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Re: Fw: BMCR 2008.12.05, Maurizio Migliori, Plato Ethicus

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  • vaeringjar
    ... that it ... political ... (48). ... basis of ... (1949) ... Plato ... the ... capacity of ... to a ... I would be curious to hear others opinions on this:
    Message 1 of 25 , Dec 5, 2008
      > >
      > > One complaint made against contemporary Platonic esoterism, is
      that it
      > > ignores or devalues Plato's constant concern with ethical and
      political
      > > questions. Berti reviews the debates and concludes that, given the
      > > coincidence of One and Good, there is an ethics in the "unwritten
      > > doctrines," which is "founded on an extremely precise ontology"
      (48).
      > >
      > > The claim that virtue is knowledge has often been taken as the
      basis of
      > > Plato's ethics. Bravo reviews discussions of episteme from Ryle
      (1949)
      > > and Gould (1955) through Vlastos (1973) and some more recent
      > > interventions (Stalley 2000, Tsouna 2001). He concludes that for
      Plato
      > > episteme is both knowing that and knowing how but also "involves
      the
      > > acting self-consciousness of...the subject who obtains it...[and]
      > > includes as an essential element self-restraint, namely the
      capacity of
      > > dominating the impulses opposed to virtue...which is equivalent
      to a
      > > return of the soul to the Good" (61).
      > >

      I would be curious to hear others' opinions on this: when I first
      encountered Plato years ago, after some study of the Presocratics, it
      it rathered surprised me that Plato appeared to place the Good at the
      highest ontological level, since from its name it does sound much
      more a purely ethical concept. But then I started interpreting it,
      perhaps based on an understanding of the term "arete" as not
      merely "courage", to mean rather something along the lines of "the
      best of anything" that could be aspired to, even in a purely physical
      way, as in pure gold, or the finest performing race horse, to
      ultimately an ideal summum abstracted as a pure principle on its own.
      At least this made sense to me, though it could still apply ethically
      as well. This was all before I was aware of the Unwritten Doctrines
      and the whole Pythagorean connection and the One, etc. How do others
      view the Good?

      And isn't that a nice thought there above, "...which is equivalent to
      a return of the soul to the Good." Anamnesis as a personalized, quite
      vivid, and concrete enactment of epistrophe to the One and the Good.
      A true merger of micro- and macrocosm. I like that, though I am not
      sure the author of the article actually intended any so overt
      allusion towards the Neoplatonic concept.

      I guess Iamblichus wouldn't buy into anything this simple though,
      would he? You need those symbola also to get you connected back...

      Dennis Clark
    • John Uebersax
      Have any Neoplatonist commentators allegorized the rivers of Tartarus -- Oceanus, Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Styx (or Cocytus) -- mentioned in the underworld
      Message 2 of 25 , Dec 5, 2008
        Have any Neoplatonist commentators allegorized the rivers of Tartarus -- Oceanus, Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Styx (or Cocytus) -- mentioned in the underworld description of Phaedo 111c - 113e? This would seem an obvious subject for speculation.

        For comparison, St. Ambrose, in De paradiso, interpreted the four rivers of Genesis 2:10-14 in terms of Wisdom and the four cardinal virtues:

        "As Wisdom is the fountain of life, it is also the fountain of spiritual grace. It is also the fountain of other virtues which guide us to the course of eternal life. Therefore, the stream that irrigates Paradise rises from the soul when well-tilled, not from the soul which lies uncultivated. The results therefrom are fruit trees of diverse virtues. There are four principal trees which constitute the divisions of Wisdom. These are the well-known four principal virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. The wise men of this world have adopted this division from us and transferred it to their writings. Hence, Wisdom acts as the source from which these four rivers take their rise, producing streams that are composed of these virtues."

        He then goes on to associate Phison with prudence, Gihon with chastity, the Tigris (Hiddekel) with fortitude, and the Euphrates with justice.

        John Uebersax
      • Harold Tarrant
        Dear All, Nothing on my shelf at home that might tell me the proper answer to that question right off, but don t you think that some allegorizing or
        Message 3 of 25 , Dec 5, 2008
          Dear All,

          Nothing on my shelf at home that might tell me the proper answer to that question right off, but don't you think that some allegorizing or correct-name-theory is already lurking behind Plato Phaedo 112eff anyhow. Note that the author of the Derveni papyrus was already allegorizing Oceanus (=air) and Achelous (=water), presumably before P wrote Cratylus 402b-c on Okeanos, commented on by Proclus in Crat. 144, and there is also discussion of Ocean at in Tim. III 176-80. Of course Scamander/Xanthus is another river discussed in the Crat and Proclus' commentary (and also in the in Tim.).

          Harold

          Prof. Harold Tarrant,
          School of Humanities and Social Science,
          University of Newcastle,
          NSW 2308 Australia
          Ph: (+61) 2 49215230
          Fax: (+61) 2 49216933
          *Eu Prattein*
          >>> John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> 12/06/08 6:02 AM >>>
          Have any Neoplatonist commentators allegorized the rivers of Tartarus -- Oceanus, Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Styx (or Cocytus) -- mentioned in the underworld description of Phaedo 111c - 113e? This would seem an obvious subject for speculation.

          For comparison, St. Ambrose, in De paradiso, interpreted the four rivers of Genesis 2:10-14 in terms of Wisdom and the four cardinal virtues:

          "As Wisdom is the fountain of life, it is also the fountain of spiritual grace. It is also the fountain of other virtues which guide us to the course of eternal life. Therefore, the stream that irrigates Paradise rises from the soul when well-tilled, not from the soul which lies uncultivated. The results therefrom are fruit trees of diverse virtues. There are four principal trees which constitute the divisions of Wisdom. These are the well-known four principal virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. The wise men of this world have adopted this division from us and transferred it to their writings. Hence, Wisdom acts as the source from which these four rivers take their rise, producing streams that are composed of these virtues."

          He then goes on to associate Phison with prudence, Gihon with chastity, the Tigris (Hiddekel) with fortitude, and the Euphrates with justice.

          John Uebersax
        • vaeringjar
          ... Tartarus -- Oceanus, Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Styx (or Cocytus) -- mentioned in the underworld description of Phaedo 111c - 113e? This would seem an
          Message 4 of 25 , Dec 5, 2008
            --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Uebersax
            <john.uebersax@...> wrote:
            >
            > Have any Neoplatonist commentators allegorized the rivers of
            Tartarus -- Oceanus, Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Styx (or Cocytus) --
            mentioned in the underworld description of Phaedo 111c - 113e? This
            would seem an obvious subject for speculation.
            >
            > For comparison, St. Ambrose, in De paradiso, interpreted the four
            rivers of Genesis 2:10-14 in terms of Wisdom and the four cardinal
            virtues:
            >
            > "As Wisdom is the fountain of life, it is also the fountain of
            spiritual grace. It is also the fountain of other virtues which guide
            us to the course of eternal life. Therefore, the stream that
            irrigates Paradise rises from the soul when well-tilled, not from the
            soul which lies uncultivated. The results therefrom are fruit trees
            of diverse virtues. There are four principal trees which constitute
            the divisions of Wisdom. These are the well-known four principal
            virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. The wise men
            of this world have adopted this division from us and transferred it
            to their writings. Hence, Wisdom acts as the source from which these
            four rivers take their rise, producing streams that are composed of
            these virtues."
            >
            > He then goes on to associate Phison with prudence, Gihon with
            chastity, the Tigris (Hiddekel) with fortitude, and the Euphrates
            with justice.
            >
            > John Uebersax
            >

            Would be worth a look at Olympiodorus' and Damascius' commentaries on
            the Phaedo to see if either has anything to say. I'll try to remember
            to do so this weekend.

            By the way, those other two rivers of Paradise, Phison and Gihon, are
            now thought by some to be actually ancient rivers that did apparently
            exist, flowing into the Tigris and Euphrates at a 90 degree angle at
            more or less the current mouths at the Persian Gulf - ancient rivers
            that existed in the Palaeolithic, before the final rising of sea
            levels at the end of the last cold period of the current ice age.
            Their beds have been detected from satellite photos. The four flowed
            together apparently then to form one large river that ran on through
            what would have been a most fertile region before emptying into the
            sea, all of which would have been flooded by the rising sea levels
            from 8000 BC on.

            Dennis Clark
          • S.R.P. Gertz
            Dear John, you might be interested in Numenius attempt to place the rivers of Tartarus in the planetary spheres, after Proclus, In Remp. II. 129.6-130.21.
            Message 5 of 25 , Dec 5, 2008
              Dear John,

              you might be interested in Numenius' attempt to place the rivers of
              Tartarus in the planetary spheres, after Proclus, In Remp. II.
              129.6-130.21. Porphyry's work On the Styx, collected by C. Castelletti,
              Porfirio Sullo Stige (Milan 2006), includes some etymological allegorising
              (fr.4 Castelletti = Stobaeus Ecl. 1.1012 Meineke, based on Apollodorus of
              Athens). In this context, Macrobius has an interesting discussion of the
              underworld, including the rivers as symbolic of human vices, at In
              Somn.Scip.I.X.11 Eyssenhardt. Olympiodorus' commentary on the Phaedo breaks
              off before the myth, but his commentary on the Meteorology defends Plato's
              theory of underground rivers against Aristotle, and contains a broadly
              ethical allegory; cf. Ol.In Met.141.36ff. Stueve CAG XII.2. Damascius,
              interestingly, considers the view of Proclus, according to which the rivers
              are symbolic of the elements, only to reject it in favour of reading them
              as the places and destinations (le^xeis) of souls. Proclus' view is given
              without criticism at Damascius In Phaedonem I.541 Westerink, and refined at
              Dam. In Phd II.145.10ff (ameinon oun...). Let me know what other
              interesting passages you manage to dig up,

              best wishes,

              Seb.

              On Dec 5 2008, vaeringjar wrote:

              >--- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Uebersax
              ><john.uebersax@...> wrote:
              >>
              >> Have any Neoplatonist commentators allegorized the rivers of
              >Tartarus -- Oceanus, Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Styx (or Cocytus) --
              > mentioned in the underworld description of Phaedo 111c - 113e? This
              >would seem an obvious subject for speculation.
              >>
              >> For comparison, St. Ambrose, in De paradiso, interpreted the four
              >rivers of Genesis 2:10-14 in terms of Wisdom and the four cardinal
              >virtues:
              >>
              >> "As Wisdom is the fountain of life, it is also the fountain of
              >spiritual grace. It is also the fountain of other virtues which guide
              >us to the course of eternal life. Therefore, the stream that
              >irrigates Paradise rises from the soul when well-tilled, not from the
              >soul which lies uncultivated. The results therefrom are fruit trees
              >of diverse virtues. There are four principal trees which constitute
              >the divisions of Wisdom. These are the well-known four principal
              >virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. The wise men
              >of this world have adopted this division from us and transferred it
              >to their writings. Hence, Wisdom acts as the source from which these
              >four rivers take their rise, producing streams that are composed of
              >these virtues."
              >>
              >> He then goes on to associate Phison with prudence, Gihon with
              >chastity, the Tigris (Hiddekel) with fortitude, and the Euphrates
              >with justice.
              >>
              >> John Uebersax
              >>
              >
              >Would be worth a look at Olympiodorus' and Damascius' commentaries on
              >the Phaedo to see if either has anything to say. I'll try to remember
              >to do so this weekend.
              >
              >By the way, those other two rivers of Paradise, Phison and Gihon, are
              >now thought by some to be actually ancient rivers that did apparently
              >exist, flowing into the Tigris and Euphrates at a 90 degree angle at
              >more or less the current mouths at the Persian Gulf - ancient rivers
              >that existed in the Palaeolithic, before the final rising of sea
              >levels at the end of the last cold period of the current ice age.
              >Their beds have been detected from satellite photos. The four flowed
              >together apparently then to form one large river that ran on through
              >what would have been a most fertile region before emptying into the
              >sea, all of which would have been flooded by the rising sea levels
              >from 8000 BC on.
              >
              >Dennis Clark
              >
              >
              >
            • John Uebersax
              Dear Harold, Dennis, Seb, Re: Numenius, Porphyry, Macrobius, Proclus, Olympiodorus, Damascius Thanks! This is very helpful and most promising indeed! John
              Message 6 of 25 , Dec 6, 2008
                Dear Harold, Dennis, Seb,

                Re: Numenius, Porphyry, Macrobius, Proclus, Olympiodorus, Damascius

                Thanks! This is very helpful and most promising indeed!

                John Uebersax
                Brussels
              • Harold Tarrant
                Glad to read Stephen s contribution. I recall now that Numenius transfer of this kind of thing to the heavens seems to be anticipated with regard to the Styx
                Message 7 of 25 , Dec 6, 2008
                  Glad to read Stephen's contribution. I recall now that Numenius' transfer of this kind of thing to the heavens seems to be anticipated with regard to the Styx at least in the Timarchus story in Plutarch's essay on Socrates' Daimonion, 591a. Related to the question of any misplaced underworld rivers of course is the question of a misplaced Hades, also of interest to Plutarch in the De Facie from 942c.

                  Harold

                  Prof. Harold Tarrant,
                  School of Humanities and Social Science,
                  University of Newcastle,
                  NSW 2308 Australia
                  Ph: (+61) 2 49215230
                  Fax: (+61) 2 49216933
                  *Eu Prattein*
                  >>> "S.R.P. Gertz" <srpg2@...> 12/06/08 11:39 AM >>>
                  Dear John,

                  you might be interested in Numenius' attempt to place the rivers of
                  Tartarus in the planetary spheres, after Proclus, In Remp. II.
                  129.6-130.21. Porphyry's work On the Styx, collected by C. Castelletti,
                  Porfirio Sullo Stige (Milan 2006), includes some etymological allegorising
                  (fr.4 Castelletti = Stobaeus Ecl. 1.1012 Meineke, based on Apollodorus of
                  Athens). In this context, Macrobius has an interesting discussion of the
                  underworld, including the rivers as symbolic of human vices, at In
                  Somn.Scip.I.X.11 Eyssenhardt. Olympiodorus' commentary on the Phaedo breaks
                  off before the myth, but his commentary on the Meteorology defends Plato's
                  theory of underground rivers against Aristotle, and contains a broadly
                  ethical allegory; cf. Ol.In Met.141.36ff. Stueve CAG XII.2. Damascius,
                  interestingly, considers the view of Proclus, according to which the rivers
                  are symbolic of the elements, only to reject it in favour of reading them
                  as the places and destinations (le^xeis) of souls. Proclus' view is given
                  without criticism at Damascius In Phaedonem I.541 Westerink, and refined at
                  Dam. In Phd II.145.10ff (ameinon oun...). Let me know what other
                  interesting passages you manage to dig up,

                  best wishes,

                  Seb.

                  On Dec 5 2008, vaeringjar wrote:

                  >--- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Uebersax
                  ><john.uebersax@...> wrote:
                  >>
                  >> Have any Neoplatonist commentators allegorized the rivers of
                  >Tartarus -- Oceanus, Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Styx (or Cocytus) --
                  > mentioned in the underworld description of Phaedo 111c - 113e? This
                  >would seem an obvious subject for speculation.
                  >>
                  >> For comparison, St. Ambrose, in De paradiso, interpreted the four
                  >rivers of Genesis 2:10-14 in terms of Wisdom and the four cardinal
                  >virtues:
                  >>
                  >> "As Wisdom is the fountain of life, it is also the fountain of
                  >spiritual grace. It is also the fountain of other virtues which guide
                  >us to the course of eternal life. Therefore, the stream that
                  >irrigates Paradise rises from the soul when well-tilled, not from the
                  >soul which lies uncultivated. The results therefrom are fruit trees
                  >of diverse virtues. There are four principal trees which constitute
                  >the divisions of Wisdom. These are the well-known four principal
                  >virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. The wise men
                  >of this world have adopted this division from us and transferred it
                  >to their writings. Hence, Wisdom acts as the source from which these
                  >four rivers take their rise, producing streams that are composed of
                  >these virtues."
                  >>
                  >> He then goes on to associate Phison with prudence, Gihon with
                  >chastity, the Tigris (Hiddekel) with fortitude, and the Euphrates
                  >with justice.
                  >>
                  >> John Uebersax
                  >>
                  >
                  >Would be worth a look at Olympiodorus' and Damascius' commentaries on
                  >the Phaedo to see if either has anything to say. I'll try to remember
                  >to do so this weekend.
                  >
                  >By the way, those other two rivers of Paradise, Phison and Gihon, are
                  >now thought by some to be actually ancient rivers that did apparently
                  >exist, flowing into the Tigris and Euphrates at a 90 degree angle at
                  >more or less the current mouths at the Persian Gulf - ancient rivers
                  >that existed in the Palaeolithic, before the final rising of sea
                  >levels at the end of the last cold period of the current ice age.
                  >Their beds have been detected from satellite photos. The four flowed
                  >together apparently then to form one large river that ran on through
                  >what would have been a most fertile region before emptying into the
                  >sea, all of which would have been flooded by the rising sea levels
                  >from 8000 BC on.
                  >
                  >Dennis Clark
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • vaeringjar
                  ... Castelletti, ... allegorising ... Apollodorus of ... of the ... Phaedo breaks ... Plato s ... broadly ... Damascius, ... the rivers ... reading them ...
                  Message 8 of 25 , Dec 6, 2008
                    --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "S.R.P. Gertz" <srpg2@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Dear John,
                    >
                    > you might be interested in Numenius' attempt to place the rivers of
                    > Tartarus in the planetary spheres, after Proclus, In Remp. II.
                    > 129.6-130.21. Porphyry's work On the Styx, collected by C.
                    Castelletti,
                    > Porfirio Sullo Stige (Milan 2006), includes some etymological
                    allegorising
                    > (fr.4 Castelletti = Stobaeus Ecl. 1.1012 Meineke, based on
                    Apollodorus of
                    > Athens). In this context, Macrobius has an interesting discussion
                    of the
                    > underworld, including the rivers as symbolic of human vices, at In
                    > Somn.Scip.I.X.11 Eyssenhardt. Olympiodorus' commentary on the
                    Phaedo breaks
                    > off before the myth, but his commentary on the Meteorology defends
                    Plato's
                    > theory of underground rivers against Aristotle, and contains a
                    broadly
                    > ethical allegory; cf. Ol.In Met.141.36ff. Stueve CAG XII.2.
                    Damascius,
                    > interestingly, considers the view of Proclus, according to which
                    the rivers
                    > are symbolic of the elements, only to reject it in favour of
                    reading them
                    > as the places and destinations (le^xeis) of souls. Proclus' view is
                    given
                    > without criticism at Damascius In Phaedonem I.541 Westerink, and
                    refined at
                    > Dam. In Phd II.145.10ff (ameinon oun...). Let me know what other
                    > interesting passages you manage to dig up,
                    >
                    > best wishes,
                    >
                    > Seb.
                    >


                    Yes, that's about all can be said about the two Comm. on the Phaedo
                    of Olympiodorus and Damascius. Took a look at Westerink's edition of
                    them today, both playing off of Proclus most likely. All we know of
                    Iamblichus' on the Phaedo is to be extracted from Olympiodorus',
                    judging from Prof. Dillon's edition of the fragments, so I gather we
                    don't know how he would have allegorized the rivers or not.

                    Dennis Clark
                  • Jake Stratton-Kent
                    ... . Damascius, ... This is a very interesting thread, could you possibly list these planetary and elemental associations, as I am lacking the sources you
                    Message 9 of 25 , Dec 7, 2008
                      2008/12/6 S.R.P. Gertz <srpg2@...>:
                      > Dear John,
                      >
                      > you might be interested in Numenius' attempt to place the rivers of
                      > Tartarus in the planetary spheres, after Proclus,

                      . Damascius,
                      > interestingly, considers the view of Proclus, according to which the rivers
                      > are symbolic of the elements,

                      This is a very interesting thread, could you possibly list these
                      planetary and elemental associations, as I am lacking the sources you
                      mention?

                      Jake
                    • Jake Stratton-Kent
                      ... PS I was wondering how closely they match Agrippa, who was certainly versed in Neoplatonism, but occasionally mismatches such associations (his virtues may
                      Message 10 of 25 , Dec 7, 2008
                        2008/12/7 Jake Stratton-Kent <jakestrattonkent@...>:
                        > 2008/12/6 S.R.P. Gertz <srpg2@...>:
                        >> Dear John,
                        >>
                        >> you might be interested in Numenius' attempt to place the rivers of
                        >> Tartarus in the planetary spheres, after Proclus,
                        >
                        > . Damascius,
                        >> interestingly, considers the view of Proclus, according to which the rivers
                        >> are symbolic of the elements,
                        >
                        > This is a very interesting thread, could you possibly list these
                        > planetary and elemental associations, as I am lacking the sources you
                        > mention?
                        >
                        > Jake
                        >
                        PS I was wondering how closely they match Agrippa, who was certainly
                        versed in Neoplatonism, but occasionally mismatches such associations
                        (his virtues may be different too).

                        His Scale of the Number Four gives::

                        Phlegethon-Fire-Justice-Sun&Mars
                        Cocytus-Air-Temperance-Jupiter&Venus
                        Styx-Water-Prudence-Saturn&Mercury
                        Acheron-Earth-Fortitude-Fixed Stars&Moon

                        Jake
                      • John Dilon
                        ... St. Ambrose, by the way, is simply cogging this allegory from Philo of Alexandria (in Book I of the Legum Allegoriae). JMD [Non-text portions of this
                        Message 11 of 25 , Dec 7, 2008
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Glad to read Stephen's contribution. I recall now that Numenius' transfer of
                          > this kind of thing to the heavens seems to be anticipated with regard to the
                          > Styx at least in the Timarchus story in Plutarch's essay on Socrates'
                          > Daimonion, 591a. Related to the question of any misplaced underworld rivers of
                          > course is the question of a misplaced Hades, also of interest to Plutarch in
                          > the De Facie from 942c.
                          >
                          > Harold
                          >
                          > Prof. Harold Tarrant,
                          > School of Humanities and Social Science,
                          > University of Newcastle,
                          > NSW 2308 Australia
                          > Ph: (+61) 2 49215230
                          > Fax: (+61) 2 49216933
                          > *Eu Prattein*
                          >>>> >>> "S.R.P. Gertz" <srpg2@... <mailto:srpg2%40cam.ac.uk> > 12/06/08
                          >>>> 11:39 AM >>>
                          > Dear John,
                          >
                          > you might be interested in Numenius' attempt to place the rivers of
                          > Tartarus in the planetary spheres, after Proclus, In Remp. II.
                          > 129.6-130.21. Porphyry's work On the Styx, collected by C. Castelletti,
                          > Porfirio Sullo Stige (Milan 2006), includes some etymological allegorising
                          > (fr.4 Castelletti = Stobaeus Ecl. 1.1012 Meineke, based on Apollodorus of
                          > Athens). In this context, Macrobius has an interesting discussion of the
                          > underworld, including the rivers as symbolic of human vices, at In
                          > Somn.Scip.I.X.11 Eyssenhardt. Olympiodorus' commentary on the Phaedo breaks
                          > off before the myth, but his commentary on the Meteorology defends Plato's
                          > theory of underground rivers against Aristotle, and contains a broadly
                          > ethical allegory; cf. Ol.In Met.141.36ff. Stueve CAG XII.2. Damascius,
                          > interestingly, considers the view of Proclus, according to which the rivers
                          > are symbolic of the elements, only to reject it in favour of reading them
                          > as the places and destinations (le^xeis) of souls. Proclus' view is given
                          > without criticism at Damascius In Phaedonem I.541 Westerink, and refined at
                          > Dam. In Phd II.145.10ff (ameinon oun...). Let me know what other
                          > interesting passages you manage to dig up,
                          >
                          > best wishes,
                          >
                          > Seb.
                          >
                          > On Dec 5 2008, vaeringjar wrote:
                          >
                          >> >--- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
                          >> , John Uebersax
                          >> ><john.uebersax@...> wrote:
                          >>> >>
                          >>> >> Have any Neoplatonist commentators allegorized the rivers of
                          >> >Tartarus -- Oceanus, Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Styx (or Cocytus) --
                          >> > mentioned in the underworld description of Phaedo 111c - 113e? This
                          >> >would seem an obvious subject for speculation.
                          >>> >>
                          >>> >> For comparison, St. Ambrose, in De paradiso, interpreted the four
                          >> >rivers of Genesis 2:10-14 in terms of Wisdom and the four cardinal
                          >> >virtues:
                          >>> >>
                          >>> >> "As Wisdom is the fountain of life, it is also the fountain of
                          >> >spiritual grace. It is also the fountain of other virtues which guide
                          >> >us to the course of eternal life. Therefore, the stream that
                          >> >irrigates Paradise rises from the soul when well-tilled, not from the
                          >> >soul which lies uncultivated. The results therefrom are fruit trees
                          >> >of diverse virtues. There are four principal trees which constitute
                          >> >the divisions of Wisdom. These are the well-known four principal
                          >> >virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. The wise men
                          >> >of this world have adopted this division from us and transferred it
                          >> >to their writings. Hence, Wisdom acts as the source from which these
                          >> >four rivers take their rise, producing streams that are composed of
                          >> >these virtues."
                          >>> >>
                          >>> >> He then goes on to associate Phison with prudence, Gihon with
                          >> >chastity, the Tigris (Hiddekel) with fortitude, and the Euphrates
                          >> >with justice.
                          >>> >>
                          >>> >> John Uebersax
                          >>> >>
                          >> >
                          >> >Would be worth a look at Olympiodorus' and Damascius' commentaries on
                          >> >the Phaedo to see if either has anything to say. I'll try to remember
                          >> >to do so this weekend.
                          >> >
                          >> >By the way, those other two rivers of Paradise, Phison and Gihon, are
                          >> >now thought by some to be actually ancient rivers that did apparently
                          >> >exist, flowing into the Tigris and Euphrates at a 90 degree angle at
                          >> >more or less the current mouths at the Persian Gulf - ancient rivers
                          >> >that existed in the Palaeolithic, before the final rising of sea
                          >> >levels at the end of the last cold period of the current ice age.
                          >> >Their beds have been detected from satellite photos. The four flowed
                          >> >together apparently then to form one large river that ran on through
                          >> >what would have been a most fertile region before emptying into the
                          >> >sea, all of which would have been flooded by the rising sea levels
                          >> >from 8000 BC on.
                          >> >
                          >> >Dennis Clark
                          >> >
                          >> >
                          >> >
                          >
                          >
                          >

                          St. Ambrose, by the way, is simply cogging this allegory from Philo of
                          Alexandria (in Book I of the Legum Allegoriae). JMD


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Stephen Lovatt
                          Dear Dennis, ... Presocratics, ... the highest ... purely ethical ... Indeed. Words can be deceptive! ... of the term ... lines of ... physical way, ... an
                          Message 12 of 25 , Dec 8, 2008
                            Dear Dennis,

                            you write:

                            > I would be curious to hear others' opinions on this:
                            > when I first encountered Plato years ago, after some study of the
                            Presocratics,
                            > it it rathered surprised me that Plato appeared to place the Good at
                            the highest
                            > ontological level, since from its name it does sound much more a
                            purely ethical
                            > concept.

                            Indeed. Words can be deceptive!

                            > But then I started interpreting it, perhaps based on an understanding
                            of the term
                            > "arete" as not merely "courage", to mean rather something along the
                            lines of
                            > "the best of anything" that could be aspired to, even in a purely
                            physical way,
                            > as in pure gold, or the finest performing race horse, to ultimately
                            an ideal summum
                            > abstracted as a pure principle on its own. At least this made sense
                            to me, though it
                            > could still apply ethically as well. This was all before I was aware
                            of the Unwritten
                            > Doctrines and the whole Pythagorean connection and the One, etc.
                            > How do others view the Good?

                            I tend to the view that "The Good" is unconditional and non-contingent
                            being; that is "God" as in "I Am who Am". Plato says that "the Good" is
                            greater than being - but I think that he means "created and contingent
                            being - elsewise known as existence"

                            From Republic Book VI:

                            "And beauty itself, and good itself .... we set down according to a
                            single form of each, believing that there is but one, and calling it
                            'the being' of each.... and we say that the many beautiful things and
                            the rest are visible, but not intelligible; while the forms are
                            intelligible but not visible." [507b]

                            "The sun is not sight, but isn't it the cause of sight itself and seen
                            by it? ... this is what I call the offspring of 'the good', which 'the
                            good' begot as its analogue. What the good itself is in the intelligible
                            realm, in relation to understanding and intelligible things, the sun is
                            in the visible realm, relation to sight and visible things.... when [the
                            soul] focuses on something illuminated by truth and what is; it
                            understands, knows and apparently possesses understanding, but when it
                            focuses on what is mixed with obscurity - on what comes to be and passes
                            away - it opines and is dimmed, changes its opinions this way and that,
                            and seems bereft of understanding.... So that what gives truth to the
                            things known and the power to know to the knower is the form of the
                            good. And though it is the cause of knowledge and truth, it is also an
                            object of knowledge. Both knowledge and truth are beautiful things, but
                            the good is other and more beautiful than they. In the visible realm,
                            light and sight are rightly considered sun like; but it is wrong to
                            think that they are the sun, so here it is right to think of knowledge
                            and truth as good like but wrong to think that either of them is 'the
                            good' - for 'the good' is yet more prized!" [508b-e]#

                            "... not only do the objects of knowledge owe their being known to 'the
                            good', but their being is also due to it, although 'the good' is not
                            being, but superior to it in rank and power." [509b]

                            I tend to the view that "value" is fundamentally equivalent to "being"
                            [It is good to be.] and so there is no conflict between the notion of
                            "The Good" as the basis of value (and so ethics) and the notion of "The
                            Good" as "unconditional being" and so the basis of ontology.

                            Stephen Lovatt


                            Author of

                            "New Skins for Old Wine: Plato's Wisdom for Today's World"

                            see
                            http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pharseas.world/NewSkins.html
                            and
                            http://www.universal-publishers.com/book.php?method=ISBN&book=1581129602
                            and
                            http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1581129602
                            and
                            http://www.myspace.com/pharsea
                          • Jan Opsomer
                            Dear all, you might be pleased to know that Carlos Steel is writing an article on the rivers of the underworld. The provisional title is: Neoplatonic
                            Message 13 of 25 , Dec 9, 2008
                              Dear all,

                              you might be pleased to know that Carlos Steel is writing an article
                              on the rivers of the underworld. The provisional title is:

                              Neoplatonic interpretations of the cosmology in the Phaedo myth

                              and it will be published in a volume on the Neoplatonic philosophy of
                              nature published by James Wilberding and Christoph Horn (with OUP).

                              Kind regards,

                              Jan Opsomer
                            • vaeringjar
                              ... of ... the rivers ... you ... Here is what is what Damascius has to say on this, in the second commentary, which has more discussion of this passage in the
                              Message 14 of 25 , Dec 10, 2008
                                --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Jake Stratton-Kent"
                                <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > 2008/12/6 S.R.P. Gertz <srpg2@...>:
                                > > Dear John,
                                > >
                                > > you might be interested in Numenius' attempt to place the rivers
                                of
                                > > Tartarus in the planetary spheres, after Proclus,
                                >
                                > . Damascius,
                                > > interestingly, considers the view of Proclus, according to which
                                the rivers
                                > > are symbolic of the elements,
                                >
                                > This is a very interesting thread, could you possibly list these
                                > planetary and elemental associations, as I am lacking the sources
                                you
                                > mention?
                                >
                                > Jake
                                >

                                Here is what is what Damascius has to say on this, in the second
                                commentary, which has more discussion of this passage in the Phaedo
                                thatn the first, giving the "commentator's" (= Proclus') view first:

                                Ocean = water
                                Cocytus/Stygius = earth
                                Pyriphlegethon = fire
                                Acheron = air

                                He then expands on the identifications thus:

                                "This is the commentator's opinion, but the postiion of the rivers
                                does not accord with it: the first and highest is Oceanus, under it
                                is the Acheron, under it again the Pyriphlegethon, under which the
                                Cocytus; besides they are all called rivers, whereas the elements
                                have different qualities. Therefore it is better to explain them as
                                destinations and abodes of souls belonging to four different ranks
                                and, beyond this, as divine characteristics: the power of
                                delimitation is symbolized by the Oceanus, that of purification by
                                the Acheron, that of chastistment through heat by Pyriphlegethon,
                                that of chastistment of cold by the Cocytus." (pp.362-64 of
                                Westerink's edition, his translation)

                                Dennis Clark
                              • Jake Stratton-Kent
                                thanks for that, certainly seem to be some variety of interpretation. ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                Message 15 of 25 , Dec 11, 2008
                                  thanks for that, certainly seem to be some variety of interpretation.


                                  On 10/12/2008, vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>,
                                  > "Jake Stratton-Kent"
                                  > <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > > 2008/12/6 S.R.P. Gertz <srpg2@...>:
                                  > > > Dear John,
                                  > > >
                                  > > > you might be interested in Numenius' attempt to place the rivers
                                  > of
                                  > > > Tartarus in the planetary spheres, after Proclus,
                                  > >
                                  > > . Damascius,
                                  > > > interestingly, considers the view of Proclus, according to which
                                  > the rivers
                                  > > > are symbolic of the elements,
                                  > >
                                  > > This is a very interesting thread, could you possibly list these
                                  > > planetary and elemental associations, as I am lacking the sources
                                  > you
                                  > > mention?
                                  > >
                                  > > Jake
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  > Here is what is what Damascius has to say on this, in the second
                                  > commentary, which has more discussion of this passage in the Phaedo
                                  > thatn the first, giving the "commentator's" (= Proclus') view first:
                                  >
                                  > Ocean = water
                                  > Cocytus/Stygius = earth
                                  > Pyriphlegethon = fire
                                  > Acheron = air
                                  >
                                  > He then expands on the identifications thus:
                                  >
                                  > "This is the commentator's opinion, but the postiion of the rivers
                                  > does not accord with it: the first and highest is Oceanus, under it
                                  > is the Acheron, under it again the Pyriphlegethon, under which the
                                  > Cocytus; besides they are all called rivers, whereas the elements
                                  > have different qualities. Therefore it is better to explain them as
                                  > destinations and abodes of souls belonging to four different ranks
                                  > and, beyond this, as divine characteristics: the power of
                                  > delimitation is symbolized by the Oceanus, that of purification by
                                  > the Acheron, that of chastistment through heat by Pyriphlegethon,
                                  > that of chastistment of cold by the Cocytus." (pp.362-64 of
                                  > Westerink's edition, his translation)
                                  >
                                  > Dennis Clark
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • John Uebersax
                                  Per the discussion, this looks interesting: Avraham {sic} Ibn Ezra s {1092 - 1167} commentary (in M. Friedlander s _Essays on the Writings of Abraham
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Dec 13, 2008
                                    Per the discussion, this looks interesting:



                                    <quote>

                                    Avraham {sic} Ibn Ezra's {1092 - 1167} commentary (in M. Friedlander's
                                    _Essays on the Writings of Abraham Ibn Ezra_, 40) reads as follows:
                                    "And now I will reveal to you by allusion the secret of the gardens and
                                    the rivers {of Genesis 2:10 ff.} ... And I have not found this matter
                                    discussed by any of the sages except R. Solomon Ibn Gabirol, who was a
                                    great sage and saw into matters of the soul's mystery.... And the
                                    'river' -- is like a mother (which is to say, the universal natural
                                    common matter) to all bodies; and the 'four heads' [fonts] -- are the
                                    roots -- [the elements of fire, wind, water, dust]." In the standard
                                    editions of his commentary Ibn Ezra writes: "And he who understands
                                    this mystery will understand how the river diverges."

                                    </quote>

                                    Comments in {} are mine, those in [] are Cole's (or perhaps Friedlander's).



                                    From:



                                    Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol

                                    Peter Cole, tr.

                                    Princeton 2001

                                    p. 298 (Notes to pp. 151-152)

                                    ISBN 0691070326, 9780691070322

                                    http://books.google.com/books?id=r45AiSz85pMC



                                    John Uebersax

                                    --- On Wed, 12/10/08, vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
                                    From: vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...>
                                    Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Rivers of Tartarus
                                    To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                    Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2008, 2:23 PM




                                    Here is what is what Damascius has to say on this, in the second

                                    commentary, which has more discussion of this passage in the Phaedo

                                    thatn the first, giving the "commentator' s" (= Proclus') view first:



                                    Ocean = water

                                    Cocytus/Stygius = earth

                                    Pyriphlegethon = fire

                                    Acheron = air



                                    He then expands on the identifications thus:



                                    "This is the commentator' s opinion, but the postiion of the rivers

                                    does not accord with it: the first and highest is Oceanus, under it

                                    is the Acheron, under it again the Pyriphlegethon, under which the

                                    Cocytus; besides they are all called rivers, whereas the elements

                                    have different qualities. Therefore it is better to explain them as

                                    destinations and abodes of souls belonging to four different ranks

                                    and, beyond this, as divine characteristics: the power of

                                    delimitation is symbolized by the Oceanus, that of purification by

                                    the Acheron, that of chastistment through heat by Pyriphlegethon,

                                    that of chastistment of cold by the Cocytus." (pp.362-64 of

                                    Westerink's edition, his translation)



                                    Dennis Clark





















                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • vaeringjar
                                    ... I was curious to see if Proclus had anything to say on this subject in his commentary on the Timaeus, and sure enough he refers to the four rivers as
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Dec 13, 2008
                                      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Jake Stratton-Kent"
                                      <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > thanks for that, certainly seem to be some variety of interpretation.
                                      >
                                      >

                                      I was curious to see if Proclus had anything to say on this subject in
                                      his commentary on the Timaeus, and sure enough he refers to the four
                                      rivers as associated with the four elements, without giving the direct
                                      identifications, at in Tim. II.49. Festugiere's note ad loc (vol.iii
                                      p.79) refers to Olympiodorus' commentary on the Phaedo, especially
                                      Norvin 202.12, where he actually gives the same detailed identification
                                      as Proclus apud Damascium, which I had missed when I looked at the
                                      Olympiodorus, but also claims the whole idea is Orphic (=
                                      Orph.fr.123K).

                                      And why not?...:)

                                      Dennis Clark
                                    • Tzvi Langermann
                                      Just to remind us all that the poet Ibn Gabirol, cited by Ibn Ezra, is also the philosopher Avicebron, whose Fons Viate was a key text for Latin neoplatonism.
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Dec 13, 2008
                                        Just to remind us all that the poet Ibn Gabirol, cited by Ibn Ezra, is also
                                        the philosopher Avicebron, whose Fons Viate was a key text for Latin
                                        neoplatonism. Ibn Ezra's juicy tidbits are all we have of whatever
                                        allegorical commentary on the Bible (if that's what it was) that Ibn Gabirol
                                        wrote.

                                        Y. Tzvi Langermann
                                        Department of Arabic
                                        Bar Ilan University
                                        ----- Original Message -----
                                        From: "John Uebersax" <john.uebersax@...>
                                        To: <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
                                        Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2008 8:01 PM
                                        Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Rivers of Tartarus


                                        >
                                        > Per the discussion, this looks interesting:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > <quote>
                                        >
                                        > Avraham {sic} Ibn Ezra's {1092 - 1167} commentary (in M. Friedlander's
                                        > _Essays on the Writings of Abraham Ibn Ezra_, 40) reads as follows:
                                        > "And now I will reveal to you by allusion the secret of the gardens and
                                        > the rivers {of Genesis 2:10 ff.} ... And I have not found this matter
                                        > discussed by any of the sages except R. Solomon Ibn Gabirol, who was a
                                        > great sage and saw into matters of the soul's mystery.... And the
                                        > 'river' -- is like a mother (which is to say, the universal natural
                                        > common matter) to all bodies; and the 'four heads' [fonts] -- are the
                                        > roots -- [the elements of fire, wind, water, dust]." In the standard
                                        > editions of his commentary Ibn Ezra writes: "And he who understands
                                        > this mystery will understand how the river diverges."
                                        >
                                        > </quote>
                                        >
                                        > Comments in {} are mine, those in [] are Cole's (or perhaps
                                        > Friedlander's).
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > From:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol
                                        >
                                        > Peter Cole, tr.
                                        >
                                        > Princeton 2001
                                        >
                                        > p. 298 (Notes to pp. 151-152)
                                        >
                                        > ISBN 0691070326, 9780691070322
                                        >
                                        > http://books.google.com/books?id=r45AiSz85pMC
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > John Uebersax
                                        >
                                        > --- On Wed, 12/10/08, vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
                                        > From: vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...>
                                        > Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Rivers of Tartarus
                                        > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                        > Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2008, 2:23 PM
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Here is what is what Damascius has to say on this, in the second
                                        >
                                        > commentary, which has more discussion of this passage in the Phaedo
                                        >
                                        > thatn the first, giving the "commentator' s" (= Proclus') view first:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Ocean = water
                                        >
                                        > Cocytus/Stygius = earth
                                        >
                                        > Pyriphlegethon = fire
                                        >
                                        > Acheron = air
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > He then expands on the identifications thus:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > "This is the commentator' s opinion, but the postiion of the rivers
                                        >
                                        > does not accord with it: the first and highest is Oceanus, under it
                                        >
                                        > is the Acheron, under it again the Pyriphlegethon, under which the
                                        >
                                        > Cocytus; besides they are all called rivers, whereas the elements
                                        >
                                        > have different qualities. Therefore it is better to explain them as
                                        >
                                        > destinations and abodes of souls belonging to four different ranks
                                        >
                                        > and, beyond this, as divine characteristics: the power of
                                        >
                                        > delimitation is symbolized by the Oceanus, that of purification by
                                        >
                                        > the Acheron, that of chastistment through heat by Pyriphlegethon,
                                        >
                                        > that of chastistment of cold by the Cocytus." (pp.362-64 of
                                        >
                                        > Westerink's edition, his translation)
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Dennis Clark
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > ------------------------------------
                                        >
                                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >


                                        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



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                                        18:59
                                      • Harold Tarrant
                                        Dear All, We have to be a bit careful in re-using citations of Olympiodorus On the Phaedo, as most of what was in Norvin is now regarded as Damascius.
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Dec 14, 2008
                                          Dear All,

                                          We have to be a bit careful in re-using citations of Olympiodorus On the Phaedo, as most of what was in Norvin is now regarded as Damascius. Westerink's Greek Commentaries on Plato's Phaedo will help here. The Olympiodorus commentary is quite limited and does not cover the myth, and I think all the key terms/names are absent from W's Olymopiodorus index. So we are dealing with only Proclus and Damascius really. Damascius is an important source for Orphism, even early Orphism, and what I said early in this discussion about the Derveni Papyrus shows that some rivers at least were being treated as symbols for the physical elements among Orphic sympathizers by Plato's time. The Derveni author probably had no occasion to refer to the four rivers of the Underworld in his exegesis of his Orphic Zeus-text, but gives a pretty good idea about how others like him might have interpreted them. Perhaps in Numenius fr. 36 (only from Porphyry a century after) we find an indication that he too had some real insight into something in common between Orphic interpreters of the Classical period and Plato's myths. However, that is probably no excuse for taking too much of what Plato is doing as recasting Orphic beliefs. Still, he does seem to have been influenced by some 'Orphic' ideas of myth-like communication: if, that is, we should view the Derveni author more as an Orphic interpreter than as a Neo-Anaxagorean interpreter. The exact story of what is going on here is very difficult to fathom, which I guess if why some Platonists shun Orphism as if it were Tartarus!

                                          Good luck, and a happy festive season to my fellow white-water rafters,

                                          Harold

                                          Prof. Harold Tarrant,
                                          School of Humanities and Social Science,
                                          University of Newcastle,
                                          NSW 2308 Australia
                                          Ph: (+61) 2 49215230
                                          Fax: (+61) 2 49216933
                                          *Eu Prattein*

                                          >>> vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...> 14/12/2008 9:02 am >>>
                                          --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Jake Stratton-Kent"
                                          <jakestrattonkent@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > thanks for that, certainly seem to be some variety of interpretation.
                                          >
                                          >

                                          I was curious to see if Proclus had anything to say on this subject in
                                          his commentary on the Timaeus, and sure enough he refers to the four
                                          rivers as associated with the four elements, without giving the direct
                                          identifications, at in Tim. II.49. Festugiere's note ad loc (vol.iii
                                          p.79) refers to Olympiodorus' commentary on the Phaedo, especially
                                          Norvin 202.12, where he actually gives the same detailed identification
                                          as Proclus apud Damascium, which I had missed when I looked at the
                                          Olympiodorus, but also claims the whole idea is Orphic (=
                                          Orph.fr.123K).

                                          And why not?...:)

                                          Dennis Clark
                                        • vaeringjar
                                          ... On the Phaedo, as most of what was in Norvin is now regarded as Damascius. Westerink s Greek Commentaries on Plato s Phaedo will help here. The
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Dec 15, 2008
                                            --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Harold Tarrant
                                            <Harold.Tarrant@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Dear All,
                                            >
                                            > We have to be a bit careful in re-using citations of Olympiodorus
                                            On the Phaedo, as most of what was in Norvin is now regarded as
                                            Damascius. Westerink's Greek Commentaries on Plato's Phaedo will help
                                            here. The Olympiodorus commentary is quite limited and does not cover
                                            the myth, and I think all the key terms/names are absent from W's
                                            Olymopiodorus index. So we are dealing with only Proclus and
                                            Damascius really. Damascius is an important source for Orphism, even
                                            early Orphism, and what I said early in this discussion about the
                                            Derveni Papyrus shows that some rivers at least were being treated as
                                            symbols for the physical elements among Orphic sympathizers by
                                            Plato's time. The Derveni author probably had no occasion to refer to
                                            the four rivers of the Underworld in his exegesis of his Orphic Zeus-
                                            text, but gives a pretty good idea about how others like him might
                                            have interpreted them. Perhaps in Numenius fr. 36 (only from Porphyry
                                            a century after) we find an indication that he too had some real
                                            insight into something in common between Orphic interpreters of the
                                            Classical period and Plato's myths. However, that is probably no
                                            excuse for taking too much of what Plato is doing as recasting Orphic
                                            beliefs. Still, he does seem to have been influenced by some 'Orphic'
                                            ideas of myth-like communication: if, that is, we should view the
                                            Derveni author more as an Orphic interpreter than as a Neo-
                                            Anaxagorean interpreter. The exact story of what is going on here is
                                            very difficult to fathom, which I guess if why some Platonists shun
                                            Orphism as if it were Tartarus!
                                            >
                                            > Good luck, and a happy festive season to my fellow white-water
                                            rafters,
                                            >
                                            > Harold
                                            >
                                            > Prof. Harold Tarrant,
                                            > School of Humanities and Social Science,
                                            > University of Newcastle,
                                            > NSW 2308 Australia
                                            > Ph: (+61) 2 49215230
                                            > Fax: (+61) 2 49216933
                                            > *Eu Prattein*
                                            >

                                            I am sorry about that - I was in a bit of a hurry when I posted that
                                            last and took Festugiere's note without cross-checking in Westerink,
                                            which I guess hadn't been published when Festugiere did his Timaeus
                                            translation (?), hence his reference only to Norvin and so didn't
                                            realize it was really in one of Damascius' set of lectures and not
                                            Olympiodorus'. Looks like I slipped into the Tartarus hole a bit
                                            there, probably looking for some warmth up here in the Frozen
                                            Northwest!

                                            Dennis Clark
                                          • John Uebersax
                                            The recent discussion on rivers reminds me of another topic: the multi-candle Advent wreath and the menorah. While this association might seem idiosyncratic,
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Dec 15, 2008
                                              The recent discussion on rivers reminds me of another topic: the multi-candle Advent wreath and the menorah. While this association might seem idiosyncratic, at least it fits the season. So, for your possible amusement...

                                              We first posit that a custom which enjoys wide popularity and/or long history must derive its appeal from some important symbolic meaning. Thus, while restraint is appropriate, we should not avoid completely speculation as to meanings.

                                              Recall that the Advent wreath has four candles arranged in a square, and a larger central one. The vertex candles are lit one per week; and on Christmas the center candle (sometimes called the Christ candle) is lit.

                                              Now if we have four rivers of Eden, which Philo and others see as symbolic of elemental virtues of the soul, may we not see in the four candles something similar?

                                              Or consider the seven candle Temple menorah (something, one might add, potentially brought from Egypt). It doesn't seem too remote to see something "planetary" or Neopythagorean in the seven candles; indeed, one might be surprised if a Pythagorizing Jew some time has not made the connection. That is, the seven candles of the menorah could potentially symbolize seven planetary 'gods' and corresponding elements/forces of the human psyche. (Okay, I'm glossing over the fact that Hanukkah menorah has nine candles.)

                                              And, as we saw with the Rivers of Tartarus, perhaps the seven planets can map to four, thus corresponding to the Advent wreath candles.

                                              The purpose of Advent is to prepare for the arrival of Christ -- customarily understood in this context as a special kind of consciousness, awareness, spirit, or something of the kind. It's arrival coincides with the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas. But for this to happen, four lesser candles (lesser forms of consciousness? forces?) must first be lit. The luminescence of the fifth might even imply a synergy of by the other four -- something like a Platonic or Pythagorean harmony of the soul.

                                              I've searched the Advent liturgical readings for a pattern suggestive of what the four candles might mean, but not with great success. Tentative suggested themes might be (1) vigilance, attentiveness, or watchfulness, (2) purification, (3) discernment or wisdom, and (4) hope. Not exactly planetary -- perhaps the four cardinal virtues might fit better here.

                                              I should add that the Advent wreath is a relatively modern innovation, so the speculation rests on some notion of unconscious intuition guiding the precise form of the custom.

                                              John Uebersax PhD
                                              Brussels
                                            • Sebastian Moro
                                              Dear John,   Philo and Clement of Alexandria’s interpretated the Jewish candelabrum associating the six branches with three planets (including the moon) on
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Dec 15, 2008
                                                Dear John,

                                                Philo and Clement of Alexandria�s interpretated the Jewish candelabrum associating the six branches with three planets (including the moon) on each side and the Sun in the centre; and both authors link it with a cosmic lyre of seven strings and consider the Sun as the centre of this divine harmony. You can see Martine Dulaey, �Le Chandelier � Sept Branches dans le Christianisme Ancien�, Revue des Etudes Augustiniennes, 1983, Vol. XXIX�, N� 1-2, p. 3-26, for references.
                                                The Christmas�tree adorned with lights can also be a symbol of the planets with a transcendent Sun on top.�I think Julian mentions a tree in his Hymn to Helios but I do not remember exactly in which context.
                                                Best regards and Happy Holidays,
                                                Sebastian Moro




                                                --- On Mon, 12/15/08, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:

                                                From: John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...>
                                                Subject: [neoplatonism] Seasonal speculation: Pythagoras, menorah, advent wreath ....
                                                To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                                Date: Monday, December 15, 2008, 9:20 PM






                                                The recent discussion on rivers reminds me of another topic: the multi-candle Advent wreath and the menorah. While this association might seem idiosyncratic, at least it fits the season. So, for your possible amusement...

                                                We first posit that a custom which enjoys wide popularity and/or long history must derive its appeal from some important symbolic meaning. Thus, while restraint is appropriate, we should not avoid completely speculation as to meanings.

                                                Recall that the Advent wreath has four candles arranged in a square, and a larger central one. The vertex candles are lit one per week; and on Christmas the center candle (sometimes called the Christ candle) is lit.

                                                Now if we have four rivers of Eden, which Philo and others see as symbolic of elemental virtues of the soul, may we not see in the four candles something similar?

                                                Or consider the seven candle Temple menorah (something, one might add, potentially brought from Egypt). It doesn't seem too remote to see something "planetary" or Neopythagorean in the seven candles; indeed, one might be surprised if a Pythagorizing Jew some time has not made the connection. That is, the seven candles of the menorah could potentially symbolize seven planetary 'gods' and corresponding elements/forces of the human psyche. (Okay, I'm glossing over the fact that Hanukkah menorah has nine candles.)

                                                And, as we saw with the Rivers of Tartarus, perhaps the seven planets can map to four, thus corresponding to the Advent wreath candles.

                                                The purpose of Advent is to prepare for the arrival of Christ -- customarily understood in this context as a special kind of consciousness, awareness, spirit, or something of the kind. It's arrival coincides with the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas. But for this to happen, four lesser candles (lesser forms of consciousness? forces?) must first be lit. The luminescence of the fifth might even imply a synergy of by the other four -- something like a Platonic or Pythagorean harmony of the soul.

                                                I've searched the Advent liturgical readings for a pattern suggestive of what the four candles might mean, but not with great success. Tentative suggested themes might be (1) vigilance, attentiveness, or watchfulness, (2) purification, (3) discernment or wisdom, and (4) hope. Not exactly planetary -- perhaps the four cardinal virtues might fit better here.

                                                I should add that the Advent wreath is a relatively modern innovation, so the speculation rests on some notion of unconscious intuition guiding the precise form of the custom.

                                                John Uebersax PhD
                                                Brussels


















                                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              • Thomas Mether
                                                Pardon, but this is not the oldest Advent wreath/candle. The Byzantine approach to Christmas (Feast of the Nativity) is 40 days (starts in November) and has 8
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Dec 15, 2008
                                                  Pardon, but this is not the oldest Advent wreath/candle. The Byzantine approach to Christmas (Feast of the Nativity) is 40 days (starts in November) and has 8 candles,
                                                  seven on the outer perimeter and one in the center. This Byzantine pattern is found in
                                                  the western lands (like the Celts) before the Roman church got there. So, connections
                                                  with more ancient traditions has to begin there and go back.
                                                   
                                                  Thomas Mether

                                                  --- On Mon, 12/15/08, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:

                                                  From: John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...>
                                                  Subject: [neoplatonism] Seasonal speculation: Pythagoras, menorah, advent wreath ....
                                                  To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                                  Date: Monday, December 15, 2008, 3:20 PM






                                                  The recent discussion on rivers reminds me of another topic: the multi-candle Advent wreath and the menorah. While this association might seem idiosyncratic, at least it fits the season. So, for your possible amusement...

                                                  We first posit that a custom which enjoys wide popularity and/or long history must derive its appeal from some important symbolic meaning. Thus, while restraint is appropriate, we should not avoid completely speculation as to meanings.

                                                  Recall that the Advent wreath has four candles arranged in a square, and a larger central one. The vertex candles are lit one per week; and on Christmas the center candle (sometimes called the Christ candle) is lit.

                                                  Now if we have four rivers of Eden, which Philo and others see as symbolic of elemental virtues of the soul, may we not see in the four candles something similar?

                                                  Or consider the seven candle Temple menorah (something, one might add, potentially brought from Egypt). It doesn't seem too remote to see something "planetary" or Neopythagorean in the seven candles; indeed, one might be surprised if a Pythagorizing Jew some time has not made the connection. That is, the seven candles of the menorah could potentially symbolize seven planetary 'gods' and corresponding elements/forces of the human psyche. (Okay, I'm glossing over the fact that Hanukkah menorah has nine candles.)

                                                  And, as we saw with the Rivers of Tartarus, perhaps the seven planets can map to four, thus corresponding to the Advent wreath candles.

                                                  The purpose of Advent is to prepare for the arrival of Christ -- customarily understood in this context as a special kind of consciousness, awareness, spirit, or something of the kind. It's arrival coincides with the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas. But for this to happen, four lesser candles (lesser forms of consciousness? forces?) must first be lit. The luminescence of the fifth might even imply a synergy of by the other four -- something like a Platonic or Pythagorean harmony of the soul.

                                                  I've searched the Advent liturgical readings for a pattern suggestive of what the four candles might mean, but not with great success. Tentative suggested themes might be (1) vigilance, attentiveness, or watchfulness, (2) purification, (3) discernment or wisdom, and (4) hope. Not exactly planetary -- perhaps the four cardinal virtues might fit better here.

                                                  I should add that the Advent wreath is a relatively modern innovation, so the speculation rests on some notion of unconscious intuition guiding the precise form of the custom.

                                                  John Uebersax PhD
                                                  Brussels


















                                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                • John Uebersax
                                                  ... Thanks! The article is found online here: http://documents.irevues.inist.fr/bitstream/2042/1147/1/83_XXIX_1_2_01.pdf John Uebersax
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , Dec 15, 2008
                                                    Sebastian Moro wrote:

                                                    > Martine Dulaey, “Le Chandelier à Sept Branches dans le Christianisme
                                                    > Ancien”, Revue des Etudes Augustiniennes, 1983, Vol. XXIX ,
                                                    > N° 1-2, p. 3-26,

                                                    Thanks! The article is found online here:

                                                    http://documents.irevues.inist.fr/bitstream/2042/1147/1/83_XXIX_1_2_01.pdf

                                                    John Uebersax
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