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Re: [neoplatonism] what is reality?

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  • ytl
    It seems clear that in any discussion in the Platonic and neoplatonic contexts, a hypostasis stands below some higher entity. Obviously the ultimate entity is
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 31, 2004
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      It seems clear that in any discussion in the Platonic and neoplatonic
      contexts, a hypostasis stands below some higher entity. Obviously the
      ultimate entity is real, but whether the hypostases are real, or how real
      they may be, must be clarified. If these hypostases are called ousia, then
      they are real, insofar as a substance does exist. But in the passage I cited
      from Sorabji, ousia does not appear.

      Speaking specifically of time, we can get a good idea of the possible
      terminological embroilments--but also the possibility of clear Engllish
      expression without misleading translations--from this passage in Sambursky's
      essay, in the introduction to Sambursky and Pines, The Concept of time in
      Late Neoplatonism, p. 12:

      "...with Iamblichus, there began a radically new conception,
      substantializing time as a hypostatic entity of its own in a way that
      differed from anything said before of the nature of time."

      Well, here we have just about all of the buzz words that have come up in
      this discussion--except reality. A nitpicker could have fun with the
      combination of substantializing and hypostasis, given that substans is the
      literal translation of hypostasis. But I won't do that, nor will I pick on
      the phrase, "the nature of time" (remember phusis?), because that's not
      fair. In fact Sambursky's explanation is far clearer than anything I can get
      out of Iamblichus. Moreover, the discussions in my medieval Arabic souces
      follow Sambursky quite well, rephrasing (or anticipating) some of his
      explications.

      In sum: if time is a substance it is real. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi says that
      according to Plato, time is a jawhar, or substance. If it is a hypostasis,
      its reality is unclear. In fact, Fakhr al-Din, following (sorry,
      anticipating) Sambursky, points to the ambivalence of the middle entity in
      Iamblichus system. If it is real, we can perhaps speak of its nature--unless
      it be one of those higher hypostases that are above nature.

      Tzvi Langermann
      Dept of Arabic
      Bar Ilan University
      Ramat Gan, ISRAEL
      tel: 972-2-673-7837
      fax: 972-2-673-3480
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