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Re: [neoplatonism] Help with Damascius

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  • James Atkins Pritchard
    It s just a few pages, but you may find the discussion of Damascius in this article to be of interest: www.swgc.mun.ca/animus/Articles/Volume%204/doull4.pdf
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 3 1:24 AM
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      It's just a few pages, but you may find the discussion of Damascius in this
      article to be of interest:

      www.swgc.mun.ca/animus/Articles/Volume%204/doull4.pdf

      You want to look for Page 20 in the PDF pagination, which is Page 97 in the
      Animus volume from which this comes.

      www.swgc.mun.ca/animus/vol4.html

      www.swgc.mun.ca/animus/

      I hope this is helpful,

      Jim

      2009/3/26 vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...>

      > Looking for a little guidance here, if possible. I would like to get a
      > better understanding of Damascius' own philosophy - as opposed to the sort
      > of trolling through his various works I have done here and there looking for
      > citations of Iamblichus' doctrine, etc. He doesn't really seem to have
      > gotten any monograph devoted strictly to him, such as Siorvanes' book on
      > Proclus, so it's not clear to me where best to start, and all the standard
      > histories of Neoplatonism like Wallis don't really do too much on him
      > either. Or anyone else past Proclus, to be honest, unless I have missed the
      > mark here.
      >
      > I have all the modern editions of his extant works (and Ruelle, who is
      > still most useful, for his index if nothing much else!), plus Galperine's
      > translation of de Prin., and I do have Sara Rappe's book, but I was hoping
      > to start with something a little more summary than just plowing into de
      > Prin. or some such. I did find this bibliography online which lists mostly
      > articles on specific subjects, some of which I have read:
      >
      > http://www.hiw.kuleuven.be/dwmc/plato/damascius/dambiblio.htm#www
      >
      > Perhaps some of those by Combes might be good (?), and I did note elsewhere
      > there is a fairly long article in the Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques
      > by Philippe Hoffmann. The bibliography doesn't list one however in Pauly -
      > but there must be one - ? At this point I am looking primarily for a study
      > of his philosophy, not juicy bits from the Life of Isidore, or more
      > biographical studies such as those dealing with the trip to Persia.
      >
      > Any suggestions most appreciated.
      >
      > Dennis Clark
      >
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John Dillon
      ... That is indeed a salutary reminder, Tim, as to how things were, in all probability, in the Academy ‹ all very oral, and not too rushed! Your treatment of
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 3 4:32 AM
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        >
        >
        >
        > Dennis wrote:
        >
        > *** I fear with Damascius as with most the later Neoplatonists, well,
        > Plotinus too perhaps, that he is mostly writing either for himself or
        > for the cognoscenti. By that I mean specifically that Proclus, for
        > instance, even in a work like the Elements of Theology which appears to
        > be intended an comprehensive exposition of his principles will "get
        > ahead of himself" - use a term before he has explained it. So someone
        > like me, attempting to get a grasp of this or that feature of his
        > philosophy, will naturally search in his writings for the prime
        > definition of said feature, as a starting point for understanding. Let's
        > take as an example of this situation - and a good one - the Henad. As I
        > recall he uses the term in one proposition or maybe even more than once
        > before he comes to the set of propositions that are focused on the
        > divine henads. *****
        >
        > Dennis, have you considered the possibility that the difficulty we have
        > with the late Platonists is not that they were always writing for the
        > cognoscenti, but they were writing for a different approach to
        > learning? Its difficult for us - living as we do in an age used to
        > printed books, and at the beginning of the internet revolution - to put
        > ourselves back in the times when the written word was a smaller part of
        > a student's intellectual development. When one doesn't have a great
        > deal of food the advice is to chew slowly and savour what you have.
        > Likewise, I think, with intellectual food.
        >
        > I help run a small education program with the Prometheus Trust, and one
        > of the interesting and productive exercises we suggest to our students
        > is to read the propositions of Proclus' Theological Elements one by one,
        > slowly. That is to say, to read one every morning, to be followed by a
        > few minutes intesive thought (in other words mediation); then to allow
        > the mind to return to it over the day, concluding the whole day with a
        > conscious survey of what has emerged. The rule is never to read on from
        > the one the student is considering to later propositions until its turn
        > has arrived. The whole thing, as you will recognise, takes seven months
        > - and the intellectual understanding born from such a gestation is not
        > the same as would be born from our modern approach to reading.
        >
        > I would claim that in the first six days of this method, the student's
        > understanding of Henads becomes sufficient for what Proclus thinks we
        > need to know about them to allow at least a few tentative steps along
        > the metaphysical path.
        >
        > Try it, at let me know what you find in November!
        >
        > Tim
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >

        That is indeed a salutary reminder, Tim, as to how things were, in all
        probability, in the Academy ‹ all very oral, and not too rushed! Your
        treatment of the Elements is a fine initiative by the Prometheus Trust. John


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • vaeringjar
        ... Yes, thanks indeed, I will take a look at that one as well. There are a number of articles there worth reading, and I didn t know that journal was online.
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 3 3:41 PM
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          --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, James Atkins Pritchard <jamesatkinspritchard@...> wrote:
          >
          > It's just a few pages, but you may find the discussion of Damascius in this
          > article to be of interest:
          >
          > www.swgc.mun.ca/animus/Articles/Volume%204/doull4.pdf
          >
          > You want to look for Page 20 in the PDF pagination, which is Page 97 in the
          > Animus volume from which this comes.
          >
          > www.swgc.mun.ca/animus/vol4.html
          >
          > www.swgc.mun.ca/animus/
          >
          > I hope this is helpful,
          >
          > Jim

          Yes, thanks indeed, I will take a look at that one as well. There are a number of articles there worth reading, and I didn't know that journal was online. Much obliged,

          Dennis Clark
        • vaeringjar
          ... What a fascinating aporia Damascius has left us that you treat in that first article, whether there can even be a first principle or arche at all?!? Of
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 3 3:48 PM
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            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            > Dennis ­ kind of you to mention that. Might I also commend to you, with all
            > due modesty, two articles of mine on Damascius, though they deal with just
            > aspects of the De Principiis, ŒDamascius on the Ineffable¹ and ŒSome Aspects
            > of Damascius¹ Treatment of the Concept of Dynamis¹ (both in The Great
            > Tradition, if you have that.) A good comprehensive study of Damascius is
            > still a desideratum, I think. John
            >
            >


            What a fascinating aporia Damascius has left us that you treat in that first article, whether there can even be a first principle or arche at all?!? Of course why shouldn't this be questioned?

            Damascius is already proving to be definitely his own man and I do like his aporetic approach. Very different from Proclus and his often oracular pronouncements, doctrine all neatly established and all neatly tacked down. One does wonder what these fellows were really like - and then maybe it's best we can't meet them in some cases, face to face...

            Dennis Clark
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