The Middle Platonists: 80 B.C. to A.D. 220 

 

John M. Dillon  (Author), 1977

 

Table of Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
1 The Old Academy and the Themes of Middle Platonism
2 Antiochus of Ascalon: The Turn to Dogmatism
3 Platonism at Alexandria: Eudorus and Philo
4 Plutarch of Chaeroneia and the Origins of Second-Century Platonism
5 The Athenian School in the Second Century A.D.
6 The ‘School of Gaius’: Shadow and Substance
7 The Neopythagoreans
8 Some Loose Ends
Bibliography
Afterword
General Index
Index of Platonic Passages
Modern Authorities Quoted

Les sources gnostiques de l’épistémologie transcendantale dans le commentaire anonyme sur le Parménide

 Zeke MAZUR

« …. Grâce à cet exercice, il pourra t’arriver un jour, si tu te détournes aussi de la pensée des choses qui ont été constitués par lui, de t’arrêter à la prénotion indicible que nous pouvons avoir de lui, qui le représente par le silence, sans même qu’elle sache qu’elle se tait, sans qu’elle ait conscience du fait qu’elle le reflète, en un mot sans qu’elle sache absolument quoi que ce soit, elle qui est seulement image de l’Indicible, parce qu’elle est l’Indicible d’une manière indicible, et non pas en tant qu’elle connaîtrait l’Indicible, si tu peux comprendre au moins d’une façon imaginative, la manière dont je peux le dire. […]. »

Le passage décrivant l’appréhension du Premier principe dans l’Anonyme de Turin, p. 2, fol. 91v, lignes 14–31–– surtout la phrase étendue στῆναι ἐπὶ τὴν αὐτοῦ ἄρρητον προ{σ}έννοιαν τὴν ἐνεικονιζομένην αὐτὸν διὰ σιγῆς… ἀλλ’ οὐχ ὡς γιγνώσκουσαν et seq.–– emploie plusieurs concepts que l’on trouve largement diffusés dans les sources gnostiques.

Pour en donner quelques exemples parmi d’autres: [a] la stasis transcendantale; [b] le néologisme pro<t>ennoia dénotant la première émanation pre–noétique, qui existe [c] en étroite relation avec la Silence; [d] la saisie de l’inconnaissable par “l’inconnaissance” mystique; et [e] l’assimilation contemplative au Premier principe par la moyen d’une eikôn dans l’âme, cet eikôn étant une intermédiaire qui réplique l’étape moyenne du déploiement primordiale du Deuxième principe par l’auto–réflexion du Premier. D’abord on peut constater que quelques éléments de cette épistémologie transcendantale ont des parallèles chez Plotin dans le contexte antignostique du Großschrift (par exemple, dans le traité 31 [V.8]), mais aussi dès la première période de sa production (dans les traités 1 [I.6] et 9 [VI.9]). Il est donc significatif que les témoins gnostiques à ces concepts–– concepts, d’ailleurs, en dehors de la célèbre triade noétique bien connue par les séthiens platonisants–– consistent non seulement des textes séthiens probablement connus par Plotin et son entourage–– comme l’Allogène (NHC XI,3) et Zostrien (NHC VIII,1)––  mais dont la chronologie est néanmoins sujet à controverse, mais aussi des sources plus ou moins certainement preplotiniens–– comme, par exemple, le compte rendu d’Hippolyte sur l’Apophasis megalê simonien (Refutatio omnium haeresium VI.12–18), le Protennoia trimorphe (NHC XIII,1), et l’Évangile des égyptiens (NHC III,2 et IV,2)–– où l’usage des termes techniques et des schémas analogues correspond étroitement avec la métaphysique gnostique. Cette constatation nous exigera de remettre en cause la date et la paternité de l’Anonyme aussi bien que sa situation par rapport à Plotin et Porphyre de l’un côté et les séthiens platonisants de l’autre.

Texte fourni par l’auteur

 

 

Dans un précédant billet, Helmut Seng a annoncé le colloque sur les Oracles Théologiques à Frankfurt en juillet 2012. Un compte-rendu de ce colloque est sorti le 25/07/2012 dans le Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung.

Pour lire le reportage cliquez ici : Orakel_25_07_12

Platonism and Forms of Intelligence

 

Ed. by Dillon, John / Zovko, Marie-Elise, 2012

 

The volume contains a collection of papers presented at the International Symposium, which took place in Hvar, Croatia, in 2006. In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in the study of Plato, Platonism and Neoplatonism. Taking the position that it is of vital importance to establish an ongoing dialogue among scientists, artists, academics, theologians and philosophers concerning pressing issues of common interest to humankind, this collection of papers endeavours to bridge the gap between contemporary research in Platonist philosophy and other fields where insights gained from the study of Plato and Platonist philosophy can be of consequence and benefit.

(Text by the editors)

 

Contents:

 

  1. Platonism and the Physical and Sensible Conditions of Intelligence.

The Origin and Nature of Intelligence – Doner, Jonathan

Embodying Intelligence: Animals and Us in Plato’s Timaeus – Carpenter, Amber

The Question of Platonic Division and Modern Epistemology – Kaldis, Byron

Intelligenza e Intelligibilità nel Timeo di Platone – Ferrari, Franco

 

  1. Platonism and the Ethical Nature of Intelligence.

Irony and the Care of the Soul in Plato’s Early Dialogues – Zovko, Jure

Stepping into the Same Rivers: Consciousness, Personal Identity and the Metaphysical Foundations for Global Ethics – / Kolak, Daniel

 

  1. Platonism on the Intelligent Conditions of Intelligence and Intelligibility.

Thinking about Thought. An Inquiry into the Life of Platonism – de Haas, F. A. J.

Zum Begriff des ‚Geistes‘ in der Frühen Neuzeit. Überlegungen am Beispiel Francesco Patrizi da Chersos – Leinkauf, Thomas

Reminiscence in Plato – Brisson, Luc

Platonismo e scienze della mente: cosa è l’intuizione? – Fronterotta, Francesco

 

  1. Platonism on Intellect, Infinity, and the Intelligibility of Concepts of God.

The Notion of Infinity in Plotinus and Cantor – Mentzeniotis, Dionysis / Stamatellos, Giannis

Nous: Unity in Difference – Beierwaltes, Werner

The One of the Soul and the ‘Flower of the Intellect’. Models of Hyper-intellection in Later Neoplatonism – Dillon, John

The Influence of Platonism on St. Thomas Aquina’s Concept of Mind – Quinn, Patrick

Liberté divine chez Plotin et Jamblique (Traité 39 [VI 8] 7, 11-15 et De mysteriis III, 17-20) – Narbonne, Jean-Marc

 

  1. Platonism and Forms of Intelligence in Art and Education.

Intelligible Beauty and Artistic Creation: The Renaissance Platonism of Judah Abravanel – Hughes, Aaron

La liberté est dans la mémoire: Zur Notwendigkeit des auswendigen Spiels am Beispiel der Werke von Alexander Skrjabin – Stoupel, Vladimir

The Way Up and the Way Back is the Same: The Ascent of Cognition in Plato’s Analogies of the Sun, the Line and the Cave and the Path Intelligence Takes – Zovko, Marie-Élise

Panel « Neoplatonism and Gnosticism » at the International Society of Neoplatonic Studies Tenth International Conference

Du 20 au 24 juin 2012 s’est tenu le ISNS Tenth International Conference à l’Università di Cagliari, Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, en Italie (pour les informations concernant le colloque : http://people.unica.it/neoplatonic/panels/).

Le panel « Neoplatonism and Gnosticism » dirigé par Dylan Burns (dylanburns93@yahoo.com) et Luciana Soares (luciana.soares@tiscali.it) a été consacré exclusivement à la thématique de ce carnet. Voici l’argumentaire de ce panel : « Any paper that deals with the relationship between Neoplatonic and Gnostic thought will be considered. Sample topics could include the influence of Neoplatonic ideas and terminology on Gnostic literature (or Gnostic influence on Neoplatonism), clash and controversy between Platonic and Gnostic thinkers, comparison of Neoplatonic theurgy and Gnostic divinization, comparison of Gnostic and Neoplatonic approaches to myth, etc. Papers on ‘Gnosis’ in its wider sense, covering a range of esoteric Platonism (e.g. Hermetica, Chaldaean Oracles, etc.), are also welcome ».

Speakers’ name, affiliation, and paper title:

    1. Luciana Gabriela Soares Santoprete(LabEx HASTEC/CNRS-Centre Jean Pépin, Paris), “Comprendre les liens entre philosophie et gnosticisme : l’apport de nouvelles ressources numériques.” 
    2. John D. Turner (U.Nebraska,Lincoln), “Prenoetic and Hypernoetic Interhypostatic Processes in the Metaphysics of the Chaldaean Oracles and Select Gnostic Sources.”
  1. Email addresses of the speakers: jturner@unlserve.unl.eduluciana.soares@tiscali.it.
  2. Abstracts:

1. Luciana Gabriela Soares Santoprete:

Dans cette communication nous visons présenter le projet « Philosophie et gnosticisme : base de données et répertoire bibliographique » qui depuis novembre dernier est en cours d’élaboration sous ma direction dans le cadre du CNRS – Centre Jean Pépin avec le soutien du LabEX – HASTEC. Ce projet vise à résoudre les problèmes épistémologiques de la recherche actuelle concernant les rapports entre les pensées plotinienne et gnostiques en réalisant une base de données et un répertoire bibliographique où seront rassemblés l’ensemble des travaux afférents, explorés systématiquement les parallèles thématiques et lexicaux entre ces pensées, analysés les principaux termes, thèmes et textes jusqu’à présent étudiés, la reprise et/ou l’originalité des arguments des spécialistes au cours de l’histoire intellectuelle et les raisons historiques de leurs approches. Ces deux instruments de travail inédits fourniront ainsi une « cartographie » de l’histoire des études sur les liens entre philosophie et gnosticisme et offriront à la communauté scientifique la possibilité de réaliser des recherches croisées entre les corpus philosophiques et gnostiques portant sur le vocabulaire, les doctrines etla bibliographie. Ilscontribueront donc à faire avancer les recherches et à ouvrir également des nouvelles perspectives dans la recherche philosophique sur le débat qui animait non-chrétiens et chrétiens dans l’Antiquité.

2. John D. Turner:

This paper will examine the phenomenon of transcendental acts of knowing in the ontogenetic deployment from and contemplative reintegration of phenomenal reality (and the human self) into its precosmic origin as presented in the Chaldaean Oracles, the anonymous Parmenides Commentary, the Sethian Platonizing treatises and other select Gnostic sources such as Eugnostos the Blessed and the Simonian Megalʼ Apophasis. Specific topics of examination will be the notion of the « flowers » of fire and of mind in the Oracles, the ingenerate « fire » of the Apophasis, and, in the Sethian treatises and the Anonymous Commentary, the noetic triad and the phenomenon of « pre-thinking. » It will also be suggested that these phenomena may be speculative developments from pre-Socratic theories about primordial fire and cosmogenesis through primordial fission, condensation and rarefaction, and later Stoic theories about tensile motion.

Malheureusement Adrian Mihai, EPHE/UdeM, Paris/Montreal (Le concept de tolma chez Plotin et les gnostiques) et Izabela Jurasz, Centre Leon Robin (UMR 8061), Paris (Courants philosophiques dans les Discours contre Bardesane d’Ephrem le Syrien), initialement inscrits pour ce panel n’ont pas pu nous rejoindre.

Un autre panel qui nous a intéressé directement a été celui de Kevin Corrigan et Jean-Marc Narbonne intitulé « Plotinus and the Gnostics » qui a eu pour argumentaire : « This panel welcomes all contributions concerning the connection of the philosophy of Plotinus and Gnostic sources. We especially encourage any contributions that highlight the philosophical and textual aspects of this connection, with reference to particular passages and intellectual developments, but will also readily accept any broader perspective concerning its cultural or social dimensions. ».

Philosophy as a Rite of Rebirth: From Ancient Egypt to Neoplatonism 

 

Algis Uzdavinys (Author), 2008

 

Philosophy as a Rite of Rebirth challenges our understanding of philosophy – indeed it challenges many centuries of assumptions which have reduced othodox philosophy to a shadow of its original.Uzdavinys returns to the very roots of philosophy in Ancient Egypt, and shows why the Greeks revered that land of pyramids and priest-kings as the source of divine wisdom. Bringing his understanding of many great traditions of philosophy – Indian, Islamic, Greek, and others – he presents the case for considering philosophy as a human participation in a theophany, or divine drama. Casting aside the unnatural limitations of modern philosophy, as well as the grave misunderstandings of Egyptologists, radical and exciting possibilities emerge for the serious philosopher. These possibilities will certainly change our view of the universe in general, but most particularly our view of ourselves. The Rebirth of the title is one that implies an expansion of consciousness both upwards towards the divine heights of reality, and outwards to embrace the whole of creation as a living image of the gods. The exercises of philosophy thus move from the rational to the intuitive, onward to pure contemplation and, ultimately, to a god-like energy in the divine drama.

(Text by the author)

 

Table of Contents

 

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

I – UNDERSTANDING ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY 

  1. Philosophy and the Eternal Wonder
  2. Learning to Live and Learning to Die
  3. Ancient Practices of Wisdom
  4. The True Ancient Philosophy and the Way of Pious Living
  5. Understanding of Ancient Philosophy by Porphyry and Augustine
  6. From the Egyptian Soil to Hellas
  7. Translatability of Divine Names in Ancient Civilizations
  8. Heracles and Philosophical Ascent
  9. From Akhenaten to Thales
  10. Thales and the Egyptian Myths
  11. Water as Metaphysical Principle and Divine Substance
  12. Metaphysical Meaning of Ancient Mythologies
  13. Pythagorean Numbers and their Paradigms
  14. Standing on the Solar Barque
  15. Celestial Nile as the Cause of Geometry
  16. The Apollonian Road to Rebirth
  17. Philosophy as Divine Mystagogy and Beneficial Madness
  18. Philosophy and the Power of Faith: Towards the Final Union

 

II – ETERNAL MEASURES AND SYMBOLS OF EGYPTIAN SAGES 

  1. On the Back of the Heavenly Cow
  2. Proteus and the Egyptian Wisdom
  3. Allegorical Myths and Philosophy in the Temples
  4. Porphyry De abstinentia IV.6-9
  5. Sacred Animals, Philosophers, and Cosmic Numbers
  6. Hieratic Powers and Symbols of the Ineffable Father
  7. Philosophical Life of the Egyptian Priests
  8. Proximity of the Gods and the Bau of Amun
  9. Perfumes, Images, and Contemplations
  10. Divine Knowledge and Paradigms for Philosophical Mysteries
  11. Priests and Spiritual Guides
  12. Egyptian Scribes and the Way of Imhotep
  13. Amenhotep and Theology of Amun

 

III – IN THE REALM OF DIVINE SEMIOTICS 

  1. The Ramesside Icon and Three Hypostases of Plotinus
  2. Back to One‟s Native Star
  3. Archetypal Foundation of Hieroglyphic Signs and Colours
  4. Divine Ideas and Symbols
  5. Symbolic Interpretation of Hieroglyphic Script
  6. Return to the Golden Age and Paradigms to be Imitated
  7. Hieratic Myths and Symbols
  8. All Things and All Hieroglyphs
  9. Ancient Theories of Ideas
  10. Proclus ‟ Conception of Divine Forms and Unities

 

IV – BEING IN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN AND NEOPLATONIC THOUGHT 

  1. From Eidology to Metaphysics of Being and Beyond-Being
  2. Hierarchy of Priority and Posteriority
  3. Indivisible and Divisible Being
  4. The One as Foundation of Being
  5. Incomprehensible Divine Unities
  6. Images of Divine Light
  7. The One and Many according to Egyptians
  8. Levels of Being and Non-being
  9. The Lord of Totality and His Magic
  10. Cosmogonical and Ontological Principles
  11. Invisible God and His Theophanies

 

V – RITUALS OF DEIFICATION AND THEURGIC ASCENT 

  1. Depreciation of Hieratic Rites
  2. Rituals and Sacred Masks
  3. Climbing to the Divine State
  4. Cosmos and the Sacred Harmony of Strings
  5. On the Wing of Thoth: the Theurgic Way of Ra
  6. Divine Triads in Egyptian and Neoplatonic Thought
  7. Theurgic Assimilation to the Gods
  8. Deification through the Eye of Horus
  9. Spiritual Teachers and Sacred Masters
  10. Radiant Power of Names and Flight to the Throne
  11. Theurgic Union with the Divine Principle
  12. Intellect of the Father and His Cosmic Drama
  13. Elevating Powers in the Pharaonic State-Body
  14. The Perfect Man who Slew the Lords
  15. Theurgic Rites and Sacramental Theologies

 

VI – ANIMATION OF STATUES IN ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS  AND NEOPLATONISM 

  1. Sacred Images and Idols
  2. Vehicles of Divine Forces
  3. The Living Images of Everlasting Gods
  4. Animation as Ritual of Union with the Descending Rays of Ra
  5. Opening of the Mouth and Awakening to Light
  6. The Sacramental Birth of Statues in Mesopotamia and Egypt
  7. The Way of the Golden Falcon
  8. When the Womb-like Tomb is Opened
  9. Divine Beauty and the Inner Golden Statue: From Egyptian Theology to Plotinus

 

VII – TELESTIC TRANSFORMATION AND PHILOSOPHICAL REBIRTH 

  1. Philosophy in the Tomb-Sanctuary
  2. The Tomb as a Threshold of Light
  3. Sacrificial Alchemy of Tombs and Altars
  4. Alchemical Passage through Death
  5. Mummification and Dialectic
  6. Musicians, Lovers, and Philosophers
  7. Divine Knowledge and Theurgic Prayers
  8. Intellect as the Spirit of Light
  9. The Osirian Initiation and Separation from the Mortal Body
  10. Resurrection of the Golden Phoenix
  11. Two Ways of theAmduat 
  12. The Union of Osiris and Ra
  13. The Inner Alchemical Work and Return to Itself
  14. Metaphysics of the Heart
  15. Understanding of Soul and Body
  16. The Homecoming of Odysseus
  17. From the Homeric Ghost to the Immortal Soul of Plato
  18. Reawakening of Intellect and Rehabilitation of Images

 

GLOSSARY

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX

CATALOGUE

Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism: by Albert Camus

 

Albert Camus  (Author), Ronald D. Srigley (Translator, Introduction), 2008

 

Contemporary scholarship tends to view Albert Camus as a modern, but he himself was conscious of the past and called the transition from Hellenism to Christianity the true and only turning point in history. For Camus, modernity was not fully comprehensible without an examination of the aspirations that were first articulated in antiquity and that later received their clearest expression in Christianity. These aspirations amounted to a fundamental reorientation of human life in politics, religion, science, and philosophy. Understanding the nature and achievement of that reorientation became the central task of Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism. Primarily known through its inclusion in a French omnibus edition, it has remained one of Camus’ least-read works, yet it marks his first attempt to understand the relationship between Greek philosophy and Christianity as he charted the movement from the Gospels through Gnosticism and Plotinus to what he calls Augustine’s second revelation of the Christian faith. Ronald Srigley’s translation of this seminal document helps illuminate these aspects of Camus’ work. His freestanding English edition exposes readers to an important part of Camus’ thought that is often overlooked by those concerned primarily with the book’s literary value and supersedes the extant McBride translation by retaining a greater degree of literalness. Srigley has fully annotated Christian Metaphysics to include nearly all of Camus’ original citations and has tracked down many poorly identified sources. When Camus cites an ancient primary source, whether in French translation or in the original language, Srigley substitutes a standard English translation in the interest of making his edition accessible to a wider range of readers. His introduction places the text in the context of Camus’ better-known later work, explicating its relationship to those mature writings and exploring how its themes were reworked in subsequent books. Arguing that Camus was one of the great critics of modernity through his attempt to disentangle the Greeks from the Christians, Srigley clearly demonstrates the place of Christian Metaphysics in Camus’ oeuvre. As the only stand-alone English version of this important work–and a long-overdue critical edition–his fluent translation is an essential benchmark in our understanding of Camus and his place in modern thought.

(Text by the editor)

 

Contents

 

Acknowledgements

Translator’s Introduction

 

Introduction

  1. Evangelical Christianity
  2. Gnosis
  3. Mystic Reason
  4. Augustine

 

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index

Philosophy and Theurgy in Late Antiquity 

 

Algis Uzdavinys (Author), John Finamore (Foreword), jan/2010

 

The Ancient Philosophy, in its original Orphico-Pythagorean and Platonic form, is not simply a way of life in accordance with the divine or human intellect (nous), but also the way of alchemical transformation and mystical illumination achieved through initiatic “death” and subsequent restoration at the level of divine light. As a means of spiritual reintegration and unification, ancient philosophy is inseparable from the hieratic rites. The theurgic “animation” of statues appears to be among the main keys for understanding how various royal and priestly practices, related to the daily ritual service and encounter with the divine presence in the temples, developed into the Neoplatonic mysticism of late antiquity.

(Text by the author)

 

Contents

 

Foreword

Introduction

  1. The origins and meaning of philosophy

Eidothea and Proteus: the veiled images of philosophy

The distinction between philosophical life and philosophical discourse

Standing face to face with immortality

Philosophy and the hieratic rites of ascent

The task of ‘Egyptian philosophy’: to connect the end to the beginning

The Kronian life of spectator: ‘to follow one’s heart in the tomb’

Thauma idesthai: ‘a wonder to behold’

The invincible warriors as models of philosophical lifestyle

The inward journey to the place of truth

To be like Osiris

The death which detaches form the inferior

Entering the solar barque of Atum-Ra

Philosophical initiations in the Netherworld

Self-knowledge and return to one’s innermost self

Recovered unity of Dionysus in ourselves

Philosophical mummification inside the cosmic tomb

Platonic dialectic: the science of purificarion and restoration of unity

Philosophy as a rite of becoming like God

The ancient logos and its sacramental function

Riddles of the cosmic Myth

Philosophy, magic, and laughter

 

  1. Voices of the fire : ancient theurgy and its tools

Definitions of theurgy in antiquity

Descending lights and animated cult images

Figures, names, and tokens of the divine speech

The prophet Bitys and the overwhelming Name of God

The descending and ascending paths of Heka

The Silence beforer the gods and its creative magic

Hekate’s golden ball as a rotating ‘vocal image’ of the Father

The Sounding breaths of the All-Working Fire

The Elevating rays of the resounding light

The rites of hieratic invocation and ascent

The Tantric alchemy and the Osirian mummification

Golden seeds of the noetic Fire

Theurgic speech of the birds and solar knowledge

Tongues of the gods and their songs

Back to the life-giving wombs and the ineffable Silence

Chanting out the universe by the Name of everything

When Orontes flowed into Tiber: the revived tradition

 

  1. Sacred images and animated statues in antiquity

Myth and symbol: what makes the impossible happen?

Metaphysics of creation and its images in pharaonic Egypt

Theogonic appearances and animated stones

Theology of images and its esoteric dimension

Privileged habitations for the immortal gods

Beholding the ineffable beauties

Divine bodies and representations in Indian Tantrism

Sense perception and intellection in Neoplatonism

Divine light and luminous vehicle of the soul

Divine presence in images

Living images of the Egyptian gods

To be made into a spirit of light

Rites of alchemical transformation

The opening of the statue’s mouth

Mystical union with the noetic Sun

Revelation of the divine face

Divine statues and their sacred gifts

Salvation as return to the divine

 

  1. Metaphysical symbols and their function in theurgy

Symbols as ontological traces of the divine

The anagogic power of secret names and tokens

Animated theurgic hieroglyphs of the hidden Amun

Neoplatonic rites of metaphysical reversion

The ineffable statues of trancendent light

 

  1. Divine rites and philosophy in neoplatonism.

Ritual and cosmic order

The aim of philosophy

Different aspects of divine acts

Theurgy and spiritual hermeneutics

Hieratic rites of ascent

The common metaphysical background

Philosophers as sacred statues

To be reborn into the solar world

The cosmic theatre of sacrificial fires

Golden cords of Apollo

The shining forth like a god

 

Appendix: The limits of Speculation in Neoplatonism

The Hermeneutical program of reading Neoplatonism

Non-discursive divine presence and relational transcendence

Masks and tongues of the ineffable

The distinction between looking up at the Sun and looking down at reflections

Modes of intellection and union

To live means to read

Golden cords of Apollo

The shining forth like a god

 

Bilbiography of works on Philosophy&Theurgy

Glossary of terms

Biographical note

Approaching Late Antiquity

The Transformation from Early to Late Empire

 

Edited by Simon Swain and Mark Edwards, 2006

 

What factors already present in the society of the High Roman Empire developed and expanded into the world of Late Antiquity? What was distinct in this period from what went before? The answers to these complex and fascinating questions embrace the fields of cultural history, politics, ideas, art, philosophy, pagan religion, Christian church, Greek and Latin literature, the army, the law, the provinces, settlement, and the economy. Approaching Late Antiquity is an illustrated collection of fifteen original essays on the later Roman world written by a galaxy of internationally known scholars.

(Text by the editors)

 

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction, Simon Swain
  2. Economic Change and the Transition to Late Antiquity, Richard Duncan Jones
  3. A New Golden Age? The Northern Praefactura Urbi from the Severans to Diocletian, Emanuele Papi
  4. Transition and Change in Diocletian’s Egypt: Province and Empire in the Late Third Century, Colin Adams
  5. Roman Law 200 to 400 AD: From Cosmopolis to Rechtstaat?, Tony Honoré
  6. Roman Citizenship and Roman Law in the Late Empire, Peter Garnsey
  7. Emperors and Armies, AD 235-395, Michael Whitby
  8. Romanitas and the Church of Rome, Mark Edwards
  9. Pagan and Christian Monotheism in the Age of Constantine, Mark Edwards
  10. The Transformations of Imperial Church going in the Fourth Century, Neil McLynn
  11. Late Antique Art: the Problem of the Concept and the Cumulative Aesthetic, Jas Elsner
  12. Painted Hellenes: Mummy Portraits from Late Roman Egypt, Susan Walker
  13. Poetry and Literary Culture in Late Antiquity, Alan Cameron
  14. Sophists and Emperors: the Case of Libanius, Simon Swain
  15. Philosophy as a Profession in Late Antiquity, John Dillon

Dans un précédent billet, Luciana Soares signalait la parution d’un recueil d’articles de John Dillon, The Platonic Heritage – Further Studies in the History of Platonism and Early Christianity. Parmi ces articles, l’un concerne plus particulièrement la thématique de ce carnet de recherche, « Monotheism in the Gnostic Tradition », précédemment publié dans Polymnia Athanassiadi and Michael Frede (ed.), Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity, Oxford, 1999, p. 69-79.

Dans cet article, l’auteur s’interroge sur le monothéisme des écrits gnostiques connus pour leur hiérarchie divine complexe, avec un plérôme constitué de nombreuses entités. Il montre, à partir de quelques exemples (Apocryphon de Jean, Allogenes), qu’il existe bien un monothéisme dans les écrits gnostiques. Ce monothéisme doit peu au christianisme, selon notre autre, et il serait même plus radical que le monothéisme juif ou chrétien, avec un Dieu transcendant et impersonnel.

Les dernières lignes sont intéressantes, même si elles concernent moins le thème même de l’article. Il s’interroge en effet sur la contribution éventuelle des gnostiques (et des Oracles chaldaïques) aux idées des platoniciens, voire de Plotin lui-même, pour ce qui concerne la présence d’une triade au niveau de la deuxième divinité ; sauf si Numénius avait déjà préparé un système de ce genre.

Il s’agit d’un article toujours intéressant. Mais il faudrait mettre de côté certaines affirmations qui témoignent que John Dillon ne doit pas beaucoup aimer les gnostiques. Ainsi, il semble considérer l’éventuelle contribution des gnostiques aux idées platoniciennes comme negative (p. 78) : « the alternative, I fear, is to admit that the Gnostics (and Chaldaeans) made this substantive contribution to the later Neoplatonic system, and even to that of Plotinus himself. » Plus haut (p. 74), il parlait des gnostiques : « as very much the magpies of the intellectual world of the second century, garnering features that take their fancy both from the Jewish and Christian scriptures, and from the metaphysics of contemporary Platonism. »

 

CONTENTS

 

The riddle of the Timaeus: is Plato sowing clues?

Plotinus, Speusippus and the Platonic Parmenides

The Timaeus in the old Academy

Philip of Opus and the theology of Plato’s Laws

Atomism in the old Academy

Theophrastus’ critique of the old Academy in the Metephysics

The pleasures and perils of soul-gardening

Asomatos: nuances of incorporeality in Philo

Plutarch’s debt to Xenocrates

Plutarch and the inseparable intellect

Plutarch on God: theodicy and cosmogony in the thought of Plutarch

Plutarch’s use of unidentified quotations

The social role of the philosopher in Athens in the 2nd century CE: some remarks

Pedantry and pedestrianism? Some reflections on the middle Platonic commentary tradition

Monotheism in the Gnostic tradition

An unknown Platonist on God

Holy and not so holy: on the interpretation of late Antique biography

Plotinus on whether the stars are causes

lamblichus’ Noera Theoria of Aristotle’s categories

lamblichus’ identification of the subject-matters of the Hypotheses

lamblichus on the personal daemon

The theology of Julian’s Hymn to King Helios

A case-study in commentary: the neoplatonic exegesis of the Prooimia od Plato’s Dialogues

Damascius on procession and return

‘The eye of the soul’: the doctrine of the higher consciousness in the neoplatonic and sufic traditions

Index

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Includes bibliographical references and index.