The Enigmatic Reality of Time: Aristotle, Plotinus, and Today

(Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition #7)


Michael F. Wagner, 2008

The nature and existence of time is a fascinating and puzzling feature of human life and awareness. This book integrates interdisciplinary work and approaches from such fields as physics, psychology, biology, phenomenology, and technology studies with philosophical analyses and considerations to explain a number of facets of the perennial question of time’s nature and existence, both in contemporary and in its initial classical Greek context; and it then explores and explains two of the most influential investigations of time in classical Western thought: Aristotle’s, as presented in his Physics, and the (neo)Platonist Plotinus’ in his treatise On Time and Eternity. Original interpretative perspectives are argued in both cases, and special attention is paid to Plotinus as partly responding to and critiquing Aristotle’s account.

(Text by the author)





Chapter One – Is Time Real?

Chapter Two – Eleaticism, Temporality, And Time

Chapter Three – The Makings Of A Temporal Universe

Chapter Four – Parmenidean Time And The Impossible Now

Chapter Five – Cosmic Motion And The Speed Of Time

Chapter Six – Temporal Cognition And The Return Of The Now

Chapter Seven – Real Temporality In An Aristotelian World

Chapter Eight – Does Aristotle Refute Eleaticism?

Chapter Nine – Temporality, Eternality, And Plotinus’ New Platonism

Chapter Ten – Plotinus’ Critique Of Aristotelian Motion

Chapter Eleven – Indefinite Temporality And The Measure Of Motion

Chapter Twelve – Plotinus’ Neoplatonic Account Of Time



Le programme de recherche « Philosophie et Gnosticisme : base de données et répertoire bibliographique » 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 et la bibliographie. Ils contribueront 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. L’originalité de la méthodologie développée pour la mise en place de la base de données pourrait servir de modèle pour d’autres bases équivalentes. Pluridisciplinaire et plurilingue, cette recherche concerne un public très large : les historiens de la philosophie de l’Antiquité classique et tardive et du christianisme dans toute sa diversité.

Die Übersetzungen der Elementatio Theologica des Proklos und Ihre Bedeutung für den Proklostext

(Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition #6)


Hans-Christian Günther, 2007


The present book presents for the first time a detailed study of selected passages of the most important Georgian translation of a text of Greek philosophy: the translation of Proklos’ Elementatio Theologica by the most eminent philosopher of the Georgian middle ages, Ioane Petrizi, who not only translated Proklos’ text, but also provided it with an extensive commentary. The book discusses the paragraphs which are also extant in an Arabic translation of the early 9th century. The main scope of the book is to establish the relevance of the Georgian and Arabic translations for the history of the constitution of the text, but it provides also important insights in Petrizi’s method of translation and the philosophical significance of his commentary.

(Text by the author)




Vorläufige material

Kapitel 1 – Einige Vorläufige Bemerkungen zur Bedeutung von Petrizis Übersetzung der Elementatio für die Textkonstitution

Kapitel 2 – Einige Propositionen der Elementatio im Licht der älteren Übersetzungen

Kapitel 3 – Freie Übersetzungen und Mißverständnisse in der Übersetzung Ioane Petrizis

Kapitel 4 – Einige Schlußfolgerungen für den Text der Elementatio

Kapitel 5 – Eine Paraphrasierende Interpretation des von Unechten Zusätzen Gereinigten Textes der Propositionen 1–6

Kapitel 6 – Zusammenfassung und Ausblick

Appendix I – Ioane Petrizis Übersetzung der Behandelten Zwanzig Propositionen der Elementatio Theologica

Appendix II – Die Proposition 128a

Appendix III – Die Arabische Übersetzung der Zwanzig Propositionen der Elementatio Theologica

Appendix IV – Glossar


Order from Disorder: Proclus’ Doctrine of Evil and Its Roots in Ancient Platonism

(Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition #5)


John Phillips, 2007


This study places the doctrine of the evil of the Neoplatonist Proclus in its proper context, the exegetical tradition as it developed within the various schools of ancient Platonism, from Middle Platonism to early Neoplatonism. With regard to the evil of the body, there are chapters on the various interpretations of Plato’s notion of a pre-cosmic disorderly motion as the source of corporeal evil and on the role of what Platonists referred to as an irrational Nature in the origin of that motion. As for evil of the soul, there are chapters dealing with the concept of an evil World Soul and with the view that the evil that is ascribed to the human soul is a form of psychological weakness.

(Text by the author)




Preliminary material


Chapter One – Proclus’ doctrine of evil

Chapter Two – Evil as privation

Chapter Three – Evil as a disorderly motion

Chapter Four – Irrational nature

Chapter Five – The evil world soul

Chapter Six – Evil as weakness of the human soul




Philosophy in Christian Antiquity 


by Christopher Stead  (Author), 1995


Christianity began as a little-known Jewish sect, but rose within 300 years to dominate the civilized world. It owed its rise in part to inspired moral leadership, but also to its success in assimilating, criticizing and developing the philosophies of the day. This book, which is written for nonspecialist readers, provides a concise conspectus of the emergence of philosophy among the Greeks, an account of its continuance in early Christian times, and its influence on early Christian thought, especially in formulating the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation.





List of abbreviations



1 – From the beginnings to Socrates

2 – Socrates and the Platonic Forms

3 – The philosophy of Plato’s maturity

4 – Aristotle

5 – Epicurus and the Stoics

6 – The Middle Platonists and Philo of Alexandria

7 – The philosophy of late antiquity



8 – The debate about Christian philosophy

9 – Greek and Hebrew conceptions of God

10 – Proofs of the existence of God

11 – God as simple unchanging Being

12 – How God is described

13 – Logos and Spirit

14 – Unity of substance

15 – Substance and Persons

16 – Christ as God and Man

17 – Two natures united



18 – Philosophy, faith and knowledge

19 – Freedom and goodness



Index of Names

Index of Subjects

The Lion Becomes Man: The Gnostic Leontomorphic Creator and the Platonic Tradition


Howard M. Jackson  (Author), 1985





List of Plates


  1. The Gospel of Thomas
  • A Puzzling Logion of Jesus
  • The Text-Critical Issue
  • Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 654
  • Summary


  1. The Gnostic Leontomorphic Demiurge
  • The Old Testament
  • Origen, Against Celsus
  • The Pistis Sophia
  • The Apocryphon of John
  • Manaean and Manichaean Texts
  • Summary


  1. The making of the Gnostic Synthesis
  • The Old Testament and Early Christianity
  • Ezekiel’s and the Merkabah
  • The Zodiacal Leo
  • Yahweh, Mios, and the Two Cities Leontopolis
  • The Orphic Cosmogony
  • The Mithraic Leontocephaline
  • Summary


  1. The Platonic Tradition
  • The Lion and the Passions
  • The Platonic Tradition
  • A Coptic Gnostic Version of the Parable
  • Summary



From Augustine to Eriugena : essays on Neoplatonism and Christianity in honor of John O’Meara


Martin, F. X., Richmond, J. A., 1991


In 1984 a group of John O’Meara’s colleagues decided to mark the occasion of his retirement from the chair of Latin in University College, Dublin, by the publication of a volume of essays. This book concentrates on Augustine and Eriugena, the two authors on whom he worked and with whom his international reputation is associated. Just as Augustine and Eriugena each tries to reconcile in his own individual way the Christian faith with the wisdom of the Graeco-Roman world, so this volume finds its focus.

(Text by the editors)


Table of Contents:

Jean Scot et l’ordinateur : le traitement syntaxique du « Periphyseon » / G.-H. Allard

Apophatic-kataphatic tensions in religious thought from the third to the sixth century A.D. : a background for Augustine and Eriugena / A.H. Armstrong

Eriugenas Faszination / Werner Beierwaltes

History and symbolism in the garden at Milan / Henry Chadwick

Augustine the Christian thinker / Mary T. Clark

Philosophy and theology in Proclus : some remarks on the « philosophical » and « theological » modes of exegesis in Proclus’ Platonic commentaries / John Dillon

A mystic in Milan : « Reverberasti » revisited / Thomas Finan

Johannes Scottus Poeta / Michael Herren

Vox spiritualis Aquilae : quelques épis oubliés / Edouard Jeauneau

Theologia : note augustino-érigénienne / Goulven Madec

Porphyrianism in early Augustine : Olivier DuRoy’s contribution / R.J. O’Connell

Hierarchies in Augustine’s thought / Gerard J.P. O’Daly

The role of divine attraction in conversion according to St. Augustine / José Oroz Reta

Ut scriptura pictura : une thème de l’esthétique médiévale et ses orines / Jean Pépin

A Porphyrian treatise against Aristotle? / Andrew Smith

Reading Plato in Antiquity

Harold Tarrant, Dirk Baltzly (Editors), 2006


This important collection of original essays is the first to concentrate on how the ancients responded to the challenge of reading and interpreting Plato, primarily between 100 BC and AD 600. It incorporates the fruits of recent research into late antique philosophy, in particular its approach to hermeneutic problems. While a number of prominent figures, including Apuleius, Galen, Plotinus, Porphyry and Iamblichus, receive detailed attention, several essays concentrate on the important figure of Proclus who provides the theme for the jacket of this book, with his characterisation of the true interpreters of Plato’s philosophy as a chorus of Bacchants.

The essays appear in the chronological order of their focal interpreters, giving a sense of the development of Platonist exegesis in this period. Reflecting their devotion to a common theme, the essays have been selected and are presented with a composite bibliography and indices.

(Text by the editors)


Table of contents

List of Contributors
Introduction, Harold Tarrant & Dirk Baltzly
1. Platonic interpretation and eclectic theory, Harold Tarrant
2. Pedantry and pedestrianism? Some reflections on the Middle Platonic commentary tradition , John Dillon
3. Apuleius on the Platonic gods, John F. Finamore
4. ‘Plato will tell you’: Galen’s use of the Phaedrus in De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis IX, Julius Rocca
5. Platonists on the origin of evil, John Phillips
6. The species infima as the infinite: Timaeus 39e7-9 Parmenides 144b4-c1 and Philebus 16e1-2 in Plotinus Ennead VI.2.22 73, Atsushi Sumi
7. The doctrine of the degrees of virtues in the Neoplatonists: an analysis of Porphyry’s Sentence , its antecedents, and its heritage, Luc Brisson
8. The mathematics of justice, Hayden W. Ausland
9. A historical cycle of hermeneutics in Proclus’ Platonic Theology, Tim Buckley
10. Proclus as a reader of Plato’s Timaeus, John J. Cleary
11. The eikôs mythos in Proclus’ commentary on the Timaeus, Marije Martijn
12. Pathways to purification: the cathartic virtues in the Neoplatonic commentary tradition, Dirk Baltzly
13. The transformation of Plato and Aristotle, Richard Sorabji
14. The harmony of Plato and Aristotle according to Neoplatonism, Lloyd P. Gerson
15. Reading Proclus Diadochus in Byzantium, Ken Parry
Index Locorum
Index of Ancient Names
Index of Modern Names
Index of Selected Topics

Relationship Between Neoplatonism and Christianity 


Thomas Finan (Author), Vincent Twomey (Editor), 1995


This book is devoted to the papers read at the first patristic conference held in Ireland. The theme was the relationship between Neoplatonism and Christianity, a topic that in recent scholarship has been the centre of controversy. The main lines of that controversy are discussed by James McEvoy, Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy in Louvain, in a refreshingly new way that throws unexpected light on the complex topic and shows its relevance for today. John Dillon, Professor of Greek, Trinity College Dublin, examines the influence of Platonism on Plotinus and Origen in order to demonstrate the originality of the Christian philosopher. One of the foremost experts on Eriugina, Dermot Moran, Professor of Philosophy, University College Dublin, discusses the influence of Origen on the great Irish mediaeval scholar. The difficulty of speaking about God is explored by Fran O’Rourke, Lecturer in Philosophy, University College Dublin, on the basis of the speculations of Pseudo-Dionysius. The incomprehensibility of God in the writings of Gregory of Nyssa is discussed with great originality by the Newman Scholar, Deirdre Carabine.

Original also is the contribution of Thomas O’Loughlin who examines the little known interest of St Augustine in astrology and the part it played in his conversion. Augustine is likewise the subject of the noteworthy contribution by Eoin Cassidy, lecturer, Mater Dei Iinstitute, Dublin, to the debate about the nature of friendship and the recovery of classical themes in the writings of the Bishop of Hippo.

(Text by the editors)




John J. O’Meara – Foreword

Thomas Finan, Vincent Twomey – Introduction

John Dillon – Origen and Plotinus: The Platonic Influence on Early Christianity

Dermot Moran – Origen and Eriugena: Aspects of Christian Gnosis

Fran O’Rourke – Being and Non-Being in the Pseudo-Dionysius

Deirdre Carabine – Gregory of Nyssa on the Incompreensibility of God

Thomas O’Loughlin – The Libri Philosophorum and Augustine’s Conversions

Eoin Cassidy – The Recovery of the Classical Ideal of Friendship in Augustine’s Portrayal of Caritas

Thomas Finan – Modes of Vision in St. Augustine: De Genesi ad litteram XII

James J. McEvoy – Neoplatonism and Christianity: Influence, Syncretism or discernment?

Platonisms: Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern

(Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition #4)

Kevin Corrigan and John D. Turner (Editors), 2007
The present volume argues that Plato and Platonism should be understood not as a series of determinate doctrines or philosophical facts to be pinned down once and for all, but rather as an inexhaustible mine of possible trajectories. The book examines in this light different strands of Platonic thinking from the dialogues themselves through later Antiquity and the Medieval World into Modernity and Post-Modernity with new essays ranging from Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and Natorp to Yeats, Levinas and Derrida. And also suggests the possibility of reading the dialogues and the whole tradition resonating in and through them in new, unexpected ways.
(Text by the editors)


Preliminary Material – K. Corrigan and J.D. Turner

Introduction. Plato And Platonisms – Kevin Corrigan and John D. Turner

The Individual Contributions To The Volume – K. Corrigan and J.D. Turner

Platonic Dialectic: The Path And The Goal – T .A Szlezák

What Is A God According To Plato? – Luc Brisson

Victorinus, Parmenides Commentaries And The Platonizing Sethian Treatises – John D. Turner

Proclus And The Ancients – Steven Strange

Virtue, Marriage, And Parenthood In Simplicius’ Commentary On Epictetus’ ‘Encheiridion’ – G. Reydams-Schils

How To Apply The Modern Concepts Of Mathesis Universalis And Scientia Universalis To Ancient Philosophy, Aristotle, Platonisms, Gilbert Of Poitiers, And Descartes – Gerald Bechtle

Real Atheism And Cambridge Platonism: Men Of Latitude, Polemics, And The Great Dead Philosophers – Douglas Hedley

The Language Of Metaphysics Ancient And Modern – Robert Berchman

The Platonic Forms As Gesetze: Could Paul Natorp Have Been Right? – John Dillon

Crying In Plato’S Teeth—W.B. Yeats And Platonic Inspiration – Anthony Cuda

The Face Of The Other: A Comparison Between The Thought Of Emmanuel Levinas, Plato, And Plotinus – Kevin Corrigan

Derrida Reads (Neo-) Platonism – Stephen Gersh

Bibliography – K. Corrigan and J.D. Turner

General Index – K. Corrigan and J.D. Turner