The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul

Reflections of Platonic Psychology in the Monotheistic Religions

Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth and John Dillon (Editors), Leyde: Brill, 2009


Plato’s doctrine of the soul, its immaterial nature, its parts or faculties, and its fate after death (and before birth) came to have an enormous influence on the great religious traditions that sprang up in late antiquity, beginning with Judaism (in the person of Philo of Alexandria), and continuing with Christianity, from St. Paul on through the Alexandrian and Cappadocian Fathers to Byzantium, and finally with Islamic thinkers from Al-kindi on. This volume, while not aspiring to completeness, attempts to provide insights into how members of each of these traditions adapted Platonist doctrines to their own particular needs, with varying degrees of creativity.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents


A. Early Period

Philo Of Alexandria And Platonist Psychology – John Dillon

St. Paul On Soul, Spirit And The Inner Man – George H. Van Kooten

B. Christian Tradition

Faith And Reason In Late Antiquity: The Perishability Axiom And Its Impact On Christian Views About The Origin And Nature Of The Soul – Dirk Krausmüller

The Nature Of The Soul According To Eriugena – Catherine Kavanagh

C. Islamic Tradition

Aristotle’s Categories And The Soul: An Annotated Translation Of Al-Kindī’S That There Are Separate Substances – Peter Adamson and Peter E. Pormann

Private Caves And Public Islands: Islam, Plato And The Ikhwān Al-Ṣafāʾ – Ian Richard Netton

Tradition And Innovation In The Psychology Of Fakhr Al-Dīn Al-Rāzī – Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth

D. Judaic Tradition

The Soul In Jewish Neoplatonism: A Case Study Of Abraham Ibn Ezra And Judah Halevi – Aaron W. Hughes

Maimonides, The Soul And The Classical Tradition – Oliver Leaman

E. Later Medieval Period

St. Thomas Aquinass Concept Of The Human Soul And The Influence Of Platonism – Patrick Quinn

Intellect As Intrinsic Formal Cause In The Soul According To Aquinas And Averroes – Richard C. Taylor


Index Of Names

Index Of Concepts And Places


Philosophy in Christian Antiquity 

Christopher Stead, New York: Cambridge University Press, 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.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents


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


Reading Plato in Antiquity

Harold Tarrant, Dirk Baltzly (eds.), London: Bloomsbury, 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 from the publisher)

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


The Syntax of Time

The Phenomenology of Time in Greek Physics and Speculative

Logic from Iamblichus to Anaximander

Peter Manchester, Leiden: Brill, 2005


The fourth century Neoplatonist Iamblichus, interpreting Plotinus on the topic of time, incorporates a ‘diagram of time’ that bears comparison to the figure of double continuity drawn by Husserl in his studies of time. Using that comparison as a bridge, this book seeks a phenomenological recovery of Greek thought about time. It argues that the feature of motion that the word ‘time’ designates in Greek differs from what most modern scholarship has assumed, that the very phenomenon of time has been misidentified for centuries. This leads to corrective readings of Plotinus, Aristotle, Parmenides, and Heraclitus, all looking back to the final phrase of the fragment of Anaximander, from which this volume takes its title: « according to the syntax of time. »

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgments


Chapter One –Two-Dimensional Time in Husserl and Iamblichus

The Problem of the Flowing of Time

The Flux of Consciousness

The Transparency of the Flux

Time-Framing in Locke and Hume

The Dimensions of Transparency

Two-Dimensional Time in Husserl

The Figure of Double Continuity

The Double Intentionality of Disclosure Space

Two-Dimensional Time in Iamblichus

Time as the Sphere of the All

Chapter Two – Time and the Soul in Plotinus

Two-Dimensional Time in Neoplatonism

The Schema of Participation

The Silence of Time in Plotinus

Chapter Three Everywhere Now: Physical Time in Aristotle

Soul and the Surface of Exoteric Time

The Spanning of Motion

The Scaling of Spans

The Unit of Disclosure Space

The Soul of Physical Time

Chapter Four – Parmenides: Time as the Now

Parmenides Thinks about Time

Signpost 1: Being Ungenerated and Unperishing

Signpost 2: Whole; Signpost 4: The Coherent One

Signpost 3: Now is All at Once and Entirely Total


Chapter Five – Heraclitus and the Need for Time

Review: The Path to Heraclitus

From Husserl to Heraclitus via Iamblichus

Time in Heraclitus: The Circular Joining of ἀεὶ and αἰών

Heraclitus as a Gloss on Anaximander

Appendix 1 – Physical Lectures on Time by Aristotle: A MinimalTranslation

Appendix 2 – Fragment 8 of the Poem of Parmenides: Text and Translation




Porphyry Against the Christians 

Robert M. Berchman, Leiden: Brill, 2005


This volume is a translation of fragments and testimonia of Porphyry’s lost work « Against the Christians ». The first part of the work examines Author, Title, date of composition, and sources. The second part discusses the structure of « Against the Christians, » The third part focuses on the religious, philosophical, and cultural background of this text. The fourth section constitutes the translation of the fragments and testimonia of « Against the Christians, » This work is especially important for historians of religion, philosophy, and Biblical Studies for it is an excellent example of a pagan tradition of scriptural interpretation and criticism of Christianity.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Chapter One Author, Title, Date of Composition, Sources, Geographical Provenance  p. 1-6

Chapter Two Structure, Genre, and Taxonomy. p. 7-16

Chapter Three Chapter Three Religious and Philosophical Elements  p. 17-71

Chapter Four Cultural Background p. 72-117

Chapter Five Fragments, Orthography and Languages. p.118-121

Chapter Seven Fragments, Translation, and Exegetical Notes  p. 123-221


The passionate intellect 

Essays on the transformation of classical traditions,

presented to Professor I.G. Kidd 

Ayres, Lewis., Kidd, I. G., London: Transaction publishing, 1995


Ian Kidd, of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, has long been known as a world-class scholar of ancient philosophy and of Posidonius, in particular. Through his long struggle with the fragments of Posidonius, Kidd has done more than any other scholar of ancient philosophy to dispel the myth of « Pan-Posidonianism. » He has presented a clearer picture of the Posidonius to whom we may have access. The bulk of this volume is built around the theme of Kidd’s own inaugural lecture at St. Andrews, « The Passionate Intellect. » Many of the contributions follow this theme through by examining how individual people and texts influenced the direction of various traditions. Many of the papers naturally concentrate on ancient philosophy and its legacy. Others deal with ancient literary theory, history, poetry, and drama. Most of the papers deal with their subjects at some length and are significant contributions in their own right.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Bibliography of I.G. Kidd

Greeks and the Passionate Intellect – Ian Kidd

  1. Poetic Rhythms in the Myth of the Soul – Kenneth J. Dover
  2. Plato, Imagination and Romanticism – S. Halliwell
  3. Tradition and Innovation in the Transformation of Socrates’ Divine Sign – Mark Joyal
  4. [actual symbol not reproducible] in Plato’s Cratylus – David B. Robinson
  5. Counting Plato’s Principles – R. W. Sharples
  6. Pindar and the Victory Ode – Chris Carey
  7. Euripides: Ion and Phoenissae – Elizabeth M. Craik
  8. Roman Mind and the Power of Fiction – J. S. Richardson
  9. Did Thucydides Write for Readers or Hearers? – Shigetake Yaginuma
  10. Aenesidemus versus Pyrrho: Il fuoco scalda « per natura » (Sextus M. VIII 215 e XI 69) – Fernanda Decleva Caizzi
  11. Theophrastus, no. 84 FHS&G: There’s Nothing New Here! – William W. Fortenbaugh
  12. Alexandria, Syene, Meroe: Symmetry in Eratosthenes’ Measurement of the World – A. S. Gratwick
  13. Seneca’s Natural Questions – Changing Readerships – Harry M. Hine
  14. Crates of Mallos, Dionysius Thrax and the Tradition of Stoic Grammatical Theory – Richard Janko
  15. Aenesidemus and the Academics – Jaap Mansfeld
  16. Pathology of Ps.-Hippocrates, On Ancient Medicine – Robin Waterfield
  17. Discipline of Self-knowledge in Augustine’s De trinitate Book X – Lewis Ayres
  18. Melanchthon’s First Manual on Rhetorical Categories in Criticism of the Bible – C. J. Classen
  19. « A Kind of Warmth »: Some Reflections on the Concept of « Grace » in the Neoplatonic Tradition – John Dillon
  20. Ausonius at Prayer – R. P. H. Green
  21. Philosophy of the Codification of Law in Fifth Century Constantinople and Victorian Edinburgh – Jill Harries


Reading Plotinus

A Practical Introduction to Neoplatonism

Kevin Corrigan, West Lafayette: Perdue University Press, 2004


This book provides a practical reading guide to the thought of Plotinus, the great philosopher who was born in Alexandria in the third century a.d., lived in Rome and wrote in Greek. Deeply immersed in earlier Greek philosophy, especially Plato and Aristotle, Plotinus’ thought was to have an immense influence upon the theology and philosophy of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as well as to bear a deep resonance with the major forms of Eastern mystical thought, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism. At the same time, Plotinus’ philosophy remains unique in its own right. Corrigan’s work presents, in an accessible and yet authoritative way, three treatises translated in full, as well as several other major passages representative of the wide range of thought to be found in Plotinus’ Enneads. There is extensive and detailed commentary accompanying each translation, which helps the reader to work his or her way through Plotinus’ often highly compressed thought. The concluding chapter draws together the practical and theoretical significance of Plotinus’ writings and situates them in an accessible manner for both first-time reader and scholar alike within the subsequent vast history of Neoplatonism which extends through the Mediaeval and Renaissance worlds and right into modern times. This book is intended to be of use for anyone who wants to read and understand Plotinus, non-specialists and specialists, and it will be particularly helpful for students and scholars of philosophy, history of ideas, aesthetic theory, and literature and religious thought, both Western and Eastern.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents


List of Enneads



Chapter 1: An Overview of Plotinus’ Thought


  1. The hypostases and our relation to them: V, 1 (10) 10-12
  2. Tracing degrees of unity back to the One. The nature of body, soul, and intellect, and the return to the One: VI, 9 (9) 1-3
  3. The derivation of everything (from intellect to matter): IV, 8(6); V, 2(11) 1,3-28
  4. The nature of intellect and soul, and soul’s relation to bodies: IV, 1 (21)
  5. World soul and individual souls: IV, 3 (27) 6
  6. The descent and fall of soul: IV, 8 (5) 5
  7. Matter: II, 5 (25) 5
  8. Bodiliness: II, 7 (37) 3
  9. Soul-body: The human being here: VI, 7 (38) 4-5
  10. Eternity and time: III, 7 (45) 11


1.1 The hypostases

1.2 Free spontaneous creativity: The One

1.3 The derivation of all things: Procession and conversion

1.4 The return to union

1.5 Intellect

1.6 Soul and the sensible world

1.7 The World soul and individual souls

1.8 Soul-body

1.9 Providence, freedom, and matter

1.10 The generation of matter

1.11 The descent and fall of soul

1.12 Nature, contemplation, eternity, and time

1.13 Plotinus, the reader

Chapter 2: Plotinus’ Anthropology


I, 1 (53): What Is the Living Creature and What Is the Human Being?


2.1 Introduction

2.2 What does Plotinus mean by the impassibility or unaffectedness of soul? (I, 1 [53] 2 and III 6 [26])

2.3 Do “we” really perceive and do we perceive directly or mediately? (I, 1 (53) 3-7 and other texts)

2.4 Do we perceive things or our impressions of things?

2.5 How do the affections fit into the overall picture?

2.6 Soul-body and beyond (I, 1, 4-7)

Chapter 3: The range of Plotinus’ thought: From nature and contemplation to the One


III, 8 (30): On Nature and Contemplation and the One


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Play

3.3 Contemplation, action and production: The problem

3.4 An animated, freely dependent world (1, 11 ff.)

3.5 Activity ( energeia ) and power ( dynamis )

3.6 Nature (III, 8, 2)

3.7 Logos and Zogo/’-brothers (III, 8, 2, 27-35)

3.8 Matter: From Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics to Plotinus

3.9 Logos and action, a way of understanding Neoplatonic contemplative production (III, 8, 3)

3.10 The silent speech of nature (III, 8, 4)

3.11 Synaesthesis (III, 4, 15 ff.)

3.12 The nature of images and productive art: Plato and Plotinus (III, 8, 4, 39 ff.)

3.13 The problem of degrees of reality: Filling and being filled (III, 8, 4-5)

3.14 The landscape of soul (III, 8, 5)

3.15 Love and beauty (III, 8, 5, 34 ff.)

3.16 Walk-about, bending back, and trust (III, 8, 6)

3.17 The dialectic of play and seriousness: From the inertia of indifference to kinship of soul (III, 8, 6, 15 ff.)

3.18 Plotinus’ theory of creation in context (III, 8, 7, 1-15)

3.19 The problem of intellect (III, 8, 8)

3.20 Four puzzles: From the drunken circle to haphazard heap (III, 8, 8, 30-48)

3.21 The problem of substance in the Enneads

3.22 Speaking about the One: The character of a simplicity beyond intellect

3.23 Infinity and number (III, 8, 9, 1-6)

3.24 Neither intellect nor intelligible object nor ignorant (III, 8, 9, 6-16)

3.25 Simple, instantaneous awareness (III, 8, 9, 16-24)

3.26 Sound and omnipresence (III, 8, 9, 24-29)

3.27 A “backward” intellect (III, 8, 9, 29 ff.)

3.28 A power for all things (III, 8, 10, 1-26)

3.29 Negative theology and dialectic (III, 8, 10, 26-35)

3.30 The simplicity and playfulness of the image (III, 8, 11)

3.31 Conclusion: Some answers to frequently asked questions about Plotinian Neoplatonism

Chapter 4: A world of beauty, from beautiful things to intelligible shapelessness


V, 8 (31): On the Intelligible Beauty Commentary

4.1 Introduction: The importance and major issues of V, 8

4.2 What does “the beautiful” mean?

4.3 Why is good proportion and structure not “the beautiful”?

4.4 Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

4.5 What is the beauty of art? (V, 8, 1-2)

4.6 Why is intelligible beauty bound up with the perception of natural things? (V, 8, 2)

4.7 How are beauty, science, and wisdom related?

4.8 The Form of the beautiful?

4.9 Intelligible beauty and concrete physical things (V, 8, 4-8)

4.10 Elements of a reflexive aesthetic theory (V, 8, 1-11)

4.11 How does evil fit into this picture? (V, 8, 11)

4.12 The limitations of beauty: What role does the One play?

Chapter 5: Conclusion: Assessment and Afterlife

5.1 Assessment

5.2 Afterlife

Appendix A: Some key passages from Plato and Aristotle

Appendix B: Suggestions for further reading


Index of Names

Index of Subjects



The Making of Fornication

Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in

Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity

Kathy L. Gaca, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003


This provocative work provides a radical reassessment of the emergence and nature of Christian sexual morality, the dominant moral paradigm in Western society since late antiquity. While many scholars, including Michel Foucault, have found the basis of early Christian sexual restrictions in Greek ethics and political philosophy, Kathy L. Gaca demonstrates on compelling new grounds that it is misguided to regard Greek ethics and political theory—with their proposed reforms of eroticism, the family, and civic order—as the foundation of Christian sexual austerity. Rather, in this thoroughly informed and wide-ranging study, Gaca shows that early Christian goals to eradicate fornication were derived from the sexual rules and poetic norms of the Septuagint, or Greek Bible, and that early Christian writers adapted these rules and norms in ways that reveal fascinating insights into the distinctive and largely non-philosophical character of Christian sexual morality. Writing with an authoritative command of both Greek philosophy and early Christian writings, Gaca investigates Plato, the Stoics, the Pythagoreans, Philo of Alexandria, the apostle Paul, and the patristic Christians Clement of Alexandria, Tatian, and Epiphanes, freshly elucidating their ideas on sexual reform with precision, depth, and originality. Early Christian writers, she demonstrates, transformed all that they borrowed from Greek ethics and political philosophy to launch innovative programs against fornication that were inimical to Greek cultural mores, popular and philosophical alike. The Septuagint’s mandate to worship the Lord alone among all gods led to a Christian program to revolutionize Gentile sexual practices, only for early Christians to find this virtually impossible to carry out without going to extremes of sexual renunciation. Knowledgeable and wide-ranging, this work of intellectual history and ethics cogently demonstrates why early Christian sexual restrictions took such repressive ascetic forms and cast a sobering light on what Christian sexual morality has meant for religious pluralism in Western culture, especially among women as its bearers.

(Text by the author)

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Ancient Greek Sexual Blueprints for Social Order

Part I. Greek Philosophical Sexual Reforms
2. Desire’s Hunger and Plato the Regulator
3. Crafting Eros through the Stoic Logos of Nature
4. The Reproductive Technology of the Pythagoreans

Part II. Greek Biblical Sexual Rules and Their Reworking by Paul and Philo
5. Rival Plans for God’s Sexual Program in the Pentateuch and Paul
6. From the Prophets to Paul: Converting Whore Culture into the Lord’s Veiled Bride
7. Philo’s Reproductive City of God

Part III. Patristic Transformations of the Philosophical, Pauline, and Philonic Rules
8. Driving Aphrodite from the World: Tatian and His Encratite Argument
9. Prophylactic Grace in Clement’s Emergent Church Sexual Ethic
10. The Fornicating Justice of Epiphanes
11. Conclusion: The Demise of Greek Eros and Reproduction



Philosophy in Late Antiquity 

Andrew Smith, London: Routledge, 2004


One of the most significant cultural achievements of Late Antiquity lies in the domains of philosophy and religion, more particularly in the establishment and development of Neoplatonism as one of the chief vehicles of thought and subsequent channel for the transmission of ancient philosophy to the medieval and renaissance worlds. Important, too, is the emergence of a distinctive Christian philosophy and theology based on a foundation of Greek pagan thought. This book provides an introduction to the main ideas of Neoplatonism and some of the ways in which they influenced Christian thinkers.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents



Setting the agenda: The philosophy of Plotinus


1 The individual

2 The One

3 Intellect

4 Soul, the universe and matter

5 The return of the soul

PART II The diffusion of Neoplatonism

6 Philosophy and religion

7 The development of Neoplatonism

8 Christianity and Neoplatonism


Suggestions for further reading



Philosophie und Religion

Jens Halfwassen (Hg.), Markus Gabriel (Hg.), Stephan Zimmermann (Hg.), Heidelberg: Winter Verlag, 2011


Gegenwärtig läßt sich eine Renaissance der Metaphysik diagnostizieren. Dabei wird naturgemäß auch die Frage nach dem Verhältnis von Philosophie und Religion neu aufgeworfen. Seit ihren frühesten Anfängen setzt sich die Philosophie mit der Religion auseinander, in der sie teils konkurrierende Wahrheitsansprüche, teils aber auch komplementäre Einsichten vermutet hat. Der vorliegende Band untersucht das Verhältnis von Philosophie und Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart.




AXEL HUTTER: Die Verwandtschaft von Philosophie und Religion. Erinnerung an ein verdrängtes Sachproblem

JAN ASSMANN: Der allumfassende und der persönlich e Gott in philosophischen’ Hymnen der altägyptischen Theologie

JOSE PEDRO SERRA: Tragedy and Mythology: Aeschylus and the Oresteia

CARLOS JOÃO CORREIA: The Self and the Void


MARKUS ENDERS: Gott und die Übel in dieser Welt. Zum Projekt einer philosophischen Rechtfertigung Gottes (Theodizee) bei Leibniz und Kant

JÜRGEN STOLZENBERG: Religiöses Bewußtsein nach Kant. Fichte und Friedrich von Hardenberg

GÜNTER ZÖLLER: „Die beiden Grundprincipien der Menschheit ». Glaube und Verstand in Fichtes später Staatsphilosophie

KATIA HAY: Die „unerwartete Harmonie ». Differenzen und Analogien zwischen Philosophie und Religion in Schellings Denken

MARKUS GABRIEL: „Die allgemeine Notwendigkeit der Sünde und des Todes ». Leben und Tod in Schellings Freiheitsschrift

JENS HALFWASSEN: Metaphysik im Mythos. Zu Schellings Philosophie der Mythologie

PAULO BORGES: From God, « the only perfect atheist », to the « masquerade ball » of creation in Teixeira de Pascoaes

CRISTINA BECKERT: The Ambiguity of God in Levinas

STEPHAN ZIMMERMANN: Zum gesellschaftstheoretischen Religionsbegriff von Niklas Luhmann

FRIEDRICH HERMANNI: Gottesgedanke und menschliche Freiheit