Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism

by Albert Camus

Albert Camus , Ronald D. Srigley (trans.), South Bend: St. Augustine’s Press, 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 from the publisher)

Table of contents


Translator’s Introduction


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





Philosophy and Theurgy in Late Antiquity 

Algis Uzdavinys (Author), John Finamore (Foreword), New York: Angelico Press, 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 from the publisher)

Table of contents



  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

Simon Swain and Mark Edwards (eds), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 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 from the publisher)

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. »




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



Includes bibliographical references and index.

Plato’s Parmenides and Its Heritage

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

John D. Turner et Kevin Corrigan, Leyde: Brill, 2011


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. Dans « The Platonizing Sethian Treatises, Marius Victorinus’s Philosophical Sources, And Pre-Plotinian Parmenides Commentaries » (p. 131-172), John D. Turner comment le Parménide est devenu un texte de référence pour des auteurs gnostiques au tournant du iiie siècle, comme cela a été le cas chez les philosophes médio-platoniciens. Ceci amène l’auteur à revenir sur le Commentaire anonyme sur le Parménide, pour lequel il adopte une datation préplotinienne, et sur les parallèles entre le Zostrien et Marius Victorinus mis en lumière par Michel Tardieu et Pierre Hadot. Il renforce l’hypothèse d’une source commune, qui pourrait être un commentaire du Parménide, différent toutefois, voire antérieur au Commentaire anonyme du manuscrit de Turin. En annexe, l’auteur donne citations et tableaux comparatifs utiles à la compréhension de son argumentation. Johanna Brankaer s’interroge sur l’existence d’une spéculation hénologique chez les gnostiques (p. 173-194, « Is There a Gnostic ‘Henological’ Speculation ? »), pour répondre par la positive. Elle ne présente pas un panorama de ce que l’on trouve dans l’ensemble des écrits gnostiques, mais uniquement dans quatre écrits qui relèvent de ce que des chercheurs appellent « séthiens »[1] : Les Trois Stèles de Seth, Zostrien, Marsanès et Allogène. Elle relève les passages où il est question de l’Un et s’intéresse plus particulièrement au lexique utilisé pour parler des réalités supérieures et pour exprimer l’unité et/ou l’unicité. Elle aurait pu citer Jean Daniel-Dubois qui aussi des pages au lexique de l’unité/l’unicité, même s’il aborda le Traité Tripartite et non pas un écrit « séthien »[2]. Concernant les rapports entre le Zostrien et Marius Victorinus, contrairement à la plupart des chercheurs, elle insiste sur les différences. Volker Henning Drecoll, dans « The Greek Text behind the Parallel Sections in Zostrianos and Marius Victorinus » (p. 195-212) revient sur les travaux de Michel Tardieu et de Pierre Hadot. Il considère que les parallèles entre le Zostrien et Marius Victorinus sont finalement modestes et concernent des expressions qui sont communes dans les textes philosophiques de l’époque. Il discute ensuite l’hypothèse d’une source commune, d’une part celle avancée par Michel Tardieu et d’autre part celle proposée par Abramowski. Il en vient à suggérer une autre hypothèse : Marius Victorinus aurait connu directement ou indirectement (par l’intermédiaire d’un texte néoplatonicien) la version grecque du Zostrien, une version qui par ailleurs aurait pu être modifiée au moment de sa traduction en copte. Pour le moment, il ne voit pas d’arguments contre cette (double) hypothèse. Les deux articles suivants font intervenir dans la discussion les Oracles chaldaïques. John D. Turner, dans « The Chaldean Oracles and the Metaphysics of the Sethian Platonizing Treatises” (p. 213-232) étudie les structures métaphysiques et les fonctions des différentes entités, successivement dans les Oracles, dans les écrits « séthiens » platonisant et dans le Commentaire anonyme, pour faire ressortir les points de rencontre entre ces trois ensembles scripturaires. Quant à Luc Brisson, dans « A Criticism of the Chaldaean Oracles and of the Gnostics in Columns IX and X of the Anonymous Commentary on the Parmenides » (p. 233-241), revient sur la critique du Commentaire de deux interprétations concernant la possibilité de connaître l’Un (fragment 4, colonnes IX et X). Luc Brisson relève les traits qui caractérisent la seconde interprétation critiquée, celle qui se fonde sur l’autorité des Oracles chaldaïques et il pointe sur la mention de l’audace. Selon lui, cette mention pourrait suggérer que ces interprètes seraient des gnostiques. La lecture de ces articles fut stimulante, et ces articles ne manqueront pas d’intéresser tous ceux qui s’intéressent aux rapports entre écrits et idées philosophiques et gnostiques. On peut souligner aussi que la discussion s’élargit à trois « partenaires » : les écrits platoniciens, les écrits gnostiques et les Oracles chaldaïques.

(Texte de la maison d’édition) 

Table de matières

  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
    • The Place of the Parmenidesin Plato’s Thought and in the Subsequent Tradition – Kevin Corrigan
    • Speusippus’s Neutral Conception of the One and Plato’s ParmenidesGerald Bechtle
    • The Fragment of Speusippus in Column I of the Anonymous Commentary on the ParmenidesLuc Brisson
    • Speusippus and the Ontological Interpretation of the ParmenidesJohn Dillon
    • The Indefinite Dyad in Sextus Empiricus’s Report (Adversus Mathethematicos 10.248-283) and Plato’s ParmenidesThomas Szlezák
    • Plato and Parmenides in Agreement: Ammonius’s Praise of God as One – Being in Plutarch’s The E at DelphiZlatko Pleše
    • Moderatus, E. R. Dodds, and the Development of Neoplatonist Emanation – J. Noel Hubler
    • The Platonizing Sethian Treatises, Marius Victorinus’s Philosophical Sources, and Pre-Plotinian Parmenides Commentaries – John D. Turner
    • Is There a Gnostic « Henological » Speculation? – Johanna Brankaer
    • The Greek Text behind the Parallel Sections in Zostrianosand Marius Victorinus – Volker Henning Drecoll
    • The Chaldaean Oracles and the Metaphysics of the Sethian Platonizing Treatises – John D. Turner
    • A Criticism of the Chaldaean Oracles and of the Gnostics in Columns IX and X of the Anonymous Commentary on the ParmenidesLuc Brisson
    • The Anonymous Commentary on Plato’s Parmenides and Aristotle’s Categories: Some Preliminary Remarks – Gerald Bechtle
    • Negative Theology and Radical Conceptual Purification in the Anonymous Commentary on Plato’s ParmenidesAlain Lernould
    • A Criticism of Numenius in the Last Columns (XI-XIV) of the Anonymous Commentary on the ParmenidesLuc Brisson
  • References
  • Contributors
  • Subject – Name Index
  • Index Locorum

[1] Restreindre ainsi le propos de son article à quatre écrits « séthiens » sous un intitulé général « la spéculation gnostique » semble faire des « séthiens » les seuls gnostiques, une position qui rejoindrait celle de David Brakke, The Gnostics, . Je ne suis pas sûre toutefois que ce soit la position de l’auteure, mais le titre pourrait prêter à confusion. De plus, ce titre général par rapport aux écrits choisis (sans que le choix ne soit justifié, comme s’il allait de soi vu la thématique de l’ouvrage) pourrait suggérer que pour trouver une spéculation hénologique, il faut se tourner vers les écrits « séthiens ». Je n’en suis pas sûre ; lire par exemple le Traité Tripartite.

[2] Jean-Daniel Dubois, « L’utilisation du grec dans le texte valentinien copte du Traité tripartite », dans Jean-Marc Narbonne et Paul-Hubert Poirier, Gnose et philosophie. Études en hommage à Pierre Hadot, Québec – Paris, 2009, p. 37-38.


The Platonic Heritage

Further Studies in the History of Platonism and Early Christianity

John Dillon, Ashgate Variorum, London: Routledge, 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 from the publisher)

Table of 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 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

Kevin Corrigan, John D. Turner and Peter Wakefield, Baden-Baden: Academia Verlag, 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 from the publisher)

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


Goethe Universität Frankfurt

Internationale Tagung

Theologische Orakel in der Spätantike

Beschreibung und Organization

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 der Veranstalter)


Iamblichus and the Foundations of Late Platonism

Eugene Afonasin, John M. Dillon and John F. Finamore (Editors), Leyde: Brill, 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 from the publisher)

Table of contents

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.), New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 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 from the publisher)

Table of contents

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