Mystagogy proposes an interpretation of the Pseudo-Dionysian corpus in light of the liturgical and ascetic tradition that defined the author and his audience. Characterized by both striking originality and remarkable fidelity to the patristic and late-neoplatonic traditions, the Dionysian corpus is a coherent and unified structure, whose core and pivot is the treatise known as the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. Given Pseudo-Dionysius' fundamental continuity with earlier Christian theology and spirituality, it is not surprising that the church, and in particular the ascetic community, recognized that this theological synthesis articulated its own fundamental experience and aspirations.
I love this book. It also infuriates me. The biggest problem with the book is the frequent use of foreign words and phrases that are neither transliterated, translated, or defined. This makes large sections of the book unintelligible to the educated lay reader. This, in my opinion, makes the book a vanity project, one written by an academic to impress fellow academics. It is irritating to have to use an online Greek typewriter to type in συνεργεια, then copy it into Google translate to discover that it means synergy. To make sense of this book, as good as it is, means I have to do this for almost every paragraph. It is ironic that a book intending to explain Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite ends up being harder to read than Dionysius himself.
To be fair, this may be a problem with the editor rather than the author. If I was the editor, I would insist all foreign words be transliterated and translated. I would also insist that all foreign phrases be translated in the footnotes.
This work provided me with essential insight into the piety and meaning of faith. It was a difficult read for me, a non-academic, but I’m also not the target audience, I imagine.
I hope that His Eminence or one of his colleagues will at some point produce a “popular” version, but in the mean while, this book is worth the effort. Have access to Greek language for sure, German and French also helpful but not essential.