Patristik: Dionysius Areopagita

The name of Dionysius the Areopagite refers to the Athenian, who according to Acts 17:34 was converted by St. Paul’s speech on the Areopagus and then followed him. The name was adopted by a prolific unknown author around 500 A.D., with a vast number of writings based on the tremendous influence of his synthesizing of neo-platonic philosophy and Christian theology. The manuscript tradition is a very rich one, accordingly. An edition of these writings is being prepared under the auspices of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities. There is only one redaction, that by John of Scythopolis (†553), with manuscripts collected in a Corpus consisting of 4 tracts and 10 letters. This includes a Prologue and, most importantly, a running commentary in the form of scholia. In addition, writings that were circulated apart from this Corpus are being collected, identified and included in the edition.

In addition, a critical edition of the most widely known manual of heresies, the Anakephalaiosis after Epiphanius of Salamis (†403), is being prepared – indispensable for the understanding of the scholia to Dionysius’ writings and long awaited in research because of its decisive influence in the history of the church.

The edition of the text of the Dionysian Corpus has been completed in 1991. Work on the edition of the Greek scholia is in progress. In preparation is the Latin scholia translation by Anastasius Bibliothecarius from the years 867-875, most influential in the Latin Middle Ages. The oriental tradition, not belonging to the Corpus, is being examined. Work on the collation of manuscripts of the Anakephalaiosis has started.

Associated with this project are the edition of Apophthegmata Patrum, i.e. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, and that of the writings of Gregory of Nyssa, which has come to its preliminary conclusion with the volume De anima et resurrectione (Leiden 2014), with one last volume still to be published.


  • Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Mühlenberg (Project Leader)
  • Dr. Caroline Macé (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Michael Muthreich (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Bernhard Neuschäfer (Research Associate)
  • Christian-Peter Völckers (Research Assistant)
  • Prof. Dr. Beate Regina Suchla
  • Anna Ludewig (Student Assistant)
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Responsible for the academies' programme

Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17