Dionysius the Areopagite

  • L. Michael Harrington
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Vincent Scully, in his 1962 study of Greek temples in their landscape setting, argues that the ancient Greeks did not locate their temples without consideration to the surrounding landscape.1 As a general statement, this point hardly needs arguing, since the temples appear in locations already hallowed by myth. The temple of Apollo at Claros, for example, is built over a sacred spring said to have originated in the tears of Man to, the daughter of Tiresias. It is difficult to find a sacred site in Greece whose sacred character does not depend on the action in that place of a mythological figure.2 Scully, however, wishes to make a more specific claim: that features inherent in the landscape, rather than actions said to have been performed there, make the place holy and so a suitable site for a temple. Prominent among these landscape features are the horns of Cybele: two pronounced hilltops, which, from the temple site, appear close together. Scully recites the great number of temples whose landscapes exhibit this feature, as well as other temples, which possess other symbolic features. Such features serve to drive home Scully’s claim that “the place is holy even before the temple is built.”3


Sacred Place Altar Area Holy Place Church Building Immortal Life 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 28.
    B. McGinn, “From Admirable Tabernacle to the House of God,” in Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings (Toronto, 1995), pp. 41–56.Google Scholar
  2. 35.
    M. Harrington, The Problem of Paradigmatic Causality and Knowledge in Dionysius the Areopagite and His First Commentator (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 2001), pp. 19–21.Google Scholar
  3. 106.
    S. Gersh, From Iamblichus to Eriugena: an Investigation of the Prehistory and Evolution of the Pseudo-Dionysian Tradition (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1978), pp. 17–26.Google Scholar
  4. 113.
    Y. de Andia, L’union à Dieu chez Denys l’Areopagite (Leiden: Brill, 1996), pp. 344–48.Google Scholar
  5. 117.
    R. MacMullen, Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997), pp. 121–23, 138–39 with n. 127.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael L. Harrington 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Michael Harrington

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations