Plato’s Parmenides and Its Heritage

Volume 1: History and interpretation from the Old Academy to Later Platonism and Gnosticism


Nous voudrions signaler la parution en 2010 de l’ouvrage édité par John D. Turner et Kevin Corrigan, Plato’s Parmenides and Its Heritage, vol. 1 : History and Interpretation from the Old Academy to Later Platonism and Gnosticism, Leiden, 2011, ISBN : 978-90-04-16930-2.

Ce volume revient sur l’assertion de Proclus qui est généralement acceptée par la recherche et selon laquelle il n’y a pas d’interprétation métaphysique du Parménide avant Plotin. En effet, des traces d’une telle interprétation assez tôt dans le temps, comme le démontrent les différentes contributions. L’ouvrage est divisé en deux parties, la première « Plato, from the Old Academy to Middle Platonism » et la seconde « Middle Platonic and Gnostic Texts ». C’est cette seconde partie qui nous intéresse ici, particulièrement cinq articles qui évoquent les liens entre écrits gnostiques et le Parménide.

Trois d’entre eux discutent notamment les résultats des recherches de Michel Tardieu et Pierre Hadot sur le Zostrien et Marius Victorinus, témoignant de leur importance. (suite…)

The Platonic Heritage

Further Studies in the History of Platonism and Early Christianity


John Dillon, Ashgate Variorum (Variorum Collected Studies Series), 2012.


Cet ouvrage constitue un recueil des articles publiés entre 1996 et 2006. Cinq articles ont retenu notre attention plus particulièrement étant donné leur lien plus direct avec la thématique de notre cahier :  Plotinus, Speusippus and the Platonic Parmenides; 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.

Voici la présentation générale de l’ouvrage, faite par l’éditeur : This third collection of articles by John Dillon covers the period 1996-2006, the decade since the appearance of The Great Tradition. Once again, the subjects covered range from Plato himself and the Old Academy, through Philo and Middle Platonism, to the Neoplatonists and beyond. Particular concerns evidenced in the papers are the continuities in the Platonic tradition, and the setting of philosophers in their social and cultural contexts, while at the same time teasing out the philosophical implications of particular texts. Such topics are addressed as atomism in the Old Academy, Philo’s concept of immateriality, Plutarch’s and Julian’s views on theology, and peculiar features of Iamblichus’ exegeses of Plato and Aristotle, but also the broader questions of the social position of the philosopher in second century A.D. society, and the nature of ancient biography.

(Text by the autor)




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 Metaphysics;

The pleasures and perils of soul-gardening;

Asômatos: nuances of incorporeality in Philo;

Thrasyllus and the Logos;

Plutarch’s debt to Xenocrates;

Plutarch and the inseparable intellect;

Plutarch and 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;

Iamblichus’ Noera Theoria of Aristotle’s Categories;

Iamblichus’ identifications of the subject-matters of the hypotheses;

Iamblichus 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;


Religion and Philosophy in the Platonic and Neoplatonic Traditions

From Antiquity to the Early Medieval Period


Edited by Kevin Corrigan, John D. Turner and Peter Wakefield, 2012.


This book explores the intimate connections, conflicts and discontinuities between religion and philosophy in the Platonic and Neoplatonic traditions from Antiquity to the early Medieval period. It presents a broader comparative view of Platonism by examining the strong Platonist resonances among different philosophical/religious traditions, primarily Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Hindu, and suggests many new ways of thinking about the relation between these two fields or disciplines that have in modern times become such distinct and, at times, entirely separate domains.

(Text by the editors)


Table of Contents



Introduction: Kevin Corrigan, John D. Turner and Peter Wakefield

In Memory of Steven K. Strange


Part I: Religion, Philosophy, Divine Inspiration and Religious Piety in the pre-Platonic and Platonic Traditions

  1. Suzanne Stern-Gillet (University of Bolton, UK): “Divine Inspiration Transformed: From Hesiod to Ficino.”
  2. Kevin Corrigan (Emory University): “Religion and Philosophy in the Platonic tradition.”
  3. John Dillon (Trinity College, Dublin, Emeritus): “The Religion of the last Hellenes.”


Part II: Religion and Philosophy in the Platonic and Neoplatonic Traditions

  1. Steven K. Strange (Emory University): “Plotinus and the Ancients”
  2. Michael Harrington (Duquesne University): « The Emperor Julian’s Use of Neoplatonic Philosophy and Religion.
  3. John Phillips (University of Tennessee): “Proclus and others on Divine Causation”.
  4. John Dillon (Trinity College, Dublin, Emeritus): “Philosophy and Theology in Proclus.”
  5. Gerald Bechtle (University of Bern, Switzerland): “Categories and Conversion.”
  6. Luc Brisson (CNRS, Paris, France): “Allegory as used by the later Neoplatonic philosophers.”


Part III: Comparative Perspectives: Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Hindu

   10 Sarah Pessin (University of Denver): “Divine Presence, Divine Absence and the Plotinian Apophatic Dialectic: Isaac Israeli.”

  1. John D. Turner (University of Nebraska, Lincoln): “The Curious Philosophical World of Later Religious Gnosticism: The Symbiosis of Antique Philosophy and Religion.”
  2. Volker Drecoll (Tübingen University, Germany): “Middle Platonic elements in Augustine’s De Civitate 8.”
  3. Svetla Slaveva-Griffin (Florida State University): « Contemplative Ascent as Dance in Plotinus and Rūmī. »
  4. Deepa Majumdar (Purdue University): “The Enneads of Plotinus and the Bhagavadgītā: Harmony amidst Differences.”
  5. Rkia Elaroui Cornell (Emory University): “The Muslim Diotima? Traces of Plato’s Symposium in Sufi Narratives of Rabi’a al- ‘Adawiyya”
  6. Daniel Regnier (St. Thomas More College): “The Simple Soul: Plotinus and Śaṅkara on Self and Soul as Partless”
  7. Benjamin Gleede (Universität Tübingen): “Endorsing a cliché: On Liberty and Necessity in Christian and Neoplatonist Accounts of Creation”
  8. Suzanne Stern-Gillet (University of Bolton, UK): “Virtues of Selfknowledge: Aristotle, Augustine, and Siger of Brabant”
  9. Bibliography
  10. Contributors
  11. Subject and Name Index

Internationale Tagung: Theologische Orakel in der Spätantike

18.-21. 7. 2012

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Grüneburgplatz 1, CAS 1.801


Zu den Charakteristika spätantiker Philosophie gehört das Interesse für inspirierte Texte. Dies gilt einerseits für Homer und weitere Dichter, deren poetischen Texten die Autorität göttlicher Inspiration zugeschrieben wurde und die aus der Perspektive eines philosophischen Ansatzes interpretiert wurden, andererseits für explizit theologische oder religiöse Dichtungen wie die Orphischen Hymnen. Weitere Texte wurden als Orakel auf die Götter selbst zurückgeführt und als deren direkte Mitteilung aufgefasst (die sich freilich menschlicher Rede bedient). Häufig befassen sich diese Orakel mit Fragen zum Wesen Gottes oder der Götter und mit dem Wirken der Götter im Kosmos, sodass von theologischen Orakeln gesprochen werden kann. Fünf Sammlungen sind in besonderer Weise einschlägig: die Chaldaeischen Orakel, die philosophia ex oraculis haurienda des Porphyrios, die Tübinger Theosophie, die Apollon-Orakel von Klaros und (zum Teil) die Sibyllinischen Orakel.
Die Gestalt dieser Orakel ist im Einzelnen ganz unterschiedlich; doch ähneln sie zum Teil frappant den Texten der Gnosis, die in hohem Maße durch kühne Metaphorik, überbordende Mythologie und pittoreske Personifikationen abstrakter Entitäten und Sachverhalte geprägt sind. Gemeinsam ist neben der Anspruch überlegenen Wissens; manche Orakel (insbesondere natürlich die sibyllinischen) beziehen sich ähnlich wie die Gnosis auf Jüdisches und Christliches. Grundlegend ist für beide Textgruppen der eigentümliche Bezug auf die platonische Tradition; insofern lassen sich theologische Orakel und Gnosis einem gemeinsamen Diskursfeld zuordnen, das mit einem Ausdruck John Dillons als „platonische Unterwelt“ bezeichnet werden kann; die theologischen Orakel der Spätantike – samt ihrer zeitgenössischen Exegese vor allem durch den Neuplatonismus – bilden somit einen wesentlichen Aspekt des Themas „Philosophie und Gnosis“.

(Text by the organizers)


Das Programm ist auch einzusehen unter und wird gegebenenfalls aktualisiert.

Programm Theologische Orakel


Iamblichus and the Foundations of Late Platonism

(Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition #13)


Eugene Afonasin, John M. Dillon and John F. Finamore (Editors), 2012


Iamblichus of Chalcis (c. 240-c. 325 C.E.), successor to Plotinus and Porphyry, gave new life to Neoplatonism with his many philosophical and religious refinements. Once regarded as a religio-magical quack, Iamblichus is now seen as a philosophical innovator who harmonized not only Platonic philosophy with religious ritual but also Platonism with the ancient philosophical and religious tradition. Building on recent scholarship on Iamblichean philosophy, the ten papers in this volume explore various aspects of Iamblichus’ oeuvre. These papers help show that Iamblichus re-invented Neoplatonism and made it the major school of philosophy for centuries after his death.

(Text by the editors)




Front Matter – Eugene Afonasin, John Dillonand John F. Finamore

Introduction – Eugene Afonasin, John Dillon and John F. Finamore

The Pythagorean Way of Life in Clement of Alexandria and Iamblichus – Eugene Afonasin

Chapter 18 of the De Communi Mathematica Scientia Translation and Commentary – Luc Brisson

The Letters of Iamblichus: Popular Philosophy in a Neoplatonic Mode – John Dillon

Iamblichus: The Two-Fold Nature of the Soul and the Causes of Human Agency – Daniela P. Taormina

Iamblichus on Mathematical Entities – Claudia Maggi

The Role of Aesthesis in Theurgy – Gregory Shaw

Iamblichus on the Grades of Virtue – John F. Finamore

The Role of Divine Providence, Will and Love in Iamblichus’ Theory of Theurgic Prayer and Religious Invocation – Crystal Addey

Iamblichus’ Exegesis of Parmenides’ Hypotheses and His Doctrine of Divine Henads – Svetlana Mesyats

Iamblichus and Julian’s “Third Demiurge”: A Proposition – Adrien Lecerf

Index – Eugene Afonasin, John Dillon and John F. Finamore

Late Antique Epistemology

Other Ways to Truth


Vassilopoulou, P., Clark, S. (Eds.), 2009


Late Antique Epistemology explores the techniques used by late antique philosophers to discuss truth. Non-rational ways to discover truth, or to reform the soul, have usually been thought inferior to the philosophically approved techniques of rational argument, suitable for the less philosophically inclined, for children, savages or the uneducated. Religious rituals, oracles, erotic passion, madness may all have served to waken courage or remind us of realities obscured by everyday concerns. What is unusual in the late antique classical philosophers is that these techniques were reckoned as reliable as reasoned argument, or better still. Late twentieth century commentators have offered psychological explanations of this turn, but only recently had it been accepted that there might also have been philosophical explanations, and that the later antique philosophers were not necessarily deluded.

(Text by the editors)




Introduction – Vassilopoulou, Panayiota

Part 1 – Rituals, Religion and Reality

1. Porphyry and the Debate Over Traditional Religious Practices – Busine, Aude

2. St John in Amelius’ Seminar – Dillon, John

3. Eternal Time and Temporal Expansion: Proclus’ Golden Ratio – Kutash, Emilie F.

4. Having Sex with the One: Erotic Mysticism in Plotinus and the Problem of Metaphor – Mazur, Zeke


Part II – Crossing Boundaries

5. Ibn Ṭufayl and the Wisdom of the East: On Apprehending the Divine – Kukkonen, Taneli

6. Plotinus, Porphyry, and India: A Re-Examination – Lacrosse, Joachim

7. Animation of Statues in Ancient Civilizations and Neoplatonism – Uzdavinys, Algis


Part III – Art and Poetry

8. Platonists and the Teaching of Rhetoric in Late Antiquity – Heath, Maclcom

9. Proclus’ Notion of Poetry – Kuisma, Oiva

10. The Homeric Tradition in Ammonius and Asclepius – Manolea, Christina-Panagiota Manolea


Part IV – Later Influences

11. Nous and Geist: Self-Identity and Methodological Solipsism in Plotinus and Hegel – Rerchman, Robert M.

12. Μεστὰ πάντα σημείων. Plotinus, Leibniz, and Berkeley on Determinism – Bertini, Daniele

13. Proclus Americanus – Bregman, Jay

14. Ecology’s Future Debt to Plotinus and Neoplatonism – Corrigan, Kevin

15. Heathen Martyrs or Romish Idolaters: Socrates and Plato in Eighteenth-Century England – Poster, Carol

Conclusion – Clark, Stephen R. L.

Glossary – Prepared by Crystal Addey

Index of Names

Subject Index

En occasion de la sortie de la traduction française de l’important ouvrage d’Antonio Orbe, l’Introduction à la théologie des second et troisième siècles, en deux volumes au Cerf en juin 2012 (collection « Patrimoines »), une journée d’études est organisée le 22 juin 2012 au Centre Sèvres (35 bis, rue de Sèvres, 75 006 Paris, en salle 5).

Plusieurs intervenants discuteront alors sur divers aspects de cette ouvrage monumentale (1600 p. dans la traduction française) qui englobe toute la littérature chrétienne des second et troisième siècles, y compris les textes gnostiques ou apocryphes – dont il était possible d’avoir connaissance dans les années 1980.

Pour lire l’argumentaire et le programme de cette journée : antonio orbe

Death and Immortality in Late Neoplatonism: Studies on the Ancient Commentaries on Plato’s Phaedo

(Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition #12)

Sebastian Ramon Philipp Gertz, 2011
The belief in the immortality of the soul has been described as one of the twin pillars of Platonism and is famously defended by Socrates in Plato s Phaedo. The ancient commentaries on the dialogue by Olympiodorus and Damascius offer a unique perspective on the reception of this belief in the Platonic tradition. Through a detailed discussion of topics such as suicide, the life of the philosopher and arguments for immortality, this study demonstrates the commentators serious engagement with problems in Plato’s text as well as the dialogue’s importance to Neoplatonic ethics. The book will be of interest to students of Plato and the Platonic tradition, and to those working on ancient ethics and psychology.
(Text by the author)

Preliminary Material


I. Olympiodorus On Suicide

II. Politics And Purification In Socrates’ Second Defence (Phd. 63b–69e)

III. Syrianus And Damascius: Two Interpretations Of The Argument From Opposites In Plato’s Phaedo (Phd. 69e–72d)

IV. Memory, Forgetfulness And Recollection In The Commentaries On Plato’s Phaedo

V. The Affinity Argument In Plato’s Phaedo

VI. The Final Argument In Plato’s Phaedo

VII. After Death: The Phaedo Myth And Its Neoplatonic Interpreters

General Conclusions


Index Rerum

Index nominum Veterum et Recentiorum

Index Locorum Potiorum

Colóquio Internacional Estratégias anti-gnósticas nos escritos de Plotino


A equipe do professor Jean-Marc Narbonne da Universidade de Laval, responsável pela nova edição e tradução da obra de Plotino para a coleção Les Belles Lettres a Paris, organiza na Unifesp, São Paulo, entre os dias 19-20 março de 2012 um congresso sobre a polêmica antignóstica nos escritos de Plotino.



A pesquisa plotiniana nos últimos anos contribuiu para mostrar que a oposição de Plotino aos gnósticos ocupa um lugar muito mais importante que outrora se imaginava. De um lado, os escritos gnósticos testemunham uma força especulativa e uma inventividade muito maior do que se supunha. Muitos enunciados cuja originalidade é atribuída a Plotino possuem uma história anterior ao próprio corpo dos escritos gnósticos e herméticos. De outro lado, a resposta de Plotino aos gnósticos não está limitada ao pseudo Grosschrifit, construído pelos tratados 30-33, como se Plotino tivesse liquidado de uma vez por todas o « problema » gnóstico e tivesse passado a uma outra etapa. De fato, é propriamente ao longo de sua carreira intelectual que se confrontou com e que reagiu às teses gnósticas. O presente colóquio tentará iluminar as diferentes estratégias empregadas por Plotino, em diferentes etapas de sua trajetória, para responder e tomar distância com relação à gnose. Dessa forma, as conferências abordarão os tratados do ciclo anti-gnóstico (30-33), mas igualmente identificando tais elementos nos tratados psicológicos (22-28) e da primeira fase (1-7). Nesse sentido, a hipótese a ser investigada é a da substituição da ideia de um Grosschrifit pela de um Grosszyklus, que, a princípio, compreenderia o conjunto de tratados da fase intermediária dos escritos plotinianos, abrangendo diversas estratégias críticas. Tal hipótese será contemplada pelos diversos aspectos das exposições dos conferencistas.

Para ler o programa completo do congresso : Colóquio internacional estratégias anti-gnósticas nos escritos de Plotino

Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity


Edited by Polymnia Athanassiadi and Michael Frede, 1999


In this book distinguished experts from a range of disciplines (Orientalists, philologists, philosophers, theologians and historians) address a central problem which lies at the heart of the religious and philosophical debate of late antiquity. Paganism was not a unified tradition and consequently the papers cover a wide social and intellectual spectrum. Particular emphasis is given to several aspects of the topic: first, monotheistic belief in late antique philosophical ideals and its roots in classical antiquity and the Near East; second, monistic Gnosticism; third, the revelatory tradition as expressed in oracular literature; and finally, the monotheistic trend in popular religion.

(Text by the editors)





Towards Monotheism

Monotheism and Pagan Philosophy

Monotheism in the Gnostic Tradition

The Cult of Theos Hypsistos

The Chaldean Oracles

The Speech of Praetextatus