Constructions of Mysticism as a Universal

Roots and Interactions Across Borders

Annette Wilke, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2021


This volume charts the fascinating history of the multiple roots and interactions which underlie the modern popular understanding of mysticism as a universal phenomenon across epochs and cultures. In an unprecedentedly broad interdisciplinary exchange, international scholars from different disciplines critically examine the concept and mental maps of the term ‘mysticism’ which enjoyed a central role in classical theories of religion, as developed in fields like Psychology, Sociology, History or Phenomenology. However, mysticism lost its prominence after the controversial debates in the second half of the twentieth century about whether mystical experience should be considered universal or socio-culturally constructed. After four decades of silence, this volume ventures a stimulatingly novel approach to mysticism as a universal, transcultural category from the perspective of the Cultural Studies of Religion. This includes the question of how a European concept fraught with Christian notions was transferred to non-European cultures and secular contexts, and thereby attained new meanings and functions in daily life. Fresh insights are gained by examining three major areas: a) mysticism’s potential for boundary crossing in earlier centuries of European history; b) the history of mysticism research in context – from the mysticism boom at the fin de siècle and early twentieth century to its renewed attractiveness in American counterculture and the psychedelic movement to its transformation into postmodern spirituality; and c) universal mysticism’s absorption of Eastern religions (notably Buddhism, Hindu traditions, and Daoism) as well as Asian insiders’ self-conceptions.

(Text from the publisher)


Plotinus IV 7 (2) : On the Immortality of the Soul

Studies on the Text and its Contexts

Lorenzo Ferroni, Daniela Taormina (eds.), Baden-Baden: Academia Verlag, 2022


The Enneadic Treatise IV 7 (2) constitutes Plotinus’ first attempt to reflect systematically on the problem of the immortality of the soul. It is a complex text, in which the exposition of the Plotinian doctrine is preceded by a long doxographic excursus dedicated to the refutation of the ideas of some ancient philosophical schools (Aristotelian, Epicurean, Stoic, Pythagorean). The problems posed by the treatise are addressed in this volume from an interdisciplinary perspective: historians of ancient thought and of Neoplatonism, historians of religions, historians of late antique culture, classical philologists meet in these pages to address, from very different points of view, one of the most stimulating texts left to us by Plotinus.

(Text from the publisher)



Aldo Magris, Brescia: Scholé, 2022


Un’analisi del pensiero di Plotino, partendo dall’ambiente storico-religioso e filosofico nel quale visse, alla luce del rapporto con il platonismo e con lo gnosticismo. Con talento speculativo, Plotino riflette sul sistema dell’Assoluto – in cui la derivazione dal principio, l’Uno, va intesa come una generazione di immagini –, sull’essere umano, la libertà, il destino e la religiosità. Un’esposizione complessiva della filosofia di uno dei più importanti pensatori dell’antichità, che fa luce anche sulle sue somiglianze con la tradizione indiana e la sua persistenza nel pensiero occidentale.

Aldo Magris è professore di Filosofia teoretica all’Università di Trieste. Tra le sue pubblicazioni nel catalogo Morcelliana: La logica del pensiero gnostico (2012 2ed.); Destino, provvidenza, predestinazione. Dal mondo antico al cristianesimo (20162); Itinerari della filosofia e delle religioni (2 voll., 2017); Le invenzioni di Dio (2019). Ha inoltre curato i volumi: Trattati antichi sul destino (2009); Confutazione di tutte le eresie di Ippolito (20162).



Premessa, 7













Ennead II.4: On Matter

A. A. Long, Las Vegas: Parmenides Publishing, 2022


In Ennead II.4 Plotinus investigates the question of what underlies the forms that constitute the contents of our minds and senses. Aristotle had called this substrate « matter, » and Stoic philosophers followed suit. With a critical review of their notions, and reference to Plato’s so-called Receptacle, Plotinus develops an account of matter that makes it a supremely negative entity. How he describes the indescribable, and how he justifies incorporeal matter’s indispensability to bodies, are highlights of this tenaciously argued essay.

A. A. Long translates and interprets Plotinus’ treatise on the matter that underlies all physical and intelligible beings. With a wide-ranging introduction and probing analysis of details, he explains the intricate structure of the text. The book will appeal to everyone interested in the history of Platonism and ancient Greek theories of the world’s ultimate principles.

(Text from the publisher)


Platonismus und Christentum

Ihre Beziehungen und deren Grenzen

Platonismus und Christentum

Eve-Marie Becker und Holger Strutwolf, Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen, 2022


The present volume explores the relationship between Platonism and Christianity in late antiquity with regard to concept of God, world formation, creation, providence, and freedom. The contributions by Christoph Markschies, Holger Strutwolf, Christian Pietsch, and Alfons Fürst were presented at a colloquium on the occasion of Barbara Aland’s eighty-fifth birthday and are collected in the present volume together with a reply by the jubilarian and a short introduction by Eve-Marie Becker.

Table of contents

Eve-Marie Becker Platonismus und Christentum. Ihre Beziehungen und deren Grenzen Zur Einführung in diesen Band  p. 1

Christoph Markschies ἦν ποτε ὅτε οὐκ ἦν oder: Schwierigkeiten bei der Beschreibung dessen, was vor aller Zeit war . 11 Holger Strutwolf Ewige Zeugung. Die Paradoxie des absoluten Ursprungs im Neuplatonismus und im christlichen Denken, p. 41

Christian Pietsch Providenz. Getaufter Platonismus am Beispiel von Augustins De Genesi ad litteram, p. 69

Alfons Fürst Freiheit in der römischen Kaiserzeit – platonisch und christlich, p. 89

Barbara Aland Platonismus und Christentum. Ihre Beziehungen und deren Grenzen Ein persönlicher Dank und eine Antwort, p. 121

Indices, p.137

1. Personenregister, p. 137

2. Sachregister, p. 139


The Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy

Cover for The Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy

David Konstan, Myrto Garani, and Gretchen Reydams-Schils, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023


Several decades of scholarship have demonstrated that Roman thinkers developed in new and stimulating directions the systems of thought they inherited from the Greeks, and that, taken together, they offer many perspectives that are of philosophical interest in their own right. The Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy explores a range of such Roman philosophical perspectives through thirty-four newly commissioned essays. Where Roman philosophy has long been considered a mere extension of Hellenistic systems of thought, this volume moves beyond the search for sources and parallels and situates Roman philosophy in its distinctive cultural context.

The Oxford Handbook of Roman Philosophy emphasizes four features of Roman philosophy: aspects of translation, social context, philosophical import, and literary style. The authors adopt an inclusive approach, treating not just systematic thinkers such as Cicero and Augustine, but also poets and historians. Topics covered include ethnicity, cultural identity, literary originality, the environment, Roman philosophical figures, epistemology, and ethics.

(Text by the publisher)

Table of contents

Introduction, David KonstanMyrto Garani, and Gretchen Reydams-Schils
Part I. The Roman Philosopher: Affiliation, Identity, Self, and Other
1. Pythagoreans and Samnite philosopher, Phillip Horky
2. Epicurean Orthodoxy and Innovation: from Lucretius to Diogenes Oenoanda, Pamela Gordon
3. Epicureans and Stoics in Augustan Poetry, Gregson Davis
4. Seneca and Stoic Moral Psychology, Gretchen Reydams-Schils
5. Marcus Aurelius and the Tradition of Spiritual Exercises, John Sellars
6. Apuleius and Roman Demonology, Jeffrey Ulrich
7. Philosophers and Roman Friendship, David Konstan
8. The Ethics and Politics of Property, Malcolm Schofield
Part II. Writing and Arguing Roman Philosophy
9. Lucretius, Tim O’Keefe
10. Dialogue before and after Cicero, Matthew Fox
11. The Stoic Lesson: Cornutus and Epictetus, Michael Erler
12. Persius’ Paradoxes, Aaron Kachuck
13. Plutarch’s Platonism, George Karamanolis
14. Parrhêsia: Dio, Diatribe, and Philosophical Oratory, Dana Fields
15. Philosophical Therapy: Consolation in Roman Philosophy, James Ker
16. ‘We’ thinking: Cicero’s Academic Arguments, Orazio Cappello
17. Stoic Poetics, Claudia Wiener
Part III. Inside and Outside of Roman Philosophy
18. Translation, Christina Hoenig
19. Politics, Ermanno Malaspina and Elisa Della Calce
20. Rhetoric, Erik Gunderson
21. The Subject at its Limits, James I. Porter
22. Medicine, David Leith
23. Sex, Kurt Lampe
24. Time, Duncan Kennedy
25. Death, James Warren
26. Environment, Daniel Bertoni
Part IV. After Roman Philosophy: Transmission and Impact
27. Roman Pre-Socratics: Lucretius to Diogenes Laërtius, Myrto Garani
28. Reading Aristotle at Rome, Myrto Hatzimichali
29. Christian Ethics: The Reception of Cicero in Ambrose’s De officiis, Ivor Davidson
30. Recovering Platonism: Plotinus and Augustine, Anne-Isabelle Bouton-Touboulic
31. Byzantine Political Thought: Roman Concepts in Greek Disguise, Anthony Kaldellis
32. Latin Neoplatonism: the Medieval Period, Agnieska Kijewska
33. Transmitting Roman Philosophy: the Renaissance, Quinn Griffin
34. Nature, Anthropology, and Politics: the Enlightenment, Natania Meeker


From the Alien to the Alone

A Study of Soul in Plotinus

Gary M. Gutler, Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2022

Plotinus is often accused of writing haphazardly, with little concern for the integral unity of a treatise. By analyzing each treatise as a whole, From the Alien to the Alone finds much evidence that he constructed them skillfully, with the parts working together in subtle ways. This insight was also key in translating several central passages by considering the flow of the argument as a whole to shed light on the difficulties in these passages as well as reveal the structure often latent in particular treatise. The volume also serves to clarify Plotinus’ rich use of images. Commentators, for instance, tend to take the images of light and warmth to explain the relation of soul and body as in conflict, with light casting out warmth. A close look at the text, however, reveals that Plotinus uses each image to correct the limitations of the other. Thus, since the soul is incorporeal, it is actually more transcendent than light and as activating the body is more completely present than warmth. Similarly, recent commentators are quick to take the related impassibility of the soul as implying a Cartesian gap between body and soul. The problem Plotinus faces, however, is that his description of the soul’s pervasive presence in the body jeopardizes its impassibility as in the intelligible. His effort then is actually to introduce a gap that preserves the soul’s nature, rather than overcome a gap that would make the very existence of the body problematic.

While this work confirms much recent scholarly consensus on Plotinus, many of Gurtler’s interpretations and general conclusions give constructive challenges to some existing modes of understanding Plotinus’ thought. The arguments and their textual evidence, with the accompanying Greek, provide the reader with direct evidence for testing these conclusions as well as appreciating the nature of Plotinus’ philosophizing.


Le Dieu un

Problèmes et méthodes d’histoire des monothéismes

Sylvio De Franceschi, Daniel-Odon Hurel, Brigitte Tambrun (eds), Turnhout : Brepols, 2022


Fondé au début de l’été 1969 et labellisé laboratoire associé du CNRS à partir du 1er janvier 1970, le Centre d’études des religions du Livre (CERL), dont est issu l’actuel Laboratoire d’études sur les monothéismes (LEM, UMR 8584), a été créé au tournant crucial des années 1960 et 1970, quand, sous l’impulsion du CNRS, le modèle du laboratoire, exporté depuis le champ des sciences exactes, se généralise pour favoriser l’essor d’investigations collectives également en sciences humaines et sociales. Dans le vaste mouvement de restructuration de la recherche en cours dans la France d’après Mai 68, les sciences religieuses devaient prendre la place qu’elles méritaient. Les objectifs du CERL se sont alors définis essentiellement selon deux mots d’ordre : procéder à une étude comparative des trois monothéismes classiques (judaïsme, christianisme et islam) ; allier aussi rigoureusement que possible sciences des religions et histoire de la philosophie. La mémoire collective du CERL a voulu retenir qu’il avait été conjointement fondé par Paul Vignaux (1904-1987), Georges Vajda (1908-1981) et Henry Corbin (1903-1978) – triade savante qui représentait les trois grandes religions du Livre. Henry Corbin a pourtant été l’unique architecte d’un projet dont Paul Vignaux a assuré la réalisation institutionnelle. Le présent ouvrage revient sur un demi-siècle de recherches françaises consacrées à l’étude non confessante des monothéismes.

(Texte de la maison d’édition)

Table de matières

Sylvio Hermann De Franceschi, Daniel-Odon Hurel et Brigitte Tambrun, Introduction

Sylvio Hermann De Franceschi, Histoire de la philosophie et sciences des religions

Sylvio De Franceschi,  Des religions du Livre aux monothéismes

I. Origines et maîtres fondateurs

Pierre Lory,  Henry Corbin, entre philosophie et science des religions

Irene Caiazzo, Paul Vignaux, un médiéviste militant

Paul Fenton,  La contribution de Georges Vajda à l’étude de la mystique juive

Sylvio Hermann De Franceschi,  Le Centre d’études des religions du Livre : l’esprit de l’institution

II. Perspectives sur les monothéismes

Philippe Portier,  Les monothéismes dans le débat démocratique

Claire Soussen, Les études juives au CERL puis au LEM

Mathieu Terrier,  Les origines du Coran entre herméneutique et histoire

Anna van den Kerchove,  Gnose et le manichéisme au CERL et au LEM

Jean-Pierre Brach,  L’histoire des courants ésotériques

III. Origines du christianisme et patristique

Pierluigi Piovanelli,  De la sémiotique au néo-historicisme

Anne-Catherine Baudoin, Jean-Daniel Dubois,  Des « Apocryphes du Nouveau Testament » aux « Apocryphes chrétiens anciens »

Florence Jullien,  Au défi de la pluridisciplinarité : Les christianismes orientaux au CERL/LEM

Alain Le Boulluec,  La patristique grecque à la croisée de plusieurs chemins

Michel-Yves Perrin,  Les études augustiniennes du CERL au LEM

IV. Philosophies et religion

Olivier Boulnois,  Penser le monothéisme

Philippe Hoffmann,  Le néoplatonisme au Centre d’études des religions du Livre

Catherine König-Pralong, Mystiques, Sciences, Religions

Julie Brumberg,  La philosophie au LEM

V. Modernités chrétiennes

Daniel-Odon Hurel,  L’Histoire du monachisme et des institutions régulières au CERL/LEM

Philippe Castagnetti,  Sainteté et canonisation : la maturation d’une thématique du CERCOM au LEM-CERCOR

Annie Noblesse-Rocher,  L’exégèse chrétienne médiévale et moderne au LEM

Hubert Bost,  Réforme(s), protestantisme(s) : théologie, exegèse et culture

Sylvio Hermann De Franceschi,  Le travail et la production théologiques au défi d’une approche non confessante




Plato and Hesiod

G. R. Boys-Stones and J. H. Haubold (eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009


It hardly needs repeating that Plato defined philosophy partly by contrast with the work of the poets. What is extraordinary is how little systematic exploration there has been of his relationship with specific poets other than Homer. This neglect extends even to Hesiod, though Hesiod is of central importance for the didactic tradition quite generally, and is a major source of imagery at crucial moments of Plato’s thought. This volume, which presents fifteen articles by specialists on the area, will be the first ever book-length study dedicated to the subject. It covers a wide variety of thematic angles, brings new and sometimes surprising light to a large range of Platonic dialogues, and represents a major contribution to the study of the reception of archaic poetry in Athens.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

I. Plato and Hesiod
1:Shepherd, Farmer, Poet, Sophist: Hesiod on his own reception, J. H. Haubold
2:Hesiod and Plato’s History of Philosophy, G. R.Boys-Stones
3:Plato’s Hesiod: An Acquired Taste?, G. W. Most
4:Hesiod in Plato: Second Fiddle to Homer?, Naoko Yamagata
5:Plato’s Hesiod: Not Plato’s Alone, Hugo Koning
6:Hesiod in Classical Athens: Rhapsodes, Orators, and Platonic Discourse, Barbara Graziosi
7:Plato’s Two Hesiods, Andrew L. Ford
II. Individual Dialogues
8:The Seductions of Hesiod: Pandora’s Presence in Plato’s Symposium, Vered Lev Kenaan
9:Hesiod’s Races and Your Own’: Socrates’ ‘Hesiodic’ Project, Helen Van Noorden
10:Plato’s Hesiod and the Will of Zeus: Philosophical Rhapsody in the Timaeus and the Critias, Andrea Capra
11:Chaos Corrected: Hesiod in Plato’s Creation Myth, E. E. Pender
12:Hesiod’s Theogony and Plato’s Timaeus, David Sedley
13:Hesiod in the Timaeus: The Demiurge Addresses the Gods, Mario Regali
14:Hesiod, Plato, and the Golden Age: Hesiodic Motifs in the Myth of the Politicus, Dimitri El Murr
15:On Grey-Haired Babies: Plato, Hesiod, and Visions of the Past (and Future), Christopher Rowe



The Neoplatonic Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite

Eric D. Perl, New York: Suny Press, 2008


The work of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite stands at a cusp in the history of thought: it is at once Hellenic and Christian, classical and medieval, philosophical and theological. Unlike the predominantly theological or text-historical studies which constitute much of the scholarly literature on Dionysius, Theophany is completely philosophical in nature, placing Dionysius within the tradition of ancient Greek philosophy and emphasizing, in a positive light, his continuity with the non-Christian Neoplatonism of Plotinus and Proclus. Eric D. Perl offers clear expositions of the reasoning that underlies Neoplatonic philosophy and explains the argumentation that leads to and supports Neoplatonic doctrines. He includes extensive accounts of fundamental ideas in Plotinus and Proclus, as well as Dionysius himself, and provides an excellent philosophical defense of Neoplatonism in general.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Note on Translations
1. Beyond Being and Intelligibility
2. Being as Theophany
3. Goodness, Beauty, and Love
4. The Problem of Evil
5. The Hierarchy of Being
6. The Continuum of Cognition
7. Symbolism