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  • Goya
    Friends, For those who are short on reading material over the holidays, I have put some of my articles on line at www.academia.edu
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 28, 2009
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      Friends,

      For those who are short on reading material over the holidays, I have put
      some of my articles on line at www.academia.edu
      (http://cnrs.academia.edu/MichaelChase), including the one on Porphyry as
      Commentator which will appear in the Dictionnaire des Philosophes
      Antiques. I plan to put up more stuff in the near future.

      Wishing all the best for the New Year,

      Mike


      Michael Chase
      CNRS UPR 76
      Paris-Villejuif
      France
    • vaeringjar
      ... Thanks for making these available, especially the Porphyry as commentator article - a great resource overall, still going through it, and nice to have the
      Message 2 of 15 , Dec 28, 2009
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        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
        >
        > Friends,
        >
        > For those who are short on reading material over the holidays, I have put
        > some of my articles on line at www.academia.edu
        > (http://cnrs.academia.edu/MichaelChase), including the one on Porphyry as
        > Commentator which will appear in the Dictionnaire des Philosophes
        > Antiques. I plan to put up more stuff in the near future.
        >
        > Wishing all the best for the New Year,
        >
        > Mike
        >
        >
        > Michael Chase
        > CNRS UPR 76
        > Paris-Villejuif
        > France
        >

        Thanks for making these available, especially the Porphyry as commentator article - a great resource overall, still going through it, and nice to have the summary you give of the fragments of the Parm. Comm. I don't know how I missed this little gem when reading them previously, from the first fragment:

        "Ce principe ne peut être intelligé que « dans une compréhension non
        compréhensive et une conception qui ne conçoit rien » (ἐν ἀκαταλήπτῳ
        καταλήψει καὶ μηδὲν ἐννοούσῃ νοήσει, <Porphyre>, in Parm, II 16-17)."

        Dennis Clark
      • vaeringjar
        ... Ooops, not sure why I thought the Greek font would come through, hence the peculiar looking numbers above - here s a transliteration for everyone - en
        Message 3 of 15 , Dec 28, 2009
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          --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Friends,
          > >
          > > For those who are short on reading material over the holidays, I have put
          > > some of my articles on line at www.academia.edu
          > > (http://cnrs.academia.edu/MichaelChase), including the one on Porphyry as
          > > Commentator which will appear in the Dictionnaire des Philosophes
          > > Antiques. I plan to put up more stuff in the near future.
          > >
          > > Wishing all the best for the New Year,
          > >
          > > Mike
          > >
          > >
          > > Michael Chase
          > > CNRS UPR 76
          > > Paris-Villejuif
          > > France
          > >
          >
          > Thanks for making these available, especially the Porphyry as commentator article - a great resource overall, still going through it, and nice to have the summary you give of the fragments of the Parm. Comm. I don't know how I missed this little gem when reading them previously, from the first fragment:
          >
          > "Ce principe ne peut être intelligé que « dans une compréhension non
          > compréhensive et une conception qui ne conçoit rien » (ἐν ἀκαταλήπτῳ
          > καταλήψει καὶ μηδὲν ἐννοούσῃ νοήσει, <Porphyre>, in Parm, II 16-17)."
          >
          > Dennis Clark
          >

          Ooops, not sure why I thought the Greek font would come through, hence the peculiar looking numbers above - here's a transliteration for everyone - "en akataleptoi katalepsei kai meden ennousei noesei."

          Dennis Clark
        • nzeus@lemuriahost.com
          Dear Michael, Thanks for the articles, I was working on the anon. commentary on the Parmenides on these days so your resume on it will be useful. But a
          Message 4 of 15 , Dec 29, 2009
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            Dear Michael,

            Thanks for the articles, I was working on the anon. commentary on the
            Parmenides on these days so your resume on it will be useful.

            But a question: After reading the thesis of Bechtle, and the work of
            Corrigan (in "Gnosticism and Later Platonism") regarding the pre-plotinian
            origin of the commentary, I though that the question regarding the porphyry
            authenticity was nearly closed (as with the Derveni Papyrus, best thing
            possible is to do an epokhè on who the author is), and also the attested
            middle-platonic origin. Is there any new paper or evidence I've not taken
            in account?

            Thanks!
            Happy new year for all the platonists!

            On Tue, 29 Dec 2009 00:47:44 -0000, "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...>
            wrote:
            >
            >
            > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
            >>
            >> Friends,
            >>
            >> For those who are short on reading material over the holidays, I have
            > put
            >> some of my articles on line at www.academia.edu
            >> (http://cnrs.academia.edu/MichaelChase), including the one on Porphyry
            > as
            >> Commentator which will appear in the Dictionnaire des Philosophes
            >> Antiques. I plan to put up more stuff in the near future.
            >>
            >> Wishing all the best for the New Year,
            >>
            >> Mike
            >>
            >>
            >> Michael Chase
            >> CNRS UPR 76
            >> Paris-Villejuif
            >> France
            >>
            >
            > Thanks for making these available, especially the Porphyry as commentator
            > article - a great resource overall, still going through it, and nice to
            > have the summary you give of the fragments of the Parm. Comm. I don't
            know
            > how I missed this little gem when reading them previously, from the first
            > fragment:
            >
            > "Ce principe ne peut être intelligé que « dans une compréhension non
            > compréhensive et une conception qui ne conçoit rien » (ἐν
            > ἀκαταλήπτῳ
            > καταλήψει καὶ
            > μηδὲν
            > ἐννοούσῃ
            > νοήσει, <Porphyre>, in Parm, II 16-17)."
            >
            > Dennis Clark
          • John Uebersax
            Not an urgent question, but it seemed interesting enough to post in view of the recent thread on Penelope s weaving. Does anyone know of examples of
            Message 5 of 15 , Dec 30, 2009
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              Not an urgent question, but it seemed interesting enough to post in view of the recent thread on Penelope's weaving.

              Does anyone know of examples of Neoplatonist (or, for that matter, Stoic) allegorical interpretation of the 12 Labours of Hercules? 

              Happy New Year to all!

              John Uebersax













              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Goya
              ... M.C. All the evidence I know of is presented in my article, and I believe it shows that the case is not closed : not, at any rate, when scholars of the
              Message 6 of 15 , Dec 30, 2009
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                > Dear Michael,
                >
                > Thanks for the articles, I was working on the anon. commentary on the
                > Parmenides on these days so your resume on it will be useful.
                >
                > But a question: After reading the thesis of Bechtle, and the work of
                > Corrigan (in "Gnosticism and Later Platonism") regarding the pre-plotinian
                > origin of the commentary, I though that the question regarding the
                > porphyry
                > authenticity was nearly closed (as with the Derveni Papyrus, best thing
                > possible is to do an epokhè on who the author is), and also the attested
                > middle-platonic origin. Is there any new paper or evidence I've not taken
                > in account?

                M.C. All the evidence I know of is presented in my article, and I believe
                it shows that the case is not closed : not, at any rate, when scholars of
                the caliber of John Dillon, Carlos Steel, Luc Brisson, Alessandro Linguiti
                and all the others I cite still believe either that Porphyry is probably
                the author, or that it is at least unlikely that the commentary is Middle
                Platonist.

                New evidence ? No, but it is perfectly possible to read the arguments of
                Bechtle, Corrigan et al. and find them unconvincing. This is what happened
                with me, and I am not alone.

                All best, Mike





                >
                > Thanks!
                > Happy new year for all the platonists!
                >
                > On Tue, 29 Dec 2009 00:47:44 -0000, "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...>
                > wrote:
                >>
                >>
                >> --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
                >>>
                >>> Friends,
                >>>
                >>> For those who are short on reading material over the holidays, I have
                >> put
                >>> some of my articles on line at www.academia.edu
                >>> (http://cnrs.academia.edu/MichaelChase), including the one on Porphyry
                >> as
                >>> Commentator which will appear in the Dictionnaire des Philosophes
                >>> Antiques. I plan to put up more stuff in the near future.
                >>>
                >>> Wishing all the best for the New Year,
                >>>
                >>> Mike
                >>>
                >>>
                >>> Michael Chase
                >>> CNRS UPR 76
                >>> Paris-Villejuif
                >>> France
                >>>
                >>
                >> Thanks for making these available, especially the Porphyry as
                >> commentator
                >> article - a great resource overall, still going through it, and nice to
                >> have the summary you give of the fragments of the Parm. Comm. I don't
                > know
                >> how I missed this little gem when reading them previously, from the
                >> first
                >> fragment:
                >>
                >> "Ce principe ne peut être intelligé que « dans une compréhension non
                >> compréhensive et une conception qui ne conçoit rien » (ἐν
                >> ἀκαταλήπτῳ
                >> καταλήψει καὶ
                >> μηδὲν
                >> ἐννοούσῃ
                >> νοήσει, <Porphyre>, in Parm, II 16-17)."
                >>
                >> Dennis Clark
                >
                >


                Michael Chase
                CNRS UPR 76
                Paris-Villejuif
                France
              • vaeringjar
                ... I personally can t think of any from Antiquity, but your question did prompt my memory of the work by the early humanist, Collucio Salutati,
                Message 7 of 15 , Dec 31, 2009
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                  --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Not an urgent question, but it seemed interesting enough to post in view of the recent thread on Penelope's weaving.
                  >
                  > Does anyone know of examples of Neoplatonist (or, for that matter, Stoic) allegorical interpretation of the 12 Labours of Hercules? 
                  >
                  > Happy New Year to all!
                  >
                  > John Uebersax
                  >

                  I personally can't think of any from Antiquity, but your question did prompt my memory of the work by the early humanist, Collucio Salutati, <<De Laboribus Herculis>>. I have never actually read it, though I believe it in part is a defense of poetry. He is late 14th to early 15th century, so not sure there is much prospect of Neoplatonist influence as with the later Ficino et al, though he must have known at least the late Roman material such as in Macrobius and Martianus Capella who were in part influenced. I know him mostly because one of my undergraduate Latin professors studied at North Carolina with Ullman, the main modern editor of Salutati, and I in fact have his edition somewhere at home but can't find it just yet. At any rate, I noticed that the text is online now, not however Ullman's edition:

                  http://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/Chronologia/Lspost14/Salutati/sal_h000.html

                  Perhaps it's worth a look. I took a quick peak at Lamberton's book and saw no mention of Hercules in this context. Plotinus does mention him at some point, I noticed in some online digging, but not I think in relation to the labors.

                  Dennis Clark
                • dgallagher@aol.com
                  In a message dated 12/31/2009 6:35:25 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, ... of the recent thread on Penelope s weaving. ... Stoic) allegorical interpretation of
                  Message 8 of 15 , Dec 31, 2009
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                    In a message dated 12/31/2009 6:35:25 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
                    vaeringjar@... writes:


                    --- In _neoplatonism@neoplatonismneo_ (mailto:neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com)
                    , John Uebersax <john.uebersax@joh> wrote:
                    >
                    > Not an urgent question, but it seemed interesting enough to post in view
                    of the recent thread on Penelope's weaving.
                    >
                    > Does anyone know of examples of Neoplatonist (or, for that matter,
                    Stoic) allegorical interpretation of the 12 Labours of Hercules?
                    >
                    > Happy New Year to all!
                    >
                    > John Uebersax
                    >

                    I personally can't think of any from Antiquity, but your question did
                    prompt my memory of the work by the early humanist, Collucio Salutati, <<De
                    Laboribus Herculis>>. I have never actually read it, though I believe it in
                    part is a defense of poetry. He is late 14th to early 15th century, so not
                    sure there is much prospect of Neoplatonist influence as with the later
                    Ficino et al, though he must have known at least the late Roman material such as
                    in Macrobius and Martianus Capella who were in part influenced. I know him
                    mostly because one of my undergraduate Latin professors studied at North
                    Carolina with Ullman, the main modern editor of Salutati, and I in fact have
                    his edition somewhere at home but can't find it just yet. At any rate, I
                    noticed that the text is online now, not however Ullman's edition:

                    _http://www.hs-http://wwhttp://www.http://www.hhttp://wwhttp://wwhttp://wwht
                    tp_
                    (http://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/Chronologia/Lspost14/Salutati/sal_h000.html)

                    Perhaps it's worth a look. I took a quick peak at Lamberton's book and saw
                    no mention of Hercules in this context. Plotinus does mention him at some
                    point, I noticed in some online digging, but not I think in relation to the
                    labors.

                    Dennis Clark

                    Sole reference in Plotinus, I.1.12 (MacKenna):

                    The poet, too, in the story of Hercules, seems to give this image separate
                    existence; he puts the shade of Hercules in the lower world and Hercules
                    himself
                    among the gods: treating the hero as existing in the two realms at once,
                    he gives
                    us a twofold Hercules.

                    It is not difficult to explain this distinction. Hercules was a hero of
                    practical
                    virtue. By his noble serviceableness he was worthy to be a God. On the
                    other
                    hand, his merit was action and not the Contemplation which would place him
                    unreservedly in the higher realm. Therefore while he has place above,
                    something
                    of him remains below.

                    David


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Goya
                    ... Overall, you could do worse than to consult Alexandre Lenoir, Nouveaux essais sur les hiéroglyphiques, vol. IV, Paris 1821, p. 16ff. For an astrological
                    Message 9 of 15 , Dec 31, 2009
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                      >
                      >
                      > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...>
                      > wrote:
                      >>
                      >> Not an urgent question, but it seemed interesting enough to post in view
                      >> of the recent thread on Penelope's weaving.
                      >>
                      >> Does anyone know of examples of Neoplatonist (or, for that matter,
                      >> Stoic) allegorical interpretation of the 12 Labours of Hercules? 
                      >>
                      >> Happy New Year to all!
                      >>
                      >> John Uebersax

                      Overall, you could do worse than to consult Alexandre Lenoir, Nouveaux
                      essais sur les hiéroglyphiques, vol. IV, Paris 1821, p. 16ff. For an
                      astrological interpretation, see Nonnus, Dionysiaca bk. 40. On the use of
                      Heracles’ labors in the propaganda of Imperial Rome, see J. Rufus Fears,
                      “The theology of victory at Rome”, ANRW II.17.2 (1981), p. 819 ff. On
                      Heracles among the Pythagoreans, see M. Detienne - Héraclès, héros
                      pythagoricien. RHR 1960 CLVIII : 19-53, and in Neoplatonism : Jean Pépin,
                      - Héraclès et son reflet dans le néoplatonisme. Le néoplatonisme :
                      167-192. Finally, the influence of H. on earlier Greek philosophy, notably
                      the Cynics, see Nicole Loraux, « Socrate, Platon, Heracles, sur un
                      pardigme héroÎque du philosophe », in Histoire et structure : à la mémoire
                      de Victor Goldschmidt, Paris 1985, p. 93ff.

                      HTH, and Happy New Year,

                      Mike
                      >>
                      >


                      Michael Chase
                      CNRS UPR 76
                      Paris-Villejuif
                      France
                    • Tim Addey
                      **** John Uebersax wrote: **** Not an urgent question, but it seemed interesting enough to post in view of the recent thread on Penelope s weaving. **** Does
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jan 1, 2010
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                        **** John Uebersax wrote:
                        **** Not an urgent question, but it seemed interesting enough to post in
                        view of the recent thread on Penelope's weaving.
                        **** Does anyone know of examples of Neoplatonist (or, for that matter,
                        Stoic) allegorical interpretation of the 12 Labours of Hercules? ***


                        John

                        I know of no surviving writings from antiquity - and I made a fairly
                        careful search when I attempted such an exercise for myself. The only
                        real reference is from Iamblichus, who mentions the labours in passing
                        in his /Protreptics/ - to quote a Thomas Taylor note to Iamblichus' Life
                        of Pythagoras:

                        /"Do not assist a man in laying a burden down/. This in the Protreptics
                        is the 11th Symbol, and is explained by Iamblichus as follows: "This
                        Symbol exhorts to fortitude; for whoever takes up a burden, signifies
                        that he undertakes an action of labour and energy; but he who lays one
                        down, of rest and remission. So that the Symbol has the following
                        meaning: Do not become either to yourself or another the cause of an
                        indolent and effeminate mode of conduct; for every useful thing is
                        acquired by labour. But the Pythagoreans celebrate this Symbol as
                        Herculean, thus denominating it from the labours of Hercules. For
                        during his association with men, he frequently returned from fire and
                        every thing dreadful, indignantly rejecting indolence. For rectitude of
                        conduct is produced from acting and operating, but not from sluggishness."

                        Tim Addey








                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Tim Addey
                        I ve just remembered another small reference to go with the one below, this one from Olympiodorus, On the Gorgias, 47.6 And this is also why Heracles
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jan 1, 2010
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                          I've just remembered another small reference to go with the one below,
                          this one from Olympiodorus, On the Gorgias, 47.6 "And this is also why
                          Heracles performed his final labour in the western regions - he laboured
                          against the dark and earthly life, and finally he lived in the daytime,
                          i.e. in truth and light." (tr. Jackson, Lycos, Tarrant)

                          Tim


                          Tim Addey wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > **** John Uebersax wrote:
                          > **** Not an urgent question, but it seemed interesting enough to post in
                          > view of the recent thread on Penelope's weaving.
                          > **** Does anyone know of examples of Neoplatonist (or, for that matter,
                          > Stoic) allegorical interpretation of the 12 Labours of Hercules? ***
                          >
                          > John
                          >
                          > I know of no surviving writings from antiquity - and I made a fairly
                          > careful search when I attempted such an exercise for myself. The only
                          > real reference is from Iamblichus, who mentions the labours in passing
                          > in his /Protreptics/ - to quote a Thomas Taylor note to Iamblichus' Life
                          > of Pythagoras:
                          >
                          > /"Do not assist a man in laying a burden down/. This in the Protreptics
                          > is the 11th Symbol, and is explained by Iamblichus as follows: "This
                          > Symbol exhorts to fortitude; for whoever takes up a burden, signifies
                          > that he undertakes an action of labour and energy; but he who lays one
                          > down, of rest and remission. So that the Symbol has the following
                          > meaning: Do not become either to yourself or another the cause of an
                          > indolent and effeminate mode of conduct; for every useful thing is
                          > acquired by labour. But the Pythagoreans celebrate this Symbol as
                          > Herculean, thus denominating it from the labours of Hercules. For
                          > during his association with men, he frequently returned from fire and
                          > every thing dreadful, indignantly rejecting indolence. For rectitude of
                          > conduct is produced from acting and operating, but not from sluggishness."
                          >
                          > Tim Addey
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >
                        • vaeringjar
                          ... I found my copy of Salutati, and skimmed it a bit, and no, there does not appear to be any Neoplatonically influenced content there, though I did notice he
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jan 1, 2010
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                            --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Not an urgent question, but it seemed interesting enough to post in view of the recent thread on Penelope's weaving.
                            >
                            > Does anyone know of examples of Neoplatonist (or, for that matter, Stoic) allegorical interpretation of the 12 Labours of Hercules? 
                            >
                            > Happy New Year to all!
                            >
                            > John Uebersax
                            >

                            I found my copy of Salutati, and skimmed it a bit, and no, there does not appear to be any Neoplatonically influenced content there, though I did notice he quoted Pseudo-Dionysius at least once, in the Latin version of Eriugena. Salutati mostly gathers many relevant - or what he thinks relevant - citations from Ovid, Vergil, Servius on Vergil, Cicero, Augustine, but also medieval writers. I saw one reference to Martianus, but none to Macrobius - then again I don't know there's anything relevant in Macrobius in the first place.

                            I would be especially interested to see what Pepin has to say in the article cited by Michael.

                            Dennis Clark
                          • John Uebersax
                            Dennis, Michael, Tim, David -- many thanks for your replies. They were most helpful and gave even better leads than I d hoped for! ... ‘This is why’, she
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jan 3, 2010
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                              Dennis, Michael, Tim, David -- many thanks for your replies. They were most helpful and gave even better leads than I'd hoped for!

                              Dennis, I knew of Salutati, but not De Laboribus Herculis. Looking into that work revealed a tradition of Middle Ages commentaries on the Labors as mentioned in Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae 4.7. Here's Boethius:

                              >>>
                              ‘This is why’, she went on, ‘the wise man ought not to chafe whenever he is locked in conflict with Fortune, just as it is unfitting for the courageous man to be resentful when the din of war resounds. For each of them the difficulty offers the opportunity; for the courageous man it is the chance of extending his fame, and for the wise man the chance of lending substance to his wisdom. Moreover, virtue (virtus) is so-called because it relies on its strength (vires) not to be overcome by adversity. Those of you who are in the course of attaining virtue have not travelled this road merely to wallow in luxury or to languish in pleasure. You join battle keenly in mind with every kind of fortune, to ensure that when it is harsh it does not overthrow you, or when it is pleasant it does not corrupt you. Maintain the middle ground with steadfast strength. Whatever falls short of it or goes beyond it holds happiness in contempt, and gains no reward for its
                              toil. It lies in your own hands to fashion for yourselves the kind of fortune which you prefer; all fortune which seems harsh is punishment, unless it either tries or corrects you.
                              >>>

                              In the poem that follows Boethius then lists the Labors, concluding:

                              Go now, intrepid ones, along the lofty highway,
                              Following Hercules' conspicuous example.
                              Why so sluggishly expose your backs unguarded?
                              Once earth is overcome, the stars are yours for taking.’

                              This is from an agreeable translation by Patrick Gerard Walsh (OUP, 1999):
                              http://books.google.com/books?id=xKHuxmGlJH4C

                              The Latin is here: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/latin/boethius/

                              Elsewhere in the Consolatio, Boethius gives Odysseus and Circe (4.3) and Orpheus and Eurydice (3.12) similar sapiential/ethical treatments.

                              What got me interested in Hercules, incidentally, was this section of the Crest-Jewel of Wisdom (Vivekachudamani) by Shankara:

                              >>>
                              As long as the Self is in bondage to the false personal self of evil, so long is there not even a possibility of freedom, for these two are contraries. [299]

                              But when free from the grasp of selfish personality, he reaches his real nature; Bliss and Being shine forth by their own light, like the full moon, free from blackness. [300]

                              But he who in the body thinks "this am I," a delusion built up by the mind through darkness; when this delusion is destroyed for him without remainder, there arises for him the realization of Self as the Eternal, free from all bondage. [301]

                              The treasure of the bliss of the Eternal is guarded by the terrible serpent of personality, very powerful, enveloping the Self, with three fierce heads--the three nature-powers; cutting off these three heads with the great sword of discernment, guided by the divine teachings, and destroying the serpent, the wise man may enter into that joy-bringing treasure. [302]

                              Charles Johnston (tr.)
                              http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/cjw/cjw09.htm
                              >>>

                              Verse 302 in particular seemed to parallel Greek myths.

                              Cheers,

                              John Uebersax
                            • leslie greenhill
                              Thoughtful remarks and composition, John.   Les P.O. Box 314 Mentone, Victoria 3194 Australia Email: neoplatonist2000@yahoo.com ... From: John Uebersax
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jan 4, 2010
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                                Thoughtful remarks and composition, John.
                                 
                                Les

                                P.O. Box 314
                                Mentone, Victoria 3194 Australia
                                Email: neoplatonist2000@...

                                --- On Mon, 4/1/10, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:


                                From: John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...>
                                Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Labours of Hercules
                                To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                Received: Monday, 4 January, 2010, 6:06 PM


                                 



                                Dennis, Michael, Tim, David -- many thanks for your replies. They were most helpful and gave even better leads than I'd hoped for!

                                Dennis, I knew of Salutati, but not De Laboribus Herculis. Looking into that work revealed a tradition of Middle Ages commentaries on the Labors as mentioned in Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae 4.7. Here's Boethius:

                                >>>
                                ‘This is why’, she went on, ‘the wise man ought not to chafe whenever he is locked in conflict with Fortune, just as it is unfitting for the courageous man to be resentful when the din of war resounds. For each of them the difficulty offers the opportunity; for the courageous man it is the chance of extending his fame, and for the wise man the chance of lending substance to his wisdom. Moreover, virtue (virtus) is so-called because it relies on its strength (vires) not to be overcome by adversity. Those of you who are in the course of attaining virtue have not travelled this road merely to wallow in luxury or to languish in pleasure. You join battle keenly in mind with every kind of fortune, to ensure that when it is harsh it does not overthrow you, or when it is pleasant it does not corrupt you. Maintain the middle ground with steadfast strength. Whatever falls short of it or goes beyond it holds happiness in contempt, and gains no reward for its
                                toil. It lies in your own hands to fashion for yourselves the kind of fortune which you prefer; all fortune which seems harsh is punishment, unless it either tries or corrects you.
                                >>>

                                In the poem that follows Boethius then lists the Labors, concluding:

                                Go now, intrepid ones, along the lofty highway,
                                Following Hercules' conspicuous example.
                                Why so sluggishly expose your backs unguarded?
                                Once earth is overcome, the stars are yours for taking.’

                                This is from an agreeable translation by Patrick Gerard Walsh (OUP, 1999):
                                http://books. google.com/ books?id= xKHuxmGlJH4C

                                The Latin is here: http://etext. lib.virginia. edu/latin/ boethius/

                                Elsewhere in the Consolatio, Boethius gives Odysseus and Circe (4.3) and Orpheus and Eurydice (3.12) similar sapiential/ethical treatments.

                                What got me interested in Hercules, incidentally, was this section of the Crest-Jewel of Wisdom (Vivekachudamani) by Shankara:

                                >>>
                                As long as the Self is in bondage to the false personal self of evil, so long is there not even a possibility of freedom, for these two are contraries. [299]

                                But when free from the grasp of selfish personality, he reaches his real nature; Bliss and Being shine forth by their own light, like the full moon, free from blackness. [300]

                                But he who in the body thinks "this am I," a delusion built up by the mind through darkness; when this delusion is destroyed for him without remainder, there arises for him the realization of Self as the Eternal, free from all bondage. [301]

                                The treasure of the bliss of the Eternal is guarded by the terrible serpent of personality, very powerful, enveloping the Self, with three fierce heads--the three nature-powers; cutting off these three heads with the great sword of discernment, guided by the divine teachings, and destroying the serpent, the wise man may enter into that joy-bringing treasure. [302]

                                Charles Johnston (tr.)
                                http://www.sacred- texts.com/ hin/cjw/cjw09. htm
                                >>>

                                Verse 302 in particular seemed to parallel Greek myths.

                                Cheers,

                                John Uebersax








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                              • dgallagher@aol.com
                                John, Thanks for the lovely quotes. Shankara s allusion to contraries [299] brings to mind an idea I ve been contemplating for several years: that apparent
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jan 4, 2010
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                                  John,

                                  Thanks for the lovely quotes. Shankara's allusion to contraries [299]
                                  brings to mind an idea I've been contemplating for several years: that apparent
                                  opposites are actually complementarities when sensibles are realized as
                                  images of intelligibles. The view seems implicate in what Plato is getting
                                  at with his reasoning on the divided line and immediately ensuing teaching
                                  on the power of dialectic. Extending this further via Plotinus (VI.6, and
                                  elsewhere in the Enneads), the infinite power of the One is presenced in
                                  Intellect, Soul, and Nature through number. Thus, the power to know is rooted
                                  (immanent?) in ideal or substantial number. The sense of 'rootedness'
                                  might be further suggestive of the Greeks' fascination with irrational root
                                  ratios.

                                  In the Boethius quote, virtue relies on its strength (power). It comes up
                                  again in Shankara 302.

                                  David




                                  In a message dated 1/4/2010 2:12:17 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
                                  john.uebersax@... writes:




                                  Dennis, Michael, Tim, David -- many thanks for your replies. They were most
                                  helpful and gave even better leads than I'd hoped for!

                                  Dennis, I knew of Salutati, but not De Laboribus Herculis. Looking into
                                  that work revealed a tradition of Middle Ages commentaries on the Labors as
                                  mentioned in Boethius' Consolatio Philosophiae 4.7. Here's Boethius:

                                  >>>
                                  ‘This is why’, she went on, ‘the wise man ought not to chafe whenever he
                                  is locked in conflict with Fortune, just as it is unfitting for the
                                  courageous man to be resentful when the din of war resounds. For each of them the
                                  difficulty offers the opportunity; for the courageous man it is the chance
                                  of extending his fame, and for the wise man the chance of lending substance
                                  to his wisdom. Moreover, virtue (virtus) is so-called because it relies on
                                  its strength (vires) not to be overcome by adversity. Those of you who are
                                  in the course of attaining virtue have not travelled this road merely to
                                  wallow in luxury or to languish in pleasure. You join battle keenly in mind
                                  with every kind of fortune, to ensure that when it is harsh it does not
                                  overthrow you, or when it is pleasant it does not corrupt you. Maintain the
                                  middle ground with steadfast strength. Whatever falls short of it or goes
                                  beyond it holds happiness in contempt, and gains no reward for its
                                  toil. It lies in your own hands to fashion for yourselves the kind of fort
                                  une which you prefer; all fortune which seems harsh is punishment, unless
                                  it either tries or corrects you.
                                  >>>

                                  In the poem that follows Boethius then lists the Labors, concluding:

                                  Go now, intrepid ones, along the lofty highway,
                                  Following Hercules' conspicuous example.
                                  Why so sluggishly expose your backs unguarded?
                                  Once earth is overcome, the stars are yours for taking.’

                                  This is from an agreeable translation by Patrick Gerard Walsh (OUP, 1999):
                                  _http://books.http://bookhttp://bohttp://books_
                                  (http://books.google.com/books?id=xKHuxmGlJH4C)

                                  The Latin is here: _http://etext.http://etext.http://etehttp://et_
                                  (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/latin/boethius/)

                                  Elsewhere in the Consolatio, Boethius gives Odysseus and Circe (4.3) and
                                  Orpheus and Eurydice (3.12) similar sapiential/ethical treatments.

                                  What got me interested in Hercules, incidentally, was this section of the
                                  Crest-Jewel of Wisdom (Vivekachudamani) by Shankara:

                                  >>>
                                  As long as the Self is in bondage to the false personal self of evil, so
                                  long is there not even a possibility of freedom, for these two are
                                  contraries. [299]

                                  But when free from the grasp of selfish personality, he reaches his real
                                  nature; Bliss and Being shine forth by their own light, like the full moon,
                                  free from blackness. [300]

                                  But he who in the body thinks "this am I," a delusion built up by the mind
                                  through darkness; when this delusion is destroyed for him without
                                  remainder, there arises for him the realization of Self as the Eternal, free from
                                  all bondage. [301]

                                  The treasure of the bliss of the Eternal is guarded by the terrible
                                  serpent of personality, very powerful, enveloping the Self, with three fierce
                                  heads--the three nature-powers; cutting off these three heads with the great
                                  sword of discernment, guided by the divine teachings, and destroying the
                                  serpent, the wise man may enter into that joy-bringing treasure. [302]

                                  Charles Johnston (tr.)
                                  _http://www.sacred-http://wwwhttp://www.sachtt_
                                  (http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/cjw/cjw09.htm)
                                  >>>

                                  Verse 302 in particular seemed to parallel Greek myths.

                                  Cheers,

                                  John Uebersax






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