Pseudo-Dionysius and Christian Visual Culture, c.500–900

  • Francesca Dell’Acqua
  • Ernesto Sergio Mainoldi

Part of the New Approaches to Byzantine History and Culture book series (NABHC)

About this book


“This highly sophisticated collection of essays reveals the intricacies and relevance of (Pseudo-) Dionysius’ thoughts for the church, understood both as a community of the faithful and a place of worship.  Interdisciplinary but focused, these erudite essays confirm the semantic and visual complexities of Dionysius’ concepts.”

- Jelena Bogdanović, Associate Professor, Iowa State University, USA  


“This important study of the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius demonstrates for the first time the visual thinking at the core of his theology and how it decisively shaped the art and architecture of Late Antiquity. By putting the visual dimension at the foreground, this compelling book builds a bridge that connects our present culture of the image to the past.” 

- Bissera V. Pentcheva, Professor of Art History, Stanford University, USA


This book is a welcome addition to the study of the Areopagite’s influence on Christian iconography and aesthetics. Across various media and discourses, Dionysius’s unique contribution to the Byzantine theology of the image is presented in a series of richly perceptive and constructive readings.”

- Fr Maximos Constas, Senior Research Scholar, Holy Cross School of Theology, USA


This book uses Pseudo-Dionysius and his mystic theology to explore attitudes and beliefs about images in the early medieval West and Byzantium. Composed in the early sixth century, the Corpus Dionysiacum, the collection of texts transmitted under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite, developed a number of themes which have a predominantly visual and spatial dimension.  Pseudo-Dionysius’ contribution to the development of Christian visual culture, visual thinking and figural art-making are examined in this book to systematically investigate his long-lasting legacy and influence. The contributors embrace religious studies, philosophy, theology, art, and architectural history, to consider the depth of the interaction between the Corpus Dionysiacum and various aspects of contemporary Byzantine and western cultures, including ecclesiastical and lay power, politics, religion, and art.


Dionysius Pseduo-Dionysius Christian Belief Byzantium Philology Liturgical Practice Devotion Eikonic Thought Corpus Dionysiacum Holy Men Iconophile Iconoclasm

Editors and affiliations

  • Francesca Dell’Acqua
    • 1
  • Ernesto Sergio Mainoldi
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze del Patrimonio CulturaleUniversità degli studi di SalernoFisciano (Salerno)Italy
  2. 2.Centro interdipartimentale di Filosofia tardoantica, medievale e umanistica (FiTMU)Università degli studi di SalernoFisciano (Salerno)Italy

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-24768-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-24769-0
  • Buy this book on publisher's site