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Re: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonism and Oscar Wilde

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  • Thomas Mether
    Offhand I wouldn t be able to although the SAP (Society of American Philosophy) people might. My friend John Lachs at Vanderbilt might help out on directing
    Message 1 of 17 , Nov 12, 2010
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      Offhand I wouldn't be able to although the SAP (Society of American Philosophy) people might. My friend John Lachs at Vanderbilt might help out on directing inquiring minds to those who would know. He has excellent tabs on what is going on, what is being researched, what has been researched, what hasn't but should be researched, in American Philosophy. I hope you keep us apprised.
       
      Last time I was in Iowa City for any length of time beyond a few hours, I was part of the controversy over Black's Gaslight Village and the Vonnegut house next to it on Brown St.
      My wife is an alumni. 
       
      --- On Fri, 11/12/10, Finamore, John F <john-finamore@...> wrote:


      From: Finamore, John F <john-finamore@...>
      Subject: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonism and Oscar Wilde
      To: "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com" <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Friday, November 12, 2010, 2:50 PM


       



      Hi,

      I have received a request (below) about research on Oscar Wilde and Neoplatonism. Would anyone on this list know of any research in this area?

      John

      John F. Finamore
      Department of Classics
      210 Jefferson Building
      University of Iowa
      Iowa City, IA 52242
      Office: (319) 335-0288
      FAX: (319) 335-3884
      E-Mail: JOHN-FINAMORE@...
      Homepage: http://www.uiowa.edu/~classics/finamore/index.html


      Dear Sir,

      I am keen to discover if any scholar of Neoplatonism has made a study of Wilde's interest in Neoplatonism,

      Would you be able to circulate this among members of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies ?

      With thanks,

      Yours faithfully,
      David Charles Rose

      ___________________________________________________

      D.C. Rose M.A. (Oxon), Dip.Arts Admin (NUI-Dublin)
      Editor, THE OSCHOLARS and VISIONS; General editor, www.oscholars.com
      Editorial Advisory Board, Irish Studies Review and Literary London
      Paris correspondent, Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide
      Convenor, Magdalen en France
      Past President, Société Oscar Wilde en France
      1 rue Gutenberg, Paris XV

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]











      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • nispanu78
      Dear All, I m Nicola Spanu, a new member of the mailing list. I hope to give a contribution to the discussion started by Sara on the Nag-Hammadi texts. I ve
      Message 2 of 17 , Nov 14, 2010
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        Dear All, I'm Nicola Spanu, a new member of the mailing list. I hope to give a contribution to the discussion started by Sara on the Nag-Hammadi texts. I've recently finished a PhD which has to do with Plotinus's "Gnostic" disciples, against whom he wrote the Ennead II. 9. [33]. In the PhD, which will be published soon, I've made a translation from the Greek and a commentary, where I've tried to challenge the traditional view of Gnosticism, which sets it against other currents of thought of Late Antiquity, such as Platonism or Christianity. In contrast, as also Thomas Mether says, Gnosticism was a broad cathegory shared in by virtually all religious or philosophical groups of Late Antiquity. Plotinus, for example, opposes his vision of the gnosis to that championed by his "Gnostic" disciples, though their view of the Gnosis was very close to that of their master. Similarly, Clement of Alexandria opposes his own conception of the true Gnosis to that of the "Gnostics" and the same is true of the "Gnostics" with regard to the two currents of thought mentioned above, namely Platonism and Christianity. With regard to the Nag-Hammadi texts they, as far as I know,were originally written in Greek. Afterwards, they were translated into Coptic and hiddent by a group of ascetics who probably held "Gnostic" views. They were discovered by chance by some sheperds in 1945 and then published. There are good translations available, such as Robinson, J. M., ed., The Nag Hammadi Library in English(Leiden, 1977). As far as the Demiurge is concerned, there are many "Gnostic" Greek texts which deals with him. I would look, for example, to Ptolemaeus's Letter to Flora, 7. 1-7; Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, 1. 1. 9-10; Hippolytus, Refutatio, 6. 32. 5-9 and Tertullian, Adversus valentinianos, XVIII. 2

        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:
        >
        > You are welcome Sara,
        >  
        > I once knew they were all in Coptic but somewhere formed the impression there were existing Greek versions somewhere  -- as part of Nag Hammadi. BTW, I'm reading, with much enjoyment, your book as part of my investigation of how the rhetorical forces of apophatic discourse work. Some of what you say about symbol relates in interesting ways with what the Tantric traditions say about mantra as connecting, evoking, what have you two levels of being/cognition within the energy of the symbol almost as if it were an electrical circuit.
        >
        > --- On Wed, 11/10/10, ealName: rappe <rappe@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > From: ealName: rappe <rappe@...>
        > Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: greek texts nag hammadi?
        > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        > Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 10:16 AM
        >
        >
        > Thanks so much Thomas, I have been writing to all of these people and it turns out that all of the Nag Hammadi treatises are only in Coptic. So I am researching a synopsis by Irenaeus. The problem is that my students only read Greek.
        > thanks for all of your time and help.
        > Also Bentley Layton wrote back and told me which treatises have the Demiurge.
        > On Nov 10, 2010, at 9:45 AM, Thomas Mether wrote:
        >
        > > You may also wish to contact Willis Barnstone at Colgate University and Marvin Meyer at Chapman University. The latter is one of the leading authorities on the Coptic and Greek gnostic texts from Nag Hammadi. Another to contact is Bentley Layton. He has attempted to tighten up, in historical terms, exactly what the referent of our label "gnostic" and "gnosticism" should refer to. He argues that the label, following Jonas, is dubious as a category in that it throws several different movements and trends into the same pot. He does bring out, though, that there was a historical movement that self-identified itself as "gnostic". In the process, he has also tightened up what concepts and motifs did this group articulate, and which ones, following Jonas, are we anachronistcally applying to them even if somewhat illuminating. So, if you are seeking whether or not those who were self-identified as gnostics had the concept of demiurge, what that concept was,
        > and
        > > hos it relates to Greek philosophical tradition, I would contact Bentley Layton first. He is recognized as the one introducing a great deal of refinement and precision in gnostic studies. He would be able to answer your question and maybe even sketch out some of the nuances plus literature on the topic.
        > > 
        > > Thomas
        > > 
        > >
        > > --- On Wed, 11/10/10, gregshaw58 <gregshaw58@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > From: gregshaw58 <gregshaw58@...>
        > > Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: greek texts nag hammadi?
        > > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        > > Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 7:36 AM
        > >
        > >   
        > >
        > > Write to John Turner, University of Nebraska. He knows.
        > > -gs
        > >
        > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Sara Rappe <rappe@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > dear all,
        > > > can anyone tell me if any of the texts that survive in greek feature a
        > > > demiurge figure?
        > > > thanks, sara
        > > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • vaeringjar
        Synchronicity strikes - I just now remembered finally to look in Hippolytus, and the section on Marcion starting at VII.29 is another example, where he
        Message 3 of 17 , Nov 14, 2010
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          Synchronicity strikes - I just now remembered finally to look in Hippolytus, and the section on Marcion starting at VII.29 is another example, where he compares him to Empedocles. I looked in the index of Wendland's edition under "demiourgos" and there are a number of citations, though perhaps not all relevant. Assuming of course you classify Marcion as a true Gnostic...

          Good hunting!

          Dennis Clark

          --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "nispanu78" <nispanu78@...> wrote:
          >
          > Dear All, I'm Nicola Spanu, a new member of the mailing list. I hope to give a contribution to the discussion started by Sara on the Nag-Hammadi texts. I've recently finished a PhD which has to do with Plotinus's "Gnostic" disciples, against whom he wrote the Ennead II. 9. [33]. In the PhD, which will be published soon, I've made a translation from the Greek and a commentary, where I've tried to challenge the traditional view of Gnosticism, which sets it against other currents of thought of Late Antiquity, such as Platonism or Christianity. In contrast, as also Thomas Mether says, Gnosticism was a broad cathegory shared in by virtually all religious or philosophical groups of Late Antiquity. Plotinus, for example, opposes his vision of the gnosis to that championed by his "Gnostic" disciples, though their view of the Gnosis was very close to that of their master. Similarly, Clement of Alexandria opposes his own conception of the true Gnosis to that of the "Gnostics" and the same is true of the "Gnostics" with regard to the two currents of thought mentioned above, namely Platonism and Christianity. With regard to the Nag-Hammadi texts they, as far as I know,were originally written in Greek. Afterwards, they were translated into Coptic and hiddent by a group of ascetics who probably held "Gnostic" views. They were discovered by chance by some sheperds in 1945 and then published. There are good translations available, such as Robinson, J. M., ed., The Nag Hammadi Library in English(Leiden, 1977). As far as the Demiurge is concerned, there are many "Gnostic" Greek texts which deals with him. I would look, for example, to Ptolemaeus's Letter to Flora, 7. 1-7; Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, 1. 1. 9-10; Hippolytus, Refutatio, 6. 32. 5-9 and Tertullian, Adversus valentinianos, XVIII. 2
          >
          > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Mether <t_mether@> wrote:
          > >
          > > You are welcome Sara,
          > >  
          > > I once knew they were all in Coptic but somewhere formed the impression there were existing Greek versions somewhere  -- as part of Nag Hammadi. BTW, I'm reading, with much enjoyment, your book as part of my investigation of how the rhetorical forces of apophatic discourse work. Some of what you say about symbol relates in interesting ways with what the Tantric traditions say about mantra as connecting, evoking, what have you two levels of being/cognition within the energy of the symbol almost as if it were an electrical circuit.
          > >
          > > --- On Wed, 11/10/10, ealName: rappe <rappe@> wrote:
          > >
          > >
          > > From: ealName: rappe <rappe@>
          > > Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: greek texts nag hammadi?
          > > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
          > > Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 10:16 AM
          > >
          > >
          > > Thanks so much Thomas, I have been writing to all of these people and it turns out that all of the Nag Hammadi treatises are only in Coptic. So I am researching a synopsis by Irenaeus. The problem is that my students only read Greek.
          > > thanks for all of your time and help.
          > > Also Bentley Layton wrote back and told me which treatises have the Demiurge.
          > > On Nov 10, 2010, at 9:45 AM, Thomas Mether wrote:
          > >
          > > > You may also wish to contact Willis Barnstone at Colgate University and Marvin Meyer at Chapman University. The latter is one of the leading authorities on the Coptic and Greek gnostic texts from Nag Hammadi. Another to contact is Bentley Layton. He has attempted to tighten up, in historical terms, exactly what the referent of our label "gnostic" and "gnosticism" should refer to. He argues that the label, following Jonas, is dubious as a category in that it throws several different movements and trends into the same pot. He does bring out, though, that there was a historical movement that self-identified itself as "gnostic". In the process, he has also tightened up what concepts and motifs did this group articulate, and which ones, following Jonas, are we anachronistcally applying to them even if somewhat illuminating. So, if you are seeking whether or not those who were self-identified as gnostics had the concept of demiurge, what that concept was,
          > > and
          > > > hos it relates to Greek philosophical tradition, I would contact Bentley Layton first. He is recognized as the one introducing a great deal of refinement and precision in gnostic studies. He would be able to answer your question and maybe even sketch out some of the nuances plus literature on the topic.
          > > > 
          > > > Thomas
          > > > 
          > > >
          > > > --- On Wed, 11/10/10, gregshaw58 <gregshaw58@> wrote:
          > > >
          > > > From: gregshaw58 <gregshaw58@>
          > > > Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: greek texts nag hammadi?
          > > > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
          > > > Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 7:36 AM
          > > >
          > > >   
          > > >
          > > > Write to John Turner, University of Nebraska. He knows.
          > > > -gs
          > > >
          > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Sara Rappe <rappe@> wrote:
          > > > >
          > > > > dear all,
          > > > > can anyone tell me if any of the texts that survive in greek feature a
          > > > > demiurge figure?
          > > > > thanks, sara
          > > > >
          > > >
          > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > > >
          > > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > ------------------------------------
          > >
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          >
        • Thomas Mether
          I am actually not surprised, but still, amazed that the Hans Jonas model has slowly eroded (perhaps excepting Manichaeanism), while Grant s hypothesis that
          Message 4 of 17 , Nov 15, 2010
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            I am actually not surprised, but still, amazed that the Hans Jonas model has slowly eroded (perhaps excepting Manichaeanism), while Grant's hypothesis that gnosticism was a hellenistic Jewish and disappointed apocalypticism in origin seems to be validated. But, list, I have a question. If we go with what has been "discovered" the past two decades, there was no apocalyptic fever (sans, Schweitzer and Bultmann, and parties). And if gnosticism, as it seems to appear, arose within Alexandrian Jewish circles (at the time highly literate and educated), then what prompted or motivated it? Grant is credited with the idea that gnosticism originated as some "disappointed Judaism". He took his best shot at that disappointment - failed apocalypse. Since a sense of the end of the world or messianic expectation was NOT present in Palestine or Alexandria and gnosticism seems to develop in Jewish Alexandria, what prompted it? What is going on?




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Goya
            I wonder if we shouldn t rephrase the question. In the first decades AD, there were any number of semi-, para-, and Christian sects. Some of them wound up
            Message 5 of 17 , Nov 16, 2010
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              I wonder if we shouldn't rephrase the question. In the first decades AD,
              there were any number of semi-, para-, and Christian sects. Some of them
              wound up being referred to as orthodox, others as heretical; within the
              latter group, some were labelled "Gnostic". So your question "what
              prompted it" could equally well be applied to Christianity...


              If we're talking about the Gnostic "attitude" (very roughly, belief that
              the sensible world is evil) : well, there are distinct traces of that in
              Plato (along with the opposed trend that the world is beautiful and good),
              and probably before Plato in some Orphic communities. What, in turn, is
              the origin of these tendencies ? The religionsgeschichtliche Schule
              pointed toward Iran; nowadays, people like Alexis Pinchard are looking
              toward India. Others have other views....

              The fact is that there is a pendulum in Western spirituality between
              affirmation and condemnation of the world. I'm not sure we can ever pin
              down a cause-and-effect relation for this. Those who have tried - calling
              the entire Hellenistic Age an "Age of Anxiety", for instance, seem to me
              to be barking up the wrong tree. How will future historians characterize
              our epoch? The digital age? The postmodern age? some other snappy-sounding
              rubric?

              Whatever it is, it will almost certainly be inadequate, because human
              affairs are too complex to be summed up in a phrase, however snappy.

              Best, Mike.

              P.S. A bibliographical addition : Aldo Magris, La logica del pensiero
              gnostico, Brescia 1997



              > I am actually not surprised, but still, amazed that the Hans Jonas model
              > has slowly eroded (perhaps excepting Manichaeanism), while Grant's
              > hypothesis that gnosticism was a hellenistic Jewish and disappointed
              > apocalypticism in origin seems to be validated. But, list, I have a
              > question. If we go with what has been "discovered" the past two decades,
              > there was no apocalyptic fever (sans, Schweitzer and Bultmann, and
              > parties). And if gnosticism, as it seems to appear, arose within
              > Alexandrian Jewish circles (at the time highly literate and educated),
              > then what prompted or motivated it? Grant is credited with the idea that
              > gnosticism originated as some "disappointed Judaism". He took his best
              > shot at that disappointment - failed apocalypse. Since a sense of the end
              > of the world or messianic expectation was NOT present in Palestine or
              > Alexandria and gnosticism seems to develop in Jewish Alexandria, what
              > prompted it? What is going on?
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >


              Michael Chase
              CNRS UPR 76
              Paris-Villejuif
              France
            • gregshaw58
              Michael s question as to the origins of the gnostic attitude (that the material world is evil) and the suggested answers of scholars: What, in turn, is the
              Message 6 of 17 , Nov 16, 2010
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                Michael's question as to the origins of the gnostic attitude (that the material world is evil) and the suggested answers of scholars:

                "What, in turn, is the origin of these tendencies ? The religionsgeschichtliche Schule pointed toward Iran; nowadays, people like Alexis Pinchard are looking toward India. Others have other views...."

                Others do. Derived, perhaps, by looking in the mirror, riding the subway, visiting a hospital or a police station. In short, one does not have far to search for misery, darkness, evil. It is not hard to imagine how such views develop....anywhere.

                Mike adds: "The fact is that there is a pendulum in Western spirituality between affirmation and condemnation of the world."

                There is, there was, and will probably always be. And he is correct in seeing some of the Gnostics as another branch of Christians. The reason, I think, the Orthodoxy was so vehement in their condemnation of the Gnostics was that they shared so much in their views of the world. It was only later, after the Church came to dominate political structures that the "world" came to be seen as less evil.

                Greg







                --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
                >
                > I wonder if we shouldn't rephrase the question. In the first decades AD,
                > there were any number of semi-, para-, and Christian sects. Some of them
                > wound up being referred to as orthodox, others as heretical; within the
                > latter group, some were labelled "Gnostic". So your question "what
                > prompted it" could equally well be applied to Christianity...
                >
                >
                > If we're talking about the Gnostic "attitude" (very roughly, belief that
                > the sensible world is evil) : well, there are distinct traces of that in
                > Plato (along with the opposed trend that the world is beautiful and good),
                > and probably before Plato in some Orphic communities. What, in turn, is
                > the origin of these tendencies ? The religionsgeschichtliche Schule
                > pointed toward Iran; nowadays, people like Alexis Pinchard are looking
                > toward India. Others have other views....
                >
                > The fact is that there is a pendulum in Western spirituality between
                > affirmation and condemnation of the world. I'm not sure we can ever pin
                > down a cause-and-effect relation for this. Those who have tried - calling
                > the entire Hellenistic Age an "Age of Anxiety", for instance, seem to me
                > to be barking up the wrong tree. How will future historians characterize
                > our epoch? The digital age? The postmodern age? some other snappy-sounding
                > rubric?
                >
                > Whatever it is, it will almost certainly be inadequate, because human
                > affairs are too complex to be summed up in a phrase, however snappy.
                >
                > Best, Mike.
                >
                > P.S. A bibliographical addition : Aldo Magris, La logica del pensiero
                > gnostico, Brescia 1997
                >
                >
                >
                > > I am actually not surprised, but still, amazed that the Hans Jonas model
                > > has slowly eroded (perhaps excepting Manichaeanism), while Grant's
                > > hypothesis that gnosticism was a hellenistic Jewish and disappointed
                > > apocalypticism in origin seems to be validated. But, list, I have a
                > > question. If we go with what has been "discovered" the past two decades,
                > > there was no apocalyptic fever (sans, Schweitzer and Bultmann, and
                > > parties). And if gnosticism, as it seems to appear, arose within
                > > Alexandrian Jewish circles (at the time highly literate and educated),
                > > then what prompted or motivated it? Grant is credited with the idea that
                > > gnosticism originated as some "disappointed Judaism". He took his best
                > > shot at that disappointment - failed apocalypse. Since a sense of the end
                > > of the world or messianic expectation was NOT present in Palestine or
                > > Alexandria and gnosticism seems to develop in Jewish Alexandria, what
                > > prompted it? What is going on?
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                > Michael Chase
                > CNRS UPR 76
                > Paris-Villejuif
                > France
                >
              • vaeringjar
                ... Now that, Greg, is an absolutely fascinating insight that never occurred to me, but now that you make it seems so clear. The bargain was made for
                Message 7 of 17 , Nov 16, 2010
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                  --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "gregshaw58" <gregshaw58@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Michael's question as to the origins of the gnostic attitude (that the material world is evil) and the suggested answers of scholars:
                  >
                  > "What, in turn, is the origin of these tendencies ? The religionsgeschichtliche Schule pointed toward Iran; nowadays, people like Alexis Pinchard are looking toward India. Others have other views...."
                  >
                  > Others do. Derived, perhaps, by looking in the mirror, riding the subway, visiting a hospital or a police station. In short, one does not have far to search for misery, darkness, evil. It is not hard to imagine how such views develop....anywhere.
                  >
                  > Mike adds: "The fact is that there is a pendulum in Western spirituality between affirmation and condemnation of the world."
                  >
                  > There is, there was, and will probably always be. And he is correct in seeing some of the Gnostics as another branch of Christians. The reason, I think, the Orthodoxy was so vehement in their condemnation of the Gnostics was that they shared so much in their views of the world. It was only later, after the Church came to dominate political structures that the "world" came to be seen as less evil.
                  >
                  > Greg
                  >

                  Now that, Greg, is an absolutely fascinating insight that never occurred to me, but now that you make it seems so clear. The "bargain" was made for political reasons with the devil of the world, so to speak, but requiring the inner doctrine itself to be cleansed of these views denigrating the world.

                  I always thought one main reason the Gnostic views had to go was because they generally also don't really require a priesthood to administer them! Hence no priests, and obviously that would be a problem too, wouldn't it? And if the Kingdom of Heaven is already here and now, as the Gospel of Thomas says, and will not come by expectation, well, that is a problem too! Being able to achieve individual enlightenment here and now without the intervention of a sanctioned, empowered, formal agent is one of the greatest dangers to any authoritarion institution.

                  Look at the corporatization of American universities, for instance...

                  Dennis Clark
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