Ps.-Dionysius the Areopagite, Mystical Theology 1.3

This is why holy Bartholomew says that theology is both expansive and minute, and that the gospel is both wide and broad, and narrow. With extraordinary insight he seems to have intuited that the cause of all things, being inherently good, is worthy of long discussion, yet also ineffable, requiring but little speech. It cannot be fully grasped nor described, since it itself lies beyond all things and appears in true, uncovered fashion only to those who have gone through the holy purification rites, ascended all the way up the holy summits, left behind divine lights, sounds, and words from the sky and entered into the darkness where the scriptures say the One who is beyond all things really is. After all, it isn’t just that Moses is bid to purify himself and separate from those not like him; nor that after his purification he hears the ensemble of trumpets and sees lights flashing pure and varied beams of light. After this, he separates from the many and arrives with his chosen priests to the highest summit. Even in such circumstances, he does not meet God himself, nor does he see him (for God cannot be seen). Rather, Moses “saw the place where God stood.” (I think that the “highest and holiest places” signify certain suppositions about how visible and intelligible realities are ultimately subject to the One that transcends all, yet through these assertions we see the presence of the One who is beyond every thought, since it appears to those “peaks of spiritual in sight” in those “most holy places.”) Then Moses separated from them, both things that see and things seen, and went into the darkness of unknowing that is truly a mystery. In this darkness, he closes off all that is grasped with knowledge and enters that which is entirely unseen and intangible. He is entirely of the One who is beyond all things, and of nothing. He is not his own, nor another’s, yet through the complete ceasing of all knowing he is all the more perfectly made one with the One that is unknowable, and through letting go of knowing he begins to know with something that transcends the mind.

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