• Identifiant
    • j80REw5j
  • Contenu de la note
  • The treatise as it stands in the Enneads is a most powerful protest on behalf of Hellenic philosophy against the un-Hellenic heresy (as it was from the Platonist as well as the orthodox Christian point of view) of Gnosticism. There were Gnostics among Plotinus’s own friends, whom he had not succeeded in converting (ch. 10 of this treatise) and he and his pupils devoted considerable time and energy to anti-Gnostic controversy (Life ch. 16). He obviously considered Gnosticism an extremely dangerous influence, likely to pervert the minds even of members of his own circle. It is impossible to attempt to give an account of Gnosticism here. By far the best discussion of what the particular group of Gnostics Plotinus knew believed is M. Puech’s admirable contribution to Entretiens Hardt V (Les Sources de Plotin) (note 1 : Vandoeuvres 1960, pp. 161-190). But it is important for the understanding of this treatise to be clear about the reasons why Plotinus disliked them so intensely and thought their influence so harmful. The teaching of the Gnostics seems to him untraditional, irrational and immoral. They despise and revile the ancient Platonic teaching and claim to have a new and superior wisdom of their own: but in fact anything that is true in their teaching comes from Plato, and all they have done themselves is to add senseless complications and pervert the true traditional doctrine into a melodramatic, superstitions fantasy designed to feed their own delusions of grandeur. They reject the only true way of salvation through wisdom and virtue, the slow patient study of truth and pursuit of perfection by men who respect the wisdom of the ancients and know their place in the universe. They claim to be a privileged caste of beings, in whom alone God is interested, and who are saved not by their own efforts but by some dramatic and arbitrary divine proceeding; and this, Plotinus says, leads to immorality. Worst of all, they despise and hate the material universe and deny its goodness and the goodness of its maker. This for a Platonis is utter blasphemy, and all the worse because it obviously derives to some extent from the sharply other-worldly side of Plato’s own teaching (e.g. in the Phaedo). At this point in his attack Plotinus comes very close in some ways to the orthodox Christian opponents of Gnostic who also insist that this world is the good work of God in his goodness. But, here as on the question of salvation, the doctrine which Plotinus is defending is as sharply opposed in other ways to orthodox Christianity as to Gnosticism: for he maintains not only the goodness of the material universe but also its eternity and its divinity.

  • Remarques de l'éditeur
  • Luciana Santoprete
    • Contexte
    • Note d’introduction au Traité 33 (II, 9)
    • Page
    • 220-222
  • Sources modernes
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  • Sources anciennes
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  • Mots-clefs français
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  • Liens
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  • Appartenances
  • Traité 33 (II, 9) (entier)