New Commentary on Plotinus II.1
- I took a look at the new commentary by Wilberding on Ennead II.1,
<Plotinus' Cosmology> and it is quite a resource, I at least would say.
There is an interesting usage at 7.29, where Plotinus refers to
the "anthos" of incorporeal light, from the corporeal sun. Wilberding
notes (p.218) that anthos is a typical Chaldaean expression, but there
really doesn't seem to be any hint here in Plotinus of a Chaldaean
interpretation coming into play. Of course he is discussing the
physical universe, and he uses the metaphor of anthos very much as we
would describe the "bouquet" of a wine, in purely a physical context.
Still, with all this talk of light and fire, I was wondering if this
wouldn't have been an opportunity at least to refer to the noeric
counterpart of the sun and light and fire, so common in the Oracles and
later Platonists, if in fact the notion really even existed in
Plotinus' time outside the Oracles, which it may not have, but there is
none of that here. I posted once before that as far as I can tell
Plotinus sees noeric fire as strictly Stoic, and rejects it. But anthos
was used metaphorically of fire already in the Prometheus Bound, so
it's certainly not necessarily only a Chaldaean metaphor. Wilberding
doesn't include this reference, but he does point out that Plutarch
quoted a variant line of the Iliad already including it, one however
rejected by Aristarchus.
Porphyry's view is not so clear to me on the Chaldaean noeric fire,
etc., though if we had his lost treatise <Sol> I suspect we might know
a lot more. I don't have all of Smith's edition of the fragments, but
from the index I do have, it appears to me that Smith lists this work
as dubious. If this is true, I wonder why? Courcelle in his discussion
of Macrobius in his book on the Greek influence on later Latin writers
quotes Servius' reference to <Sol> and the citation Servius gives makes
it sound rather legitimately Porphyrean - ?