Epékeina tes philosophia. L´eticità del filosofare in Plotino

Catapano Giovanni, 05/1995


La monografia studia il giudizio di Plotino circa il valore etico della filosofia. I primi cinque capitoli hanno l’obiettivo di individuare il criterio generale di moralità di Plotino, attraverso l’esame della sua nozione di felicità, della sua concezione dell’uomo, della sua teoria delle virtù, della sua dottrina del Nous divino e della sua mistica. La conclusione dei primi cinque capitoli è che, secondo Plotino, in ultima analisi è moralmente buono tutto ciò che aiuta a pensare, mentre è moralmente cattivo tutto ciò che lo impedisce. I capitoli sesto e settimo studiano il concetto plotiniano di filosofia, mediante l’analisi delle occorrenze dei termini appartenenti alla famiglia lessicale di ‘philosophía’ e del trattato «Sulla dialettica». Il capitolo ottavo applica il criterio plotiniano di moralità all’idea plotiniana della filosofia, e giunge alla conclusione che secondo Plotino la filosofia è l’attività moralmente migliore che si possa compiere, ma deve essere alla fine anch’essa trascesa per consentire l’unione mistica con l’Uno. Il volume è corredato di un indice dei luoghi e di due indici dei nomi.

(Text by the author)


Table of Contents





  1. – Introduzione
  2. – L’essenza della felicità e la sua possibilità per l’uomo
  3. – Le caratteristiche dell’uomo felice
  4. – Problemi aperti


  1. – Anima e corpo nel composto umano
  2. – La “caduta” dell’anima e la possibilità della risalita
  3. – L’“io”
  4. – Ragione discorsiva e intelligenza
  5. – Intelligenza umana e Intelligenza divina
  6. – Il “risveglio” dell’intelligenza
  7. – Conclusioni


  1. – Introduzione
  2. – L’“assimilazione a Dio”
  3. – Virtù civili e virtù superiori
  4. – Virtù superiore e purificazione
  5. – Virtù nell’anima e virtù nell’Intelligenza
  6. – «Praxis» e «theoria»: Aristotele e Plotino
  7. – La «phronesis»
  8. – Conclusioni


  1. – Introduzione
  2. – L’Intelligenza vive
  3. – La vita dell’Intelligenza
  4. – Dall’Intelligenza all’Uno
  5. – Conclusioni


  1. – Introduzione
  2. – Una duplice mistica
  3. – La mistica dell’Intelligenza: bellezza e reminiscenza
  4. – La mistica dell’Intelligenza: ragione discorsiva, intelligenza e autoconoscenza
  5. – La mistica dell’Intelligenza: la contemplazione
  6. – La mistica dell’Uno: la mediazione dell’Intelligenza
  7. – La mistica dell’Uno: il superamento dell’Intelligenza
  8. – La felicità raggiunta
  9. – Conclusione: il criterio plotiniano di moralità


  1. – Introduzione
  2. – «Philosophein»
  3. – «Philosophia»
  4. – «Philosophos»
  5. – Conclusioni


  1. – Introduzione
  2. – Il “duplice viaggio” della dialettica
  3. – La natura della dialettica
  4. – Dialettica e logica
  5. – Dialettica e virtù
  6. – Conclusioni


  1. – Introduzione
  2. – Filosofare e virtù civili
  3. – Filosofare e purificazione
  4. – Filosofare e virtù superiori
  5. – Filosofare, ragionare e pensare
  6. – Filosofare e unione mistica
  7. – Filosofare: scelta o destino?
  8. – Una vita filosofica




Indice dei luoghi

Indice dei nomi antichi e medievali

Indice dei nomi moderni

Philosophy in Late Antiquity 

by Andrew Smith  (Author), 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 by the author)





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


The Philosopher and Society in Late Antiquity : Essays in honour of Peter Brown

Brown, P. R. L., Smith, A., Alt, K., 2005


The philosophers of Late Antiquity have sometimes appeared to be estranged from society. ‘We must flee everything physical’ is one of the most prominent ideas taken by Augustine from Platonic literature. This collection of new studies by leading writers on Late Antiquity treats both the principles of metaphysics and the practical engagement of philosophers. It points to a more substantive and complex involvement in worldly affairs than conventional handbooks admit.

(Text by the editors)


Table of Contents:

Introduction – Andrew Smith

  1. Philosophy as a profession in late antiquity – John Dillon
  2. Movers and shakers – Robin Lane Fox
  3. The social concern of the Plotinian sage – Alexandrine Schniewind
  4. Action and contemplation in Plotinus – Andrew Smith
  5. Man and daimones : do the daimones influence man’s life? – Karin Alt
  6. A Neoplatonist ethics for high-level officials : Sopatros’ letter to Himerios – Dominic J. O’Meara
  7. Live unnoticed! : the invisible Neoplatonic politician – Robert van den Berg
  8. Apamea and the Chaldaean Oracles : a holy city and a holy book – Polymnia Athanassiadi
  9. Sages, cities and temples : aspects of late antique pythagorism? – Garth Fowden
  10. Asceticism and administration in the life of St. John Chrysostom – Aideen Hartney
  11. Where Greeks and Christians meet : two incidents in Panopolis and Gaza – Mark Edwards
  12. Divine names and sordid deals in Ammonius’ Alexandria – Richard Sorabji
  13. An Alexandrian Christian response to fifth-century Neoplatonic influence – Edward Watts
  14. Appendix : Harran, the Sabians and the late Platonist ‘movers’ – Robin Lane Fox.


Relating Religion




One of the most influential theorists of religion, Jonathan Z. Smith is best known for his analyses of religious studies as a discipline and for his advocacy and refinement of comparison as the basis for the history of religions. Relating Religion gathers seventeen essays—four of them never before published—that together provide the first broad overview of Smith’s thinking since his seminal 1982 book, Imagining Religion.

Smith first explains how he was drawn to the study of religion, outlines his own theoretical commitments, and draws the connections between his thinking and his concerns for general education. He then engages several figures and traditions that serve to define his interests within the larger setting of the discipline. The essays that follow consider the role of taxonomy and classification in the study of religion, the construction of difference, and the procedures of generalization and redescription that Smith takes to be key to the comparative enterprise. The final essays deploy features of Smith’s most recent work, especially the notion of translation.

Heady, original, and provocative, Relating Religion is certain to be hailed as a landmark in the academic study and critical theory of religion.

(Text by the author)



  1. When the chips are down
    2. Acknowledgments : morphology and history in Mircea : Eliade’s Patterns in comparative religion (1949-1999), part 1 : the work and its contexts
    3. Acknowledgments : morphology and history in Mircea : Eliade’s Patterns in comparative religion (1949-1999), part 2 : the texture of the work
    4. The topography of the sacred
    5. Manna, mana everywhere and [actual symbol not reproducible]
    6. The domestication of sacrifice
    7. A matter of class : taxonomies of religion
    8. Religion, religions, religious
    9. Bible and religion
    10. Trading places
    11. Differential equations : on constructing the other
    12. What a difference a difference makes
    13. Close encounters of diverse kinds
    14. Here, there, and anywhere
    15. Re : Corinthians
    16. A twice-told tale : the history of the history of religions’ history
    17. God save this honourable court : religion and civic discourse
    App. Jonathan Z. Smith : publications, 1966-2003
Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity

Jonathan Z. Z. Smith, 1990


In this major theoretical and methodological statement on the history of religions, Jonathan Z. Smith shows how convert apologetic agendas can dictate the course of comparative religious studies. As his example, Smith reviews four centuries of scholarship comparing early Christianities with religions of late Antiquity (especially the so-called mystery cults) and shows how this scholarship has been based upon an underlying Protestant-Catholic polemic. The result is a devastating critique of traditional New Testament scholarship, a redescription of early Christianities as religious traditions amenable to comparison, and a milestone in Smith’s controversial approach to comparative religious studies.

(Text by the author)



On the origin of origins

On comparison

On comparing words

On compating stories

On comparing settings


To Take Place





In this broad-ranging inquiry into ritual and its relation to place, Jonathan Z. Smith prepares the way for a new approach to the comparative study of religion.

Smith stresses the importance of place—in particular, constructed ritual environments—to a proper understanding of the ways in which « empty » actions become rituals. He structures his argument around the territories of the Tjilpa aborigines in Australia and two sites in Jerusalem—the temple envisioned by Ezekiel and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The first of these locales—the focus of one of the more important contemporary theories of religious ritual—allows Smith to raise questions concerning the enterprise of comparison. His close examination of Eliade’s influential interpretation of the Tjilpa tradition leads to a powerful critique of the approach to religion, myth, and ritual that begins with cosmology and the category of « The Sacred. »

In substance and in method, To Take Place represents a significant advance toward a theory of ritual. It is of great value not only to historians of religion and students of ritual, but to all, whether social scientists or humanists, who are concerned with the nature of place.

(Text by the author)



1. In Search of Place
2. Father Place
3. To Put in Place
4. To Replace
5. To Take Place

Platonism in Late Antiquity

by Stephen Gersh (Editor), Charles Kannengiesser (Editor), 1992


This collection of essays brings together the work of leading North American and European classics and patristic scholars. By emphasizing the common Platonic heritage of pagan philosophy and Christian theology, it reveals the range and continuity of the Platonic tradition in late antiquity. Some of the papers treat specific authors, and others the evolution of particular doctrines. The topics covered range chronologically from Plutarch of Chaeronea (first-second century AD) to pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (fifth-sixth century AD), and all the major figures in late ancient Greek thought, including Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus and Proclus are discussed. Becayse late antique Platonism is increasingly recognized as a subject that lends itself to interdisciplinary study, this volume, although intended primarily for scholars of Neoplatonism, should also be of interest to students of classics, theology (especially patristics) and late ancient history.

(Text by the editors)




Édouard des Places

Bilbiography 1980-1989


Introduction and Short Bibliography of Secondary Material – Stephen Gersh

The Language of Excellence in Plato’s Timaeus and Later Platonism – David T. Runia

Darkly Beyond the Glass: Middle Platonism and the Vision of the Soul – Frederick E. Brenk, S. J.

Catachresis and Negative Theology: Philo of Alexandria and Basilides – John Whittaker

Iconoclasmo bizantino e filosofia delle immagini divine nel neoplatonismo – Ugo Criscuolo

Il De facie di Plutarco e la teologia medioplatonica – Pierluigi Donini

Plotinus and Christianity – A. Hilary Armstrong

Plotinus and the Chaldean Oracles – John Dillon

Porphyry’s Commentary on the “Harmonics” of Ptolemy and Neoplatonic Musical Theory – Stephen Gersh

Relecture de Jamblique, De mysteriis, VIII, chap. 1-5 – Hervé D. Saffrey

Soul Vehicles in Simplicius – H. J. Blumenthal

Platonism and Church Fathers: Three Notes – Miroslav Marcovich

The Alien God in Arius – Raoul Mortley

“Image d’image”, “Miroir de miroir” (Grégoire de Nysse, De hominis opificio xii, PG 44, 161 C – 164 B) – Jean Pépin

Osservazioni sull’Epistola 140 di Sinesio – Antonio Garzya

“παθὼν τὰ θεῖα” – Ysabel de Andia

Imagining Religion




With this influential book of essays, Jonathan Z. Smith has pointed the academic study of religion in a new theoretical direction, one neither theological nor willfully ideological.

Making use of examples as apparently diverse and exotic as the Maori cults in nineteenth-century New Zealand and the events of Jonestown, Smith shows that religion must be construed as conventional, anthropological, historical, and as an exercise of imagination. In his analyses, religion emerges as the product of historically and geographically situated human ingenuity, cognition, and curiosity—simply put, as the result of human labor, one of the decisive but wholly ordinary ways human beings create the worlds in which they live and make sense of them.

(Text by the author)




1. Fences and Neighbors: Some Contours of Early Judaism
2. In Comparison a Magic Dwells
3. Sacred Persistence: Toward a Redescription of Canon
4. The Bare Facts of Ritual
5. The Unknown God: Myth in History
6. A Pearl of Great Price and a Cargo of Yams
7. The Devil in Mr. Jones


Philosophie Antique. Problèmes, renaissances, usages

La philosophie de Plotin et de ses successeurs exerça un ascendant presque exclusif pendant près de quatre siècles et imprégna durablement la philosophie médiévale. Les études rassemblées dans ce numéro, dues en majorité à de jeunes chercheurs, témoignent à la fois du génie spéculatif des auteurs rassemblés sous l’étiquette de néoplatonisme et de la vitalité de la recherche actuelle dans ce domaine.


Riccardo Chiaradonna – Plotin, la mémoire et la connaissance des intelligibles

Valérie Cordonier – De la transmission à la sympathie : Plotin et la désaffection du milieu perceptif (Enn. IV, 5 [29])

Pierre Thillet – À propos du choix d’une variante chez Plotin Ennéades, V, 3 [49], 7, 31

Isabelle Koch – Plotin critique de l’épistémologie stoïcienne

Gregory MacIsaac – The Soul and the Virtues in Proclus’ Commentary on the Republicof Plato

Angela Longo – La réécriture analytico-syllogistique d’un argument platonicien en faveur de l’immortalité de l’âme (Plat. Phaedr. 245c5-246a2). Alcinoos, Alexandre d’Aphrodise, Hermias d’Alexandrie


Béatrice Bakhouche – La φαντασία et ses diverses expressions dans le monde latin

Alain Galonnier – Cosmogenèse et chronocentrisme chez Calcidius

Comptes rendus

Séline Gülgönen – Anne Gabrièle Wersinger, La Sphère et l’Intervalle : le schème de l’Harmonie dans la pensée des anciens Grecs d’Homère à Platon. Grenoble, Éditions Jérôme Millon, 2008 (Horos), 30 €, ISBN 2-84137-230-0

Gretchen Reydams-Schils – David Sedley, Creationism and its Critics in Antiquity. Berkeley-Los Angeles-Londres, University of California, 2007 (Sather Classical Lectures 66), xvii + 269 p., ISBN 978-0-520-25364-3.

Olivier Renaut – Robert Zaborowski, Sur le sentiment chez les Présocratiques : Contribution psychologique à la philosophie des sentiments. Varsovie, Stakroos, 2008, 256p.

Pablo Sandoval Villaroel – Josep Monserrat Molas, Estranys, setciències i pentatletes. Barcelone, Barcelonesa d’Edicions, 2007, 137 p., ISBN 978-84-86887-70-4.

Luca Pitteloud – Francis A. Grabowski III, Plato, Metaphysics and the Forms. Londres-New York, Continuum Press, 2008 (Continuum Studies in Ancient Philosophy), 163 p. ISBN 978-0-8264-9780-2.

Joëlle Delattre – Voula Tsouna, The Ethics of Philodemus. New York, Oxford U. P., 2007, 350 p. ISBN : 978-0-19-929217-2.

Map is not Territory




In Map Is Not Territory, Jonathan Z. Smith engages previous interpretations of religious texts from late antiquity, critically evaluates the notion of sacred space and time as it is represented in the works of Mircea Eliade, and tackles important problems of methodology.

(Text by the author)




I. The Garments of Shame
II. The Prayer of Joseph
III. Wisdom and Apocalyptic

IV. The Wobbling Pivot
V. Earth and Gods
VI. The Influence of Symbols on Social Change: A Place on Which to Stand
VII. Birth Upside Down or Right Side Up?
VIII. The Temple and the Magician
IX. Good News is No News: Aretalogy and Gospel

X. When the Bough Breaks
XI. Adde Parvum Parvo Magnus Acervus Erit
XII. I am a Parrot (Red)

XIII. Map Is Not Territory
Index to Ancient Sources
Bible; Jewish and Christian Apocrypha
Other Ancient Sources
General Index