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Re: Plotinus and prohodos and epistrophe

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  • Ron Criss
    ... für ... Joseph Ratzinger is an expert on St Augustine of Hippo, who was influenced by Neoplatonism in his conversion from Manichaeanism to Catholicism.
    Message 1 of 31 , Sep 3, 2007
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      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Jan Opsomer <jan.opsomer@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > I forgot to mention another contribution to the issue:
      >
      >
      > Ratzinger, Josef [yes, the same one!], Emanation, in: Reallexikon
      für
      > Antike und Christentum, 4, 1959, p. 1219-1228.
      >
      >
      > JO

      Joseph Ratzinger is an expert on St Augustine of Hippo, who was
      influenced by Neoplatonism in his conversion from Manichaeanism to
      Catholicism. His mentor was St Ambrose, himself a Christian
      Neoplatonist. Ambrose and Augustine translated Christianity into
      Neoplatonist terms and their audeince was steeped in the teachings of
      Plotinus. Someone who has more familiarity with the Enneads than I
      could see that many of their writings suppose and respond to the
      Enneads (Peter Browns' "Augustine of Hippo" is good at making the
      connections). They didn't see a conflict between Neoplatonism and
      Catholicism.

      Augustine is Ratzinger's primary influence. Interesting because it
      reflects the pre-Vatican II return to the Fathers of such theologians
      as Hans Urs von Balthasar and Dietrich Von Hildebrand. This in
      contrast to the previous trend of the preceding Neo-Thomism of such
      philosphers as Jaques Maritain.

      Ron
    • 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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        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 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.

        Ron

        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Edward Moore" <patristics@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > 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
        is
        > difficult. The whole problem seems to be that Porhyry
        misunderstood
        > and misrepresented Plotinus or that Ambrose did. One could even
        argue
        > that Plotinus misunderstood and misrepresented Plato. Otherwise
        one
        > could simply suggest that he had read "Plotinian" or "Platonist"
        > or "Neoplatonist" books and one would be considered to represent
        all
        > 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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