general course on palaeography.


The assessment will be based on the performance of the students during the classes and on written translation exercises. Students are expected to prepare a written translation of the text assigned for the reading class beforehand, which will be read and corrected by the instructor before the class. This will permit that, during the classes, we will be able to focus on the major grammatical problems and on the content of the texts read. Both intermediate and advanced students are welcome. The assessment will not be based on the objective knowledge of the students but on their diligence and progress.


Upper intermediate level of Greek, willingness to work on the text in between two classes.