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Re: [neoplatonism] The Many Souls of Numenius(?)

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  • Tom Milner-Gulland
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 13, 2002
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      <<If this is the case, then we are really dealing with
      one operation -- i.e., the activity of the limit upon the limitless --
      and not with two ontologically distinct souls.>>

      Are we saying, then, that essence consists in operation? If this is the case it seems we must establish the distinction between transient and eternal operations. Otherwise, it might be favourable to regard the eternal as divisible only within the mind of the mortal: what, for example, would the limit be without the limitless, and vice-versa?
      Tom M-G




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • plotinosgr
      THE PROMETHEUS TRUST LINK http://www.prometheustrust.co.uk/1_-_elements.html Proclus Elements of Theology PROPOSITION I All multitude participates in a
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 14, 2002
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        THE PROMETHEUS TRUST LINK


        http://www.prometheustrust.co.uk/1_-_elements.html

        Proclus' Elements of Theology

        PROPOSITION I
        All multitude participates in a certain respect of The One.
        For if it in no respects participates of The One, neither will the
        whole be one whole, nor each of the many of which the multitude
        consists; but there will also be a certain multitude arising from
        each of these, and this will be the case to infinity. Each of these
        infinities, likewise, will again be infinite multitude. For
        participating in no respect of any one, neither according to the
        whole of itself, nor according to each of the many which it contains,
        it will be in every respect, and according to the whole, infinite.
        For each of the many which you may assume, will either be one, or not
        one, will either be many or nothing. But if each is nothing, that
        also which consists of these will be nothing. And if each is many,
        each will consist of infinites infinitely: [and this not in capacity,
        but in energy]. These things, however, are impossible. For neither
        does any being consist of infinites infinitely assumed; since there
        is not more than the infinite; but that which consists of all is more
        than each. Nor is it possible for any thing to be composed from
        nothing. All multitude, therefore, participates in a certain respect
        of The One.
        PROPOSITION II
        Every thing which participates of The One, is both one and not one.
        For if it is not The One Itself (since it participates of The One)
        being something else besides The One, it suffers, or is passive to it
        according to participation, and sustains to become one. If,
        therefore, it is nothing besides The One, it is one alone, and does
        not participate of The One, but will be The One Itself. But if it is
        something besides The One, which is not The One, but its parti-
        cipant, it is both not one, and one, not indeed such a one as The One
        Itself, but one being, as participating of The One. This, therefore,
        is not one, nor is it that which The One is. But it is one, and at
        the same time a participant of The One. Hence, being of itself not
        one, it is both one and not one, being something else besides The
        One. And so far indeed as it abounds, it is not one, but so far as it
        is passive [to The One] it is one. Every thing, therefore, which
        participates of The One, is both one and not one.
        PROPOSITION III
        Every thing which becomes one, becomes so through the participation
        of The One, and is one, so far as it suffers the participation of The
        One.
        For if things which are not one become one, they doubtless become so
        by a conjunction and communication with each other, and they sustain
        the presence of The One, not being that which The One Itself is.
        Hence, they participate of The One so far as they suffer to become
        one. For, if they are already one they will not become one; since
        that which is does not become that which it is already. But if they
        become one from nothing, i.e. from the privation of The One, since a
        certain one is ingenerated in them, The One Itself is prior to them.
        [And this ingenerated one must be derived from The One Itself. Every
        thing, therefore, which becomes one, becomes so through the
        participation of The One, &c.]
        PROPOSITION IV
        Every thing which is united is different from The One Itself.
        For if it is united, it will participate in a certain respect of The
        One, so far as it is said to be united. That, however, which
        participates of The One, is both one and not one. But The One Itself
        is not both one and not one. For if this were the case, again the one
        which is in it would have both these, and this would take place to
        infinity, there being no One Itself at which it is possible to stop;
        but every thing being one and not one, there will be something united
        which is different from The One. For if The One is the same with the
        united, it will be infinite multitude. And in a similar manner each
        of the things of which the united consists will be infinite
        multitude. [Every thing, therefore, which is united is different from
        The One Itself.]
        PROPOSITION V
        All multitude is posterior to The One.
        For if multitude is prior to The One, The One indeed will participate
        of multitude, but multitude which is prior to The One will not
        participate of The One, since that multitude existed prior to the
        subsistence of The One. For it will not participate of that which is
        not; because that which participates of The One, is one and at the
        same time not one; but The One will not yet subsist, that which is
        first being multitude. It is, however, impossible that there should
        be a certain multitude, which in no respect whatever participates of
        The One. Multitude, therefore, is not prior to The One. But if
        multitude subsists simultaneously with The One, and they are
        naturally co-ordinate with each other; for nothing of time will
        prevent them being so; neither will The One of itself be many, nor
        will multitude be one, as being at one and the same time oppositely
        divided by nature, if neither is prior or posterior to the other.
        Hence, multitude of itself will not be one, and each of the things
        that are in it will not be one, and this will be the case to
        infinity, which is impossible. Multitude, therefore, according to its
        own nature, participates of The One, and it will not be possible to
        assume any thing of it which is not one. For not being one, it will
        be an infinite consisting of infinites; as has been demonstrated.
        Hence, it entirely participates of The One. If, therefore, The One
        which is of Itself one, in no respect participates of multitude,
        multitude will be entirely posterior to The One; participating indeed
        of The One, but not being participated by The One. But if The One
        also participates of multitude, subsisting indeed as one according to
        hyparxis, but as not one, according to partici- pation, The One will
        be multiplied, just as multitude is united on account of The One. The
        One, therefore, will communicate with multitude, and multitude with
        The One. But things which coalesce, and communicate in a certain
        respect with each other, if indeed they are collected together by
        something else, that something else is prior to them. But if they
        themselves collect themselves, they are not opposed to each other.
        For opposites do not hasten to each other. Hence, if The One and
        multitude are oppositely divided, and multitude so far as multitude
        is not one, and The One so far as one is not multitude, neither will
        one of these subsisting in the other be one and at the same time two.
        If, also, there is something prior to them which collects them, this
        will either be one or not one. But if it is not one, it will either
        be many or nothing. It will not, however, be many, lest multitude
        should be prior to The One, nor yet will it be nothing. For how can
        nothing congregate? It is, therefore, one alone. For this which is
        the one cannot be many, lest there should be a progression to
        infinity. It is, therefore, The One Itself, and all multitude is from
        The One Itself.
        PROPOSITION VI
        (concerning unity)
        Every multitude consists either of things united, or of unities.
        For that each of things many will not be itself multitude alone, and
        again that each part of this will not be multitude alone is evident.
        But if it is not multitude alone, it is either united, or unities.
        And if, indeed, it participates of The One it is united; but if it
        consists of things of which that which is primarily united consists,
        it will be unities. For if there is The One Itself, there is also
        that which primarily participates of it, and which is primarily
        united. But this consists of unities. For if it consists of things
        united, again things united consist of certain things, and this will
        be the case to infinity. It is necessary, however, that what is
        primarily united should consist of unities. And thus we have
        discovered what we proposed at first, [viz. that every multitude
        consists either of things united, or of unities].
      • Edward Moore
        On Sun, 14 Jul 2002 01:40:34 +0100 Tom Milner-Gulland ... I d prefer to invoke the standard existentialist motto: existence precedes essence ; and thereby
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 14, 2002
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          On Sun, 14 Jul 2002 01:40:34 +0100 "Tom Milner-Gulland"
          <tmgulland@...> writes:
          > Are we saying, then, that essence consists in operation?


          I'd prefer to invoke the standard existentialist motto: "existence
          precedes essence"; and thereby posit that essence is the end-result of an
          operation. In early Christian Trinitarian theology, esp. Origen, we find
          the idea that God is three persons (_hupostaseis_) known not in their
          nature (or 'substance,' _ousia_), but only by the results of their
          operations (_energeiai_) [cf. Origen, _De Principiis_ 1.3.5,7].


          > If this
          > is the case it seems we must establish the distinction between
          > transient and eternal operations.


          If an operation affects a being who is, by nature or by salvation,
          eternal or immortal, then even a seemingly transient operation will bring
          about an effect that bears upon an inherently eternal being. In this
          case, all operations (and their effects) will find an eternal 'archive'
          in the memory or archaeo-logoic persistence of any and all beings in
          Being.

          Regards,

          Edward




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

          Edward Moore, S.T.L., D.D. (candidate)
          St. Elias Orthodox Theological Seminary
          www.orthodoxtheology.org
          Email. proteus28@... Fax. 1-810-454-1893

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

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        • Tom Milner-Gulland
          ...
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 15, 2002
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            >From: Edward Moore <proteus28@...>
            <<thereby posit that essence is the end-result of an
            >operation. In early Christian Trinitarian theology, esp. Origen, we find
            >the idea that God is three persons (_hupostaseis_) known not in their
            >nature (or 'substance,' _ousia_), but only by the results of their
            >operations >>

            Interesting, but it would seem to dissociate essence from the pre-existing
            conditions that must reside in all operations that render them meaningful.

            <<If an operation affects a being who is, by nature or by salvation,
            >eternal or immortal, then even a seemingly transient operation will bring
            >about an effect that bears upon an inherently eternal being. In this
            >case, all operations (and their effects) will find an eternal 'archive'
            >in the memory or archaeo-logoic persistence of any and all beings in
            >Being.>>

            If we are to accept some notion of a veil of appearances, then operations
            such as salvation only occur in essence, in so far as their occurrence can
            be definitively distinguished from any other event.
            Regards,
            Tom

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          • Cosmin I. Andron
            ... I am not sure which would be your alternative of translation; however, if I get correctly what you mean, still you will need either eis men or ho eis
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 17, 2002
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              >"ho theos mentoi ho deuteros kai tritos estin eis" (11.13-14), which
              >Dillon translates as: "The Second and Third God, however, are in fact
              >one." Yet it is not necessary to translate eis as "one." The term often
              >denotes personal relationship, and even hostile relationship. So if we
              >say that these two gods are related, then they remain ontologically
              >distinct, though in communion with one another.

              I am not sure which would be your alternative of translation; however, if I
              get correctly what you mean, still you will need either 'eis men' or 'ho
              eis' or something similar. The way the text is I cannot see an alternative
              to 'eis' = 'numerically one'.

              >We are led to deduce, then, that the
              >Second and Third gods were not
              >begotten (gennao^) but rather created.

              Rather born out of the first go: fr.12

              >So is it possible to interpret Numenius' fragment as referring to an
              >intelligible matter (the "Third God"), with the Second God as the
              >limiting principle?

              I would not try to see any type of intelligible matter in N. It is extremely
              risky to push analogies on the basis of such a limited amount of text we
              have. The second god is mostly described as the 'agent' through which the
              first God acts. The third god is contrasted with the intelligible: ['twi oûn
              mè einai pròs twi noetwi (...) dià tò tèn húlen blépein' 11.16-17],
              intelligible which is identified with the second god [... ên gàr àn pròs
              heautwi 11.17]. I guess that the intelligible realm is identified (limited)
              with the second god.

              >If this is the case, then we are really dealing with
              >one operation -- i.e., the activity of the limit upon the limitless --
              >and not with two ontologically distinct souls.

              Here not two ontologically distinct souls or ‘noes’ but in other frgs. there
              are: two souls: frs. 52; 22 –quite conflicting- ; two noes: frs. 12;
              15;16;17.


              >that the Second God (after the First, or
              >the One) has, like Plotinus' Intellect, two capacities: theo^ria and
              >energeia, contemplation and production.

              Yes, according to frs. 12; 16; 22


              With every best wish, yours
              Cosmin


              ~~~~~~~~~~~~

              Cosmin I. Andron BA, MA (Cluj), PhD cand.

              Department of Classics
              Royal Holloway College
              University of London
              Egham
              Surrey TW20 OEX
              England

              Phone: 0044 (0) 7759 188 337
              Email: C.I.Andron@...

              Web page: http://www2.rhbnc.ac.uk/~pklc006/homepage.htm
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            • Edward Moore
              Greetings Cosmin (and All): Many thanks for your reply. I have examined sections of the work of Nock and Ferwerda, and am prepared to concede that the
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 19, 2002
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                Greetings Cosmin (and All):

                Many thanks for your reply. I have examined sections of the work of Nock
                and Ferwerda, and am prepared to concede that the evidence points
                strongly toward a Numenian doctrine of two souls. This realization lends
                some extra weight to Origen's insistence that the Logos possessed a
                pre-existent soul even before its Incarnation as the God-Man Jesus
                Christ. Apparently, Origen was trying to distance himself from an
                influence that was rather too close for comfort.

                Below is a brief remark concerning the translation of Numenius fr. 11.

                On Thu, 18 Jul 2002 02:46:11 +0100 "Cosmin I. Andron"
                <c.i.andron@...> writes:
                > >"ho theos mentoi ho deuteros kai tritos estin eis" (11.13-14), which
                > >Dillon translates as: "The Second and Third God, however, are in
                > fact
                > >one." Yet it is not necessary to translate eis as "one." The term
                > often
                > >denotes personal relationship, and even hostile relationship. So
                > if we
                > >say that these two gods are related, then they remain ontologically
                > >distinct, though in communion with one another.
                >
                > I am not sure which would be your alternative of translation;
                > however, if I
                > get correctly what you mean, still you will need either 'eis men'
                > or 'ho
                > eis' or something similar. The way the text is I cannot see an
                > alternative
                > to 'eis' = 'numerically one'.


                My alternative translation would simply say it like it is: "the second
                and third gods are related." Variant translations might render _estin
                eis_ as "are for one another," or "are with one another," etc. Cp.
                Colossians 1:16.

                Perhaps I am being naive, but I can't understand why Numenius, who has
                already 'numericized' his gods by labelling them '_deuteros_' and
                '_trias_' (respectively) would then insist, in the same breath, that they
                are "numerically one." So "one" in what capacity? If in substance, then
                surely one soul -- yet if in relation only, then it follows that they
                both have their own unique soul, related in operation or faculty, yet not
                in substance.

                All the Best,

                Edward



                --------------------------------------------------------
                Edward Moore, S.T.L., D.D. (candidate)
                St. Elias Orthodox Theological Seminary
                www.orthodoxtheology.org
                Email. proteus28@... Fax. 1-810-454-1893
                Homepage: www.livejournal.com/users/edwardmoore
                --------------------------------------------------------

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              • adurigon
                I would like to greet, very belatedly, all participants in the most interesting discussion on Numenius that took place last July, which has just been shown to
                Message 7 of 8 , Oct 26, 2002
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                  I would like to greet, very belatedly, all participants in the most
                  interesting discussion on Numenius' that took place last July, which
                  has just been shown to me by Peter Durigon (as we drink wine in his
                  apartment in Cambridge, MA). It is a most interesting question how
                  oneness should be interpreted in this context. N. does after all want
                  to maintain that his second and third gods (broadly, the transcendent
                  Demiurge and the cosmos or world-soul) are distinct, but they are also
                  'one', in that the limiting action of the Demiurge on the material
                  subtratum generates the cosmos as a third god, and this can be seen as
                  the Demiurge in his immanent aspect. So, if thente Demiurge is to be
                  acounted a soul, there are two souls involved, but they are not fully
                  distinct. John Dillon
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