‘Visual Thinking’ and the Influence of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in the Homilies and Hymns of Andrew of Crete

  • Mary B. Cunningham
Part of the New Approaches to Byzantine History and Culture book series (NABHC)


This chapter examines the reception of Dionysius the Areopagite’s ideas about images, as reflections of divine reality in the material world, in the liturgical writings of the early eighth-century preacher and hymnographer, Andrew of Crete. The paper also attempts, on the basis of Andrew’s writings as well as some external evidence, to determine whether this liturgical writer sympathised openly with the iconophile cause. This eighth-century archbishop, like (Pseudo-)Dionysius, understood the ‘visual’ metaphor as enabling the ascent of Christians towards divine reality, whether this occurred in sacramental or mystical terms.


Image Iconoclasm Icon Sacrament Mysticism 



I am very grateful to Fr Maximos Constas, Francesca Dell’Acqua, and anonymous readers for reading earlier drafts of this article and offering valuable suggestions and criticisms. I take full responsibility for the argument that is presented here, as well as for any errors that remain.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary B. Cunningham
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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