It is a truism (or was, when I was in grad school) that a great deal of Neoplatonism underlies a number of the Fathers. For example, one finds Plotinus in St. Augustine, Proclus in Dionysius the A., etc. More recently, one finds Lorenzo Scupoli in Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain. I have sometimes found that the debts to the Neoplatonists were perhaps coloring and inevitable educational bias, sometimes that the debts were fundamental to thought and experience (like St. Augustine and St. Monica's ascent towards the end of her life). My question is whether one may subtract the Neoplatonism from the Fathers with any non-trivial results. For example, can we subtract from Dionysius the evident Neoplatonism and still find a sound structure of sound Orthodox theology?
What is riding on this question (so you know how I perceive the stakes) is the curious bifurcation I sense when I read Fathers not obviously Neoplatonic in sensibility; it is as if Neoplatonism invites one to have terrific or mystical experiences which someone like Mother Gavrilia or Elder Porphyrius does not seem to favor.
I look forward to the helpful comments anyone might make. Cheers, Daniel