The Cambridge University Library (Ii.III.32, fol. 108v), Victorine manuscript of Pseudo-Dionysius' writings that the Norwich Benedictine, Cardinal Adam Easton, owned and likely translated in The Cloud of Unknowing. He based his Latin Defensorium Ecclesiastice Potestatis on the Ecclesiastical Hierarchies, defending the Pope and himself as Cardinal. Julian with her Wyclifism opposed that theology, a stance which he himself came to espouse in his Defensorium Sanctae Birgittae, following his incarceration and torture by Pope Urban VI. Julian's Parable of the Lord and Servant reflects that episode.

Že Prolog upon že Translatioun of Deonise Hid Diuinite

Žis writyng žat next folowež is že Englische of a book žat Seynte Denys wrote vnto Thimothe, že whiche is clepid in Latyn tonge Mistica Theologia. Of že whiche book, for-žt žat it is mad minde in že 70 chapter of a book wretin before (že whiche is clepid Že Cloude of Vnknowing): how žat Denis sentence wol cleerli afferme al žat is wretyn in žat same book: žerfore, in translacioun of it, I haue not onliche folowed že nakid lettre of že text, bot for to declare že hardnes of it, I haue moche folowed že sentence of že Abbot of Seinte Victore, a noble & a worži expositour of žis same book.

Žis is Seinte Deonise Preier
Žou vnbigonne & euerlasting Wysdome, že whiche in žiself arte že souereyn-substancyal Firstheed, že souereyn Goddesse, & že souereyn Good, že inliche beholder of že godliche maad wisdome of Cristen men: I beseche žee for to drawe us up in an acordyng abilness to že souereyn-vnknowen and že souereyn-schinyng hei3t of ži derke inspirid spekynges, where alle že pryue žinges of deuinytee ben kouerid and hid vnder že souereyn-schyning derknes of wisest silence, makyng že souereyn-clerest souereynly for to schine priuely in že derkyst; and že whiche is - in a maner žat is alweys inuisible & vngropable - souereynli fulfillyng wiž ful fayre cleertees alle žoo soules žat ben not hauyng i3en of mynde.
And for alle žees žinges ben abouen mynde, žerfore wiž affecyon abouen mynde as I may, I desire to purchase hem vnto me wiž žis preier.

I Capitulum
How a man schal rise in žis hid deuinite bi doing awey of alle žinges on žis side God
Žou freend Tymothe, what tyme žat žou purposist žee by že steryng of grace to že actueel excersise of ži blynde beholdynges, loke žou forsake with a stronge & a slei3 & a listi contricyon bože ži bodely wittes (as heryng, seyng, smelling, taastyng, & touchyng), and also ži goodly wittes, že whiche ben clepid žin vnderstondable worchinges; and alle žoo žinges, že whiche mowe be knowen wiž any of ži fyve bodely wittes without-forž; and alle žoo žinges, že whiche mow be knowen by ži goostly wittes wižinne forž; and alle žoo žinges žat ben now, or 3it haue ben, žof žei be not now, and alle žoo žinges žat ben not now, or 3it mow be in tyme for to come, žof žei be not now. And, as it is possible to me for to speke & to žee to vnderstonde, loke žat žou rise wiž me in žis grace, in a maner žat is žou woste neuer how, to be onid with hym žat is abouen alle substaunces and al maner knowyng. For whi, žorou že ouerpassyng of žiself and alle ožer žinges, and žus makyng žiself clene fro al wordly, fleschly, & kyndely likyng in žin affecioun, and fro al žing žat may be knowen by že propre fourme in ži knowyng, žou schalt be drawen up abouen mynde in affecioun to že souereyn-substancyal beme of že godliche derknes, alle žinges žus done awey.
Beware žat none of žees vnwise men 3it wonyng in here wittys here žees žinges. Žees men I clepe alle Žoo žat ben fastnyd in knowing & in louyng of žees žinges žat ben knowable and han bigynnyng, že whiche han opinion žat nožyng is souereyn-substancyaly abouen žees forseide beyng žinges. Bot žei wenen for to knowen hym žat haž 'maad derknes his hidyng place' bi žat knowyng whiche is after hemself. And sižen, bi witnes of že prophete, že godliche techynges of žees priuetees ben abouen žees men, what schul we sey žan of žoo žat ben more vnwise, wonyng 3it not only in here goostly wittes of natureel philosophy, bot lowe downe byneže in here bodely wittes, že whiche žei hauen bot in comoun with only beestes? For žees men kun not come to že knowing of že first cause, že whiche is souereynliche set abouen alle žinges, bot bi making of figures of že last and že leest worži žinges of žees beyng visible žinges, as stockes or stones. and seyen žat it haž nožing abouen žoo wickyd & manifold formaciouns maad of hemself in here fantastik ymaginatyue wittes.
It is nožing žus: bot žus most it be. It behouiž us for to sette, for to see, & for to afferme alle že settynges & že beynges of alle žees beyng žinges in him žat is abouen al knowyng & mynde, as hym being že cause of alle žees žynges; and more propirly & more mi3tily for to denye alle mi3tily for to denye alle žees being žynges, as hym souereinly beyng abouen hem alle, ful hei3 in hymself, departid fro hem alle; and not for to haue it in opinyon žat žees deniinges of žees being žinges ben contrary to že first affermynges of hem, bot fastliche for to holde in si3t of byleue him for to be abouen alle doyng awey of žees beyng or beable žinges, že whiche in himself is abouen alle, 3e! bože doyng awey and afferming of hem alle.
And for žis skyle it is žat že godliche Bertelmewe, že Apostle of Criste, seiž in his writyng žat Cristes deuinitee, it is bože moche and it is leest; and že Gospel is brode and moche, & eftsones he seiž it is streit & litil. As it semež to me, in žis he was rauischid to beholde abouen kynde, where he seiž žat že good cause of alle is bože of many wordes & of schorte seiinges, as neižer hauyng resoun ne vnderstondyng wiž že whiche he mi3t be comen to, žat is souereyn-substancialy set abouen alle žees beyng žynges. And 3it naželes not coueryd; bot verely and cleerly he apperiž open, not to alle bot to hem only, že whiche passen abouen bože alle vnclene & clene beyng žinges, and že which comyn abouen alle assenciouns of alle holy eendes or teermes set vnto men or to aungel, and že whiche forsaken alle deuine li3tes & alle heuenly sounes & wordes, and entren wiž affecioun into derknes, where verely he is, as že Scripture schewež, že whiche is abouen al.
Ensaumple of žis se by že story how že godlich Moyses, mildest of men, first he is bodyn to be clensid bože in hymself & also in hys puple, and after žat to be departyd fro occasyon of fyling. And žan after alle clensyng of hym & his puple, he herd trumpes of many voices & saw many li3tes wiž schinyng, sending oute fro hem ful brode and ful clere bemes. Afterwardes he was departyd fro že multitude of žis puple, & wiž preestes žat were chosen he atteynid to že hi3enes of že godliche assenciouns, že whiche is že teermes & že boundes of mans vnderstondyng, be it neuer so holpen wiž grace. And 3it in al žis he was not wiž God, so as it acordež to že perfeccioun of žis deuinitee; bot he had in contemplacioun an object not hymself, for he may not be seen by žat i3e. Bot že place where he was, žat was his obiecte. And žat place betokeniž že hi3est godliche beholdynges, passyng abouen & hauyng in subieccioun alle mans resons, as že lady haž hir maydens. By že whiche godliche beholdynges že presence of him žat is abouenen alle žinkyng is souereynly schewid to mans vnderstongynges, and settež hym abouen že natureel worching mi3tes of his soule, & fro že obiectes of hem, žat is for to sey, alle žoo žinges in že whiche žei worchen.
In žis tyme it was žat Moyses in syngulertee of affecioun was departid from žees beforeseyde chosen preestes, & entrid by hymself že derknes off vnknowyng, že which derknes is vereliche hid; in že whiche he schittiž al knowable knowing; and algates he is maad in a maner žat is inuisible & vngropable for to fele in experience že presence of hym žat is abouen all žinges, not hauyng felyng ne žinkyng of no beyng žing, ne 3it of hymself. But in auoidyng of al knowyng žat is algates vnknowen he is knittyd vnto hym on že best maner; and in žat he knowež nožing, he is maad to be knowyng abouen mynde.

II Capitulum
How we schul be onid to že cause of al, beyng abouen al
In žis souereyn schining derknes we prey to be done up, &, bi nou3t seeyng & vnknowyng, for to see & for to knowe hym žat is abouen al seing & al knowyng in žis same not se & not knowe; and souereyn-substancialy for to preise, bi doing awey of all žees beyng žinges, hym žat is soueren-substancial in himself. Že maner of whiche doyng awey may be seen bi žis ensaumple žat folowež.
Here is a man hauyng a sounde stok of že grettest quantitee wižoutyn hym, liing before hym, and hauyng wižinne hym entent & craft to make an ymage of že leest quantitee, of žat place of že wode, že whiche is, bi mesuryng of ri3t lynyng, in že sentre & že middes of žat same stok. First žou wost wel by natureel wit žat er he may com to for to see žat ymage bi cleer bodely si3t of his outward i3e, or for to schewe it to be seen vnto ožer, že whiche he haž in hymself by cleer crafte of ymaginacioun, že stok 3it beyng hole on euery side, he most algates by craft & by instrumentes voide awey alle že outwarde partyes of žat wode, being aboute & lettyng že si3t of žat same ymage. Ri3t so we must haue us in žis hi3e deuyne werk, as it is possible to be comyn to in vnderstondyng by soche a boistous ensaumple of so contrary a kynde.
For we moten be in žis werk as it were men makyng an ymage of his nakyd, vnmaad, & vnbigonne kynde; že whiche, žof it be in itself & to itself euermore free - wižinne alle creatures, not inclusid: wižouten alle creatures, not schit oute; abouen alle creatures, not borne up; bineže alle creatures, not  put doun: behynde alle creatures, not put bak; before alle creatures, not dreuen forže - neuerželes 3it, to mans vnderstondyng, že whiles it is knittyd to žis corumpid bodi, he is neuermore cleerly schewid, bot as it were a žing žat were couerhid & ouerlappid & ouerleide wiž vnoumerable sensible bodies & vnderstondable substaunces, wiž many a merueilous fantastik ymage, conielid as it were in a kumbros clog abouten hym, as že ymage of že ensaumple wretyn before is hid in že žik, greet, sounde stok. Že whiche koumbrous clogge, žus conielyd of žees vnnoummerable diuersitees, we moten algates craftely pare awey by slei3t of grace in žis deuine werk, as strong letters contrariing vnto žis clene hid si3t. And žus bi žis slei3 gracious doyng awey of hem alle we moten cleerliche preisyn, & abouen mynde, že self fairheed in že self nakid, vnmaad, & vnbigonne kynde; in a maner žat is vnknowne how vnto alle, bot only to žoo žat it prouež; and 3it euermore to  žoo same, bot onliche in tyme of že proef.
It behouiž us alle žat ben practisers of žis deunite  for to make oure deniinges on že contrary maner to our afferminges; for whi we settyng our affermynges begynned at že moost worži žinges of žees beyng žinges, & so forže by že menes we descende to že leest, bot in oure deniinges we begynnyn at že leest, & stien up to že moste, and eeftsones by že menes, from že hiest to že last, & fro že last to že hiest a3ein, we foulden alle togeders & done hem awey, žat we mowen cleerliche knowe žat vnknowyng, že whiche is wallid aboute from al knowable mi3tes in alle žees being žinges; and žat we mowen see žat souereynyn-substancyal derknes, priueliche hid fro al li3t in žees being žinges.

III Capitulum
Whiche bookes ben of aferming & whiche of deniing diuinitee
And for žis skyle in oure ožer bookes of deuinitee, & moste in že bookes žat ben affermyng deuinitee, že-whiche been žees: že first of že Ierarchies of Heuen, & že secound of že Ierarchies of žis Fi3tyng Chirche - in bože žees we hauen set wiž preisyng how žat hi3e, deuine, synguleer kynde, že whiche is God, is one; how it is žre, že whiche after itself is clepid Faderheed & Sonheed & že Holi Goostheed; how že ly3tes of goodnes wonyng in že herte borionid oute of žat immaterial, & žat only good in hymself & of hymself; & how žat in žis woning in hymself by onheed of substaunce, & in hemself by trinite of persones, & in hem togeders wiž an euen euerlastyng borionyng, žei dwellyn stille vnpassyngliche; how žat že souereyn-substancyal Jhesu is maad substtaunce in že trewžes of mankynde; and alle ožer soche žinges žat ben expressid in že Scripture, ben affermyngliche preisid in žoo two bookes.
And in že booke of Goddes Names it is affermungliche set & preisid how žat he is namyd Good, how Beyng, how Liif, how Wisdome, & how Vertewe, & what ožer žat žei be of že vvnderstondable namynges of God. Bot in že book of že Gadering of Deuine Sentence, žere I haue affermyngliche set wiž preising alle že names žat ben applied vnto God from žees sensible žinges - as whiche ben že godliche fourmes, which ben his partiees & his instrumentes, whiche ben his places & his enournementes, whiche ben his frenesiees & his heuinesses, whiche ben his woodnesses & his dronkenesses, whiche ben his glotoniees & his ožes & his cursynges, whiche ben his slepinges & whiche ben his wakynges - & what ožer sensible formes žat on any maner in Holy Scripture ben applied vnto God.
Alle žees I deme žou hast seen; & how žees last žinges ben of mo wordes žan že first žinges. For whi it behouiž algates be žat že first two bookes of že Ierarchies & že openyng of že Godliche Names in že žrid book were of fewer wordes žan žis Gaderid Book of Deuine Sentence touchid here laste. For in-as-moche as we beholden to žinges žat ben moost hi3e, in-so-moche že wordes žat ben spoken of hem to oure beholdynges maken streite oure vnderstondyng. As it is now here in žis book, whan we entren into že derknes žat is abouen mynde, we schul not onliche fynde že schortyng of wordes, bot as it were a madnes & a parfite vnresonabilitee of alle žat we seyn. And in alle že ožer bookes oure enditing descendid fro že hei3est žinges to the lowest; and after že quantitee of descendyng, it spred oute to a greet multitude. But now it assendiž in žis book fro že lowest žinges to že hi3est; and after že mesure of že ascencioun - že whiche is somtyme sodeyner žen ožer - it is maad streite. And after alle soche assencioun, it schal al be withouten voice, & al it schal be knittid to a žing žat is vnspekable.
But happiliche žou askist: What is že skyle whi žat in affirmtyne deuinitee we begynne at že most worži žinges, & in že negatyue deuinitee we begynne at že leest worži žinges?  Žis is že skyle. For whan we wolen merk God bi settyng of alle vnderstondable žinges, že whiche in hymself is abouen all settyng & alle vnderstondyng, it is moost acordyng žat we set first žoo žinges žat ben moost worži and moost ni3e vnto hym. And 3if we wolen merk hym by doing awey of alle vnderstondable žinges, it acordež  moost žat we first do awey žoo žinges, že whiche be seen to be most fer from hym. As ousst fer from hym. žus: more ni3 & more acordyng vnto hym is liif or goodnes žen is ayer or a stone; and wiž more acordyng euydence we schuld do awey from hym glotonye & woodnes, žan spekyng or vnderstondyng. And 3it he in hymself is abouen bože alle spekyng and alle vnderstondyng.

IV Capitulum
Žat he is none of sensible žinges, že which is cause of hem alle
We put awey first from God žing žat is withoutyn substaunce, and al žing žat is not, begynnyng fro že moost fer; for žat žing is more feržer žen žoo žinges žat bot only ben, & leuen not. And žen we put awey žoo žinges žat only ben and leuen not, for žat is feržer žen žat is and leuiž. And after žat we put awey žoo žinges žat ben & leuyn & lackyn felyng; for žoo ben feržer žen žoo žat hauen felyng. And after žat we put awey žoo žat hauen felyng & lacken reson & vnderstonding; for žoo ben feržer žen žoo žat hauen reson & vnderstonding. And wiž alle žees žinges we remowe fro hym al bodely žing, & alle žoo žinges žat fallyn to body, or to bodely žinges - as is schap, fourme, qualitee, quantitee, wi3t, steedlynes, visibilitee, sensibilitee, & al doyng, & suffryng, al inordynacioun of fleschly concupiscence, al troublid complexion of material passyon, all vnmi3tfulnes soget vnto sensible chaunses, al needfulnes of li3t; & al generacyon, & al corupcioun, al deuision, & al passibilitee, & al temporeel flowyng bi proces of tymes. For he ne is any of žees žinges, ne haž any of žees, or any or alle žees ožer sensyble žinges.

V Capitulum
Žat he is none of vnderstondable žinges, že whiche is cause of hem alle
Also we, ascendyng & begynnyng oure deniinges & oure doinges awey at že hi3est of vndersondable žinges, seyen žat he is neižer soule, ne aungel, ne he haž fantasie, ne opinion, ne resoun, ne vnderstondyng, ne he is reson, ne vnderstondyng; ne he is seyde, ne vnderstonden. And - žat we renne fro žees hi3e žinges by menes to že last žinges - he is no noumbre, ne ordre, ne greetnes, ne litylnes, ne euenheed, ne licnes, ne vnlicnes; ne he stondež, ne he mouež, ne he holdež no sylence, ne he spekiž. And - žat we torne a3ein to že hi3est žinges bi som menes, & eend oure denyinges at žinges moost hi3e - we sey žat he haž no vertewe, ne he is vertewe, ne li3t, ne he leuiž, ne he is liif, ne he is substaunce, ne eelde, ne tyme, ne žer is any vnderstondable touching of hym, ne he is kummyng. ne trewže, ne kyngdom, ne wisdom, ne on, ne vnitee, ne Godheed, or goodnes; ne he is spirit after žat we vnderstonde spirit; ne sonheed, ne faderheed, ne any ožer žing knowen of us, or of any žat ben; ne he is anyžing of not-beyng žinges, ne anyžing of beyng žinges; ne any of žoo žinges žat ben knowen, knowen hym after žat he is: ne he knowiž žoo žinges žat ben after žei ben in hemself, bot after žat žei ben in hym; ne žer is any wey of reson or vnderstondyng to com vnto hym, knowyng of hym; ne name, ne knowyng of hym; ne he is derknes, ne he is li3t, ne he is errour, ne he is trewže; ne (knittyngly to sey) žer is of hym no settyng, ne doyng awey; bot whan we affermingly set or deniingly do awey alle or any of žoo žinges žat ben not he, hym we mowe neižer set ne do awey, ne on any vnderstondable maner afferme him, ne denie him. For že parfite & že singuleer cause of al most nedelunges be wižoutyn comparison of že moost hi3e hei3t abouen alle, bože settyng & doyng awey. And his not-vnderstondable ouerpassyng is vn-vnderstondabely abouen alle affermyng and deniinge.


See also Jan van Ruusbroec, The Sparkling Stone, which makes much use of this text, and which is in the Amherst Manuscript side by side with Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love.