The Routledge Handbook of Neoplatonism

P. Remes and S. Slaveva-Griffin (ed), London: Routledge, 2015


The Routledge Handbook of Neoplatonism is an authoritative and comprehensive survey of the most important issues and developments in one of the fastest growing areas of research in ancient philosophy. An international team of scholars situates and re-evaluates Neoplatonism within the history of ancient philosophy and thought, and explores its influence on philosophical and religious schools worldwide. Over thirty chapters are divided into seven clear parts:

  • (Re)sources, instruction and interaction
  • Methods and Styles of Exegesis
  • Metaphysics and Metaphysical Perspectives
  • Language, Knowledge, Soul, and Self
  • Nature: Physics, Medicine and Biology
  • Ethics, Political Theory and Aesthetics
  • The legacy of Neoplatonism.

The Routledge Handbook of Neoplatonism is a major reference source for all students and scholars in Neoplatonism and ancient philosophy, as well as researchers in the philosophy of science, ethics, aesthetics and religion.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Part 1: (Re)sources, instruction and interaction


1. Platonist Curricula and their Influence – Harold Tarrant

2. The Alexandrian Classrooms Excavated and Sixth-Century Philosophy Teaching – Richard Sorabji

3. Middle Platonism and its Relation to Stoicism and the Peripatetic Tradition – Gretchen Reydams-Schils and Franco Ferrari

4. Plotinus and the Gnostics – John Turner

5. Plotinus and the Orient – Vishwa Adluri

Part 2: Methods and Styles of Exegesis


6. Aristotelian Commentary Tradition – Han Baltussen

7. The Non-Commentary Tradition – Andrew Smith

8. Plotinus’ Style and Argument – Luc Brisson

9. Proclus’ Geometrical Method – Marije Martijn

Part 3: Metaphysics and Metaphysical Perspectives


10. Metaphysics: The Origin of Becoming and the Resolution of Ignorance – Sara Ahbel-Rappe

11. The Metaphysics of the One – Jens Halfwassen

12. Number in the Metaphysical Landscape – Svetla Slaveva-Griffin

13. Substance – Riccardo Chiaradonna

14. Matter and Evil in the Neoplatonic Tradition – Jean-Marc Narbonne

Part 4: Language, Knowledge, Soul, and Self


15. The Neoplatonists on Language and Philosophy – Robbert van den Berg

16. Neoplatonic Epistemology – Lloyd Gerson

17. Iamblichus on Soul – John Finamore

18. From Alexander of Aphrodisias to Plotinus – Frederic Schroeder

19. Metaphysics of Soul and Self in Plotinus – Gwenaëlle Aubry

20. Perceptual Awareness in the Ancient Commentators – Peter Lautner

Part 5: Nature: Physics, Medicine and Biology


21. Physics and Metaphysics – Alessandro Linguiti

22. Neoplatonism and Medicine – James Wilberding

23. Humans, Other Animals, Plants and the Question of the Good – Kevin Corrigan

Part 6: Ethics, Political Theory and Aesthetics


24. Plotinus on Metaphysics and Morality – Suzanne Stern-Gillet

25. Plotinus on Founding Freedom in Ennead VI.8[39] – Bernard Collette-Dučić

26. Freedom, Providence and Fate – Peter Adamson

27. Action, Reasoning and the Highest Good – Pauliina Remes

28. Political Theory – Dominic O’Meara

29. Plotinus’ Aesthetics – Panayiota Vassilopoulou

Part 7: Legacy


30. Neoplatonism and Christianity – Dermot Moran

31. Neoplatonism and Christianity in Late Antiquity – Dimitar Y. Dimitrov

32. Islamic and Jewish Neoplatonisms – Sarah Pessin.



Conversion and Initiation in Antiquity

Shifting Identities – Creating Change 

Birgitte Secher Bøgh (Editor), Peter Lang Verlag, 2014


For decades, Arthur D. Nock’s famous definition of conversion and his distinction between conversion and adhesion have greatly influenced our understanding of individual religious transformation in the ancient world. The articles in this volume – originally presented as papers at the conference Conversion and Initiation in Antiquity (Ebeltoft, Denmark, December 2012) – aim to nuance this understanding. They do so by exploring different facets of these two phenomena in a wide range of religions in their own context and from new theoretical and empirical perspectives. The result is a compilation of many new insights into ancient initiation and conversion as well as their definitions and characteristics.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents



Theme 1. The choice: reasons, motivations, and results.

Becoming Christian in Carthage in the Age of Tertullian

Conversion in the oldest Apocryphal Acts

Theme 2. Agency and agents: The context of decision.

Ontological Conversion: A Description and Analysis of Two Case Studies from Tertullian’s De Baptismo and Iamblichus’ De Mysteriis

Agents of Apostasy, Delegates of Disaffiliation

Theme 3. The change: the nature of reorientation.

‘The Devil is in the Details’. Hellenistic Mystery Initiation Rites: Bridge-Burning or Bridge-Building?

Conversion, Conflict, and the Drama of Social Reproduction: Narratives of Filial Resistance in Early Christianity and Modern Britain

There and Back Again: Temporary Immortality in the Mithras Liturgy

Theme 4. Education: instructing and guiding the convert.

The Role of Religious Education in six of the Pagan Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Period

Educating a Mithraist

Observations on Late Antique Rabbinic Sources on Instruction of Would-Be Converts

The Role of Philosophy and Education in Apologists’ Conversion to Christianity: The Case of Justin and Tatian

General Index

Index Locorum


The Enneads of Plotinus

A Commentary, Volume 1

Paul Kalligas, Elizabeth Key Fowden and Nicolas Pilavachi (trs.), New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2014


This is the first volume of a groundbreaking commentary on one of the most important works of ancient philosophy, the Enneads of Plotinus—a text that formed the basis of Neoplatonism and had a deep influence on early Christian thought and medieval and Renaissance philosophy. This volume covers the first three of the six Enneads, as well as Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus, a document in which Plotinus’s student—the collector and arranger of the Enneads—introduces the philosopher and his work. A landmark contribution to modern Plotinus scholarship, Paul Kalligas’s commentary is the most detailed and extensive ever written for the whole of the Enneads. For each of the treatises in the first three Enneads, Kalligas provides a brief introduction that presents the philosophical background against which Plotinus’s contribution can be assessed; a synopsis giving the main lines and the articulation of the argument; and a running commentary placing Plotinus’s thought in its intellectual context and making evident the systematic association of its various parts with each other.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Preface to the English Edition – Paul Kalligas

Translator’s Preface – Nicolas Pilavachi

Main Abbreviations

Porphyry: On the Life of Plotinus and the Order of His Books

Plotinus: First Ennead

Second Ennead

Third Ennead

List of Variant Readings

Key to the Chronological Order of Plotinus’ Treatises

Suggested Further Readings on Individual Treatises


Index of Passages Cited With Their Abbreviations and Modern Editors


Die Wurzel allen Übels

Gabienne Jourdan & Rainer Hirsch-Lupold, Heidelberg: Mohr Siebeck, 2015


Die Frage nach der Herkunft des Bösen hat philosophische wie religiöse Denker seit jeher beschäftigt. Unde malum? Wo immer die Erfahrung des Ausgeliefertseins an Gewalt und Zerstörung, Krankheit und Tod, aber auch die Erfahrung der Abgründigkeit der Seele Menschen erschüttern, drängt sich die Frage nach Ursache und Verantwortlichkeit auf. Die fortgesetzte Suche nach Antworten, durch mythisches Erzählen, durch philosophische Reflexion, durch psychologische, soziale sowie politische Rationalisierung oder durch naturwissenschaftliche Hypothesenbildung wird in den Beiträgen des vorliegenden Bandes in der Literatur des 1.-4. Jahrhunderts n.Chr., nachgezeichnet. Die behandelten Texte spiegeln ein die Geistes-, Philosophie- und Religionsgeschichte durchziehendes Verlangen, die Existenzbedingungen des Menschen zu verstehen und seiner Leiderfahrung auf den Grund zu gehen, getrieben von der Hoffnung, sich am Ende des Übels entheben oder es doch zumindest intellektuell domestizieren zu können.



Fabienne Jourdan/Rainer Hirsch-Luipold: Vorwort

I. Einführung
Karin Alt: Zum Phänomen des Bösen in der späteren Antike. Generelle Fragen, Voraussetzungen und ein Ausblick auf zwei Philosophen des 3. Jahrhunderts n.Chr.

II. Hintergründe
Luc Brisson: Whence Comes Evil in Plato –  Troels Engberg-Pedersen: Is the Stoic Account of the Origin of Evil Good Enough? On Seneca’s De Providentia and Hercules Furens –  Thomas Römer: The Origin and the Status of Evil According to the Hebrew Bible

III. Die Herkunft des Bösen und Schlechten in der Literatur des 1.-3. Jahrhunderts n.Chr.

Folker Siegert: Die theoretische Bewältigung des Bösen bei Philon –  David T. Runia: Clement of Alexandria and the Origin of Evil –  Zlatko Pleše: Evil and Its Sources in Gnostic Traditions –  Fabienne Jourdan: Materie und Seele in Numenios’ Lehre vom Übel und Bösen –  Denis O’ Brien: Plotinus on Matter, Non-Being and Evil

IV. Ausblicke
Marie Hélène Congourdeau: Ursprung des Bösen und körperliche Existenz –  Bernhard Neuschäfer: Der menschliche Wille als Ursprung des Bösen. Augustins willenstheoretischer Lösungsversuch des  unde malum -Problems –  Dorothee Pielow:Vorstellungen über « das Böse » im Koran


The Occult World

Christopher Partridge (ed.), London: Routledge, 2015


This volume presents students and scholars with a comprehensive overview of the fascinating world of the occult. It explores the history of Western occultism, from ancient and medieval sources via the Renaissance, right up to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and contemporary occultism. Written by a distinguished team of contributors, the essays consider key figures, beliefs and practices as well as popular culture.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents


Part One: Ancient and Medieval Sources 

Part Two: The Renaissance 

Part Three: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century 

Part Four: Nineteenth Century 

Part Five: Twentieth Century and the Contemporary World 

Part Six: Popular Culture and the Arts 

Part Seven: Beliefs, Practices, Issues, and Approaches


I manoscritti di Nag Hammadi

Nicola Denzey Lewis, 2014, Roma: Carocci, 2014


Gli scritti scoperti nel 1945 nella località egiziana di Nag Hammadi, fonti preziose per conoscere il cristianesimo dei primi secoli, sono densi di fascino e ricchi di stimoli per il lettore odierno. Il volume è una guida introduttiva ai testi più significativi di questa straordinaria biblioteca: con un linguaggio chiaro e accessibile, l’autrice li presenta raggruppandoli secondo criteri inerenti ai temi e ai generi letterari e li inquadra entro il più ampio contesto dei fenomeni religiosi dell’età tardoantica, sciogliendo i loro enigmi più oscuri.

(Testo della casa editrice)


Premessa all’edizione italiana di Matteo Grosso


Come si citano i testi di Nag Hammadi

Raccolte di testi di Nag Hammadi tradotti in altre lingue moderne

Elenco dei trattati di Nag Hammadi

  1. I codici di Nag Hammadi: una biblioteca cristiana del quarto secolo e.v.

I manoscritti di Nag Hammadi: alcune caratteristiche codicologiche

Perché è stato adottato il formato del codice?

Perché una collezione di testi gnostici?

Perché possedere questa collezione è per noi un fatto straordinario?

Il livello culturale dei copisti

Chi erano gli scribi di Nag Hammadi?

Datazione e localizzazione dei codici

Si tratta davvero di testi “gnostici”?

Per approfondire

  1. La questione dello gnosticismo

È davvero esistito lo gnosticismo?

Hans Jonas e lo gnosticismo

La definizione di Messina

Ripensare lo “gnosticismo”: Michael Williams e Karen King

La scuola di Yale

Eresia e ortodossia

Quale grado di veridicità hanno le ricostruzioni degli eresiologi?

Il cristianesimo attuale e lo gnosticismo antico

Per approfondire

  1. Orizzonti religiosi dell’Impero romano


La struttura sociale

Contesti religiosi nell’Impero romano

Altre religioni nell’Impero romano

Influssi della cultura romana sul cristianesimo

Per approfondire

  1. Il cristianesimo nel contesto dell’Impero nel secondo secolo: una visione d’insieme

Convertirsi alla fede cristiana: alcuni scenari

Integrarsi o non integrarsi? Un dilemma cristiano

Cristianesimi locali

Uno sguardo in avanti

Per approfondire

  1. Preghiere gnostiche

La Preghiera dell’apostolo Paolo

La Preghiera di ringraziamento

Le tipologie di preghiera nel mondo antico

Perché la Preghiera dell’apostolo Paolo è stata posta all’inizio del codice I?

La figura di Gesù nella Preghiera dell’apostolo Paolo

Dio nella Preghiera di ringraziamento

Gli aspetti invisibili della preghiera

Altre preghiere nei testi di Nag Hammadi

Altre preghiere fuori di Nag Hammadi

Per approfondire

  1. Valentino e i valentiniani

Ireneo a proposito di Valentino e dei valentiniani

La fede cristiana secondo Valentino

Gli scritti di Valentino

I maestri valentiniani e il tardo valentinianesimo

La fine della scuola valentiniana

Per approfondire

  1. Alcuni testi valentiniani

Trattato tripartito (NHC I,5)

Interpretazione della gnosi (NHC XI,1)

Trattato valentiniano (NHC XI,2)

Quali elementi rendono un testo “valentiniano”?

Altri elementi valentiniani nei testi di Nag Hammadi

Due iscrizioni valentiniane

Per approfondire

  1. Due vangeli valentiniani

Il Vangelo di Verità

Il Vangelo di Filippo

Per approfondire

  1. I testi legati al nome di Tommaso

Chi era Tommaso?

Esisteva una “scuola di Tommaso”?

Lo “strano caso” del Vangelo di Tommaso

Il Vangelo di Tommaso è un testo gnostico?

La fine del mondo nel Vangelo di Tommaso

Il rapporto del Vangelo di Tommaso con i vangeli canonici

Che cosa risale al secondo secolo in questa collezione di detti?

Tommaso contro Giovanni: una polemica alle origini del cristianesimo?

Gnosi e conoscenza di sé nel Vangelo di Tommaso

Il gemello di Gesù

Per approfondire

  1. Lo gnosticismo setiano

Perché gli eresiologi non ci aiutano a conoscere lo gnosticismo setiano

Come riconoscere un (testo) setiano

Tipologie di testi setiani

Quattro caratteristiche fondamentali dello gnosticismo setiano

Le Tre stele di Set

Alla ricerca degli inafferrabili setiani

Per approfondire

  1. “In principio”: due racconti della creazione

L’Ipostasi degli arconti: la storia del testo

Sull’origine del mondo: la storia del testo

La relazione letteraria tra l’Ipostasi degli arconti Sull’origine del mondo

La natura degli arconti nell’Ipostasi degli arconti e nel trattato Sull’origine del mondo

Questi trattati sono riprese della Genesi o sono contro la Genesi?

Dubbi e interrogativi sul libro della Genesi

Riflessioni e risposte

Leggere la Genesi nell’antichità

Sesso e potere: lo stupro di Eva

Violenza e discendenza: l’origine di un popolo

Da dove proviene la tripartizione del genere umano presente in questi testi?

L’intronizzazione di Sabaoth

La conclusione della storia

Per approfondire

  1. Un classico dello gnosticismo

I manoscritti dell’Apocrifo di Giovanni

Il Libro segreto di Giovanni e le sue rivelazioni “non così segrete”

La teologia apofatica e il problema della creazione

La struttura del cosmo

La creazione di Ialdabaoth e il pentimento di Sophia

La creazione del genere umano

L’esegesi biblica nell’Apocrifo di Giovanni

L’inno a Pronoia

Le vie per uscire dalla schiavitù

L’autore e il suo pubblico

Per approfondire

  1. Un classico testo liturgico

La funzione e la struttura del testo

La cosmologia

Il cosmo inferiore e gli esseri che lo popolano

Il racconto di una storia sacra in una celebrazione setiana

Le serie vocaliche

Le tre discese di Set nel mondo

Il battesimo

Il Vangelo degli Egiziani è un testo cristiano?

Per approfondire

  1. Confrontarsi con la morte

Concezioni dell’aldilà nell’Impero romano

Il problema della morte nei testi di Nag Hammadi

La risurrezione

Il martirio


La funzione dei sacramenti

Le pratiche funebri nell’Impero

I rituali funebri gnostici

Per approfondire

  1. Decostruzione del “femminile divino”

La struttura narrativa di Tuono: mente perfetta

La Protennoia trimorfe

Detti sapienziali e detti in prima persona

Chi è Protennoia/Ennoia?

Il finale della Protennoia trimorfe

La Protennoia trimorfe e il Vangelo di Giovanni

Tuono: mente perfetta e la violenza presente nella società

La questione del pubblico

Considerazioni conclusive

Per approfondire

  1. Perché in questa biblioteca cristiana ci sono anche testi pagani?

Il Corpus Hermeticum

Il Discorso sull’Ogdoade e l’Enneade


Alcuni temi ermetici

Per approfondire

  1. Tradizioni apostoliche in conflitto

La Lettera di Pietro a Filippo

Pietro e la tradizione dei dodici apostoli

Pietro (e Paolo) negli Atti degli Apostoli

Gli Atti di Pietro e dei dodici discepoli

L’allegoria negli Atti di Pietro e dei dodici discepoli

L’Apocalisse di Pietro

Questi testi petrini sono gnostici?

Visioni e autorità: le apparizioni del Risorto

Per approfondire

  1. L’Apocalisse! Visioni della fine del mondo

Il contesto sociale

La letteratura apocalittica giudaica

Caratteri della letteratura apocalittica

La fine del mondo?

Le apocalissi di Nag Hammadi

Le sezioni apocalittiche presenti negli altri scritti di Nag Hammadi

Per approfondire

  1. Le apocalissi setiano-platoniche

Filosofia greca e gnosticismo

Che cosa c’è di apocalittico nelle apocalissi setiane?

Il battesimo nelle apocalissi setiane

Per approfondire

  1. Oltre Nag Hammadi

Il codice Tchacos

Il Vangelo di Giuda

La cosmologia del Vangelo di Giuda

Il Vangelo di Giuda è setiano?

Che cosa ci dice il Vangelo di Giuda del cristianesimo proto-ortodosso?

Un vangelo senza la salvezza?

Il Vangelo di Maria Maddalena

Che cosa ci dice il Vangelo di Maria del cristianesimo proto-ortodosso?

Per approfondire


Indice analitico


Plotinus the Platonist

A Comparative Account of Plato and Plotinus’ Metaphysics

David J. Yount, London: Bloomsbury, 2014


In this insightful new book David J. Yount argues, against received wisdom, that there are no essential differences between the metaphysics of Plato and Plotinus. Yount covers the core principles of Plotinian thought: The One or Good, Intellect, and All-Soul (the Three Hypostases), Beauty, God(s), Forms, Emanation, Matter, and Evil. After addressing the interpretive issues that surround the authenticity of Plato’s works, Plotinus: The Platonist deftly argues against the commonly held view that Plotinus is best interpreted as a Neo-Platonist, proposing he should be thought of as a Platonist proper. Yount presents thorough explanations and quotations from the works of each classical philosopher to demonstrate his thesis, concluding comprehensively that Plato and Plotinus do not essentially differ on their metaphysical conceptions. This is an ideal text for Plato and Plotinus scholars and academics, and excellent supplementary reading for upper-level undergraduates students and postgraduate students of ancient philosophy.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents


1. The One or The Good: The Source of All Things
2. Beauty
3. Intellect: The Intelligible Region
4. The All-Soul or World-Soul
5. The Three Hypostases and Emanation
6. Matter: The Receptacle?





Index Locorum

General Index


Religion and Competition in Antiquity

 Engels D., Van Nuffelen P., Leuven: Peeters, 2014


The notion of competition has become crucial to our understanding of Greek and Roman religion and is often invoked to explain religious changes and to describe the relationship between various cults. This volume seeks to raise our awareness of what the notion implies and to test its use for the analysis of ancient religions. The papers range from Classical Greece, Hellenistic Babylon, Rome and the Etruscans, to Late Antiquity and the rise of Islam. They seek to determine how much can be gained in each individual case by understanding religious interaction in terms of rivalry and competition. In doing so, the volume hopes to open a more explicit debate on the analytical tools with which ancient religion is currently being studied.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Religion and competition in antiquity: an introduction – David Engels, Peter van Nuffelen

Religious rivalry in Seleucid Babylonia : Marduk of Babylon versus Anu of Uruk – Tom Boiy

Oracles and oracles sellers: an ancient market in futures – Esther Eidinow

Liberty versus religious tradition: some « impious » thinkers in ancient Greece – Aikaterini Lefka

Etrusca disciplina and Roman religion: from initial hesitation to a privileged place – Dominique Briquel

Cohabitation or competition in Ostia under the Empire? – Françoise van Haeperen

The end of open competition? : religious disputations in late antiquity – Peter van Nuffelen

Competing coenobites: food and drink in the Lives of Theodoretus of Cyrrhus – Veit Rosenberger

A time for prayer and a time for pleasure: Christianity’s struggle with the secular world – Ine Jacobs

The conquest of the past: Christian attitudes towards civic history – Aude Busine

Historising religion between spiritual continuity and friendly takeover: salvation history and religious competition during the first millennium A.D. – David Engels

Oriental religions and the conversion of the Roman Empire: the views of Ernest Renan and of Franz Cumont on the transition from traditional paganism to Christianity – Danny Praet


Magie de la comparaison

Et autres études d’histoire des religions

Jonathan Smith, Genève: Labor et Fides, 2014


Jonathan Z. Smith est l’un des plus remarquables historiens des religions de l’ère contemporaine. En pratiquant un comparatisme inattendu entre des religions très différentes dans le temps et l’espace, cet Américain légèrement excentrique a suscité de nouvelles manières de comprendre les mythes et les rites. Pour ce savant tout à la fois hypermoderne et technophobe, la religion est un mot et rien d’autre. Il sert à décrire des relations que des hommes entretiennent avec des acteurs surhumains dont la culture postule l’existence. Dans ce sens, il n’existe pas de religion pure et originelle mais des sociétés qui reprennent à leurs comptes des représentations de mythes qui elles-mêmes en relisent de plus anciennes. Avec cet ouvrage qui reprend sept articles majeurs écrits entre 1974 et 2004, le public français a enfin accès direct à Jonathan Z. Smith sur des points décisifs de sa pensée. Un entretien biographique avec les traducteurs les ponctue, dans lequel Jonathan Z. Smith évoque notamment le passé et l’avenir de sa discipline. La recherche, à ses yeux, doit davantage se déployer dans le voisinage immédiat de l’historien des religions qui y trouvera des institutions et des mythes à décrypter aussi intéressants que ceux qu’il peut partir analyser au bout du monde.

(Texte de la maison d’édition)

Table des matières










The Library of The Other Antiquity

Over the past decades Late Antiquity has evolved into an increasingly productive area of study. No longer seen merely as the continuation of ‘classical’ antiquity, an epigonal age, or the first phase of the medieval, Late Antiquity is now being approached as a period with its own characteristic traits, which lend themselves to interpretation in their own right. The emerging profile of Late Antiquity is both diverse and complex, a lively and productive combination of cultural pluralism and a stubborn dedication to tradition. Although for terminological reasons the term ‘Late Antiquity’ seems impossible to avoid, ‘The Other Antiquity’ aims to contribute to a more independent conceptualization of the period. This series understands itself as stimulus for a discussion of late antique literature which will open up new approaches and simultaneously put the fascination and charm of Late Antiquity on display for readers in other disciplines as well. A central theme is the reception of late antique texts in subsequent phases of Western culture, with particular emphasis on the perception of the “End of Antiquity” and the construction of Late Antiquity as an independent and self-contained period. This series will open up the field to a broader cultural discussion, not least with a view to postmodern reassessments, and will offer a basis for the interpretation of texts of widely varying origin.

(Text by the editors)