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5342Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Neoplatonism & Religion

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  • Jim Schumacher
    Apr 3, 2012
      Trinitarianism also has an early history (prehistory?) in Middle
      Platonism. its roots lie in Hellenistic Judaism before the rise of
      Christianity. Here the key documents are the deuterocanonical Wisdom
      of Solomon and Philo.

      The Wisdom of Solomon is available in a lucid translation and
      commentary by David Winston. But Philo is more of a project.

      Two books by David T. Runia constitute a good survey of the
      philosophical significance of Philo: "Philo of Alexandria and the
      Timaeus of Plato" and "Philo in Early Christian Literature � A survey."

      The first book details how Philo went about squaring Plato's key
      dialogue with biblical religion. The second traces out his
      appropriation by early Christian writers.

      Jim Schumacher

      On Apr 3, 2012, at 6:10 AM, John Michalski wrote:

      > I've been reading this conversation with some interest. Many
      > interesting suggestions have been offered, regarding parallels
      > between the Christian Trinity and the various Neoplatonic Triads.
      > But I don't think enough has been said about the most important
      > distinction.
      > From Plotinus on (and before, in Middle Platonism?), all these
      > Triads have been charactized by one thing, their subordinationism -
      > their use of hierarchical rankings. Each level is inferior to its
      > source that lies above it - inferior in Unity, Being, Life, and Power.
      > Christianity, on the other hand, has always struggled against the
      > temptation to subordinationism in its picture of the Divine. The
      > Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equal, and equally God.
      > Christian theologians may have used Platonic concepts in their
      > attempt to understand and discuss the Triune God (though earliest
      > Christianity was more inclined towards Stoic concepts, like Logos).
      > But that's not their source for this doctrine. The source lay in the
      > Biblical revelation and especially in their experience of worship.
      > "There is this Reality called the Father which we are to worship,"
      > they said. "But there's this Reality called the Son which we are
      > ALSO to worship. And there's this Reality called the Holy Spirit
      > which we are ALSO to worship. BUT our roots in Judaism tell us that
      > only GOD is to be worshiped - there's no room in our faith for
      > demigods. And those same roots tell us that God is ONE." So out of
      > the prior reality of Christian worship came the necessity to define
      > God as Three-in-One - as Trinity.
      > And use of Platonic triads as a way to understand this was after the
      > fact, and required as much alteration as adaptation. The intrinsic
      > subordinationism had to be rooted out.
      > Pax,
      > John
      > --- On Sun, 4/1/12, Wyman <vilniusjewishlibrary@...> wrote:
      > Stephen, is there a standard source that makes the obvious
      > comparison between the Christian Trinity and Plotinus' concept?
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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