"Sollen wir über das Unsagbare schreiben?" Bilder des Göttlichen in der Theologie Kaiser Julians und seiner Anhänger
Author(s)Stenger, Jan R.
KeywordsPA Classical philology
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AbstractNeoplatonic theology insisted that it was not possible to communicate the nature of the divine through words or not permitted to divulge its aspects to the non-initiate. Yet, in the competitive religious environment of the fourth century CE religious rituals and practices connected to material reality appealed to many people, Christians and pagans alike. Therefore, Neoplatonic thinkers acknowledged that it was essential to make god almost tangible and convey spiritual experiences in order to reach out to the non-specialists. This article argues that three major proponents of the pagan ‘revival’, the emperor Julian, his aide Salutius and the biographer Eunapius, proposed verbally crafted images as an instrument for imparting a notion of the divine to a wider audience. Not only did they discuss the representation of god through textual images and myths, but also employed literary techniques that put images before their readers’ eye and thus made them re-enact the experience of the divine. The idea of textual images at the same time pursues the aim of a widespread dissemination of theological concepts and contributes to merging individual divine figures into one single notion of the divine.
Stenger, J. R. <http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/view/author/29382.html> (2016) "Sollen wir über das Unsagbare schreiben?" Bilder des Göttlichen in der Theologie Kaiser Julians und seiner Anhänger. In: Hömke, N., Chiai, G. F. and Jenik, A. (eds.) Bilder von dem Einen Gott: Die Rhetorik des Bildes in monotheistischen Gottesdarstellungen der Spätantike. Series: Philologus Supplements (6). De Gruyter: Berlin, pp. 69-93. ISBN 9783110517569