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First use of the term "Neoplatonism"? (Henry Simon, 1845?)

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  • Curt Steinmetz
    Is there any agreement on when the term Neoplatonism was first used, and by who, and what the original intention behind coining this new term was? I know
    Message 1 of 21 , Feb 25, 2011
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      Is there any agreement on when the term "Neoplatonism" was first used,
      and by who, and what the original intention behind coining this new term
      was?

      I know very little French, but one can search for the term
      "Néoplatonisme" in Jules Simon's 1845 "Histoire de l'ecole
      d'Alexandrie", where it appears first in Chapter II (on "Éclectisme" and
      the philosophers and "polygraphs" of the first and second centuries),
      where it is used to refer to Plutarch, Philo and Numenius (if I
      understand correctly). Here's a link to Simon's book (it can be
      downloaded for free):
      http://books.google.com/books?id=68orAAAAYAAJ

      If anyone knows of any earlier use of the term, I would be extremely
      interested to know about it!

      Curt Steinmetz
    • Baracat Jr.
      I have seen somewhere that Thomas Taylor was the first to coin the word in the introduction of his translations of Plotinus; but I also heard the word had a
      Message 2 of 21 , Feb 25, 2011
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        I have seen somewhere that Thomas Taylor was the first to coin the word in
        the introduction of his translations of Plotinus; but I also heard the word
        had a German origin (Creuzer? Heigl?).



        Best,



        José



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Curt Steinmetz
        I have seen the Thomas Taylor attribution in many places, but it is invariably given without a proper citation. When any citation at all is given, it is not to
        Message 3 of 21 , Feb 25, 2011
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          I have seen the Thomas Taylor attribution in many places, but it is
          invariably given without a proper citation. When any citation at all is
          given, it is not to a work of Taylor's but rather to a 1936 article by
          James A. Notopoulos, "Shelley and Thomas Taylor", which, in turn,
          supposedly substantiates the claim that Taylor used the term in his
          translation of the Enneads.

          Anyone familiar with Taylor's writings, however, knows that he did not
          think of Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, etc, as anything other
          than Platonists pure and simple. Therefore if, by some chance, he did
          use this word, he did so with a very different meaning from that with
          which it later became associated.

          I don't consider the Notopoulos attribution to be worth much, since it
          is not a direct citation of Taylor. In case anyone wants to see if there
          is anything to the Notopoulos citation, and if you have JSTOR access
          (which I don't) then here's the link:
          http://www.jstor.org/pss/458067

          And for any luddites out there with access to a library with the June,
          1936 issue of the Proceedings of the Modern Language Association, here
          is the full citation:
          "Shelley and Thomas Taylor"
          James A. Notopoulos
          PMLA
          Vol. 51, No. 2 (Jun., 1936), pp. 502-517
          (article consists of 16 pages)
          Published by: Modern Language Association
          Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/458067

          Curt Steinmetz

          On 2/25/11 4:08 PM, Baracat Jr. wrote:
          > I have seen somewhere that Thomas Taylor was the first to coin the word in
          > the introduction of his translations of Plotinus; but I also heard the word
          > had a German origin (Creuzer? Heigl?).
          >
          >
          >
          > Best,
          >
          >
          >
          > José
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • Bruce MacLennan
          The OED gives the following first citations (in English, of course): Neoplatonic: 1836-7 (Sir William Hamilton, Metaphys.) Neoplatonician: 1831 (Fraser s Mag.)
          Message 4 of 21 , Feb 25, 2011
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            The OED gives the following first citations (in English, of course):

            Neoplatonic: 1836-7 (Sir William Hamilton, Metaphys.)
            Neoplatonician: 1831 (Fraser's Mag.)
            Neoplatonism: 1845 (Lewes, Hist. Phil.) with a cf. F. néo-platonisme
            Neoplatonist: 1837 (Whewell, Hist. Ind. Sci.)

            I have in the back of my head that it was coined by an 18th cent. German, but don't have a citation.

            Bruce
          • Curt Steinmetz
            OED! Now why didn t I think of that! I have seen the 1831 date given, but only the bare date. And this is the first time I have encountered the form
            Message 5 of 21 , Feb 25, 2011
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              OED! Now why didn't I think of that! I have seen the 1831 date given,
              but only the bare date. And this is the first time I have encountered
              the form "Neoplatonician". Thanks!
              Curt

              On 2/25/11 6:47 PM, Bruce MacLennan wrote:
              > The OED gives the following first citations (in English, of course):
              >
              > Neoplatonic: 1836-7 (Sir William Hamilton, Metaphys.)
              > Neoplatonician: 1831 (Fraser's Mag.)
              > Neoplatonism: 1845 (Lewes, Hist. Phil.) with a cf. F. néo-platonisme
              > Neoplatonist: 1837 (Whewell, Hist. Ind. Sci.)
              >
              > I have in the back of my head that it was coined by an 18th cent. German, but don't have a citation.
              >
              > Bruce
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
            • Robert Wallace
              Dear Curt, If you have access to the Historisches Woerterbuch der Philosophie (ed. J. Ritter et al.), that would be a good place to look for 18th century
              Message 6 of 21 , Feb 25, 2011
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                Dear Curt,

                If you have access to the Historisches Woerterbuch der Philosophie
                (ed. J. Ritter et al.), that would be a good place to look for 18th
                century German uses of "neuplatonisch," "Neuplatonismus."

                Best, Bob W

                On Feb 25, 2011, at 5:12 PM, Curt Steinmetz wrote:

                > OED! Now why didn't I think of that! I have seen the 1831 date given,
                > but only the bare date. And this is the first time I have encountered
                > the form "Neoplatonician". Thanks!
                > Curt
                >
                > On 2/25/11 6:47 PM, Bruce MacLennan wrote:
                > > The OED gives the following first citations (in English, of course):
                > >
                > > Neoplatonic: 1836-7 (Sir William Hamilton, Metaphys.)
                > > Neoplatonician: 1831 (Fraser's Mag.)
                > > Neoplatonism: 1845 (Lewes, Hist. Phil.) with a cf. F. n�o-platonisme
                > > Neoplatonist: 1837 (Whewell, Hist. Ind. Sci.)
                > >
                > > I have in the back of my head that it was coined by an 18th cent.
                > German, but don't have a citation.
                > >
                > > Bruce
                > >
                > > ------------------------------------
                > >
                > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                >

                Robert Wallace
                website: www.robertmwallace.com
                email: bob@...
                phone: 414-617-3914











                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Curt Steinmetz
                Acting on Bruce s lead (see below) I did a google search on neoplatonician 1831 , which led me to the book Die Prafixe post-, pra- und neo-: Beitrage zur
                Message 7 of 21 , Feb 25, 2011
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                  Acting on Bruce's lead (see below) I did a google search on
                  "neoplatonician 1831", which led me to the book "Die Prafixe post-, pra-
                  und neo-: Beitrage zur Lehn-Wortbildung" by Michael Kinne (published in
                  2000 by Narr), and specifically to the entry in that book for
                  "Neoplatoniker".

                  According to Kinne, "Neoplatoniker" first occurs in the German only in
                  1863, but he gives 1831 as the first occurrence in English of
                  "neoplatonician", and he cites the OED. But he gives an even earlier
                  occurrence of the French "néoplatonicien" in 1827, for which he cites
                  the French equivalent of the OED, Tresor de la langue française. Here is
                  a direct link to the entry (my German is much better than my French, but
                  I still may have misread Kinne):
                  http://tinyurl.com/5txtpxc

                  Curt

                  On 2/25/11 6:47 PM, Bruce MacLennan wrote:
                  > The OED gives the following first citations (in English, of course):
                  >
                  > Neoplatonic: 1836-7 (Sir William Hamilton, Metaphys.)
                  > Neoplatonician: 1831 (Fraser's Mag.)
                  > Neoplatonism: 1845 (Lewes, Hist. Phil.) with a cf. F. néo-platonisme
                  > Neoplatonist: 1837 (Whewell, Hist. Ind. Sci.)
                  >
                  > I have in the back of my head that it was coined by an 18th cent. German, but don't have a citation.
                  >
                  > Bruce
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Baracat Jr.
                  Luckly the Tresor de la langue fraçaise is online: http://atilf.atilf.fr/dendien/scripts/tlfiv5/affart.exe?28;s=3659920140;?b=0 ; The 1827 occurrence of
                  Message 8 of 21 , Feb 26, 2011
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                    Luckly the Tresor de la langue fraçaise is online:
                    http://atilf.atilf.fr/dendien/scripts/tlfiv5/affart.exe?28;s=3659920140;?b=0
                    ;



                    The 1827 occurrence of “Neo-platonique” is by ECKSTEIN (Le Catholique, no
                    22, oct., 108).



                    Best,



                    José



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • vaeringjar
                    ... I guess I would have assumed, perhaps too hastily, that Schleiermacher as a part of his reform of Platonic studies would have been the one to coin the
                    Message 9 of 21 , Feb 27, 2011
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                      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Is there any agreement on when the term "Neoplatonism" was first used,
                      > and by who, and what the original intention behind coining this new term
                      > was?
                      >
                      > I know very little French, but one can search for the term
                      > "Néoplatonisme" in Jules Simon's 1845 "Histoire de l'ecole
                      > d'Alexandrie", where it appears first in Chapter II (on "Éclectisme" and
                      > the philosophers and "polygraphs" of the first and second centuries),
                      > where it is used to refer to Plutarch, Philo and Numenius (if I
                      > understand correctly). Here's a link to Simon's book (it can be
                      > downloaded for free):
                      > http://books.google.com/books?id=68orAAAAYAAJ
                      >
                      > If anyone knows of any earlier use of the term, I would be extremely
                      > interested to know about it!
                      >
                      > Curt Steinmetz
                      >

                      I guess I would have assumed, perhaps too hastily, that Schleiermacher as a part of his "reform" of Platonic studies would have been the one to coin the term. But just digging around online I can't seem to find anything that does point to him.

                      Is there something about this in Kramer's discussion of Schleiermacher in <Plato and the Foundation of Metaphysics> perhaps? My copy of that is upstairs I think.

                      Googling on this did however turn up something else, ben trovato, because Brucker and Schleiermacher are discussed in this context at least, if not credited with the term itself, and that is in a new (2008) book on Coleridge and Plato:


                      http://books.google.com/books?id=rMqWaO2TrUgC&pg=PA102&lpg=PA102&dq=schleiermacher+neoplatonism&source=bl&ots=6d57VIK8kV&sig=7OYMIKub7SwvI7z1axT1PpwPu2A&hl=en&ei=AIpqTdT1GoP2tgP9pZCnBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=schleiermacher%20neoplatonism&f=false

                      Dennis Clark
                    • Tim Addey
                      Just to confirm that Thomas Taylor certainly never used the term Neoplatonism - although, rather strangely this is not the first time I ve heard it suggested
                      Message 10 of 21 , Feb 27, 2011
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                        Just to confirm that Thomas Taylor certainly never used the term
                        Neoplatonism - although, rather strangely this is not the first time
                        I've heard it suggested that he coined it. As Curt says, Taylor wrote
                        strongly in support of the idea that the Platonists from Plotinus to
                        Simplicius were to be regarded as just that - Platonists, not
                        neoplatonists - and was very critical of the emerging orthodoxy which
                        detached what he called "the latter Platonists" from Plato himself. He
                        writes in his introduction to Proclus' Commentary on the Timaeus:

                        "And this leads me to make some remarks on the iniquitous opinion which,
                        since the revival of letters, has been generally entertained of the
                        writings of Proclus and other philosophers, who are distinguished by the
                        appellation of the latter Platonists, and to show the cause from which
                        it originated. The opinion to which I allude is this, that Plotinus
                        and his followers, or in other words, all the Platonists that existed
                        from his time to the fall of the Roman empire, and the destruction of
                        the schools of the philosophers by Justinian, corrupted the philosophy
                        of Plato, by filling it with jargon and revery, and by ascribing dogmas
                        to him, which are not to be found in his writings, and which are
                        perfectly absurd. It might naturally be supposed that the authors of
                        this calumny were men deeply skilled in the philosophy, the corruptors
                        of which they profess to have detected; and that they had studied the
                        writings of the men whom they so grossly defame. This however is very
                        far from being the case. . . ."

                        Regards

                        Tim Addey

                        Baracat Jr. wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > I have seen somewhere that Thomas Taylor was the first to coin the word in
                        > the introduction of his translations of Plotinus; but I also heard the
                        > word
                        > had a German origin (Creuzer? Heigl?).
                        >
                        > Best,
                        >
                        > José
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Finamore, John F
                        I thought I’d see what the Oxford English Dictionary had to say. The earliest occurrence listed there (which is not necessarily the first occurrence in
                        Message 11 of 21 , Feb 27, 2011
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                          I thought I’d see what the Oxford English Dictionary had to say. The earliest occurrence listed there (which is not necessarily the first occurrence in English) was in 1832. Here’s the entry:

                          A philosophical and religious system based on Platonic ideas and originating with Plotinus in the 3rd cent. a.d., which emphasizes the distinction between an eternal world accessible to thought and the changing physical world accessible to the senses, and combines this with a mystical belief in the possibility of union with a supreme being from which all reality is held to derive. Neoplatonism combined ideas from Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and the Stoics with oriental mysticism. It predominated in pagan Europe until the 6th early century, and was a major influence on early Christian writers, on later medieval and Renaissance thought, and on Islamic philosophy.

                          1832 A. Johnson tr. W. G. Tennemann Man. Hist. Philos. 185 Neoplatonism [Ger. der neue Platonismus] had its origin in the frequented school of the Platonists of Alexandria.
                          1845 G. H. Lewes Hist. Philos. II. 192 In losing Julian, Neo-Platonism lost its power, political and religious.
                          1851 C. Kingsley in Lett. & Mem. I. 264 Schiller's ‘Gods of Greece’ expresses a tone of feeling‥which finds its vent in modern Neo-Platonism—Anythingarianism.
                          1869 W. E. H. Lecky Hist. European Morals (1877) I. 325 Neoplatonism and the philosophies that were allied to it were fundamentally pantheistic.
                          1899 W. R. Inge Christian Mysticism vii. 267 The turbid streams of theurgy and magic flowed into the broad river of Christian thought by two channels—the later Neo-platonism, and Jewish Cabbalism.
                          1910 Encycl. Brit. I. 575/2 The eddies of Neo-Platonism had a considerable effect on certain Christian thinkers about the beginning of the 3rd century.
                          1941 G. G. Scholem Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism vii. 256 The emanationist doctrine of Neoplatonism.
                          1959 Encounter Nov. 78/2 The misguided Neo-Platonism of some Yeatsians.
                          1971 K. Thomas Relig. & Decline of Magic iii. 68 Such legends may have been reinforced by the way in which some of the Renaissance Popes had indeed compromised with hermetic magic and Neoplatonism.
                          1995 New Yorker 27 Mar. 96/3 The sublime Neoplatonism of the young expatriated English Romantic.

                          It’s pretty clear from the 1832 quotation that the word was borrowed from the German.

                          It’s also clear that most of these quoted writers didn’t like Neoplatonism much. Sigh.

                          John Finamore


                          On 2/27/11 12:05 PM, "Tim Addey" <tim@...> wrote:






                          Just to confirm that Thomas Taylor certainly never used the term
                          Neoplatonism - although, rather strangely this is not the first time
                          I've heard it suggested that he coined it. As Curt says, Taylor wrote
                          strongly in support of the idea that the Platonists from Plotinus to
                          Simplicius were to be regarded as just that - Platonists, not
                          neoplatonists - and was very critical of the emerging orthodoxy which
                          detached what he called "the latter Platonists" from Plato himself. He
                          writes in his introduction to Proclus' Commentary on the Timaeus:

                          "And this leads me to make some remarks on the iniquitous opinion which,
                          since the revival of letters, has been generally entertained of the
                          writings of Proclus and other philosophers, who are distinguished by the
                          appellation of the latter Platonists, and to show the cause from which
                          it originated. The opinion to which I allude is this, that Plotinus
                          and his followers, or in other words, all the Platonists that existed
                          from his time to the fall of the Roman empire, and the destruction of
                          the schools of the philosophers by Justinian, corrupted the philosophy
                          of Plato, by filling it with jargon and revery, and by ascribing dogmas
                          to him, which are not to be found in his writings, and which are
                          perfectly absurd. It might naturally be supposed that the authors of
                          this calumny were men deeply skilled in the philosophy, the corruptors
                          of which they profess to have detected; and that they had studied the
                          writings of the men whom they so grossly defame. This however is very
                          far from being the case. . . ."

                          Regards

                          Tim Addey

                          Baracat Jr. wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > I have seen somewhere that Thomas Taylor was the first to coin the word in
                          > the introduction of his translations of Plotinus; but I also heard the
                          > word
                          > had a German origin (Creuzer? Heigl?).
                          >
                          > Best,
                          >
                          > José
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >

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







                          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



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Lloyd P. Gerson
                          The first use was in 1774 in a book by A. F. Bueshing, Grundriss einer Geschichte der Philosophie, Band 2 (Berlin). ... Professor Lloyd P. Gerson Department of
                          Message 12 of 21 , Feb 27, 2011
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                            The first use was in 1774 in a book by A. F. Bueshing, Grundriss einer
                            Geschichte der Philosophie, Band 2 (Berlin).

                            Quoting vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...>:

                            >
                            >
                            > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> wrote:
                            >>
                            >> Is there any agreement on when the term "Neoplatonism" was first used,
                            >> and by who, and what the original intention behind coining this new term
                            >> was?
                            >>
                            >> I know very little French, but one can search for the term
                            >> "Néoplatonisme" in Jules Simon's 1845 "Histoire de l'ecole
                            >> d'Alexandrie", where it appears first in Chapter II (on "Éclectisme" and
                            >> the philosophers and "polygraphs" of the first and second centuries),
                            >> where it is used to refer to Plutarch, Philo and Numenius (if I
                            >> understand correctly). Here's a link to Simon's book (it can be
                            >> downloaded for free):
                            >> http://books.google.com/books?id=68orAAAAYAAJ
                            >>
                            >> If anyone knows of any earlier use of the term, I would be extremely
                            >> interested to know about it!
                            >>
                            >> Curt Steinmetz
                            >>
                            >
                            > I guess I would have assumed, perhaps too hastily, that
                            > Schleiermacher as a part of his "reform" of Platonic studies would
                            > have been the one to coin the term. But just digging around online I
                            > can't seem to find anything that does point to him.
                            >
                            > Is there something about this in Kramer's discussion of
                            > Schleiermacher in <Plato and the Foundation of Metaphysics> perhaps?
                            > My copy of that is upstairs I think.
                            >
                            > Googling on this did however turn up something else, ben trovato,
                            > because Brucker and Schleiermacher are discussed in this context at
                            > least, if not credited with the term itself, and that is in a new
                            > (2008) book on Coleridge and Plato:
                            >
                            >
                            > http://books.google.com/books?id=rMqWaO2TrUgC&pg=PA102&lpg=PA102&dq=schleiermacher+neoplatonism&source=bl&ots=6d57VIK8kV&sig=7OYMIKub7SwvI7z1axT1PpwPu2A&hl=en&ei=AIpqTdT1GoP2tgP9pZCnBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=schleiermacher%20neoplatonism&f=false
                            >
                            > Dennis Clark
                            >
                            >



                            Professor Lloyd P. Gerson
                            Department of Philosophy
                            University of Toronto
                            170 St. George St.
                            Toronto, ON
                            M5R 2M8
                            Canada
                            lloyd.gerson@...
                          • Thomas Mether
                            Dennis, Kramer only says that Schleiemacher s combined protestant and romantic assumption that there is a unity of the artform or self-enclosed unity of a work
                            Message 13 of 21 , Feb 27, 2011
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                              Dennis,
                              Kramer only says that Schleiemacher's combined protestant and romantic assumption that there is a unity of the artform or self-enclosed unity of a work denies it is dependent on anything outside itself left his skepticism about the esoteric or unwritten doctrines unresolved or status of the seventh letter unresolved. Kramer then states the "resolution" was left to Schleiemacher's dissatified students whose "solution" was to assume the esoteric or unwritten documents were a product of a later date as something "new" added to Platonism. So, Kramer does not pin down the coinage but points to Schleiemacher's immediate students. pp. 6-12, 16. So, we need to look at any of his students publishing before 1832 it looks like.
                              Thomas

                              --- On Sun, 2/27/11, vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...> wrote:


                              From: vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...>
                              Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: First use of the term "Neoplatonism"? (Henry Simon, 1845?)
                              To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                              Date: Sunday, February 27, 2011, 11:45 AM


                               





                              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Is there any agreement on when the term "Neoplatonism" was first used,
                              > and by who, and what the original intention behind coining this new term
                              > was?
                              >
                              > I know very little French, but one can search for the term
                              > "Néoplatonisme" in Jules Simon's 1845 "Histoire de l'ecole
                              > d'Alexandrie", where it appears first in Chapter II (on "Éclectisme" and
                              > the philosophers and "polygraphs" of the first and second centuries),
                              > where it is used to refer to Plutarch, Philo and Numenius (if I
                              > understand correctly). Here's a link to Simon's book (it can be
                              > downloaded for free):
                              > http://books.google.com/books?id=68orAAAAYAAJ
                              >
                              > If anyone knows of any earlier use of the term, I would be extremely
                              > interested to know about it!
                              >
                              > Curt Steinmetz
                              >

                              I guess I would have assumed, perhaps too hastily, that Schleiermacher as a part of his "reform" of Platonic studies would have been the one to coin the term. But just digging around online I can't seem to find anything that does point to him.

                              Is there something about this in Kramer's discussion of Schleiermacher in <Plato and the Foundation of Metaphysics> perhaps? My copy of that is upstairs I think.

                              Googling on this did however turn up something else, ben trovato, because Brucker and Schleiermacher are discussed in this context at least, if not credited with the term itself, and that is in a new (2008) book on Coleridge and Plato:

                              http://books.google.com/books?id=rMqWaO2TrUgC&pg=PA102&lpg=PA102&dq=schleiermacher+neoplatonism&source=bl&ots=6d57VIK8kV&sig=7OYMIKub7SwvI7z1axT1PpwPu2A&hl=en&ei=AIpqTdT1GoP2tgP9pZCnBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=schleiermacher%20neoplatonism&f=false

                              Dennis Clark











                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Thomas Mether
                              Who Kramer doesn t even discuss or mention or seem aware of. ... From: Lloyd P. Gerson Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: First use of
                              Message 14 of 21 , Feb 27, 2011
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                                Who Kramer doesn't even discuss or mention or seem aware of.

                                --- On Sun, 2/27/11, Lloyd P. Gerson <lloyd.gerson@...> wrote:


                                From: Lloyd P. Gerson <lloyd.gerson@...>
                                Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: First use of the term "Neoplatonism"? (Henry Simon, 1845?)
                                To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                Date: Sunday, February 27, 2011, 1:35 PM


                                 



                                The first use was in 1774 in a book by A. F. Bueshing, Grundriss einer
                                Geschichte der Philosophie, Band 2 (Berlin).

                                Quoting vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...>:

                                >
                                >
                                > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Curt Steinmetz <curt@...> wrote:
                                >>
                                >> Is there any agreement on when the term "Neoplatonism" was first used,
                                >> and by who, and what the original intention behind coining this new term
                                >> was?
                                >>
                                >> I know very little French, but one can search for the term
                                >> "Néoplatonisme" in Jules Simon's 1845 "Histoire de l'ecole
                                >> d'Alexandrie", where it appears first in Chapter II (on "Éclectisme" and
                                >> the philosophers and "polygraphs" of the first and second centuries),
                                >> where it is used to refer to Plutarch, Philo and Numenius (if I
                                >> understand correctly). Here's a link to Simon's book (it can be
                                >> downloaded for free):
                                >> http://books.google.com/books?id=68orAAAAYAAJ
                                >>
                                >> If anyone knows of any earlier use of the term, I would be extremely
                                >> interested to know about it!
                                >>
                                >> Curt Steinmetz
                                >>
                                >
                                > I guess I would have assumed, perhaps too hastily, that
                                > Schleiermacher as a part of his "reform" of Platonic studies would
                                > have been the one to coin the term. But just digging around online I
                                > can't seem to find anything that does point to him.
                                >
                                > Is there something about this in Kramer's discussion of
                                > Schleiermacher in <Plato and the Foundation of Metaphysics> perhaps?
                                > My copy of that is upstairs I think.
                                >
                                > Googling on this did however turn up something else, ben trovato,
                                > because Brucker and Schleiermacher are discussed in this context at
                                > least, if not credited with the term itself, and that is in a new
                                > (2008) book on Coleridge and Plato:
                                >
                                >
                                > http://books.google.com/books?id=rMqWaO2TrUgC&pg=PA102&lpg=PA102&dq=schleiermacher+neoplatonism&source=bl&ots=6d57VIK8kV&sig=7OYMIKub7SwvI7z1axT1PpwPu2A&hl=en&ei=AIpqTdT1GoP2tgP9pZCnBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=schleiermacher%20neoplatonism&f=false
                                >
                                > Dennis Clark
                                >
                                >

                                Professor Lloyd P. Gerson
                                Department of Philosophy
                                University of Toronto
                                170 St. George St.
                                Toronto, ON
                                M5R 2M8
                                Canada
                                lloyd.gerson@...











                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Curt Steinmetz
                                With professor Gerson s lead I was able to track down a citation for this factoid. It is found in Robert Ziomkowski s entry for Neoplatonism in the New
                                Message 15 of 21 , Feb 27, 2011
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                                  With professor Gerson's lead I was able to track down a citation for
                                  this factoid. It is found in Robert Ziomkowski's entry for
                                  "Neoplatonism" in the "New Dictionary of the History of Ideas", which
                                  has a subsection on "Terminology", wherein Ziomkowski says:

                                  "Neoplatonism initially had a negative connotation. Enlightenment
                                  historians developed the term to dissociate the Platonists of the late
                                  Roman Empire from Plato, believing that they had distorted his
                                  philosophy beyond all recognition by their eclecticism. Jacob Brucker
                                  (Historia critica philosophiae, 1742–1744) branded them "the Eclectic
                                  Sect" before A. F. Büsching (Grundriß einer Geschichte der Philosophie,
                                  1772–1774) dismissively suggested the appellation "new Platonists" (neue
                                  Platoniker ). Edward Gibbon similarly disparaged the philosophy of the
                                  "new Platonicians" (History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
                                  1776). The prefix neo did not appear in English until the 1830s. Yet the
                                  idea of Neoplatonism is, in certain ways, unsatisfactory. It implies a
                                  sharp break with the thought of preceding generations, whereas
                                  considerable continuity is evident; moreover, the Neoplatonists did not
                                  regard themselves as innovators but as elucidators of the true
                                  philosophy established by Plato. The word is now simply a term of
                                  convenience denoting a late phase in the reception of Plato's philosophy."

                                  Many thanks to all who have responded so far!

                                  Curt Steinmetz

                                  On 2/27/11 2:35 PM, Lloyd P. Gerson wrote:
                                  > The first use was in 1774 in a book by A. F. Bueshing, Grundriss einer
                                  > Geschichte der Philosophie, Band 2 (Berlin).
                                  >
                                  > Quoting vaeringjar<vaeringjar@...>:
                                  >
                                  >>
                                  >> --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Curt Steinmetz<curt@...> wrote:
                                  >>> Is there any agreement on when the term "Neoplatonism" was first used,
                                  >>> and by who, and what the original intention behind coining this new term
                                  >>> was?
                                  >>>
                                  >>> I know very little French, but one can search for the term
                                  >>> "Néoplatonisme" in Jules Simon's 1845 "Histoire de l'ecole
                                  >>> d'Alexandrie", where it appears first in Chapter II (on "Éclectisme" and
                                  >>> the philosophers and "polygraphs" of the first and second centuries),
                                  >>> where it is used to refer to Plutarch, Philo and Numenius (if I
                                  >>> understand correctly). Here's a link to Simon's book (it can be
                                  >>> downloaded for free):
                                  >>> http://books.google.com/books?id=68orAAAAYAAJ
                                  >>>
                                  >>> If anyone knows of any earlier use of the term, I would be extremely
                                  >>> interested to know about it!
                                  >>>
                                  >>> Curt Steinmetz
                                  >>>
                                  >> I guess I would have assumed, perhaps too hastily, that
                                  >> Schleiermacher as a part of his "reform" of Platonic studies would
                                  >> have been the one to coin the term. But just digging around online I
                                  >> can't seem to find anything that does point to him.
                                  >>
                                  >> Is there something about this in Kramer's discussion of
                                  >> Schleiermacher in<Plato and the Foundation of Metaphysics> perhaps?
                                  >> My copy of that is upstairs I think.
                                  >>
                                  >> Googling on this did however turn up something else, ben trovato,
                                  >> because Brucker and Schleiermacher are discussed in this context at
                                  >> least, if not credited with the term itself, and that is in a new
                                  >> (2008) book on Coleridge and Plato:
                                  >>
                                  >>
                                  >> http://books.google.com/books?id=rMqWaO2TrUgC&pg=PA102&lpg=PA102&dq=schleiermacher+neoplatonism&source=bl&ots=6d57VIK8kV&sig=7OYMIKub7SwvI7z1axT1PpwPu2A&hl=en&ei=AIpqTdT1GoP2tgP9pZCnBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=schleiermacher%20neoplatonism&f=false
                                  >>
                                  >> Dennis Clark
                                  >>
                                  >>
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Professor Lloyd P. Gerson
                                  > Department of Philosophy
                                  > University of Toronto
                                  > 170 St. George St.
                                  > Toronto, ON
                                  > M5R 2M8
                                  > Canada
                                  > lloyd.gerson@...
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > ------------------------------------
                                  >
                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Christoph Helmig
                                  As has already been suggested by Bob, a good (German) summary of the question can be found in: H. MEINHARDT, Neuplatonismus , Historisches Wörterbuch der
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Feb 27, 2011
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                                    As has already been suggested by Bob, a good (German) summary of the question can be found in: H. MEINHARDT, "Neuplatonismus", Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, Bd. 6, S. 754 ff. (1984), who mentions Brucker, Büsching, Meiners, and others. There is also an article by Hager, Fritz Peter, «Zur Geschichte, Problematik, und Bedeutung des Begriffes “Neuplatonismus”» , Diotima, 11 (1983), 98-110.

                                    Best,
                                    Christoph




                                    Christoph Helmig
                                    Institut für Klassische Philologie
                                    Humboldt-Universität Berlin
                                    Unter den Linden 6
                                    D-10099 Berlin

                                    ________________________________________
                                    Von: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] im Auftrag von Curt Steinmetz [curt@...]
                                    Gesendet: Sonntag, 27. Februar 2011 21:15
                                    An: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                    Betreff: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: First use of the term "Neoplatonism"? (Henry Simon, 1845?)

                                    With professor Gerson's lead I was able to track down a citation for
                                    this factoid. It is found in Robert Ziomkowski's entry for
                                    "Neoplatonism" in the "New Dictionary of the History of Ideas", which
                                    has a subsection on "Terminology", wherein Ziomkowski says:

                                    "Neoplatonism initially had a negative connotation. Enlightenment
                                    historians developed the term to dissociate the Platonists of the late
                                    Roman Empire from Plato, believing that they had distorted his
                                    philosophy beyond all recognition by their eclecticism. Jacob Brucker
                                    (Historia critica philosophiae, 1742–1744) branded them "the Eclectic
                                    Sect" before A. F. Büsching (Grundriß einer Geschichte der Philosophie,
                                    1772–1774) dismissively suggested the appellation "new Platonists" (neue
                                    Platoniker ). Edward Gibbon similarly disparaged the philosophy of the
                                    "new Platonicians" (History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
                                    1776). The prefix neo did not appear in English until the 1830s. Yet the
                                    idea of Neoplatonism is, in certain ways, unsatisfactory. It implies a
                                    sharp break with the thought of preceding generations, whereas
                                    considerable continuity is evident; moreover, the Neoplatonists did not
                                    regard themselves as innovators but as elucidators of the true
                                    philosophy established by Plato. The word is now simply a term of
                                    convenience denoting a late phase in the reception of Plato's philosophy."

                                    Many thanks to all who have responded so far!

                                    Curt Steinmetz
                                  • vaeringjar
                                    ... Oh, that s very interesting, Tim, thanks for posting it. Filling it with jargon and revery... Nice turn of phrase. Though personally it rather also
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Feb 28, 2011
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                                      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Tim Addey <tim@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Just to confirm that Thomas Taylor certainly never used the term
                                      > Neoplatonism - although, rather strangely this is not the first time
                                      > I've heard it suggested that he coined it. As Curt says, Taylor wrote
                                      > strongly in support of the idea that the Platonists from Plotinus to
                                      > Simplicius were to be regarded as just that - Platonists, not
                                      > neoplatonists - and was very critical of the emerging orthodoxy which
                                      > detached what he called "the latter Platonists" from Plato himself. He
                                      > writes in his introduction to Proclus' Commentary on the Timaeus:
                                      >
                                      > "And this leads me to make some remarks on the iniquitous opinion which,
                                      > since the revival of letters, has been generally entertained of the
                                      > writings of Proclus and other philosophers, who are distinguished by the
                                      > appellation of the latter Platonists, and to show the cause from which
                                      > it originated. The opinion to which I allude is this, that Plotinus
                                      > and his followers, or in other words, all the Platonists that existed
                                      > from his time to the fall of the Roman empire, and the destruction of
                                      > the schools of the philosophers by Justinian, corrupted the philosophy
                                      > of Plato, by filling it with jargon and revery, and by ascribing dogmas
                                      > to him, which are not to be found in his writings, and which are
                                      > perfectly absurd. It might naturally be supposed that the authors of
                                      > this calumny were men deeply skilled in the philosophy, the corruptors
                                      > of which they profess to have detected; and that they had studied the
                                      > writings of the men whom they so grossly defame. This however is very
                                      > far from being the case. . . ."
                                      >
                                      > Regards
                                      >
                                      > Tim Addey
                                      >

                                      Oh, that's very interesting, Tim, thanks for posting it.

                                      "Filling it with jargon and revery..." Nice turn of phrase.

                                      Though personally it rather also sounds like my take on my undergraduate math classes..."jargon" for the hated stuff they were throwing at me, and "reverie" in my hopes of being anywhere else at the time!

                                      Dennis Clark
                                    • vaeringjar
                                      ... Thanks to all for ferreting this out. Interesting to see Gibbon s take, though not really surprising. I guess this is something we ought to know, the
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Feb 28, 2011
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                                        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Christoph Helmig <Christoph.Helmig@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > As has already been suggested by Bob, a good (German) summary of the question can be found in: H. MEINHARDT, "Neuplatonismus", Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, Bd. 6, S. 754 ff. (1984), who mentions Brucker, Büsching, Meiners, and others. There is also an article by Hager, Fritz Peter, «Zur Geschichte, Problematik, und Bedeutung des Begriffes "Neuplatonismus"» , Diotima, 11 (1983), 98-110.
                                        >
                                        > Best,
                                        > Christoph
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Christoph Helmig
                                        > Institut für Klassische Philologie
                                        > Humboldt-Universität Berlin
                                        > Unter den Linden 6
                                        > D-10099 Berlin
                                        >
                                        > ________________________________________
                                        > Von: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] im Auftrag von Curt Steinmetz [curt@...]
                                        > Gesendet: Sonntag, 27. Februar 2011 21:15
                                        > An: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                        > Betreff: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: First use of the term "Neoplatonism"? (Henry Simon, 1845?)
                                        >
                                        > With professor Gerson's lead I was able to track down a citation for
                                        > this factoid. It is found in Robert Ziomkowski's entry for
                                        > "Neoplatonism" in the "New Dictionary of the History of Ideas", which
                                        > has a subsection on "Terminology", wherein Ziomkowski says:
                                        >
                                        > "Neoplatonism initially had a negative connotation. Enlightenment
                                        > historians developed the term to dissociate the Platonists of the late
                                        > Roman Empire from Plato, believing that they had distorted his
                                        > philosophy beyond all recognition by their eclecticism. Jacob Brucker
                                        > (Historia critica philosophiae, 1742–1744) branded them "the Eclectic
                                        > Sect" before A. F. Büsching (Grundriß einer Geschichte der Philosophie,
                                        > 1772–1774) dismissively suggested the appellation "new Platonists" (neue
                                        > Platoniker ). Edward Gibbon similarly disparaged the philosophy of the
                                        > "new Platonicians" (History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
                                        > 1776). The prefix neo did not appear in English until the 1830s. Yet the
                                        > idea of Neoplatonism is, in certain ways, unsatisfactory. It implies a
                                        > sharp break with the thought of preceding generations, whereas
                                        > considerable continuity is evident; moreover, the Neoplatonists did not
                                        > regard themselves as innovators but as elucidators of the true
                                        > philosophy established by Plato. The word is now simply a term of
                                        > convenience denoting a late phase in the reception of Plato's philosophy."
                                        >
                                        > Many thanks to all who have responded so far!
                                        >
                                        > Curt Steinmetz
                                        >

                                        Thanks to all for ferreting this out. Interesting to see Gibbon's take, though not really surprising. I guess this is something we ought to know, the origin of the term itself.

                                        I think I noticed in the new book on Coleridge that he also was one of the earliest in English to use the term, around 1834 as I recall, after Taylor then a bit. It's a preview only book, so some of the discussion of this there I think is missing.

                                        Dennis Clark
                                      • John Uebersax
                                        Some early references – not all verified -- to Neoplatonism (taking into account the helpful posts of Christoph and others): 1. Thomas Gale - 1670 In a
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Mar 2, 2011
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                                          Some early references – not all verified -- to Neoplatonism (taking into account the helpful posts of Christoph and others):

                                          1. Thomas Gale - 1670

                                          "In a history of philosophy (1670), he coined the term Neoplatonism to denote late antique Platonism."
                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Gale
                                          I'm unable to find the title of this 1670 work; possibly in Latin.

                                          2. Gottfried Arnold - c. 1699

                                          Goethe, in his memoirs, wrote: "A book had fallen into my hands which had made a strong impression on my mind.... The new Platonism furnished the foundation of my new system."
                                          http://books.google.com/books?id=aIYtAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA258

                                          He added that the book was Gottfried Arnold's An Impartial History of the Church and Heresies (1699-1700; Unparteyische Kirchen- und Ketzer-historie).

                                          3. Sir Frederick Pollock, Johannes Colerus - 1706

                                          "At all events the work of the Jewish Neo-Platonist Avicebron (Ibn-Gebirol) was known to him and freely used by him."
                                          Source: Spinoza, his life and philosophy (1706)
                                          http://books.google.com/books?id=uTjXAAAAMAAJ

                                          4. Anton Friedrich Büshing - 1744

                                          "The term 'Neoplatonism' is used in 1744 by A. F. Bushing, who spoke not only of an eclectic sect but also of 'new Platonists'."

                                          Source: Gerson, Lloyd. P. The Cambridge companion to Plotinus, p. 23
                                          http://books.google.com/books?id=QdzrNQG3D2YC&pg=PA23

                                          5. Johann Jakob Brucker - 1767
                                          History of Philosophy (Ed. Lipsiae, 1767)

                                          Referring to this work, Gibbon wrote: "The philosophers of the Platonic school[n. 16], Plotinus, Porphyry, and the divine Iamblichus, were admired as the most skilful masters of this allegorical science, which laboured to soften and harmonize the deformed features of paganism."

                                          [n. 16] Eunapius has made these sophists the subject of a partial and fanatical history; and the learned Brucker (Hist. Philosoph. tom. ii., p. 217-303.) has employed much labour to illustrate their obscure lives, and incomprehensible doctrines.

                                          Ref.: The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire, Volume 2
                                          Edward Gibbon
                                          http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA36

                                          6. Christoph Meiners – 1786

                                          "In 1786 C. Meiners produced a 'History of New-Platonic Philosophy,' continuing, however, to consider it in a negative light."

                                          Source: Gerson, Lloyd. P. The Cambridge companion to Plotinus, p. 23
                                          http://books.google.com/books?id=QdzrNQG3D2YC&pg=PA23

                                          7. G. G. Füllebom – 1793

                                          "In 1793 G. G. Füllebom chose to express with the title 'Neoplatonic Philosophy' the common name for the 'famous Neoplatonists,' though he still regarded them in basically a negative manner."

                                          Source: Gerson, Lloyd. P. The Cambridge companion to Plotinus, p. 23
                                          http://books.google.com/books?id=QdzrNQG3D2YC&pg=PA23

                                          8. Dietrich Tiedemann - 1791

                                          Tiedemann (1791) is suggested in several web articles as an early reference. Possibly the work referred to is: Geist der spekulativen Philosophie von Thales bis Berkeley (1791-97)

                                          By the early 19th century, the principle of Neoplatonism (or New Platonism), as distinct from Platonism, seems to have been fairly well established.

                                          Note to Thomas: thank you very much for your posts on eikasia, phantasia, etc., which I've downloaded and am trying to read carefully.

                                          John Uebersax
                                        • John Uebersax
                                          A couple of corrections/additions to my last post (written before I saw all the responses): - The Life of Spinoza referred to was actually published in 1880;
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Mar 2, 2011
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                                            A couple of corrections/additions to my last post (written before I saw all the responses):

                                            - The Life of Spinoza referred to was actually published in 1880; apparently it included portions of an earlier (1706) work (which didn't mention Platonism at all).

                                            - Per what Prof. Gerson wrote in his post, the date of the A. F. Büshing book seems to be 1774, not 1744.

                                            - If Thomas Gale did indeed refer to "New Platonism", or something like it, in 1670, a candidate might be his Opuscula mythologica, ethica et physica (1670/1):
                                            http://books.google.com/books?id=JC3gAAAAMAAJ

                                            John Uebersax
                                          • Bruce MacLennan
                                            ... A while ago I looked through his edition of De Mysteriis (1678), and found a mention of Theodorus Asinaeus inter Platonicos non obscurus Philosophus but
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Mar 2, 2011
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                                              On Mar 2, 2011, at 11:50 PM, John Uebersax wrote:

                                              > - If Thomas Gale did indeed refer to "New Platonism", or something like it, in 1670, a candidate might be his Opuscula mythologica, ethica et physica (1670/1):
                                              > http://books.google.com/books?id=JC3gAAAAMAAJ

                                              A while ago I looked through his edition of De Mysteriis (1678), and found a mention of Theodorus Asinaeus "inter Platonicos non obscurus Philosophus" but nothing "neo-." However I didn't have time to go through it exhaustively.

                                              Bruce

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