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The church hierarchy occupies an intermediate position between the celestial hierarchy and the legal hierarchy of the OT V, 2,501C-D, and like the celestial hierarchy Cael. hier. III carries out the three functions of purification, illumination and initiation; it is composed of three orders of initiators bishops, priests, ministers and three orders of initiates which are, from lowest to highest, the purified, the enlightened and the perfect. The Divine Names, the longest work of the Corpus, examines in 13 chapters the most important names attributed to the deity by Scripture. Ch. I insists on the absolute transcendence of the deity with respect to all beings, and hence its unknowability and ineffability: the most fitting way to approach it is the via negativa, which consists of depriving it of any possible attribute and thus of all names I, 5,593C. Ch. II reminds us that the various names examined in the treatise must be referred to all three persons of the Trinity 636C, 652A, and illustrates the two basic concepts of union and distinction. Ch. III emphasizes the importance of prayer it is like a chain leading human beings to God, and then draws a portrait of ps.-Dionysius’s venerated teacher Hierotheus. Ch. IV expounds the first principle as goodness, light, beauty and love, and goes on, closely following Proclus’s De malorum subsistentia, to examine the problem of evil, which in an absolute sense does not exist and in a relative sense can only be understood as a partial absence of good. The subsequent chapters examine the other names of the divine emanations: being ch. V, life ch. VI, wisdom, intelligence, reason, truth ch. VII, power, justice, salvation, inequality ch. VIII, dissimilarity, quiet, movement, equality ch. IX, omnipotence, ancient of days, eternity and time ch. X, peace, expressions such as autozoe, autoeinai, autodynamis, which refer to the first realities emanating from God ch. XI, holy of holies, king of kings, lord of lords, God of gods ch. XII, and finally perfection and the one, regarding which the one which is above being, identical with the first principle, must be distinguished from the one being, identical with its emanation ch. XIII. All these names, present in Scripture and in part in Plato’s Parmenides, are discussed and interpreted according to the canons of the latest stage of Neoplatonist philosophy, i.e., that of Proclus and Damascius.

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