Plotinus in Dialogue with the Gnostics

(Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition #11)


Jean-Marc Narbonne, 2011


The point of view put forth in the following pages differs greatly from the common perspective according to which the treatises 30 to 33 constitute a single work, a Grossschrift, and this single work, Plotinus essential response to the Gnostics. Our perspective is that of an ongoing discussions with his Gnostic yet Platonizing friends, which started early in his writings (at least treatise 6), developed into what we could call a Grosszyklus (treatises 27 to 39), and went on in later treatises as well (e. g. 47-48, 51). The prospect of an ongoing discussion with the Gnostics bears an additional virtue, that of allowing for a truly dynamic understanding of the Plotinian corpus.

(Text by the author)




Preliminary Material


Study One.The Controversy over the Generation of Matter in Plotinus:The Riddle Resolved?

Study Two.The Riddle of the Partly Undescendend Soul in Plotinus: The Gnostic/Hermetic Path of the ὁμοούσιος

Study Three. A Doctrinal Evolution in Plotinus? The Weakness of the Soul in Its Relation to Evil

Study Four. A New Sign of the Impact of the Quarrel against the Gnostics on Plotinus’Thought: Two Modes of Reascent in  (VI ) and  (VI )

Study Five. A New Type of Causality: Plotinian Contemplative Demiurgy

Study Six. New Reflections on God as CAUSA SUI in Plotinus and Its Possible Gnostic Sources

Works Consulted

Index Nominum

The Teachings of Syrianus on Plato’s Timaeus and Parmenides

(Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition #10)


Sarah Klitenic Wear, 2011


Although it has long been established that Syrianus, the teacher of Proclus, was the source of much of his student’s metaphysics, it is not known precisely what in Proclus’ thought can be attributed to Syrianus. The problem is compounded by the fact that Syrianus wrote very little and there is uncertainty as to whether written commentaries ever existed of his teaching on Plato’s Timaeus and Parmenides, the most important sources for Platonic metaphysics. This work attempts to re-construct the major tenets of Syrianus’ philosophical teachings on the Timaeus and Parmenides based on the testimonia of Proclus, as found in Proclus’ commentaries on Plato’s Timaeus and Parmenides and, Damascius, as reported in his On First Principles and commentary on Plato’s Parmenides.

(Text by the author)





Abbreviations Of Works Frequently Cited


Index Of Philosophical Terms And Names

Index Of Passages From Ancient Authors

The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul: Reflections of Platonic Psychology in the Monotheistic Religions

(Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition #9)


Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth and John Dillon (Editors), 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 by the editors)





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

Futuro del classico

Salvatore Settis, 2004


Come mai l’eroina di un famoso manga giapponese si chiama Nausicaa? Perché, dopo l’11 settembre 2001, il mullah Omar paragonava l’America a Polifemo, «un gigante accecato da un nemico a cui non sa dare un nome», da un Nessuno? Dobbiamo davvero sbalordirci di queste citazioni – ritenendo Omero piú ‘nostro’ che dei giapponesi o dei musulmani – o non dovremmo piuttosto riflettere su quanto siano intense ed efficaci citazioni che vengono da cosí lontano? Salvatore Settis ripercorre all’indietro quei sentieri della storia dell’arte che dai grattacieli postmoderni americani corrono fino ai Greci e ai Romani, per mostrare come è mutata nei secoli l’idea di ‘classico’, in un serrato confronto fra Antichi e ‘moderni’ sempre giocato in funzione del presente: uno scontro fra opposte interpretazioni, non solo del passato, ma del futuro. Nessuna civiltà può pensare se stessa se non dispone di altre società che servano da termine di comparazione: un altrove nel tempo (Greci e Romani) cosí come un altrove nello spazio (le civiltà extraeuropee). Quanto piú sapremo guardare al ‘classico’ non come una morta eredità che ci appartiene senza nostro merito, ma come qualcosa di sorprendente da riconquistare ogni giorno, come un potente stimolo a intendere il ‘diverso’, tanto piú sapremo formare le nuove generazioni per il futuro.

(Text by the author)



  1. Il “classico” nell’universo del “globale”
  2. La storia antica come storia universale
  3. Il “classicismo” e il “classico”: un percorso a ritroso
  4. Il “classico” come discrimine, fra postmoderno e moderno
  5. Il “classico” fra gli stili “storici”: vittoria del dorico
  6. Il “classico” non è “autentico”
  7. “Classico” greco contro “classico” romano
  8. “Classico”, libertà, rivoluzioni
  9. Il “classico” come repertorio
  10. “Rinascimento dell’antichità”
  11. Il “classico” prima dell’“antichità classica”
  12. Il “classicismo” dei “classici”
  13. Eternità delle rovine
  14. Identità e alterità
  15. Storie di ritorni
  16. Futuro del “classico”
  17. Nota al testo
  18. Nota bibliografica

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

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


Michael F. Wagner, 2008

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

(Text by the author)





Chapter One – Is Time Real?

Chapter Two – Eleaticism, Temporality, And Time

Chapter Three – The Makings Of A Temporal Universe

Chapter Four – Parmenidean Time And The Impossible Now

Chapter Five – Cosmic Motion And The Speed Of Time

Chapter Six – Temporal Cognition And The Return Of The Now

Chapter Seven – Real Temporality In An Aristotelian World

Chapter Eight – Does Aristotle Refute Eleaticism?

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

Chapter Ten – Plotinus’ Critique Of Aristotelian Motion

Chapter Eleven – Indefinite Temporality And The Measure Of Motion

Chapter Twelve – Plotinus’ Neoplatonic Account Of Time



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

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


Hans-Christian Günther, 2007


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

(Text by the author)




Vorläufige material

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

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

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

Kapitel 4 – Einige Schlußfolgerungen für den Text der Elementatio

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

Kapitel 6 – Zusammenfassung und Ausblick

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

Appendix II – Die Proposition 128a

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

Appendix IV – Glossar


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

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


John Phillips, 2007


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

(Text by the author)




Preliminary material


Chapter One – Proclus’ doctrine of evil

Chapter Two – Evil as privation

Chapter Three – Evil as a disorderly motion

Chapter Four – Irrational nature

Chapter Five – The evil world soul

Chapter Six – Evil as weakness of the human soul




Philosophy in Christian Antiquity 


by Christopher Stead  (Author), 1995


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





List of abbreviations



1 – From the beginnings to Socrates

2 – Socrates and the Platonic Forms

3 – The philosophy of Plato’s maturity

4 – Aristotle

5 – Epicurus and the Stoics

6 – The Middle Platonists and Philo of Alexandria

7 – The philosophy of late antiquity



8 – The debate about Christian philosophy

9 – Greek and Hebrew conceptions of God

10 – Proofs of the existence of God

11 – God as simple unchanging Being

12 – How God is described

13 – Logos and Spirit

14 – Unity of substance

15 – Substance and Persons

16 – Christ as God and Man

17 – Two natures united



18 – Philosophy, faith and knowledge

19 – Freedom and goodness



Index of Names

Index of Subjects

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


Howard M. Jackson  (Author), 1985





List of Plates


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


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


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


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



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


Martin, F. X., Richmond, J. A., 1991


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

(Text by the editors)


Table of Contents:

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

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

Eriugenas Faszination / Werner Beierwaltes

History and symbolism in the garden at Milan / Henry Chadwick

Augustine the Christian thinker / Mary T. Clark

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

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

Johannes Scottus Poeta / Michael Herren

Vox spiritualis Aquilae : quelques épis oubliés / Edouard Jeauneau

Theologia : note augustino-érigénienne / Goulven Madec

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

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

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

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

A Porphyrian treatise against Aristotle? / Andrew Smith