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1768Re: Plotinus and prohodos and epistrophe

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  • Ron Criss
    Sep 8, 2007
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      Two things. First it seems to me that Augustine could claim to be
      as "Neoplatonistic" as anyone today. We can always question whether
      another person fully understands and represents Plato, Plotinus, etc.
      I suspect that Augustine had access to at least a few of the Enneads
      based on the determination of commentators. The lack of evidence
      doesn't prove the Enneads were not translated. A discovery tomorrow
      in some old monastery or library could change eveything. For
      decades "scholars" contended that King David was a mythical character
      due to the lack of archaeological evidence. More recently a pottery
      shard was discovered that mentioned him. A _lack_ of evidence proves
      nothing. But we can assume Neoplatonist influence on Augustine of
      some sort. His words alone confirm that. That's good enough for me.
      We can always debate what we see in his words. Even if we don't know
      for certain that he read Plotinus in translation I think the
      Neoplatonist influence is clear.

      True, some of the Catholic bishops could read Greek, Ambrose for
      example. Augustine, however, was trained in Latin and had little or
      no Greek. Most of what he had would either have been translated or
      imbibed through other Latin authors.


      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Edward Moore" <patristics@...>
      > As a moderator of this list, I usually avoid getting involved in
      extended debates -- but this time I simply can't hold my tongue.
      Michael Chase is absolutely correct in his assertion that there are
      no verifiable translations of Plotinus into Latin before the
      Renaissance. Period. Knowledge of Plotinian doctrine does not
      necessitate knowledge of the entirety of the Enneads. For example,
      certain treatises by Gregory of Nazianzus contain passages that sound
      like direct quotations from the Enneads, but are, of course, quite
      different contextually. I must take issue with one of MC's
      statements, regarding the lack of Greek among the majority of
      intellectuals in Augustine's time. The history of the Oecumenical
      Councils shows us that both Latin and Greek were exchanged quite
      freely, through the time of Augustine, well into the time of Maximus
      the Confessor. Linguistic differences abounded, of course, but the
      language barrier was not quite as pervasive as Michael suggests, I
      think. For example, in the time of Photius (mid-10th century), Plato
      was translated into the vernacular Greek of Byzantium, indicating
      that a consciousness of the importance of key texts was paramount in
      that era. Earlier, we know that Leo the Great knew both Greek and
      Latin, and the various theological controversies over which he
      presided are evidence of bilingual aptitude among intellectuals of
      the era. We have evidence of all that -- but what of Plotinus?
      There simply is NO evidence of any translation AT ALL of the the
      Enneads into Latin before the Renaissance.
      > Regards,
      > Edward
      > Edward Moore, S.T.L., Ph.D.
      > Dean of Faculty
      > Department of Philosophy
      > St. Elias School of Orthodox Theology
      > Media, PA 19063
      > E-mail: emoore@... or patristics@...
      > Homepage: www.theandros.com/emoore
      > Tel. 610-566-0479
      > What would be interesting is something by someone who truly
      > understands and is conversant in both Plotinus and Augustine. But
      > this whole debate points out the fact that understanding Plotinus
      > difficult. The whole problem seems to be that Porhyry
      > and misrepresented Plotinus or that Ambrose did. One could even
      > that Plotinus misunderstood and misrepresented Plato. Otherwise
      > could simply suggest that he had read "Plotinian" or "Platonist"
      > or "Neoplatonist" books and one would be considered to represent
      > three. This underscores the difficulty in truly understanding and
      > representing Plato, Plotinus, Porphyry, Ambrose, Augustine, etc.
      > Ron
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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