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Enneads Companion

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  • kevin_s_hudson
    I m working on setting up an introductory course for the Enneads and I was wondering if people had any favorites (or suggestions) on any companion or
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 27, 2006
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      I'm working on setting up an introductory course for the Enneads and I
      was wondering if people had any favorites (or suggestions) on any
      companion or complementary book to the Enneads for study.
    • curt
      I can be a bit of stickler on this point - and I apologize if I appear to be harping. However - I think the most important companion or complementary
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 27, 2006
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        I can be a bit of stickler on this point - and I apologize if I appear
        to be harping. However - I think the most important "companion or
        complementary" readings for tackling the Enneads are precisely those
        writings that Plotinus assumed all of his students had already mastered
        or were in the process of mastering - namely Plato and Aristotle. In
        particular, and at an absolute minimum, one should thoroughly study the
        works that Iamblichus put in his "top ten list": First Alcibiades,
        Gorgias, Phaedo, Cratylus, Theaetetus, Sophista, Statesman, Phaedrus,
        Symposium, Philebus. These ten are then to be followed by the Timaeus
        and Parmenides. I would personally also include the Republic, the Meno,
        the Laws, and the Apology - as well as several of the shorter "earlier"
        "Socratic" dialogs that Iamblichus probably took for granted. I would
        also alter Iamblichus ordering at least slightly by putting one of the
        Symposium or the Phaedro much nearer the beginning.

        And one should also read, at least, Aristotle's Physics, Categories, on
        the Soul, Magna Moralia, and Nichomachean Ethics. I believe that the
        traditional approach was actually for a student to study Aristotle
        first, then move on to Plato.

        As far as works specifically related to the Enneads, both O'Meara's and
        Hadot's books are quite good - and so is the lesser known book by
        Antonia Tripolitis' "The Doctrine of the Soul in the Thought of Plotinus
        and Origen".

        Finally - Porphyry's writings, and in particular his "Auxiliaries to the
        Perception of Intelligible Natures" are, of course, a significant
        resource for insight into the Enneads.

        - Curt

        kevin_s_hudson wrote:

        > I'm working on setting up an introductory course for the Enneads and I
        > was wondering if people had any favorites (or suggestions) on any
        > companion or complementary book to the Enneads for study.
        >
        >
        >
      • Melanie B. Mineo
        Re the Top 10 List - Diogenes Laertius wrote that, according to some, the Theages ought to be the first dialogue on the reading list of the beginning
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 27, 2006
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          Re the "Top 10 List" - Diogenes Laertius wrote that, according to
          some, the Theages ought to be the first dialogue on the reading list
          of the beginning Platonist (3, 62). (Though no one in antiquity
          considered it inauthentic, due to its being part of the Thrasyllan
          canon, it's deemed apocryphal due to what some consider extravagant
          and superstitious claims for the efficacy of tò daimonion....)


          See: J. Opsomer, "Plutarch's Defence of the Theages, in Defence of
          Socratic Philosophy?", Philologus 141, 1 (1997), 114.

          He's on list. Perhaps he'll comment.

          --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, curt <curt@...> wrote:

          In
          > particular, and at an absolute minimum, one should thoroughly study the
          > works that Iamblichus put in his "top ten list": First Alcibiades,
          > Gorgias, Phaedo, Cratylus, Theaetetus, Sophista, Statesman, Phaedrus,
          > Symposium, Philebus. These ten are then to be followed by the Timaeus
          > and Parmenides. I would personally also include the Republic, the Meno,
          > the Laws, and the Apology - as well as several of the shorter "earlier"
          > "Socratic" dialogs that Iamblichus probably took for granted. I would
          > also alter Iamblichus ordering at least slightly by putting one of the
          > Symposium or the Phaedro much nearer the beginning.

          >
          > - Curt
          >
          > kevin_s_hudson wrote:
          >
          > > I'm working on setting up an introductory course for the Enneads and I
          > > was wondering if people had any favorites (or suggestions) on any
          > > companion or complementary book to the Enneads for study.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
        • Jan Opsomer
          ... Few, if any, would nowadays defend the authenticity of the Theages. Even so, it stands for some form of ancient Platonism. I don t think it is the best
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 27, 2006
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            On 27. Mar 2006, at 8:27 PM, Melanie B. Mineo wrote:

            > Re the "Top 10 List" - Diogenes Laertius wrote that, according to
            > some, the Theages ought to be the first dialogue on the reading list
            > of the beginning Platonist (3, 62). (Though no one in antiquity
            > considered it inauthentic, due to its being part of the Thrasyllan
            > canon, it's deemed apocryphal due to what some consider extravagant
            > and superstitious claims for the efficacy of tò daimonion....)
            >
            >
            > See: J. Opsomer, "Plutarch's Defence of the Theages, in Defence of
            > Socratic Philosophy?", Philologus 141, 1 (1997), 114.
            >
            > He's on list. Perhaps he'll comment.
            >

            Few, if any, would nowadays defend the authenticity of the Theages.
            Even so, it stands for some form of ancient Platonism. I don't think
            it is the best place to start, however. Better stick with the
            Alcibiades Maior, for instance.

            As to the article cited above: one should not read it without also
            looking at: Mark Joyal, Socrates, DAIMONIOS ANHP: Some Textual and
            Interpretive Problems in Plato, in: In Altum. Seventy-Five Years of
            Classical Studies in Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, 2001,
            351-357. This article contains some valuable replies to some of my
            arguments (the discussion is not of interest for understanding
            Plotinus).

            Greetings,
            Jan
          • Icastes
            ... Much of the argument against the Theages was based on the notion that certain words were not in use in Plato s day and their appearance in the text showed
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 28, 2006
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              Jan writes in reply:

              > On 27. Mar 2006, at 8:27 PM, Melanie B. Mineo wrote:
              >
              > > Re the "Top 10 List" - Diogenes Laertius wrote that, according to
              > > some, the Theages ought to be the first dialogue on the reading list
              > > of the beginning Platonist (3, 62). (Though no one in antiquity
              > > considered it inauthentic, due to its being part of the Thrasyllan
              > > canon, it's deemed apocryphal due to what some consider extravagant
              > > and superstitious claims for the efficacy of tò daimonion....)
              > >
              > >
              > > See: J. Opsomer, "Plutarch's Defence of the Theages, in Defence of
              > > Socratic Philosophy?", Philologus 141, 1 (1997), 114.
              > >
              > > He's on list. Perhaps he'll comment.
              > >
              >
              > Few, if any, would nowadays defend the authenticity of the Theages.
              > Even so, it stands for some form of ancient Platonism. I don't think
              > it is the best place to start, however. Better stick with the
              > Alcibiades Maior, for instance.
              >
              > As to the article cited above: one should not read it without also
              > looking at: Mark Joyal, Socrates, DAIMONIOS ANHP: Some Textual and
              > Interpretive Problems in Plato, in: In Altum. Seventy-Five Years of
              > Classical Studies in Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, 2001,
              > 351-357. This article contains some valuable replies to some of my
              > arguments (the discussion is not of interest for understanding
              > Plotinus).

              Much of the argument against the Theages was based on the notion that
              certain words were not in use in Plato's day and their appearance in the
              text showed that it was not authentic.

              That notion was shown to be dubious by Seth Benardete in a master's thesis
              he wrote at the University of Chicago many years ago. Benardete, perhaps the
              foremost classicist of the 20th century in the US, took the Platonic Theages
              seriously.

              Best regards,

              Kalev Pehme
              http://www.myspace.com/21146994
              http://blog.myspace.com/21146994
            • Jan Opsomer
              ... Actually the argument against the authenticity is based on more than lexical data. Having looked at the evidence myself and having studied the arguments
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 30, 2006
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                > Much of the argument against the Theages was based on the notion that
                > certain words were not in use in Plato's day and their appearance
                > in the
                > text showed that it was not authentic.
                >
                > That notion was shown to be dubious by Seth Benardete in a master's
                > thesis
                > he wrote at the University of Chicago many years ago. Benardete,
                > perhaps the
                > foremost classicist of the 20th century in the US, took the
                > Platonic Theages
                > seriously.
                >
                > Best regards,
                >
                > Kalev Pehme
                >

                Actually the argument against the authenticity is based on more than
                lexical data.
                Having looked at the evidence myself and having studied the arguments
                pro and contra, I had come to the conclusion that the Theages is
                spurious.
                Mark Joyal has studied the Theages much more extensively than anyone
                before. He is a very able classicist and he does take the Theages
                seriously, yet he too thinks it is spurious (the one does not exclude
                the other).
                Some of his conclusions in this matter are:
                - the Theages draws heavily on dialogues considered as late, but is
                stylistically and lexically closer to dialogues considered to be early.
                - the Theages is to a considerable extent compiled from other
                dialogues, in a way that is not typical of Plato.
                - the author misunderstood the way Socrates' divine sign is used in
                Plato.
                Of course one should look at all of his arguments in detail (which it
                is not the place to do here). No single argument constitutes
                conclusive evidence, as he admits, but together they are quite
                convincing.

                For the full discussion see
                Joyal, Mark, 2000. The Platonic "Theages". An introduction,
                commentary and critical edition (Philosophie der Antike, 10),
                Stuttgart, Steiner.

                Regards,

                Jan Opsomer
              • Icastes
                ... I am troubled by this line of reasoning generally. First, I don t think there is any real way to determine a time line of Platonic dialogues. Each dialogue
                Message 7 of 7 , Mar 30, 2006
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                  Jan Opsomer writes:
                  >
                  > Actually the argument against the authenticity is based on more than
                  > lexical data.
                  > Having looked at the evidence myself and having studied the arguments
                  > pro and contra, I had come to the conclusion that the Theages is
                  > spurious.
                  > Mark Joyal has studied the Theages much more extensively than anyone
                  > before. He is a very able classicist and he does take the Theages
                  > seriously, yet he too thinks it is spurious (the one does not exclude
                  > the other).
                  > Some of his conclusions in this matter are:
                  > - the Theages draws heavily on dialogues considered as late, but is
                  > stylistically and lexically closer to dialogues considered to be early.
                  > - the Theages is to a considerable extent compiled from other
                  > dialogues, in a way that is not typical of Plato.
                  > - the author misunderstood the way Socrates' divine sign is used in
                  > Plato.
                  > Of course one should look at all of his arguments in detail (which it
                  > is not the place to do here). No single argument constitutes
                  > conclusive evidence, as he admits, but together they are quite
                  > convincing.
                  >
                  > For the full discussion see
                  > Joyal, Mark, 2000. The Platonic "Theages". An introduction,
                  > commentary and critical edition (Philosophie der Antike, 10),
                  > Stuttgart, Steiner.

                  I am troubled by this line of reasoning generally. First, I don't think
                  there is any real way to determine a time line of Platonic dialogues. Each
                  dialogue has its own necessities, and it appears to me that the Theages has
                  a rather profound argument worthy of Plato. Style is mutable, and there
                  really is no one Platonic style. All the dialogues very individual. Some are
                  hilariously written, some have a great outward solemnity. As for the divine
                  sign, one might also point out that Plato is critiquing that very notion as
                  well. So, I don't think that it is so easy to regard as spurious. In my
                  view, it is better to err on the side of it being genuine.

                  Best regards,

                  Kalev Pehme
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