“Angulus et Christus” in the Five‐fold Division and Unification of the World and Nature in Eriugena and Maximus the Confessor1)





Jaehyun Kim






I. Eriugenian Synthesis


Increasingly in Eriugenian studies, it is necessary to revisit the question of how we locate Eriugena within the wider context of the ninth‐century Caroline synthesis in theology. The Carolingian church and state prompted many theologians like H. Marus (d. 856) and Hincmar (d. 879) to reformulate and synthesize major theological themes. From the late eighth‐century, age‐old topics in Christianity appeared again in turbulent theological debates over the Eucharist, filioque, predestination, and iconoclasm(Chazelle, Otten 65-82). This resulted from the imperial necessity for a strong religious establishment and from the demands of the encounter of Western and Eastern Christianity. The Caroline synthesis was also stimulated by the theological reformulation and the translation of and commentary on the Fathers of Greek and Western Christianity.  We have a good example in the transmission and translation of Dionysius’ corpus: the extant Greek manuscripts of Pseudo‐Dionysius, the translation of manuscripts by Hilduin (d. 840) and eventually by Eriugena, and its implication among royal politicians and theologians (Théry 1923, 23-39, Théry 1932, Jeauneau 1987, 13-90).

Eriugena (c.810‐877) is another fine example of a writer who exhibits his own theological genius and originality, while in a faithful and creative manner transmits the Christian theology of the Fathers through his own translations and commentaries.2) In De predestinatione, John presents a clever combination of reason and faith, philosophical reasoning and theological justification. Eriugena’s triptych, following the portrait of Dom Cappuyns, Periphyseon, Expositiones on Dionysius’ Celestial Hierarchy, and the Homily on the Prologue to the Gospel of St. John, exposes the high quality and subtlety of John’s thought and theology in general. Periphyseon, Eriugena’s major tome, had a huge impact upon later generations including Hugh of St. Victor and Thomas Aquinas (Rorem 147-163, Moran 267-281, Beierwaltes 1987). John translated the corpus of Pseudo‐Dionysius, several works of Maximus the Confessor and Gregory of Nyssa. Such massive translations in turn influenced the shaping of John’s own theology. The significance of Eriugena as a transmitter can be shown through the fact that Maximus’ Ambigua ad Ihoannem and Quaestiones ad Thalassium are the only extant translations of Eriugena in Western Christianity.

To identify Eriugena as an original thinker and faithful translator in the ninth‐century religious context, I will first analyze the topic of the corner and Christ (angulus et Christus) in the five‐fold division and unification of nature in John’s Periphyseon and Expositiones. I also try to expose Eriugena’s appropriation of Maximus the Confessor upon whom John heavily relied. Pursuing the patristic source of the Eriugenian theology, second, I will explore Maximus’ articulation of the five pairings and the relationship between the corner and Christ.



II. Angulus et Christus in the Five Couplings of the World and Nature in John the Scot


The five‐fold division and unification of the world and nature portrays John’s major theological principles in a unique way. I argue that the five pairings highlight the principles of John’s theology: organizing principles of negative theology, dialectic, grace and nature, Christology and anthropology, and procession and return. The overall structure of five couplings takes a quite simple form. It begins with the division between uncreated and created nature, and extends into intelligible and sensible, heaven and earth, paradise and the inhabited globe, and finally to male and female. The process of division ends in the human being (homo), and begins its movement of unification all the way back to God through the reverse stages of procession.

The five‐fold division and unification of the world and nature appears in several places in John’s writings.3) We have systematic arguments in two sections of Periphyseon, namely Book II (529C‐542B) and Book V (893A‐897A).4) By encapsulating the overall structure of procession and return, these two readings unveil multiple intentions in the Periphyseon. In chapter two of the Expositiones, there is a symbolic interpretation of this subject (Barbet).5) Even though these three different versions share a certain fundamental pattern of the five pairings, they expose a significant shift in their interpretations. All three readings demonstrate the way in which John traces his theological roots back to the early Fathers such as Maximus, Dionysius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus. The ways that he deals with the theological theme of “corner and Christ” in different places illustrate how he translates, appropriates, interprets, and reorients his predecessors while continuing to maintain his own creativity.


First Reading in Periphyseon

The longest version of the five couplings appears in Book II (529C‐542B) where John embarks on his explication of the creation of the primordial causes. John begins Book II with an argument concerning division and ἀ??????????? which culminates in the ultimate consummation of all creation in God. Then, he introduces the opinion of Maximus. John’s use of Maximus in the first reading consists of several eclectic quotations from the Ambigua and John’s own interpretations of them. The entire structure is composed of several key themes: the apostolic origin of the five couplings where John finds its origin in Jesus Himself according to John, the division of the creation, the central role of the human being (homo), recollection, possessing God (possessurus deum), and the essential role of Christ.6)

Eriugena’s skillful and creative way of handling these five pairings draws our attention. The first reading is the most detailed and systematic in its paradigms and logic. In this first reading, there are at least seven direct quotations from chapter 37 of Ambigua. However, this is not simply a reiteration of the Maximian structure. In his expert articulation, John incorporates the Maximian structure into his own philosophy and systematic theology. In the narration of the five couplings, John articulates the major organizing principles of procession and return (530A‐B), negative theology (535A), dialectic (532A), grace and nature, Christology and anthropology, the definition of paradise, the principle of “participation” (participatio) that states that things lower pass into things higher (534A). Such key principles in John’s theology are embedded within the theological framework of division and recollection, that is, procession and return. The entire framework also reveals multifarious binary structures juxtaposing grace with nature, the role of human nature with the role of Christ (anthropology and Christology), procession (division and multiplication), and return (reunion and return to God). In this sense, the structure and argument highlight the essence of John’s theology (Jeauneau 1987, 211-394).7)

Despite his brief allusion to the corner and Christ, this reading lays a strong foundation for the entire issue. I will explore three aspects, namely the themes of procession and return, the role of human nature, and the role of Christ.

As Jeauneau suggests, first, the structure of procession and return is one of the best ways to comprehend all the Books of Periphyseon (Jeauneau, 1991, 3-29). John clearly defines procession as a downward movement from unity into multiplicity, which is most commonly used in the Periphyseon. Then, he defines the return as upward movement back to the End. Frequently, the recurrent themes of the Beginning, Middle, and End of the Divine Head, illustrate the central pattern of procession and return that appears in various Trinitarian concepts.

He is the Beginning, the Middle, and the End: the Beginning, because from Him are all things that participate in essence; the Middle, because in Him and through Him they subsist and move; the End, because it is toward Him that they move in seeking rest from their movement and the stability of them.8)

As we see, John prefers to use the concept of procession and return rather than any other theological formulation such as creation or redemption. Of course, John embraces the traditional terminology of creation, fall, redemption, and final judgment. Within the entire structure of the Periphyseon, however, those traditional terminologies become marginalized. By contrast, the majority of theological discourses are treated within a comprehensive paradigm of procession and return. More striking is the fact that John applies Paul’s Christo‐centric statement, “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things,” to the entire cosmological journey from creation to deification. However, in modern Eriugenian scholarship, John’s far‐reaching appropriation of Paul’s passage in the Periphyseon has rarely been studied.9) 

Second, this reading attests to John’s optimistic view of human nature. Compared to the other two readings, it is remarkable to see to what extent John discusses the nature and role of humanity. John’s argument concerning humanity occupies more than half of the first reading (530A‐536C). John focuses on two issues regarding human nature: man’s essential role in bridging all creation and the sexual division after the fall. Humanity is so exalted in its pristine nature that its positive and active nature remains intact even after the fall. Humanity was “made among the primordial causes” and was “an agent of the continuity of all” (cunctorum continuatussuma officina omnibus). All creatures are contained in human nature. The human being is the turning point from procession to return where all kinds of division are unified and coupled between body and intellect, and intelligibles and sensibles. Humans play a mediating function as a natural link drawing in all extremities. In elaborating on human nature, John illustrates the macrocosmic nature of humans. Humans are “small exemplars” that reflect various roles of Christ including the unifying role.

It is striking to see John’s emphasis on the sexual division of humans after the fall. The original sexual division into male and female and physical procreation are the result of the human fall. Before the fall, people were “simply human” (solummodo homo), that is spiritual beings, which is a good example of the first unification. Consequently, the human is “better than sex” which results from human disobedience (534A). It is exceptional to see how convincingly John argues the necessity of sexual division after the fall. The preponderance of sexual division, however, should be seen within his increasing emphasis on the essential role of Christ.

By juxtaposing Christ with human nature in its unifying role, John puts the grace of the savior at the center of unification. Even if John states that division ends in humans and unification begins in humans, it is difficult to see how definitively John argues for the independent and exclusive role of human nature in the return. To resume the journey back to God, humans need the grace of the savior (per salutoris gratiam). But here it seems ambiguous to say whether Christ is the only way to return to God. Christ is “a new Man” (nouus homo) recollecting every creature to Him. In Christ, there is no male and female and no sexual division anymore (533A).10) Christ is “the great plan” (magnum consilium) in gathering every creation back together (537A), and he is also “the Example” (exemplum, 533A) for the entire paradigm of procession and return. The relationship and function of the binary structure of humans and Christ, the microcosmic role of humans forms a distinct parallel to the macrocosmic role of Christ.


Second Reading in Periphyseon

The second reading in Book V (893A‐897A) is shorter than the first reading with only a few quotations from Maximus. Like the preceding reading, this reading is based primarily upon chapter 37 of Ambigua, but John’s references extend to other writings of Maximus.11)  

John’s second reading comprises his short recapitulation of the five couplings and another explication of Uzziah’s building project based on II Chronicles 26:9‐10. The reading begins with an argument about the Divine ?????????  which means that the beginning and the end of the world are in the Word of God (893A).12) John’s famous phrases of the three‐ and four‐fold prepositions (from, in, through, toward, ex, per, in, ad) lead us to understand the second reading within the larger structure of procession and return. He states that “All things are from Him to Him all things return” (893B).13) Although we find only two prepositions here, the sentence with several prepositions plays the central role encapsulating the entire pattern of procession and return. After a brief mention of the Apostolic origin of the five couplings, John summarizes the five‐fold division. John describes human nature as “workshops of all” (officia omnium) with his emphasis on the mediating and unifying role of humans. After a short recapitulation of the five‐fold unification, John delves into the Christological dimension of unification with the definition of paradise. This part has only a short quotation from the Maximian writings.

In this reading, John presents three main issues: the nature of man, the unifying role of Christ and the relationship between paradise and human nature. As in the first reading, all these issues can be illustrated within the pattern of procession and return. The humans take the exalted position among all creation. In the humans, we see the “consummation of the totality of created nature (893C).” It is remarkable to see the shift of John's emphasis from the general structure of division and unification to the central role of Christ. In contrast to the brief description of human nature in returning, John focuses on the mediating and unifying role of Christ as “a true and whole Man” at length. The unifying role of Christ is illustrated in redirecting the meaning of paradise. Rejecting the locality and historicity of paradise, John defines paradise as the place where “human nature was restored (894D)” beyond simple local and physical boundaries. In paradise all the integrity of human nature can be restored in Christ Himself. Consequently, Christ in paradise signifies the restoration of human nature (894D–895A).

Eriugena’s argument is extended to Uzziah’s building project based on the Scriptural passage in II Chronicles 26:9‐10. John’s interpretation of Uzziah’s building project is about the returning stage from unification of male and female to final deification of all creation in God. John launches his comments on Uzziah’s project with the five‐fold unification by stating that “Maximus treats the unification of creation not only in his Ambigua but also in the Scholia, where, in the forty‐eighth chapter, he gives the mystical interpretation of the towers that Uzziah built in Jerusalem.”14) This sentence is very important in that it designates a further source for our subject. Then, John reiterates the typical five couplings of unification: male and female, paradise and the rest of the earth, earth and heaven, the sensibles and the intelligibles, and the creature and the Creator.

John’s transition from the five couplings to Uzziah’s building project is significant for four reasons. First, John corroborates our attempt to link the subject of five couplings to Uzziah’s building project. After a slight apology to the repeated ?????????????????????,15) John boldly states that “but now this preliminary treatment must be elaborated” (895C). Then he continues to narrate Uzziah’s project. We argue that John regards Uzziah’s building project as a further elaboration of the pattern of division and unification. Second, John elucidates himself in a logical sequence from the general paradigm of the five coupling to the central role of Christ as the corner. The logical transition also follows his overall trend in the Periphyseon from philosophical and systematic theological interpretations into Biblical exegesis which focuses upon mystical and allegorical interpretations. In other words, we can argue that there is a clear shift from the philosophical and conceptual in the earlier part on procession (Book I to III) to the Biblical and exegetical in later part on return (Book IV to V). Third, John’s clear reference to other writings of Maximus like Quaestiones and his detailed explication of Uzziah’s building project guide us not only to Maximus’ other writing but also John’s writing such as Expositiones, the last work in the life of Eriugena. The Scholia in this text is said to be Quaestiones ad Thalassium (895D). Considering the fact that John translated Quaestiones himself, he cannot be mistaken about this source. Finally, we see that John proceeds to relate the central role of Christ with the mediating function of the corner. The connecting and mediating roles of the corner are emphasized heavily while alluding to the role of Christ in a persuasive way. The corner links two extremes. Despite the prevalent and symbolic function of the unification of the corner, John did not seem to identify Christ with the corner itself.


Symbolic Reading in Expositiones

In the second reading, John’s combination of the five couplings and the corner in Uzziah’s building project directs us to chapter two of the Expositiones. Expositiones is an indicator of John’s mature theology as an exegete while it illustrates his unique symbolism and allegorical interpretation of the Bible. Expositiones is primarily a commentary on Dionysius’ Celestial Hierarchy that nicely illustrates John’s reading of and also his creative exegesis on the Fathers. Considering that the theme of the five couplings comes from Maximus, that the term “corner (angulus)” originates from the Bible, and that the Expositiones is about Dionysius, we can safely say that the Expositiones is a fine example of how John reads original manuscripts (Dionysius), adopts the Fathers (Maximus and Augustine), and reinterprets the Bible with his creative mind. At the same time, we can observe John’s creative combination of the Dionysian text and Maximian translation.

John’s remark on the corner and the five couplings appears in chapter two of the Expositiones. Chapter two of Dionysius’ Celestial Hierarchy is in principal exploring dissimilar symbols that could explain divine and heavenly things. It argues “that divine and heavenly things are appropriately revealed even through dissimilar symbols.” (Luibheid 147-153 (136D-145C) Chapter two of John’s Expositiones is a lengthy exposition of the second chapter of Dionysius’ Celestial Hierarchy. While discussing incongruous biblical depictions of angelic ranks, Eriugena articulates “a triple way of the divine imaging.”16) The first and most exalted imagery is of the sun, star, and light. The second and intermediate imagery includes blazing fire and water, which constitute the earthly mass. The third and lowest imagery is about ointment, corner, animals, and worm. The symbol of the corner belongs to the lowliest realm of earthly matter (Luibheid 152 (144D-145A)).17) In transition from Dionysius to Eriugena, we note a considerable shift in thought and interpretation. With the Dionysian images of worms and seeds, the corner is employed in a negative way to illustrate how the divine symbols are revealed even in dissimilar symbols. However, this very negative image is transformed to a strong positive image in the artful hands of Eriugena.18) By employing apophatic and cataphatic theologies, John creatively converts the apophatic image of Christ into a cataphatic image.

After a detailed narration of how the three levels of images have been used as a way to explain the image of Christ, Eriugena commences his two‐fold reading of the image of the corner (angulus).19) The following paragraph explains how John develops this theme.

[First‐fold] Christ is the cornerstone whom the faithless of Israel reject, but who was made the corner for us. In Him the Church is conjoined, collected from Israel and the Gentiles.20) In Him, the rational and the intellectual (namely the angelic and human) nature has been made one. He is our peace, who made both one. In Him divinity and humanity, word and flesh, is made one substance in two natures. And who is worthy to explain rightly the corner‐ness of Christ? While beyond what we have said about the unification of the circumcised and uncircumcised, of the celestial and the terrestrial (that is, the intellectual and rational creation) in one divine and supreme deity, and of the deity and the humanity in Him, a five‐fold way of this corner‐ness has been handed down by the holy Fathers.21)

[Second fold] For He united in Himself both sexes (namely masculine and feminine) in the simplicity of the divine image according to which He was made human. In Christ, says the Apostle, there is neither male nor female(Gal. 3:28). In Him, the sphere of the earth and paradise are made one paradise through the grace of his resurrection. In Him generally earth and heaven are made one heaven through the likeness of human and angelic life. In Him the bodily and spiritual creature are made one spiritual creature through the uniting of substance, in that the inferior everywhere passes into the superior. In Him, every creature is coupled with the Creator both in the hope and also will be coupled in the reality itself face to face. You see the five‐fold way of the corners of Christ, concerning which specifics we have treated more fully in the Books Periphyseon.22)


Paul Rorem, in his forthcoming book, interprets this passage by dividing it into a two‐fold reading.23) In the first reading, it seems less systematic and consequently it is difficult to know precisely the distinction between different couplings. Of his five typical couplings, John only mentions the two couplings of “rational and intellectual” and “divinity and humanity,”24) but John adds a paring between Jews (circumcised) and Gentiles (uncircumcised). What is interesting, however, is the fact that the first reading emphasizes the identification of the corner with Christ Himself and the central role of Christ. Instead of reiterating the five‐fold unification, he puts the unifying role of Christ at the center in the second reading.

Despite the fact that two separate interpretations are useful, I will argue that this entire paragraph is a unit while focusing on two main issues: identification of the corner with Christ, and the unifying role of Christ. John mentions five times the issue of corner‐ness (anglulositas). First, Christ is “cornerstone.” Christ is identical to the corner, which combines Jews and Gentiles. Second, He became “the corner for us.” Third, John’s own narration intensifies the corner and corner‐ness of Christ. He states that “And who is worthy to explain rightly the corner‐ness of Christ.”25) Fourth, John confirms that “the five‐fold way of this corner‐ness has been handed down by the holy Fathers.” Fifth, after rephrasing the five‐fold unification, John concludes this passage with the sentence “You see the five‐fold way of the corners of Christ, concerning which specifics we have treated more fully in the Books Periphyseon.” John persuasively argues that Christ himself not only signifies the corner‐ness in its symbolic function but also Christ Himself is the corner. Even if he does not identify the specific names, it is quite remarkable that John ascertains that the holy Fathers believed the corner‐ness of Christ. The entire paragraph ends with the symbolic statement that “You see the five‐fold way of the corners of Christ, concerning which we have treated more fully in the Books Periphyseon.” John’s indication to return to the Periphyseon sheds a certain light on the issue.

This passage has a very strong Christo‐centric emphasis. It is more persuasive if we look at a series of John’s Christo‐centric interpretation of the Dionysian passages. All major themes in the Celestial Hierarchy are reinterpreted with an emphasis on the central role of Christ rather than the symbols of God. Ointment symbolizes Christ; the lion of the tribe of Judah represents the fortitude of Christ; even the worms symbolize Christ which is a good source for his further argument on the issue of Phoenix and worms.26) As a natural consequence, John explicates the corner as Christ. The Christo‐centricity of the passage increases because of John’s continuous use of the term “in Him” (in eo). John uses this phrase “in Him” nine times in a short paragraph. The unifying function of Christ is fundamental. Christ’s critical role of unification is significant not only on anthropological but also cosmological levels. Christ is the place where all differences are overcome.

The three preceding readings delineate how Eriugena articulates his thoughts on the five pairings and the relationship between the corner and Christ. The first reading in the Periphyseon elaborates on the overall paradigm of division and unification by incorporating major philosophical principles into the entire pattern of procession and return. The second reading in the Periphyseon shows John’s own summary of the Maximian theory and links it to another source of Maximus. John’s interpretation in the Expositiones shows his equating of Christ with the corner, leading all issues back to the Periphysoen. In this process, particularly in chapter two of the Expositiones, we may well credit Eriugena’s own originality and creativity. The corner or corner‐ness of Christ is skillfully connected with the five‐fold unification of nature and the central role of Christ.

John’s frequent references to other sources function as a navigator to guide us to the next stage. Concerning the issue of the five pairings and the relationship between the corner and Christ, John mentions his debt to the early Fathers and predominantly to Maximus the Confessor. In the Expositiones, John also commands us to remember other Fathers as source. John’s clear mention of Maximus’ writings in the Periphyseon and full reception of the Maximian five couplings buttresses our attempt to return back to Maximus the Confessor himself. From John’s references to Maximus in the Periphyseon, we can proceed toward Maximus’ own writings.



III. Angulus et Christus in the Five Couplings of the World and Nature in Maximus the Confessor


Difficulty in translating the Dionysian corpus as well as Anathasius’ critical response to John’s translation of the Dionysian corpus eventually lead Eriugena to Maximus, the most reliable translator of Dionysius (Jeauneau 1987, 175-187). John employs Maximus as the clearest window through which Eriugena accesses and reinterprets early Fathers (Madec 45-48).27) E. Jeauneau claims that Maximus was John’s greatest non‐Biblical influence due to the primacy of the themes of the mystery of God becoming human, humanity’s becoming God and negative theology. Maximus made it possible for John to access an original theological method of exegesis and new theological and philosophical vocabularies. Even though John encounters Maximus as the best interpreter of Dionysius, according to Jeauneau, the Dionysius whom John read was a Dionysius revised and corrected by Maximus himself. For this reason, Maximus’ influence on John should not be regarded as secondary.

We have four sources that reveal Eriugena’s appropriation of Maximian theology and philosophy. First, the most definite influence from Maximus is written in John’s own words in Praefatio of Versio Ambiguorums S. Maximii.28) John introduces several features that shaped his theology: God as One to multiplication; the concept of outgoing and return, that is procession and return; and the idea of the immovable and movable.29) Second, in the Periphyseon, John adopts Maximus’ major theological tools and ideas while constituting his own theology, particularly in his adaptation of the five pairings of nature as seen above (Madec, 45-48). In the Expositiones, John implicitly shows to a large extent how he takes in and filters the Maximian thought at the last stage of his life. Despite John’s originality in the Expositiones, few scholars have done substantial work on that commentary. Fourth and last, in the Carmina, we have three poems where Eriugena describes his debt to Maximus: Kyrrie, caeligenae cui pollet gratia formae (no.22), Quisquis rhetorico uerborum syrmate gadet (no.23), and Quisquis amat formam pulchrae laudare sophiae (no.24). The following verse from one poem is relevant to the issue of nature: “Now Physike searches the hidden causes of nature, divides and unifies what she discovers.” (Harren 114)30)

Concerning the five‐fold division and unification of nature and the relationship between the corner and Christ, there are two main sources, namely Ambigua 37 and Quaestiones 48.31)  While Ambigua 37 is a cosmological and theological argument about the five couplings and the relationship between humans and Christ, Quaestiones 48 is rather a symbolic and mystical interpretation of Uzziah, which is more relevant to the imagery of the corners. I begin with Maximus’ argument of the five‐fold component, and then I proceed to the specific meaning of the corner and Christ.


Ambigua ad Iohannem 37

As the meaning of the title suggests, Ambigua comment on difficult passages of the Fathers, chiefly Gregory of Nazianzus. There are two different sets of Ambigua: Ambigua ad Iohannem (written around 628‐630) and Ambigua ad Thomam (c. 640).32) Ambigua are neither an overall summa nor monolithic systematic treatises, but rather a collection of expository works in the form of question and answer that elaborate on ambiguous and difficult passages. As Eriugena refers to in his two readings of the Periphyseon, chapter 37 of Ambigua has an interesting argument about the five pairings and the relationship between humans and Christ.

Ambigua 37 is the last sermon out of three consecutive sermons on baptism (baptiosmata).33) The chapter title, Novantur naturae, et Deus homo sit, is based upon Oratio XXXIX, 13 (In Sancta Lumina) of Gregory of Nazianzus. Ambigua 37 is straightforward in its structure and contents. Beginning with the apostolic authority of the five couplings, Maximus summarizes the five‐fold division. With a short description of the mediating role of humans, he moves to present four different aspects of the five‐fold unification of nature:  unification within human nature, unification in Christ, Christ’s unifying function in and through human nature, and multiplication and One‐ness in five philosophical components like essence, genus, species, individuals, and accidents. It ends with Maximus’ recollection that “and the unerring witness of all this is the true theologian, the great and holy Dionysius the Areopagite, in the chapter on the Perfect and the One in the Divine Names.”34) Maximus’ lofty respect for Dionysius leads him back to Scriptural authority in Col.1:20, “both what is in heaven and what is on earth.”35) This alludes to the fact that both Maximus and Eriugena return to Dionysius the Areopagite as their final authority in interpreting the early Fathers and the Bible.

Ambigua 37 well illustrates Maximus’ insightful combination of Gregory of Nazianzus’ sermon for the feast that highlights the Incarnation of Christ and Gregory of Nyssa’s explication of the division of nature and human nature. The opening sentence of Ambigua 37 starts with Gregory of Nazianzus’ famous passage concerning the Holy Theophany (Epiphany): “And natures are instituted afresh, and God becomes man.”36) Most of Maximus’ use of Gregory is from Oratio XXXIX. Emphasizing the necessity of the Incarnation of Christ, Maximus employs this passage to encapsulate the entire chapter of Ambigua 37. Employing the structure of Gregory of Nyssa’s division of nature that is different from the Maximian pattern, Maximus elaborates on theological difficulties. Ambigua 37 shows best how Maximus appropriates various writings of Gregory of Nyssa.37) However, the major sources can be found in five chapters 16, 17, 18, 22, and 28 of De opificio hominis. Even if Maximus’ intention in his combination remains controversial, the remarkably well‐designed structure of his chapter is evident. He mentions neither the corner and Christ, the corner/corner‐ness of Christ, nor Jews and Gentiles. Nevertheless, this chapter illustrates the broader structure of the five‐fold division of nature, which also provides profound theological and philosophical implications. Here, I will examine three aspects, namely the overall structure, anthropology, and Christology.

By repeating four times the five‐fold unification in such a short chapter, he emphasizes the centrality of the five‐fold unification. Even if we can find a short description of division and an encompassing cycle from division to unification, it is not easy to discover any organizing principle or profound argument of procession and return as we see in Eriugena. Despite his brief mention of “ignorance” (ignorantia) in the process of creation, it is unclear how he articulates major themes like negative and affirmative theologies and dialectic. However, one interesting point comes from his emphasis on practical and spiritual exercises while explaining unification within human nature. For the unification of male and female into a simple human being, we need “perfect knowledge of its own logos.” For further unification, we need “saintly life,” “angelic life of virtue,” “equal knowledge with angels,” and finally “love” according to each respective stage (1305D‐1808C). This may reflect his strong emphasis on monastic practices in his overall theology. In Maximus, it is not easy to separate monastic practice from theological argument (Thunberg 331-431).

Regarding human nature, his definition of humanity and the clear result of humanity’s fall dominate his teaching. Maximus defines human nature as “workshop /laboratory” (officina), “great mystery of the divine purpose” (divinae visionis magnum mysteriam), and “natural bond” (coniunctio naturalis). All these terms resonate with his consistent emphasis on the microcosmic nature of humanity. In the workshop of humanity, everything can be concentrated. Humanity can mediate between the extremities and draw everything to unity within itself. He also signifies the active and positive role of humans when he states “just as a connection which is mediating extremities into the universal nature through appropriate parts, and leading many things into one, according to nature from himself in itself in turn from distance space.”38) At the final stage of unification within human nature, he stresses not only union with God but also the fulfillment of what is essentially the human role of being which is the natural bond of all being that draws the whole created order into harmony with itself and into union with God.

Despite the positive and central role of humans, the fall of humanity cannot be neglected. The cataclysmic result of human sin seems to appear stronger than in Eriugena. The fall makes them unable to move around the “unmoved” God. They force the things that are under themselves to move around. Here, we note that the positive quality of human nature does not guarantee natural return from division to unification. In Eriugena, it is not clear whether the role of Christ is exclusive in the procession of return, but in Maximus, the role of Christ is crucial and essential to move from division to unification, since the fall of humanity prevents any kind of independent return to God.

The fall of humanity makes humans unable to achieve ultimate unification with God. While in Eriugena the distinctive role of Christ comes from the final stage of deification that happens beyond the stage of general return, Maximus’ emphasis on the exclusive role of Christ comes from the very center of the return. That is the place where Gregory of Nazianzus’ famous passage is again brought in “and natures are instituted afresh (1308D).” This passage is essential for a double purpose. First, it primarily underscores the necessity of the Incarnation of Christ, God‐made‐Man. Second, it necessitates that human nature must be made afresh in the Incarnation of Christ. Christ was incarnated to save lost humanity while uniting everything through Himself. The unifying role of Christ is never diminished. Christ stands at the center of his whole cosmology. Two explanations of Christ’s unifying function illuminate the necessary role of Christ, namely Unification through Christ’s own life from Incarnation to Ascension and Christ’s unifying function in or through human nature.

Humans and Christ are constantly interrelated in respect to their role, function, and symbolic implications. Maximus’ appropriation of the term logos illustrates the close relation of anthropology and Christology. The logos (ratio) plays a central role in the return of the humans and Christ. He states that “in their true logos all beings have at least something in common one with another.”39) The first stage of return in human nature begins with the perfect knowledge of its own logos. Christ, the Incarnated‐God, provides the universal logos with which he can fulfill “the great purpose of God.” Logos functions as a common link not only between God and humans but also between all creatures. The logos provides “a generic relationship” and “a universal and common identity.” Only through the logos can everything be connected with Christ. Through the central role of the logos, the pivotal role of Christ is clear. The Incarnation of Christ sparks the entire process of return in that His Incarnation recapitulates the cosmic role of human beings and restores to them their primordial function. Anthropology and Christology, the macrocosmic role of Christ and the microcosmic role of human nature are clearly and harmoniously interwoven in this chapter.


Quaestiones ad Thalassium 48

Quaestiones is a collection of commentaries on difficult passages of the Scriptures. It was probably written in Africa after the Ambigua ad Iohannen and before the Ambigua ad Thomam. Following a dialogue form of question and answer, Quaestiones consists of a question, a response that gives an interpretation to the question, and scholia which are short complementary descriptions of the words.40)

Quaestiones 48 argues concerning questions and responses to Ozias’ building projects in II Chronicles 26: 9‐10. It states "moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley gate, and at the Corner, and fortified them." Eriugena entitles the chapter of his translation of Quaestiones: De lacubus et turribus Ozie regis Iuda.41)

As Eriugena already suggests in Periphyseon (895D), Maximus’ interpretation is much more symbolic (allegorical) and mystical (anagogical). He specifically elaborates on the symbolic meanings of the name Uzziah, the corners, the door, the valley, etc. Maximus illustrates the way in which he finds the symbolic interpretation when he asks, “What are the doors and what are the doors of the corner, and who is the valley and what is its corner?”42) There are few literal and moral [ethical] meanings (de Lubac, McGinn 55-80).43) Even complementary explanations in scholia are allegorical and mysterious in nature.

In explicating the meaning of Christ, the symbolic interpretation is dominant. Christ, the Word of God, carries “the density of garment” (velaminum crassitudinem) while making a good example for the entire cosmology.44) Just like Uzziah, Christ emerges in the images of king and victor. The victorious imagery of Christ is narrated in heavenly imagery. Terms like singing, joyfulness, feast, and various words for feasts represent the diversity with which Maximus describes the kingdom of God, and shows how Christ illumines everything in the world in order to unify them with the Creator.45) Such illustrative imagery of Christ should be taken into account.

What is the relationship between the corner and Christ? How is the symbolic and anagogical imagery of Christ related to the corner? First of all, the imagery of Christ as a builder is most apparent. The relationship between Christ and the corner is well illuminated when he states, “And He (king Uzziah and Christ) builds the doors, on a singular unification, that is the corner, defending connection and combination of the divine instruction.”46) In the imagery of a king, Christ appears as a builder. Christ, like king Uzziah, builds the doors of Jerusalem in the vision of peace.47) Uzziah stands for Christ, who builds and illumines the world and saves the perished. Uzziah represents Christ as another form of salvation. Maximus compares Uzziah with Solomon: “Just as Solomon stood for another form of Christ of God, Uzziah was another form of salvation.”48) Uzziah also signifies the strength and power of God the Father and the Lordship of Christ which are generally required from a ruler. It is important to note that Christ does not appear as the corner itself. Maximus describes the corner as a singular foundation for unifying all creation, while defining the role of Christ as a builder. In one place, Maximus states that “[Jesus] himself becomes the head of the cornerstone.”49) Instead of developing further the imagery of Christ’s headness of the stone’s corner, Maximus soon combines it with the imagery of the church as we mentioned above. The significant role of the church and the exclusive meaning of the Incarnation seem outstanding in general. Christ makes unification possible and builds the door to keep the church through His own Incarnation.

From the preceding analysis, Maximus does not identify Christ with the corner. How, then, does he describe and interpret the corner? Even if we cannot find any definite identification of the corner and Christ, the unifying function of the corner is clearly central. The corner is the place where all kinds of connections and unification between many differences happen. The unifying function of the corner is described as the unifying role of the church and the unifying role in the five‐fold unification.  

First of all, Maximus remarkably relates the corner to the church itself in its function and role. The corner is identical to the church with respect to function. Only in this close connection between corner and church does Maximus illustrate the unification between two differences, Jews and Gentiles.50) The corner signifies the church upon which Christ draws His people. It is common imagery for Christ in the New Testament. Here, we find some similarity between the identification of the corner with the church and Eriugena’s simple appropriation in Expositiones. However, Maximus’ discussion of Jews and Gentiles is done in a clear discussion of the corner and the church. Based upon Maximus’ interpretation of the relationship between the corner and the church, can we say that Maximus tries to shape the total six‐fold coupling of nature, the typical five pairings plus a pairing of Jews and Gentiles? This hypothesis is based upon the analysis that at least in chapter 48 of Quaestiones ecclesiastical unification between Jews and Gentiles and cosmological unification of the world do not cause any conflict, but they seem rather complementary.51)

After discussing the royal imagery of Uzziah and the corner, second, Maximus continues to explain the five‐fold unification in the statement that “he said in the sermon, perhaps the corner made one through Christ Himself all differences and separation of creatures.”52) This comes as an exposition on the following passage: “He (Uzziah) built towers at the Corner.” As Uzziah built towers at the corner, Christ unifies all creation at the corner. Christ is a builder and the corner works as a unifying ground. Although the five‐fold unification sounds very similar to that of the Periphyseon, we see a clear difference between Christ as a builder and unifier and the corner as a major means of connection or unification. Based upon the unifying ground of the corner, Maximus proceeds to explicate five couplings on the corner, namely male and female, paradise and the orbit of the earth, earth and heaven, the sensibles and the intelligibles, and the creating and the created.53) This section ends with the statement that “and he builds the doors, on a singular unification, that is the corner, defending connection and combination of the divine instruction.”54) The unifying and coupling functions of the corner remain prevalent even in the later part of this chapter.55)

Imagery of doors and valleys also illustrates the way in which Maximus employs those words in a mysterious and symbolic way. In Maximus’ interpretation, three words are closely related: corners, doors, and valleys. The doors represent the doctrinal defense of the church that was set up by Christ represented as king Uzziah. In other words, the door defends the divine doctrine by way of rational instructions through the Incarnation.56) Also the doors on the valley signify the same thing which means to secure the flesh against an insolvable soul through dogmatic discretion.

As seen in our analysis, the definition and meaning of Christ and the corner is very evident. Even if they share a common characteristic in their unifying and mediating functions, they are not identical. Christ appears as a builder to illustrate the royal image of king and the host of the feast. In the corner, only the function of connection and unification is emphasized. One of the later readings in Quaestiones 48 is persuasive. It states “at the same time of all conjoining proper knowledge, He wisely builds the true assessment that the contemplative soul begins in the intellectual doors of the corner, that is, in the combined instruction of unified connections.”57)



IV. Sharing a Common Origin in Dionysius the Areopagite


This paper analyzed two issues. First, I explored how Eriugena articulates the five‐fold division and unification of the world and nature and I located the function of the corner within the cosmological structure of nature. Second, I endeavored to show how we could trace the origin of that idea to Maximus the Confessor, one of the most influential predecessors to Eriugena. The first part of my paper looked at the Eriugenian appropriation of the idea of the corner and Christ by analyzing Periphyseon and Expositiones, while the latter part explored the Maximian use of the idea in Ambigua and Quaestiones. In addition to the theological characteristics of the five pairings and the meaning of the corner in Eriugena and Maximus, I hoped to expose the overall structure of the texts and specific aspects of their theology including anthropology and Christology.

Through the analysis of the transition and development of the subject, we see all questions returning back to the Apostles and the Word itself as both Eriugena and Maximus asserted in the beginning of the texts. As a matter of fact, all arguments and interpretations in this paper originate from a single word of Dionysius, the corner (Luibheid 152 (144D)). Dionysius uses this imagery as one of the lowliest and most negative ways to reveal something about God Himself. Dionysius uses the imagery of the corner in an apophatic manner emphasizing dissimilar aspects in seeking the knowledge of God. It is also difficult to find any Christological interpretation of the corner, the unifying role of Christ and the corner, or the corner‐ness of Christ in chapter two of the Celestial Hierarchy itself. Dionysius was probably certain that this chapter is about the way to acquire the knowledge of God, but it is not the place in which to seek the symbolic meaning of the corner or the five‐fold division and unification of nature, as Maximus or Eriugena would do later.

Dionysius’ idea is shaped in more concrete and formal ways in the best Dionysian scholar of the seventh century, Maximus the Confessor. Maximus is a creative translator of Dionysius and also a creative synthesizer of the early Fathers. Maximus discusses the five pairings and the corner in two separate places. In Ambigua 37, Maximus’ emphasis on the unifying role of Christ is explained in the vast terrain of his theology and philosophy. Unlike in Quaestiones, Maximus discusses the role of Christ in broader macro‐microcosm cosmology and Christo‐anthropological settings. In spite of the fact that Maximus emphasizes Christ’s unifying role and even identifies Christ with the corner in its unifying function, he does not say explicitly that Christ is the corner itself, as Eriugena does in the second chapter of Expositiones. Maximus’ more important contribution, at least in Ambigua, seems to lie in his theological combination of the imagery of the corner of Christ with the theological sophistication of the five‐fold division and unification of the world which eventually would be strongly reflected in Eriugena. In Quaestiones 48, Maximus explores symbolic and anagogical interpretations of the corner and Christ. Through the Maximian reading, Dionysius’ imagery of the corner is reconstructed with the church itself and Christ’s unifying function. Despite the identification of King Uzziah with Christ, however, Maximus already clearly dresses lapis angularis with a more positive interpretation, which Eriugena surely follows later in Periphyseon and Expositiones. >From this analysis, I argue that we may say that Maximus presents in an apparent and consistent way his own thought, while faithfully following and respecting the main theological themes of Dionysius.

The best Dionysian scholar of the ninth century, Eriugena primarily follows the Maximian reading and re‐application of Dionysius. Periphyseon, the summa of the ninth century, shows whence Eriugena inherits his principal formula of ideas while locating the central issue of the corner, Christ, and the five couplings within macro‐microcosmic views of the world. In the Expositiones, moreover, Eriugena attempts a far more creative reading not only of Dionysius and but also of Maximus.

Eriugena identifies Christ with the cornerstone  (lapis angularis), and claims the external and symbolic identifications of the stone with Christ. This is the most dominant characteristic of Eriugena’s reading of Dionysius in our analysis. Eriugena directly and explicitly locates the idea of Christ’s corner‐ness within his own retelling of the five couplings of the world and nature. As Maximus does, Eriugena rationally reinterprets and modifies the Dionysian way of telling which is incongruous and most dissimilar to God to a positive correlation and similarity. As Dr. P. Rorem states in his forthcoming book, it is certain that “John provides a more detailed contemplation of the dissimilar, and finds therein more specific similarities with the divine.” More than Dr. Rorem’s argument, however, I argue that Eriugena’s basic method seems faithful not only to Dionysius the Areopagite, but also to Maximus the Confessor. I argue that Eriugena’s debt to Maximus could be more clearly attested in his appropriation of Maximus’ five couplings. At least in this point, Eriugena is indebted most profoundly to Maximus rather than to any other early Fathers. Eriugena’s over‐arching discussion of procession (multiplica- tion) and return (unification) of all creation coming from Dionysius should be regarded as another essential debt to Maximus.

The idea of the corner and Christ contains a very substantial lineage of influence from Dionysius through Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, Maximus, and finally to Eriugena himself. On this topic of the corner, Maximus and Eriugena unfold their principal theological speculations, including Christology and anthropology in general, and at the same time illuminate their own particularities and renovations. Through such genealogical studies, we acknowledge how Eriugena accepts, changes, appropriates, reinterprets, and finally reapplies the thoughts of early Fathers in his own thoughts.

(Princeton Theological Seminary)




Works Cited


Barbet, Jeanne, ed., Iohannis Scoti Eriugenae, Expositiones in Ierarchiam Coelestem, CCCM31, 1975.

Beierwaltes, Werner, Eriugena Redivivus, Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1987.

Brennan, Mary, A Guide to Eriugenian Studies: A Survey of Publication 1930-1987, Paris: Cerf, 1989.

Cappuyns M., Jean Scot Érigène, sa vie, son œuvre, sa pensée, Louvain (1933); Bruxelles: Culture et Civilisation, 1964.

Chazelle, Celia M., The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era: Theology and Art of Christ's Passion, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

de Lubac, Henre, Medieval Exegesis, vol. 1, The Four Senses of Scripture, Mark Sebanc trans., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans and T & T Clark, 1998.

Herren, Michael W. ed., Iohannis Scotti Eriugenae Carmina, Dublin: School of Celtic Studies, 1993.

Jeauneau, É., “Procession and Return in Periphyseon,” Dionysius XV (1991): 3-29.

            , “Pseudo-Dionysius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Maximus the Confessor in the Works of John Scottus Eriugena,” Études Érigéniennes, 175-187.

            , Études Érigéniennes, Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1987.

Luibheid, Colm, trans., Pseudo-Dionysius, The Completed Works (The Classics of Western Spirituality), Paulist Press: New York, 1987.

McGinn, B., “The Originality of Eriugena's Spiritual Exegesis,” Iohannes Scottus Eriugena: The Bible and Hermeneutics, 1996, 55-80.

Madec, G., Jean Scot et ses auteurs: annotations érigéniennes, Paris: Études augustiniennes, 1988.

Moran, Dermot, The Philosophy of John Scottus Eriugena, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

O’Meara, J.J., Eriugena, Oxford: Clarendon, 1988.

Otten, Willemien, “Carolingian Theology,” G.R. Evans ed., The Medieval Theologians, Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2001.

Riel, G. Van, C. Steel, J. MacEvoy eds., Iohannes Scottus Eriugena: The Bible and Hermeneutics, Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1996.

Rorem, Paul, “Procession and Return in T. Aquinas and His Predecessors,” The Princeton Seminary Bulletin XIII.2 (1992): 147-163.

Théry, G., Études Dionysiennes: Hilduin, Traducteur de Denys, Paris: Librairie Philosophiaue, J.Vrin, 1932.

         , “Hilduin et la Première Traduction des Écrits du Pseudo-Denis,” Revue d'Histoire de l'Église de France, Tome 19 (1923): 23-39.

Thunberg, Lars, Microcosm and Mediator: the Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor, Lund, C. W. K. Gleerup, 1965.







국문초록


에우리제나와 고백자 막시무스의 세계 구성의 다섯 단계 틀 속에 나타난 “안굴루스”와 “크리스투스”의 개념


김 재 현


필자는 본 논문에서 9세기 신학자 에리우제나 (John Scot, Eriugena, c.810‐877)가 다섯 단계로 된 세계 구성의 틀을 설명하는 과정에서 사용한 “angulus”와 “Christus”의 개념 이해를 통해 그의 신학 사상을 알아보고자 한다. 동시에 에리우제나에게 많은 영향을 미친 6세기의 고백자 막시무스 (Maximus the Confessor)에게서 “angulus”와 “Christus”의 개념이 어떻게 논의되고 있는가를 살펴보고, 종국적으로 이런 개념이 오랫동안 바울의 제자로 알려졌던 디오니시우스 (Pseudo‐Dionysius)와 성경에 어떻게 소급되어 가는가를 살펴보려 한다.

아일랜드 출신의 에리우제나는, 중세 스콜라신학이 발전되기 전 처음으로 종합적인 신학을 집대성한 카롤링거 왕조시기의 궁정학자였다. 그는 중세신학에 큰 영향을 미친 디오니시우스와 기타 교부들의 저술들을 라틴어로 번역하거나 주석함으로써 이후 중세 신학이 본 궤도에 오르는 데 중요한 역할을 했다. 동시에, 에리우제나는 아퀴나스의 신학대전에 버금가는 작품 (Periphyseon)을 통해 조직신학적 기독교이해의 기초를 놓았으며, 신학과 철학, 계시와 이성, 동방기독교와 서방기독교의 통합적 이해를 시도했다. 그 영향력은 후대에 Hugh of St. Victor와 Thomas Aquinas를 비롯 많은 신학자들에게 미쳤다.

에리우제나의 사상을 잘 보여주는 틀 중의 하나가 processio (procession)과 reditus (return)이다. 이후 스콜라신학에서 “procession”은 창조와 타락, 인간역사의 분화 같은 개념으로, “return”은 구속, 회귀, 그리고 종말을 의미하는 신학적 개념으로 발전되었다. 이 구조 한 가운데 바로 “angulus”와 “Christus”가 자리잡고 있다. 필자는 이와 관련된 논의가 에리우제나의 주저인 Periphyseon과 디오니시우스의 Celestial Hierarchy에 대한 에리우제나의 주석서(Expositiones)에서 어떻게 신학적, 철학적, 상징적 의미를 띄고 발전되는가를 분석하고자 한다. 특히 이 개념은 막시무스의 주저인 AmbiguaQuaestiones에서도 중요한 역할을 한다. 이런 의미에서 이 논문은 중세 초기의 신학적 담론과 방법들의 발전과정을 잘 보여줄 뿐만 아니라, 중세시대 전체를 관통하는 신학적 주제의 정교화 과정을 그려주고 있다.




Key Words: Eriugena, angulus, Christus, Maximus the Confessor, processio, reditus, Bible, Pseudo-Dionysius.


1) A draft of this paper was read at the 37th International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2002. I would like to thank Dr. Paul Rorem at Princeton Theological Seminary and Dr. Ann Matter at the University of Pennsylvania for their careful reading and comments.


2) Many Eriugenian studies begin with M. Cappuyns’Jean Scot Érigène, sa vie, son oeuvre, sa pensée (Bruxelles: Culture et Civilisation, 2nd ed. 1964); For an extensive bibliography, see Mary Brennan, A Guide to Eriugenian Studies: A Survey of Publication 1930‐198 (Paris: Cerf, 1989) and for an updated bibliography, G. Van Riel, C. Steel, J. McEvoy’s Iohannes Scottus Eriugena: The Bible and Hermeneutics (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1966), 367‐400; For a general introduction of the life and work of Eriugena, J. J. O’Meara’ Eriugena (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988).


3) Periphyseon II, 565D. Another five‐fold division and unification of nature can be seen in Book II of the Periphyseon: division from the angelic nature (which possesses intellect/wisdom, reason, sense, life, and being), to the human nature (reason, sense, life, and being), to the irrational animate nature of beings (sense, life, and being), to the trees and plants (life and being), and finally to natural bodies (being). The movement from an angelic nature to natural bodies is called multiplication (procession), while the backward movement from natural bodies to the angelic nature is unification (return).


4) Of the five Books, Books I through IV are available in Latin. Iohannes Scottus Eriugena. Periphyseon, ed. Édouard Jeauneau, Liber primus, Corpus Christanorum Continuatio Mediaevalis (CCC, Brepols: Turnholti), 161 (1996), Liber secundus, CCCM, 162 (1997), Liber tertius, CCCM, 163 (1999), Liber quartus, CCCM, 164 (2000). Based on earlier works in Latin and English and Patrologia Latina 122 (PL), a good English translation of the Periphyseon was done by John O’Meara (Dumbarton Oaks, 1987). A modern critical edition of the Periphyseon V is still in process. For a summary and general introduction, I.P. Sheldon‐Williams, “The Title of Eriugena’s Periphyseon,” Studia patristica III,1 (1961): 297‐302; G. H. Allard, “La structure lettéraire de la composition du De divisione naturae,” in The Mind of Eriugena (Dublin: Irish University Press for Royal Irish Academy, c1973), 147‐157; G.H. Allard, “Quelques remarques sur la “disputationis series” du “De divisione naturae,” in Jean Scot Érigéne et L'histoire de la Philosophie, ed. R. Rouques (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1977), 211‐224. All five are in Floss’s edition, PL 122. Here, I refer to those four critical editions of Book I through IV and PL 122 for Book V.


5) Hereafter I refer to this text as Expositiones. Expositiones II, 1014-1039.


6) At least in this section, John does not mention the term deification (deificatio).


7) We can see easily to what extent those issues are important in Eriugena’s theology.


8) Periphyseon I, 451D‐452A: Est igitur principium, medium et finis. Principium, quia ex se sunt omnia, quae essentiam participant; medium autem, quia in ipso, et per ipsum subsistunt atque moventur; finis vero, quia ad ipsum moventur quietem motus sui suaeque perfectionis stabilitatem quaerentia.


9) For Biblical references, Rev. 22:13, cf. Rev. 1:8, 21:6, Is. 44:5; Rom. 11:36, cf. 1Cor. 8:6, 11:12; Jn. 16:18. John portrays the procession by employing various terms like creation, substantiation, differentiation, division, multiplication, and theophany, and so forth. Procession also means God’s creation from Non‐Being (nihil) to beings, from No‐Thing to things, from Non‐Existent to Existent, and from God alone to everything. In this procession, sin and the fall are dealt with in ways that are different from what other theologians have done.


10) If we examine carefully the use of this Biblical passage, we note that John emphasizes the unifying role of the passage.


11) Periphyseon V, 893B – 896A.


12) Periphyseon V, 893A. This is central with respect to the theme of procession and return.


13) Threefold and fourfold prepositions saturate the Periphyseon in Eriugena’s attempt to designate the procession and return. In this case, we have two different sets of prepositions. One is “from, through, and towards,” and the other is “from, in, through, for.” These two different sets of prepositions share the same pattern and meaning. The next passage illustrates this point: “From Him they receive their being and begin to be and towards Him they are moved in order that they many attain in Him their rest [514C].” John combines here this threefold or fourfold phrase with the Divine motion for creation. Around God, and in God, everything moves from procession to return.


14) Periphyseon V, 895D–8956A.


15) There are two terms to describe the return: ????????????? (Periphyseon II, 526A‐B) and Anakepalaiosis. Anakepalaiosis, which means recapitulation, is a useful term particularly for return. Its object for recapitulation is universal, including even all opposites. Return is recapturing everything that proceeded their procession through the theophany and various stages of differentiation. See, Periphyseon II, 554C, V, 1018D‐1019D. 


16) Expositiones II, 929: triplicem modum divine imaginationis. A triple way of the divine imaging is the highest realm of the sensible world (the sun and stars), the middle part (fire and water), and the lowliest of the earthly matter (the animals). It is a good way to see how Eriugena inherited the Dionysian idea of a triple scheme.


17) For Biblical references, see Is. 28:16 and Eph. 2:20.


18) Even if it can symbolize God in a negative and dissimilar way, it belongs to the lowest category.


19) Expositiones II, 1014‐1039. Exactly speaking, this is not a double reading. As Barbet explains, we need to look at the typical ways of reading Expositiones. According to Barbet, Eriugena follows four steps for his exposition: (1) Eriugena’s reading (versio) of Dionysius’s original text, (2) Literal and rather repetitive reading of chosen texts, (3) Some equivalence inserted in this glossary, usually marked by vel, (4) Eriugena’s grammatical, doctrinal, and philosophical commentary on difficult words and the phrases. Barbet, Expositiones, x.


20) On the imagery of Israel and the Gentiles, we can infer several Biblical quotations: Ps. 118:22, Is. 28:16, and Eph. 2:20.


21) Expositiones II, 1014‐1026: Lapis angularis Christus est, quem Iudei respuunt perfidi, sed angularis nobis factus est. In ipso enim coiungitur Ecclesia ex Iudea et gentibus clooecta. In ipso rationalis et intellectualis, angelica videlicet et humana natura unum facta est. Ipse est enim “pax nostra qui fecit utraque unum”. In ipso divinitas et huminitas, verbum et caro, una substantia in duabus naturis effecta. Et quis idoneus est angulositatem Christi digne explanare? Dum preter quod diximus de adunatione circumcisionis et preputii, celestium item terrestriumque, hoc est inteelctualis et rationalis creature in unam divinam ac summam civitatem, nec non deitatis et humanitatis in ipso, quintuplex ipsius angularitatis a sanctis Patribus traditur modus.


22) Expositiones II, 1026‐1039: Ipse siquidem in seipso utrumque sexum masculinum videlicet et feminum, in simplicitatem divine imaginis secundum quam factus homo, coadunavit. “In Christo enim, ait Apostolus, non est masculus neque femina”. In ipso orbis terrarum et paradisus per resurrectionis sue gratiam unus efficitur paradisus. In ipso generaliter terra et celum per similitudinem humane et angelice vite unum efficitur celum. In ipso corporalis et spiritualis creatura per adunationem substantie una fit spiritualis creatura, dum inferiora ubique transeunt in superiora. In ipso omnis creatura Creatori et copulatur in spe adhuc posita et copulabitur in re ipsa per specium. Videsue quinquepartitum angulorum Christi modum, de quibus singulis in libris PERI PHYSEON latius tractavimus.


23) Paul Rorem’s chapter on “Christ and Salvation.” I was privileged to read Dr. Rorem’s manuscripts of his forthcoming book. Rorem’s draft on Christ and Salvation was very helpful to me as I articulated the subject of my paper.


24) It would be interesting to do research on how Eriugena sees the Gentiles in general in his corpus, for it is not easy to grasp fully his idea.


25) Expositiones II, 1020‐1021:Et quis idoneus est angulositatem Christi digne explanare?


26) Periphyseon V, 899C‐901D, 936C‐937C; Expositiones II, 1059‐1098.


27) We can find many examples of how Eriugena appropriates Maximus in Periphyseon. For instance, when dealing with difference between ousia (essence) and hypostasis (substance), Eriugena turns to Maximus saying that “St. Dionysius the Areopagite and Gregory the Theologian and their most subtle commentator Maximus say that there is a difference” (Periphyseon II, 613A); “Now although about the Forbidden Tree itself we have already said a great deal in the preceding chapters, taking Gregory of Nyssa as our guide, I think we must speak a little more about it, introducing this time the exposition of that most noble master, the monk Maximus” (Periphyseon IV, 842B). We can find more than 80 citations and quotations where John utilizes the Maximian thought.


28) PL 122, 1193‐1196.


29) PL 122, 1195‐6. Eriugena admits his debts to Maximus in detail: idea of the cause of all, simple and multiple, procession and return, apophatic and cataphatic. Eriugena describes the role of Maximus by using the image of sheep and ship.


30) Carmina #24: Hic Physice causas rerum uestigat opacas, Inuentasque simul segregat, unificat.


31) For Ambigua, I refer to Corpus Christianorum Series Graeca (CCSG), vol. 18 (Brepols: Leuven University Press, 1988). For Quaestiones 48, I use Corpus Christianorum Series Graeca vol. 7 (Brepols: Leuven University Press, 1980). The Latin translation of both texts is based on Eriugena’s own translations. CCSG 18, 13‐15.


32) We have two different sets of Ambigua. CCSG 18 is an edition of Ambigua ad Iohannem. E. Ponsoye’s translation contains two kinds of Ambigua: Saint Maxime le Confessor (Les Editions de l’Ancre: Paris, 1994). For a brief introduction of Ambigua, see CCSG 18 vi‐xiii.


33) CCSG 18, XXXV (Si quidem impie colere eos), XXXVI (Neque purgatio illuminatio), and XXXVII.


34) CCSG 18, XXXVII.174‐6: Et testis horum non falsus verus divinus contionatur magnus ac sanctus Dionysius Ariopagita, in capitulo de perfecto et uno de divinis nominibus.


35) CCSG 18, XXXVII.194‐5: quae in caelis sunt et quae in terra.


36) PG 36, 348D. This idea is central in Maximus’ further argument on Transfiguration. See also CCSG 18, VI.429‐517 which is entitled speculatio et naturalis et scriptae legis et earum concursus consequentia inter se inuicem.


37) See Index Fontium of CCSG 18, 313‐315. Maximus utilizes at least six different sources from Gregory of Nyssa: Antirrheticus adversus Apollinaricum, Contra Eunomium, De oratione hominica, De virginitate, In canticum canticorum, and In ecclesiastem.


38) CCSG 18, XXXVII.33‐5: veluti coniunctio quaedam naturalis universaliter per proprias partes medietatem faciens extremitatibus, et unum ducens in seipso multo secundum naturam a se invicem distantia spatio.


39) CCSG 18, XXXVII.150‐1: Omnia nanque iuxta veram rationem sibi invicem conveniunt per aliqoud omnino.


40) For the composition of the texts, see the brief introduction in CCSG 7, vi‐xiii.


41) CCSG 7, 6.


42) CCSG 7, XLVIII.8‐9: Quae sunt turres et que porta anguli et que vallis et angulus eius?


43) It will be interesting to locate Eriugena’s own method of the Biblical interpretation in the history of Bibilcal interpretation. Maximus provides two different modes of interpretation: allegorical and anagogical. It is striking to see that Maximus adopts symbolic [allegorical] interpretations in exploring the role of Christ, that of the king Ozias, whereas he applies anagogical interpretation in explaining the royal imagery of Christ.


44) CCSG 7, XLVIII.14‐5.


45) CCSG 7, XLVIII.19‐23: ut et nos, per actionis confessionem et contemplationis letitiam ad tuum ineffabilem epulationis locum venire digni, consonemus illic spiritualiter diem festum agentibus, ineffabilium scientiam non silentibus mentis vocibus cantantes.


46) CCSG 7, XLVIII.62‐4: Et per singulas adunationes, idest angulos, connexiuas arque coiunctiuas divinorum dogmatum muniens, edificavit turres.


47) CCSG 7, XLVIII.36‐7: Qui edificat turres in Ierusalem, visione dico pacis.


48) CCSG 7, XLVIII.28‐9: sicut in aliquo Christi dei forma substetit Salomon, sic et Ozias in aliquo forma erat saluatoris.


49) CCSG 7, XLVIII.32‐3: ipse in caput anguli factus lapis.


50) CCSG 7, XLVIII.33‐7: Ut enim angulus in se ipso duorum murorum ad se invicem facit coiunctionem, sic dei ecclesia duorum populorum, et ipsius ex gentibus et ipsius ex Iudeis, fit unitas, Christum habens coniunctionem, qui edificat turres in Ierusalem, visione dico pacis. CCSG 7, XLVIII.1‐12.


51) The idea of the church and the ecclesiastical location in Maximus’ thought needs to be studied further. Useful ideas can be inferred from the chapter of  “Lars Thunberg Alain Riou on World and Church in Maximus,” in Byzantine Gospel, Adian Nichgols (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1993), 120‐157.


52) CCSG 7, XLVIII.51‐3: Angulus fortassis dixit sermo ipsas per Christum factas differentes separatarum creaturarum adunationes.


53) CCSG 7, XLVIII.53‐62.


54) CCSG 7, XLVIII. 62‐4: Et per singulas adunationes, id est angulos, connexiuas atque coniunctiuas diuinorum godmatum muniens, edificauit turres.


55) CCSG 7, XLVIII.142‐155.


56) CCSG 7, XLVIII.40‐3: Ipsa porta turres habet, hoc est de incarnatione divinarum doctrinarum munimina, per quas custodes in angulum. Ecclesiam dico, opertet facere bene credere volentas introitem.


57) CCSG 7, XLVIII.151‐5: in quibus simul omnium iuxta propriam scientiam veras in unoquoque estimationes infigens contemplatiuus animus in angulis sapienter intellectuales edificat turres, hoc est in adunationibus coniunctiva adunationem dogmata.