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Re: [neoplatonism] ho aidios anthropos

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  • Tzvi Langermann
    My thanks to Mike Chase. I am very much aware of the dangers of taking cittions out of context, and for that reason posted my query; and I am grateful to have
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 7, 2004
      My thanks to Mike Chase. I am very much aware of the dangers of taking
      cittions out of context, and for that reason posted my query; and I am
      grateful to have received a quick and learned reply. I should like to
      respond briefly to two points that were raised.

      First, the Neoplatonists' opposition to the Manichees is no reason to
      exclude any borrowing. Quite the contrary: it is the rule rather than the
      exception for groups or individuals to take over (or appropriate, as we like
      to say today) new concepts from their rivals and suitably transform them.
      Thus, were the context to allow it--and I do not argue with Michael Chase's
      rejection of this possibility--one could toy with the idea that Damascius
      was trying to fit a foreign concept into his "standard-isssue
      Neoplatonism".

      Second, with regard to *makranthropos*. This term is often cited in the
      discussions on primal man, but I have a problem. Why was the adjective
      changed from a spatial to a temporal one? No one had a problem rendering
      *microcosmos* into the Arabic *'alam saghir*; so why should they render
      *makranthopos* as *insan qadim* rather than *insan kabir*? In fact, *aidios*
      was taken to mean *qadim* as it appears, most notoriously, in De coelo
      283b28. So whether or not Damascius's phrase has anything to do with it--and
      it seems not--I would like to know, for the purposes of a mini-project that
      may expand, about usages of the phrase *ho aidios anthropos*.


      Tzvi Langermann
      Dept of Arabic
      Bar Ilan University
      Ramat Gan, ISRAEL
      tel: 972-2-673-7837
      fax: 972-2-673-3480
    • Michael Chase
      Le dimanche, 7 mars 2004, à 14:05 Europe/Paris, Tzvi Langermann a écrit ... M.C. Fair enough. One *could* indeed toy with the idea *if there were any textual
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 7, 2004
        Le dimanche, 7 mars 2004, à 14:05 Europe/Paris, Tzvi Langermann a écrit
        :

        > My thanks to Mike Chase. I am very much aware of the dangers of taking
        > cittions out of context, and for that reason posted my query; and I am
        > grateful to have received a quick and learned reply. I should like to
        > respond briefly to two points that were raised.
        >
        > First, the Neoplatonists' opposition to the Manichees is no reason to
        > exclude any borrowing. Quite the contrary: it is the rule rather than
        > the
        > exception for groups or individuals to take over (or appropriate, as
        > we like
        > to say today) new concepts from their rivals and suitably transform
        > them.
        > Thus, were the context to allow it--and I do not argue with Michael
        > Chase's
        > rejection of this possibility--one could toy with the idea that
        > Damascius
        > was trying to fit a foreign concept into his "standard-isssue
        > Neoplatonism".

        M.C. Fair enough. One *could* indeed toy with the idea *if there were
        any textual evidence for doing so*. I' m not aware that there is any,
        in this instance.
        >
        > Second, with regard to *makranthropos*. This term is often cited in the
        > discussions on primal man, but I have a problem. Why was the adjective
        > changed from a spatial to a temporal one? No one had a problem
        > rendering
        > *microcosmos* into the Arabic *'alam saghir*; so why should they render
        > *makranthopos* as *insan qadim* rather than *insan kabir*? In fact,
        > *aidios*
        > was taken to mean *qadim* as it appears, most notoriously, in De coelo
        > 283b28. So whether or not Damascius's phrase has anything to do with
        > it--and
        > it seems not--I would like to know, for the purposes of a mini-project
        > that
        > may expand, about usages of the phrase *ho aidios anthropos*.

        M.C. I personally am not aware of a single occurrence of the phrase in
        all of extant Neoplatonic literaature. It's certainlt not in the
        Damascius phrase we started out considering, where he speaks of
        *anthrôpos ho koinos kai aidios* ; i.e. eternity - or perhaps mere
        perpetuity? is merely one property among others of the Platonic form of
        man. The only passage that comes to mind is Hippolytus, Refutatio 8,
        12, 2, where, in the cosmogony of Monoimos the Arab, we read :

        ∆Wkeano;" gevnesiv" te qew'n gevnesiv" tæ ajnqrwvpwn.
        tau'ta ãou\nà a[lloi" lovgoi" metasthvsa" levgei a[nqrwpon ei\nai to;ãnÃ
        pãrw'tÃon-ão{sà ejstin ãhJà ajrch; tw'n o{lwn-ajgevnãnÃhton, a[fqarton,
        ajivdion, kai; uiJo;n ajnqrwvpou tou' proeirhmevnou genãnÃhto;n kai;
        paqhtovn,
        3 1
        ajcrovnw" genovmenon, ajboulhvtw", ajproorivstw":

        "Okeanos is the generation of the gods and of men". Changing these
        words into others, he says that the anthrôpos in question is the first
        one, who is the principle of all things : unengendered, immortal,
        eternal/perpetual (*aidios*), and the son of the aforementioned man is
        generated and passible, coming into existence intemporally,
        non-voluntarily, and without prior definition (???*aprooristôs*, not in
        LSJ). Fo sucuh, he says, is the power of that *anthrôpos*".

        Perhaps other List-members may be aware of other occurrences, but
        based on the evidence so far, I'd have to say that *ho aidios
        anthrôpos* is not even really a phrase, since it seems to be unattested.

        Best, Mike.
        >
        >
        > T
        Michael Chase
        (goya@...)
        CNRS UPR 76/
        l'Annee Philologique
        Villejuif-Paris
        France


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