Albertus Magnus über die ars de symbolica theologia des Dionysius Areopagita
Albertus Magnus is regarded as one of the most important high scholastic recipients and interpreters of the complete Corpus Dionysiacum. In his first work, De natura boni, and in his early systematic theological works one may already identify a special interest in the Areopagite's neoplatonic theology and its increasing influence on Albert's understanding of theology and his way of thinking. In this article Albert's conception of symbolic theology which he presented in his commentary on the ninth letter of Dionysius the Areopagite is delineated. A general outline is given of the fact that, and the way in which, relying on Dionysius's epistle, he reconstructs the Apostle's supposed pupil's doctrine of mystical theology, which was not preserved or rather not written, and on the other hand justifies it with theoretical rigour and develops it in a systematic way. First, Albert's understanding of theology and his theological system (Wissenschaftslehre) from the Commentary on the Sentences (book I) as well as its epoch-making significance for the history of thought will come under consideration. This is followed by a discussion of his procedure in interpreting the epistle of Dionysius and of the concept of artistry (ars) which he applies to symbolic theology. The following sections of the investigation are dedicated to the substantial and hermeneutic guidelines of the prologue of Albert's commentary, to the presentation of his own conception of symbolic theology which he formulates on the basis of the letter, and also to his understanding of the identity and difference of symbolic and mystic theology. The investigation concludes with comments on the assessment of the sources for Albert's interpretation of Dionysius's epistle and with an evaluation of his theological and philosophical competence and creativity. In the appendix the structure and content of the commentary on the ninth epistle of Dionysius are presented in a reconstruction that is based on the author's indications.