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The Rhetorical Topography of Prayer in the Mystical Theology of Pseudo-Dionysios

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes the rhetorical topography of the opening prayer and asks what happens to one who stands in such a space. It argues that the imagined geography is a vital pedagogical tool for the author of the treatise, who is writing ostensibly to "give advice" to the "most-beloved Timothy", who is "looking for a sight of the mysterious things" (Mystical Theology 1.1, PG 3:997B). In the conclusion, the author briefly considers Dionysios's pedagogy in relation to the theurgical theory of his fellow Syrian, Iamblikhos. The chapter examines the rhetoric of the invocation under the broad category of ekphrasis, a rhetorical technique that uses vivid descriptions (hypotyposis) of an object, action or place for the purpose of creating an image in the mind of the hearer or reader marked by a particularly visual intensity (enargeia) (Simonsen, 2005: 318).

Keywords: Dionysios's pedagogy; ekphrasis; enargeia; hypotyposis; Mystical Theology; opening prayer; Pseudo-Dionysios; rhetorical topography; theurgical theory



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