Graduate Papers/Theses

A Study in Spiritual Lineage: The "Influence and Noninfluence" of Pseudo-Dionysius on The Cloud of Unknowing

David M. Odorisio, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University


This paper explores the influence and lack of influence that the anonymous 5th or 6th-century writer Pseudo-Dionysius has had on the anonymous 14th-century work The Cloud of Unknowing. Using textual and historical criticisms, the paper explores the issues surrounding the debate, the controversies, and the issues surrounding the texts. Ps. Dionysius’ spirituality is first explored then a brief history of the transmission of his works from the East into the West is given. Finally his influence, if any, and to what extent, is examined, on the medieval work The Cloud of Unknowing.