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Plotinus and prohodos and epistrophe

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  • vaeringjar
    I am seeking some help here on the subject of the development of the concept of procession and return. I thought I had found an article that from some other
    Message 1 of 31 , Sep 1, 2007
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      I am seeking some help here on the subject of the development of the
      concept of procession and return. I thought I had found an article
      that from some other reference to it led me to believe it examined
      that development, but I rather lost track of the reference, until I
      think I found it today:

      Jean-François Pradeau, L'imitation du principe. Plotin et la
      participation. Histoire des doctrines de l'antiquité classique,
      XXX. Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 2003.

      Is anyone familiar with this piece? I actually rather thought it was
      a German scholar I had found writing on procession, so perhaps this
      is all wrong and I have muddled it up.

      At any rate, I haven't been able in any of the books I have on
      Plotinus to find much about this subject. It rather just seems to be
      assumed in discussions of Plotinus, it seems to me.

      So is the consensus that he developed this idea, but it just appears
      already full-blown in his writings, as it were, in the various
      Enneads? I can't think of any Middle Platonist who refers to the
      idea, and I don't see how any could unless he held at least some sort
      of Neopythagorean beliefs - procession and return require a priori
      some sort of central principle like the One, correct? There is
      certainly nothing like it in any of the extant testimony on Plato's
      Unwritten Doctrines that I know of.

      Any help here glady accepted, especially if there is some locus
      classicus in the secondary literature discussing the development of
      procession and return. Among other things I am trying to determine if
      it could in any way be pre-Plotinian. Thanks.

      Dennis Clark
    • Ron Criss
      Edward, 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
      Message 31 of 31 , 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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