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Re: [neoplatonism] Re: More on Fragment of Porphyry's Philosophical History

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  • Michael Chase
    ... M.C. No coincidence, I suspect. Schurmann, an anarcho-mystico-Heideggerian, attended Hadot s seminars at the Ecole Pratiuqe des Hautes Etudes in Paris in
    Message 1 of 18 , Jun 2, 2004
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      Le 2 juin 04, à 00:05, Melanie Brawn Mineo a écrit :

      > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Michael Chase <goya@u...> wrote:
      >
      > I find it delightful and intriguing that M.C. and I, though writing
      > two different posts, were writing at nearly the same hour/minute, with
      > regard to the same subject matter...."Anonymous of Turino"/Commentary
      > on the Parmenides (Hadot)....

      >
      > Indeed, this commentary is to what Schurmann was referring.

      M.C. No coincidence, I suspect. Schurmann, an
      anarcho-mystico-Heideggerian, attended Hadot's seminars at the Ecole
      Pratiuqe des Hautes Etudes in Paris in the 1960's. Professor Hadot has
      told me he found his discussions with Schurmann stimulating but also
      disturbing.

      Best, Mike.

      Michael Chase
      (goya@...)
      CNRS UPR 76
      7, rue Guy Moquet
      Villejuif 94801
      France


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Melanie Brawn Mineo
      Hmmm. Interesting.... Stimulating? How so? Disturbing? How so? (Inquiring minds want to know....can we gossip about S. now that he s made the transition to
      Message 2 of 18 , Jun 2, 2004
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        Hmmm. Interesting.... Stimulating? How so? Disturbing? How so?
        (Inquiring minds want to know....can we gossip about S. now that he's
        made the transition to "historical figure", so to say?? We talk about
        Plotinus all the time....think his ears are burning...??)

        On a very serious note, Mike has brought up a good point. There are
        anarcho-mysticos, _and_ there are anarcho-mysticos.... Healthy and
        unhealthy "mystical" experience. To my mind, we cannot necessarily
        exclude Plotinus from this A-M designation. My next question is, if we
        _do_ include him, have we made the tacit (?) judgment that our
        Plotinus was a likeable guy, and not a weirdo, namely the former? If
        so, why? An important question: how does one make this distinction?
        What are the criteria? One important, deciding factor for me has been
        how well-integrated into practical life an individual is; if the
        mystical experience has been made "functional", as Deikman would say.

        Although "mystical" experience was certainly a central aspect of
        Plotinus' life, it was not separate from, but informed, his everyday
        life. His kindness, his love of children, his insightful practicality,
        his independence of mind, his humility, would seem to me to be the
        fruit of a healthy contemplation in action. Though immersed in the
        worldly interests of so many, as Porphyry says of him, Plotinus never
        lost "his intention towards the Supreme." That is not to say that he
        did not have issues. However, other-centered, and living a life of
        service, I see his as being, on the whole, a "functional" rather than
        an "ivory-tower" mysticism. What do you think?

        Next. Re the "substance" or "function" line of questioning elicited by
        the Anonymous alias Porphyry (?) text... We can't do the Todschweigen,
        death by/conspiracy of silence, thing, simply because it could turn
        things upside down and backwards. Can we?


        Thanks, Mel



        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Michael Chase <goya@u...> wrote:

        > > Indeed, this commentary is to what Schurmann was referring.
        >
        > M.C. No coincidence, I suspect. Schurmann, an
        > anarcho-mystico-Heideggerian, attended Hadot's seminars at the Ecole
        > Pratiuqe des Hautes Etudes in Paris in the 1960's. Professor Hadot
        >has told me he found his discussions with Schurmann stimulating but
        >also disturbing.
        >
        > Best, Mike.
      • Sara L. Rappe
        I missed the earlier part of the discussion, where Michael was talking about the relative neglect of Porphyry by later Neoplatonists. He mentioned Simplicius.
        Message 3 of 18 , Jun 2, 2004
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          I missed the earlier part of the discussion, where Michael was talking
          about the relative neglect of Porphyry by later Neoplatonists. He
          mentioned Simplicius. Michael mentioned how little read even Porphyry's
          larger work on the Categories was. But I wondered then why we do find the
          fragments of Porphyry's work apud Simplicius and Dexippus and also
          wondered if you agreed with people who say that Porphyry was in a sense
          the inspiration behind the compromising reading of the Categories,
          according to which Plato and Aristotle are to be harmonized? I ask this
          not to be polemical at all; but what you are saying seems different from
          some commonplace assumptions. or am i wrong about this? thanks, sara
        • Marilynn Lawrence
          Melanie, While I m no expert on Heidegger, I wrote a thesis on his work. This use of H s Ereignis in comparison with Plotinus seems like quite a stretch.
          Message 4 of 18 , Jun 2, 2004
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            Melanie,

            While I'm no expert on Heidegger, I wrote a thesis on his work. This use of
            H's Ereignis in comparison with Plotinus seems like quite a stretch. It's
            hard to conceive such a comparison without distorting either philosopher, so
            I wonder if Schurmann was using selective attention and exaggerating one
            feature of 'appropriation' or 'enowning' (as it is translated by Emad and
            Maly) or 'event of appropriation' (as translated by Stambaugh when hypenated
            as Er-eignis), such as its dynamic rather than static nature (if so why
            choose Ereignis over other dynamic Heidegger's concepts?)
            Ereignis is a word Heidegger chose to avoid what he considered typical
            metaphysical language to describe the apportionment of Being, which is a
            relationship (this is not a word he would use) between being and the human
            being. Da-sein, the human being or thinker can be (not 'is' but can be) the
            situated being at the center of this temporal and historical activity. The
            human being (as I argued in my thesis, the authentic Dasein) acts, through
            thinking, as the opening by which Being is revealed in "truth." He
            mythical calls this relating in Ereignis that of the fourfold, earth sky man
            and gods. Da-sein is the
            between that effects this relating. This 'concept' cannot be understood
            without acknowledging that it was born from his confrontation with nihilism,
            and what he saw as the disintegration or loss of "being" manifest in the
            loss of greatness of the human being. At the point of introducing Ereignis,
            Heidegger is not concerned with everyday Dasein, or any average human being,
            but with "the few and the rare." To discuss the meaning of Ereignis further
            really falls out of the scope of Neoplatonism and discussion of mystical
            experiences. I understand that late Heidegger is often characterized as
            'mystical' - but this is usually because people fail to understand his
            language then impose any interpretative device (such as comparative
            studies), or they consider his early interest in Duns Scotus and Eckhart as
            the main basis of interpretion of his work, or they did not have access to
            the development of his language in his 'private' works of the 30's, such as
            Beitraege, which (by his request) was not published in German until 1989,
            and translated in English in 1999, His1962 essay, "Time and Being" for
            instance makes little sense without going back to his introduction of
            Ereignis in the 30's.

            I just can't imagine Heidegger as a key to understanding Plotinus.

            So the question for the Plotinus experts who would want to look at such a
            comparison would be, where does the human being, particularly the thinkers
            and the poets, fit in with Plotinus' One? For middle and late Heidegger,
            they are "creators and grounders of the abyss" - loosely meaning that the
            authentic, faced with the end of metaphysics and the flight of "the last
            god", must acknowledge and confront nihilism to retrieve meaning (not by
            overcoming thought of as leaping over or a flight upward or some such - nor
            by Nietzschean will to power) which on a grand scale is the the enactment
            of a new beginning. are they historical and temporal beings?

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Melanie Brawn Mineo" <mineom@...>

            Indeed, this commentary is to what Schurmann was referring. His point
            is that the "later Heidegger is useful for understanding Plotinus.
            Indeed, one can identify a line of authors whose thinking has remained
            on the margins of metaphysics precisely because they attempted to
            retrieve a 'verbal,' non-substantialist, understanding of being. This
            line would go from Plotinus' 'unification' to Meister Eckhart's
            'ground,' to Schelling's 'longing' in all beings to break out of
            darkness into manifestation, to Heidegger's Ereignis" (N&N, 164). M

            "Often, too, the sounding of one string awakens what might pass for a
            perception in another, the result of their being in harmony and tuned
            to one musical scale."-Enneads IV.4.41
          • Michael Chase
            ... M.C. Thanks to Sara for her questions, which are perfectly legitimate, but which will force me to enter into detail some will find tedious. It s quite true
            Message 5 of 18 , Jun 3, 2004
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              Le jeudi, 3 juin 2004, à 02:11 Europe/Paris, Sara L. Rappe a écrit :

              > I missed the earlier part of the discussion, where Michael was talking
              > about the relative neglect of Porphyry by later Neoplatonists. He
              > mentioned Simplicius. Michael mentioned how little read even Porphyry's
              > larger work on the Categories was. But I wondered then why we do find
              > the
              > fragments of Porphyry's work apud Simplicius and Dexippus

              M.C. Thanks to Sara for her questions, which are perfectly legitimate,
              but which will force me to enter into detail some will find tedious.

              It's quite true that fragments of Porphyry's lost major commentary on
              the Categories (the only fragments, in fact, apart from a few traces in
              Boethius and Eustathius) are found in the commentaries of Simplicius
              and Dexippus on the Categories. But recall that Simplicius admits that
              in his own commentary he has virtually copied Iamblichus word for word :

              " following Iamblichus' considerations as carefully as possible, I
              copied them down (*apegrapsamên*), often even using the Philosopher's
              very words “ (Simplicius, In Cat., p. 3, 3-4 Kalbfleisch).

              So in some sense, Simpl. In Cat. is, by its author's admission, a copy
              (Greek *apographê*, ibid. p. 3, 5) of Iamblichus In Cat. Okay, but what
              was Iamblichus' commentary like? Well, Simplicius tells us (p. 2,
              10-13) :

              “ After Porphyry, the divine Iamblichus also devoted a lengthy
              treatise to this book. For the most part, he followed Porphyry's
              observations right to the letter, but he some of them he picked out and
              corrected in order to make them more clear. At the same time, he
              contracted the scholastic long-windedness Porphyry had used against the
              objections [against the Categories]. Moreover, he applied the
              Intellective Theory everywhere, to almost all of the points to be
              discussed.”

              So it looks as though Iamblichus In Cat. was, to at least some
              extent, in its turn a copy of Porphyry's In Cat. ad Gedalium (*ta men
              polla tois Porphuriou kai ep' autês tês lexeôs katakolouthôn*). What
              happens, therefore, when Simplicius "quotes" passages from Porphyry? My
              hypothesis - and it's *only* a hypothesis - is that all Simplicius has
              handy is Iamblichus In Cat., which he admits he has virtually copied
              out. Iamblichus in turn has copied out passages from Porphyry,
              curtailing and transforming them. I think that Simplicius knows
              Porphyry primarily, if not exclusively at second hand, through
              Iamblichus. I was led to this view by, among other considerations, the
              fact that Simplicius several times attributes to Iamblichus doctrines
              which are clearly stated in Porphyry's extant Commentary In Cat. by
              questions and answers.

              To make a long story short, then, Simplicius found in Iamblichus' In
              Cat. a series of extracts - more or less faithful, more or less
              adulterated - from Porphyry's Ad Gedalium, which Simplicius reproduced
              verbatim. Yet since Iamblichus was no textual scholar, and was not even
              particularly well-disposed towards Porphyry, he will not always have
              been crystal clear as to when he was quoting Porphyry's *ipsissima
              verba* and when he was giving comments thereon and/or paraphrases
              thereof. Simplicius' confusion is thus understandable.

              I think Simplicius probably didn't have direct access to Porphyry,
              although I can't prove it. But compare the situation with Alexander of
              Aphrodisias : on one occasion, Simplicius writes : "Iamblichus states
              that Alexander stays X, but I've checked the manuscript and find he
              says something entirely different". Nowhere does he say anything
              similar about Porphyry. To be sure, this is only an argument from
              silence, but it's perhaps not completely irrelevant.

              Pretty much the same holds true for Dexippus, of whom Simplicius says
              (p. 2, 26-29):

              “ Dexippus, the student of Iamblichus, also gave a concise explanation
              of Aristotle's book, but he proposed mainly to resolve the problems
              (aporias) raised by Plotinus, which he put forward in dialogue form.
              Dexippus, however, added virtually nothing to the considerations of
              Porphyry and Iamblichus ”

              Fortunately for us, however, Dexippus reproduces (no doubt via
              Iamblichus) some parts of Porphyry's In Cat. ad Gedal. that Simplicius
              passes over in silence, and his *pinax* gives us an idea of what the
              missing part of Dexippus' commentary must have contained. Combining
              Simpl. and Dex. lets us see that Porphyry's lost commentary contained,
              among many other things, a step-by-step refutation of Plotinus'
              objections to the Categories (Ennead VI 1_3).

              > and also
              > wondered if you agreed with people who say that Porphyry was in a sense
              > the inspiration behind the compromising reading of the Categories,
              > according to which Plato and Aristotle are to be harmonized?

              M.C. Yes, I agree with this, although Porphyry was not the first to to
              so (cf. Antiochus of Ascalon). But the main point of Porphyry's Ad
              Gedalium was to show, against Plotinus, that Aristotle's Categories are
              perfectly reconcilable with Platonism. What Plotinus missed is that
              Aristotle's Categories concern only the sensible and not the
              intelligible world : *but this was a deliberate pedagogical strategy on
              Aristotle's part*. Aristotle, says Porphyry, was addressing
              philosophical beginners, and his entire philosophy is nothing other
              than a beginner's course in philosophy, intended to prepare students
              for the study of true reality (i.e. the intelligible world) by means of
              the careful study of a selection of Plato's dialogues.

              > I ask this
              > not to be polemical at all; but what you are saying seems different
              > from
              > some commonplace assumptions. or am i wrong about this?

              M.C. Yes, I think this is rather different from the way most people
              view things. It also departs from H.D. Saffrey's influential views : I
              don't believe Porphyry was particularly upset by Plotinus' attacks on
              Aristotle ; Porphyry, too was capable of brutal attacks on Aristotle,
              whose psychology and metaphysics he occasionally calls “ shameful ”; we
              recall that Porphyry wrote, not only one or two works intended to prove
              that the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle are the same (Titles
              29-30, 238-239 T, p. 238 Smith), but also a work “ Against the doctrine
              that the soul is an entelechy ” (Title 31, 240T p. 259 Smith). Unlike
              Plotinus, however, Porphyry realized that if pagan Neoplatonism was to
              succeed in providing a viable alternative to the rising tide of
              Christianity, Gnosticism and Manichaeanism, it was necessary to unite
              the forces of Platonism, Aristotelianism *and* Stoicism .-(Simplicius
              tells us the Ad Gedalium contained "an account of many of the
              doctrines of the Stoics, in accordance with the commonality of the
              logos " (p. 2, 8-9), Not to mention Pythagoreanism, Orphism, and even
              the theurgy of the Chaldaean Oracles (about which Porphyry was more
              reserved than Iamblichus).

              Sorry to be so long-winded, but you asked!

              >
              Michael Chase
              (goya@...)
              CNRS UPR 76/
              l'Annee Philologique
              Villejuif-Paris
              France
            • Sara L. Rappe
              thanks so much for your explanation, Michael. The questions you raise are very interesting. I think this kind of work is fascinating, because it makes us think
              Message 6 of 18 , Jun 3, 2004
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                thanks so much for your explanation, Michael. The questions you raise are
                very interesting. I think this kind of work is fascinating, because it
                makes us think about how the later Neoplatonists did incorporate the texts
                of Plotinus into their work. I have been reviewing a book that raises some
                of these topics but I believe you have shed much light on just how the
                Porphyrean solutions found their way into the later tradition.
                thanks again.
                Sara


                On Thu, 3 Jun 2004, Michael Chase wrote:

                >
                > Le jeudi, 3 juin 2004, à 02:11 Europe/Paris, Sara L. Rappe a écrit :
                >
                > > I missed the earlier part of the discussion, where Michael was talking
                > > about the relative neglect of Porphyry by later Neoplatonists. He
                > > mentioned Simplicius. Michael mentioned how little read even Porphyry's
                > > larger work on the Categories was. But I wondered then why we do find
                > > the
                > > fragments of Porphyry's work apud Simplicius and Dexippus
                >
                > M.C. Thanks to Sara for her questions, which are perfectly legitimate,
                > but which will force me to enter into detail some will find tedious.
                >
                > It's quite true that fragments of Porphyry's lost major commentary on
                > the Categories (the only fragments, in fact, apart from a few traces in
                > Boethius and Eustathius) are found in the commentaries of Simplicius
                > and Dexippus on the Categories. But recall that Simplicius admits that
                > in his own commentary he has virtually copied Iamblichus word for word :
                >
                > " following Iamblichus' considerations as carefully as possible, I
                > copied them down (*apegrapsamên*), often even using the Philosopher's
                > very words “ (Simplicius, In Cat., p. 3, 3-4 Kalbfleisch).
                >
                > So in some sense, Simpl. In Cat. is, by its author's admission, a copy
                > (Greek *apographê*, ibid. p. 3, 5) of Iamblichus In Cat. Okay, but what
                > was Iamblichus' commentary like? Well, Simplicius tells us (p. 2,
                > 10-13) :
                >
                > “ After Porphyry, the divine Iamblichus also devoted a lengthy
                > treatise to this book. For the most part, he followed Porphyry's
                > observations right to the letter, but he some of them he picked out and
                > corrected in order to make them more clear. At the same time, he
                > contracted the scholastic long-windedness Porphyry had used against the
                > objections [against the Categories]. Moreover, he applied the
                > Intellective Theory everywhere, to almost all of the points to be
                > discussed.”
                >
                > So it looks as though Iamblichus In Cat. was, to at least some
                > extent, in its turn a copy of Porphyry's In Cat. ad Gedalium (*ta men
                > polla tois Porphuriou kai ep' autês tês lexeôs katakolouthôn*). What
                > happens, therefore, when Simplicius "quotes" passages from Porphyry? My
                > hypothesis - and it's *only* a hypothesis - is that all Simplicius has
                > handy is Iamblichus In Cat., which he admits he has virtually copied
                > out. Iamblichus in turn has copied out passages from Porphyry,
                > curtailing and transforming them. I think that Simplicius knows
                > Porphyry primarily, if not exclusively at second hand, through
                > Iamblichus. I was led to this view by, among other considerations, the
                > fact that Simplicius several times attributes to Iamblichus doctrines
                > which are clearly stated in Porphyry's extant Commentary In Cat. by
                > questions and answers.
                >
                > To make a long story short, then, Simplicius found in Iamblichus' In
                > Cat. a series of extracts - more or less faithful, more or less
                > adulterated - from Porphyry's Ad Gedalium, which Simplicius reproduced
                > verbatim. Yet since Iamblichus was no textual scholar, and was not even
                > particularly well-disposed towards Porphyry, he will not always have
                > been crystal clear as to when he was quoting Porphyry's *ipsissima
                > verba* and when he was giving comments thereon and/or paraphrases
                > thereof. Simplicius' confusion is thus understandable.
                >
                > I think Simplicius probably didn't have direct access to Porphyry,
                > although I can't prove it. But compare the situation with Alexander of
                > Aphrodisias : on one occasion, Simplicius writes : "Iamblichus states
                > that Alexander stays X, but I've checked the manuscript and find he
                > says something entirely different". Nowhere does he say anything
                > similar about Porphyry. To be sure, this is only an argument from
                > silence, but it's perhaps not completely irrelevant.
                >
                > Pretty much the same holds true for Dexippus, of whom Simplicius says
                > (p. 2, 26-29):
                >
                > “ Dexippus, the student of Iamblichus, also gave a concise explanation
                > of Aristotle's book, but he proposed mainly to resolve the problems
                > (aporias) raised by Plotinus, which he put forward in dialogue form.
                > Dexippus, however, added virtually nothing to the considerations of
                > Porphyry and Iamblichus ”
                >
                > Fortunately for us, however, Dexippus reproduces (no doubt via
                > Iamblichus) some parts of Porphyry's In Cat. ad Gedal. that Simplicius
                > passes over in silence, and his *pinax* gives us an idea of what the
                > missing part of Dexippus' commentary must have contained. Combining
                > Simpl. and Dex. lets us see that Porphyry's lost commentary contained,
                > among many other things, a step-by-step refutation of Plotinus'
                > objections to the Categories (Ennead VI 1_3).
                >
                > > and also
                > > wondered if you agreed with people who say that Porphyry was in a sense
                > > the inspiration behind the compromising reading of the Categories,
                > > according to which Plato and Aristotle are to be harmonized?
                >
                > M.C. Yes, I agree with this, although Porphyry was not the first to to
                > so (cf. Antiochus of Ascalon). But the main point of Porphyry's Ad
                > Gedalium was to show, against Plotinus, that Aristotle's Categories are
                > perfectly reconcilable with Platonism. What Plotinus missed is that
                > Aristotle's Categories concern only the sensible and not the
                > intelligible world : *but this was a deliberate pedagogical strategy on
                > Aristotle's part*. Aristotle, says Porphyry, was addressing
                > philosophical beginners, and his entire philosophy is nothing other
                > than a beginner's course in philosophy, intended to prepare students
                > for the study of true reality (i.e. the intelligible world) by means of
                > the careful study of a selection of Plato's dialogues.
                >
                > > I ask this
                > > not to be polemical at all; but what you are saying seems different
                > > from
                > > some commonplace assumptions. or am i wrong about this?
                >
                > M.C. Yes, I think this is rather different from the way most people
                > view things. It also departs from H.D. Saffrey's influential views : I
                > don't believe Porphyry was particularly upset by Plotinus' attacks on
                > Aristotle ; Porphyry, too was capable of brutal attacks on Aristotle,
                > whose psychology and metaphysics he occasionally calls “ shameful ”; we
                > recall that Porphyry wrote, not only one or two works intended to prove
                > that the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle are the same (Titles
                > 29-30, 238-239 T, p. 238 Smith), but also a work “ Against the doctrine
                > that the soul is an entelechy ” (Title 31, 240T p. 259 Smith). Unlike
                > Plotinus, however, Porphyry realized that if pagan Neoplatonism was to
                > succeed in providing a viable alternative to the rising tide of
                > Christianity, Gnosticism and Manichaeanism, it was necessary to unite
                > the forces of Platonism, Aristotelianism *and* Stoicism .-(Simplicius
                > tells us the Ad Gedalium contained "an account of many of the
                > doctrines of the Stoics, in accordance with the commonality of the
                > logos " (p. 2, 8-9), Not to mention Pythagoreanism, Orphism, and even
                > the theurgy of the Chaldaean Oracles (about which Porphyry was more
                > reserved than Iamblichus).
                >
                > Sorry to be so long-winded, but you asked!
                >
                > >
                > Michael Chase
                > (goya@...)
                > CNRS UPR 76/
                > l'Annee Philologique
                > Villejuif-Paris
                > France
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >

                ******************************
                Please take a visible stand for peace.
                *****************************
              • Melanie Brawn Mineo
                Dear Marilynn, Good to hear from you. Thanks very much for taking the time to make this clear to me. Neither am I a Heidegger expert, that s why I called upon
                Message 7 of 18 , Jun 3, 2004
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                  Dear Marilynn,

                  Good to hear from you. Thanks very much for taking the time to make
                  this clear to me. Neither am I a Heidegger expert, that's why I called
                  upon you all. I've just been re-reading Peter Durigon's thesis
                  (online) to glean any info I can about Ereignis, and I did find a
                  wealth of information (even came across the term "zugon" again, which
                  delighted me. Ever heard this used in relation to an ancient bearded
                  (!) Anatolian thea? Zoge? Zobe? Came across this while perusing Cook's
                  Zeus... ) In any event, in a later post, I will give you the gist of
                  Schurmann's view of Ereignis, but at the moment, I have some other
                  things to say to the subject. SEE BELOW...

                  -- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Marilynn Lawrence" <pronoia@n...>
                  wrote:

                  > Ereignis is a word Heidegger chose to avoid what he considered typical
                  > metaphysical language to describe the apportionment of Being, which is a
                  > relationship (this is not a word he would use) between being and the
                  human
                  > being.

                  Event of Appropriation, interesting. A "Happening" yes? A happening,
                  that breaks the boundary between the two.


                  Da-sein, the human being or thinker can be (not 'is' but can be) the
                  > situated being at the center of this temporal and historical
                  activity. The
                  > human being (as I argued in my thesis, the authentic Dasein) acts,
                  through
                  > thinking, as the opening by which Being is revealed in "truth." He
                  > mythical calls this relating in Ereignis that of the fourfold, earth
                  sky man
                  > and gods. Da-sein is the
                  > between that effects this relating. This 'concept' cannot be understood
                  > without acknowledging that it was born from his confrontation with
                  nihilism,
                  > and what he saw as the disintegration or loss of "being" manifest in the
                  > loss of greatness of the human being.

                  Now we're on to something. This confrontation, this loss of inflation,
                  leaves us hanging in the abyss of ourselves, as it were, without the
                  glitter and glam, so to say. This is a necessary loss, for we can't
                  hope to make the breakthrough to Ereignis, existential authenticity,
                  without it. The ultimate nihilism? The ultimate loss of ground to
                  stand on may be the startling face of our own death. Anyone who's
                  experienced death-dealing illness may agree here. Does Heidegger ever
                  say that Ereignis breaks through (as in the dynamic), ushering our
                  evolution to embodied Ereignis?

                  At the point of introducing Ereignis,
                  > Heidegger is not concerned with everyday Dasein, or any average
                  human being,
                  > but with "the few and the rare." To discuss the meaning of Ereignis
                  further
                  > really falls out of the scope of Neoplatonism and discussion of mystical
                  > experiences.

                  Actually, I can't agree here. I think it brings us into the thick of
                  it, actually, at least for Plotinus and Porphyry. Consciousness is
                  changed by this confrontation with nihilism; life is seen quite
                  differently. Life itself becomes a wonder, each little ordinary thing
                  is seen as the beautiful miracle it is. One has to reach the point of
                  seeing that _everything_ and everyone, is ordinary. All too human....
                  The balloon of narcissicism, imagined superiority, or "specialness"
                  tacit or otherwise, has to be burst. Especially after a few "mystical"
                  experiences. It really is a conceit to think of oneself as one of the
                  "few and the rare" isn't it? A form of spiritual materialism. I
                  remember once reading the musings of an old yogi who'd been around the
                  spiritual block, so to say, speaking about his mystical experiences,
                  and then saying, basically, OK, "Been there, done that"...now what? To
                  grow, you've got to move on. Plotinus did not spend his whole life
                  having mystical experiences. How many times was he caught up? Four?
                  What happened in between? Everybody wants to have a mystical
                  experience, commune with the gods, but nobody wants to come down to
                  the cave, take out the garbage, rake the lawn, help their mother with
                  the dishes, ktl. Plotinus was grounded in this world. As the Platonic
                  Socrates pointed out, those who have arrived at the vision of the Good
                  must not be allowed to stay in the "upper world," for it is their task
                  and duty to "descend again among the prisoners in the den." Those,
                  says Socrates, who now are kings and queens of themselves, are obliged
                  "to have a care and providence of others," for those who have seen
                  "the beautiful and just and good in their truth" can "see ten thousand
                  times better than the inhabitants of the den," who "are distracted in
                  the struggle for power [Republic 520CD]." I know it has been
                  translated in other ways, but this _Must not be allowed_, well, there
                  are very good reasons for that cautionary statement, psychologically
                  and socially. Everything one does can be a unitive experience, even
                  doing the dishes. You just have to fully be there.

                  Moore says that Ficino, who revived the Platonic metapsychology, saw
                  transcendence as ultimately "a psychological process, necessarily
                  attached to the concrete life and to the entanglements of the soul,"
                  which were disentangled "not by the practice of yoga or meditation, as
                  useful as these might be for other purposes," but by first attending
                  to everyday affairs rationally by "extracting fantasies and
                  concretizing vague moods . . . in order to move beyond the ordinary"
                  (1990, 130). Although Moore has said much I cannot agree with, and has
                  been accused of taking "archetypal rides," as Bregman once wrote me, I
                  am in deep agreement with him here.


                  > I just can't imagine Heidegger as a key to understanding Plotinus.
                  >
                  > So the question for the Plotinus experts who would want to look at
                  such a
                  > comparison would be, where does the human being, particularly the
                  thinkers
                  > and the poets, fit in with Plotinus' One? For middle and late Heidegger,
                  > they are "creators and grounders of the abyss" - loosely meaning
                  that the
                  > authentic, faced with the end of metaphysics and the flight of "the last
                  > god", must acknowledge and confront nihilism to retrieve meaning (not by
                  > overcoming thought of as leaping over or a flight upward or some
                  such - nor
                  > by Nietzschean will to power) which on a grand scale is the enactment
                  > of a new beginning. are they historical and temporal beings?

                  Perhaps Ereignis can be seen as an "eschatalogical" event that breaks
                  into history and changes one irrevocably? Now, there's a notion.
                  Here's something fun to end this conversation with, for all you
                  Trekkies out there...

                  http://www.barbneal.com/wav/trektos/misc/krkspk01.wav

                  Thanks, M
                • vaeringjar
                  ... Porphyry ... the ... part ... thinks ... and to ... entities ... DCC: Yes, that thought came to me actually after I posted this, but still I think it would
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jun 3, 2004
                  • 0 Attachment
                    --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Michael Chase <goya@u...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Le 30 mai 04, à 02:45, vaeringjar a écrit :
                    >
                    > >
                    > > The point I wanted to make was that in the direct quotation
                    Porphyry
                    > > uses only the pronoun "autou". So we do not know exactly what
                    the
                    > > antecedent was for this pronoun, in Porphryry's own text, the
                    part
                    > > before this quotation, not provided here by Cyril, who himself
                    > > refers to "peri henos theou" apparently as the antecedent for
                    > > Porphyry's "autou", which is hardly surprising in a Christian
                    > > context.
                    >
                    > M.C. I'm not sure I'd stress this point too much. Clearly Syrill
                    thinks
                    > Porphyry is talking about an entity of whom we have no knowledge
                    and to
                    > whom no name is fitting, but who can only be named from what comes
                    > after him. In the Neoplatonic system there are not really many
                    entities
                    > that fill this bill other than the First Principle.

                    DCC: Yes, that thought came to me actually after I posted this, but
                    still I think it would be nice to have Porphyry's exact term, since
                    his position concerning the First Principle (let's call it that!) is
                    obscure. It seems we have two difficulties - one, as you point out
                    below, there is this apparent discrepency between what Damascius
                    asserted about the Pater, and then all these other instances -
                    including the Commentary - where he seems to take the "ineffable"
                    view. Second, there is the problem shared it appears by the
                    Neoplatonists of finding some term to denote that First Principle
                    when it is considered to be ineffable: but since so much of Porphyry
                    and others is fragmentary, it seems to me that we don't always know
                    if the use of a term, in especially these very short fragments, is
                    meant shall we say metaphorically ("let's call it the One or
                    whatever sicne we have to call it something or we cannot even
                    discuss it") or more literally to be associated directly with some
                    certain concept (as in "Pater", apparently). So for that reason I
                    think it would have been nice to know exactly what Porphyry's term
                    was in the context of this fragment also. I think as I said in the
                    original post that it does not add any support at all, in fact
                    detracts, from the Pater identification. Certainly the language is
                    very close to that of the Commentary.


                    > >
                    So it would obviously be
                    > > much better at least in this case to have more of Porphyry and
                    less
                    > > of Cyril!
                    >
                    > M.C. I'd suggest you have a look at the Commentary on the
                    Parmenides,
                    > which, despite recent objectors like Bechtle and Edwards, I think
                    is
                    > likely to be Porphyry. Here the ineffable First Principle is not
                    the
                    > One, but Being (*to einai*), form or idea of *to on* . It is not
                    easy
                    > to square this conception of an ineffable, unknowable first
                    principle
                    > with the conception, also attributed to Porphyry by Proclus and
                    > Damascius, that the First God is equivalent to the Pater of the
                    > intellective triad. All I can suggest is to read Pierre Hadot's
                    > Porphyre et Victorinus (Paris 1968, 2 vols.) which shows how
                    Porphyry
                    > attempted to reconcile apophatic Plotinian Neoplatonism with the
                    > theology of the Chaldaean Oracles.
                    > >

                    DCC: Yes, thanks for the reference - I assumed before looking into
                    Porphyre et Victorinus, as I posted earlier, that Hadot would use
                    this fragment to support his attribution to Porphyry, and he does
                    include it in his discussion, on p115 V.I, where he lays out very
                    nicely side by side three passages from Plotinus VI.9.30ff, the
                    History fragment, and the Commentary 1,6. (This was helpful to me
                    also because it shows that Plotinus actually uses much the same
                    language of ineffability - I obviously need to read ALL of Plotinus,
                    since I missed this. Duh.) All this makes the Pater identification
                    more difficult to understand. Fortunately I was very kindly referred
                    offlist to an article by Prof. Dillon, "Porphyry's Doctrine of the
                    One", included in <The Great Tradition>, which proposes a
                    reconciliation, very subtle and too complex to repeat here and which
                    I need to study more. I am also curious about what Hadot has to say
                    in his orginal article on the Commentary from 1961, and also "La
                    Metaphysique de Porphyre" from the Porphyry Entretiens. And maybe
                    most interesting is a new book I just got, <Porphyre et le Moyen-
                    Platonisme>, by Marco Zambon, which I just discovered discusses the
                    History fragment in detail in a chapter on the Chaldaean Oracles. I
                    gather from a quick glance there are also some textual problems with
                    that fragment. More homework before posting further on this subject!

                    But I wonder now also, prompted in part by your comments in your
                    very helpful post on the Categories commentaries, if perhaps
                    Porphyry wasn't also driven by a desire to accommodate the Chaldaean
                    Oracles to a point that he just rather forced the issue, was eager
                    to synthesize, if you will, the two First Principles together? As a
                    part of the desire to offer a unified front, as you say, against
                    Christianity? Perhaps his main view is that of the Commentary, but
                    he also wanted to bring the Chaldaean Oracles "into the fold" as it
                    were. If this were the case, then perhaps Damascius is being rather
                    selective and not representing Porphyry's main position, for some
                    reason, focusing on his view of the Pater in triad - ?

                    So what was Iamblichus' take on the Pater of the intellective triad?
                    Or do we know?

                    Dennis Clark
                    San Francisco
                  • Edward Moore
                    ... From: vaeringjar To: Sent: Friday, June 04, 2004 2:07 AM Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: More on
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jun 3, 2004
                    • 0 Attachment
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...>
                      To: <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Friday, June 04, 2004 2:07 AM
                      Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: More on Fragment of Porphyry's Philosophical
                      History


                      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Michael Chase <goya@u...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Le 30 mai 04, à 02:45, vaeringjar a écrit :
                      >
                      > >
                      > > The point I wanted to make was that in the direct quotation
                      Porphyry
                      > > uses only the pronoun "autou". So we do not know exactly what
                      the
                      > > antecedent was for this pronoun, in Porphryry's own text, the
                      part
                      > > before this quotation, not provided here by Cyril, who himself
                      > > refers to "peri henos theou" apparently as the antecedent for
                      > > Porphyry's "autou", which is hardly surprising in a Christian
                      > > context.
                      >
                      > M.C. I'm not sure I'd stress this point too much. Clearly Syrill
                      thinks
                      > Porphyry is talking about an entity of whom we have no knowledge
                      and to
                      > whom no name is fitting, but who can only be named from what comes
                      > after him. In the Neoplatonic system there are not really many
                      entities
                      > that fill this bill other than the First Principle.

                      DCC: Yes, that thought came to me actually after I posted this, but
                      still I think it would be nice to have Porphyry's exact term, since
                      his position concerning the First Principle (let's call it that!) is
                      obscure. It seems we have two difficulties - one, as you point out
                      below, there is this apparent discrepency between what Damascius
                      asserted about the Pater, and then all these other instances -
                      including the Commentary - where he seems to take the "ineffable"
                      view. Second, there is the problem shared it appears by the
                      Neoplatonists of finding some term to denote that First Principle
                      when it is considered to be ineffable: but since so much of Porphyry
                      and others is fragmentary, it seems to me that we don't always know
                      if the use of a term, in especially these very short fragments, is
                      meant shall we say metaphorically ("let's call it the One or
                      whatever sicne we have to call it something or we cannot even
                      discuss it") or more literally to be associated directly with some
                      certain concept (as in "Pater", apparently). So for that reason I
                      think it would have been nice to know exactly what Porphyry's term
                      was in the context of this fragment also. I think as I said in the
                      original post that it does not add any support at all, in fact
                      detracts, from the Pater identification. Certainly the language is
                      very close to that of the Commentary.


                      > >
                      So it would obviously be
                      > > much better at least in this case to have more of Porphyry and
                      less
                      > > of Cyril!
                      >
                      > M.C. I'd suggest you have a look at the Commentary on the
                      Parmenides,
                      > which, despite recent objectors like Bechtle and Edwards, I think
                      is
                      > likely to be Porphyry. Here the ineffable First Principle is not
                      the
                      > One, but Being (*to einai*), form or idea of *to on* . It is not
                      easy
                      > to square this conception of an ineffable, unknowable first
                      principle
                      > with the conception, also attributed to Porphyry by Proclus and
                      > Damascius, that the First God is equivalent to the Pater of the
                      > intellective triad. All I can suggest is to read Pierre Hadot's
                      > Porphyre et Victorinus (Paris 1968, 2 vols.) which shows how
                      Porphyry
                      > attempted to reconcile apophatic Plotinian Neoplatonism with the
                      > theology of the Chaldaean Oracles.
                      > >

                      DCC: Yes, thanks for the reference - I assumed before looking into
                      Porphyre et Victorinus, as I posted earlier, that Hadot would use
                      this fragment to support his attribution to Porphyry, and he does
                      include it in his discussion, on p115 V.I, where he lays out very
                      nicely side by side three passages from Plotinus VI.9.30ff, the
                      History fragment, and the Commentary 1,6. (This was helpful to me
                      also because it shows that Plotinus actually uses much the same
                      language of ineffability - I obviously need to read ALL of Plotinus,
                      since I missed this. Duh.) All this makes the Pater identification
                      more difficult to understand. Fortunately I was very kindly referred
                      offlist to an article by Prof. Dillon, "Porphyry's Doctrine of the
                      One", included in <The Great Tradition>, which proposes a
                      reconciliation, very subtle and too complex to repeat here and which
                      I need to study more. I am also curious about what Hadot has to say
                      in his orginal article on the Commentary from 1961, and also "La
                      Metaphysique de Porphyre" from the Porphyry Entretiens. And maybe
                      most interesting is a new book I just got, <Porphyre et le Moyen-
                      Platonisme>, by Marco Zambon, which I just discovered discusses the
                      History fragment in detail in a chapter on the Chaldaean Oracles. I
                      gather from a quick glance there are also some textual problems with
                      that fragment. More homework before posting further on this subject!

                      But I wonder now also, prompted in part by your comments in your
                      very helpful post on the Categories commentaries, if perhaps
                      Porphyry wasn't also driven by a desire to accommodate the Chaldaean
                      Oracles to a point that he just rather forced the issue, was eager
                      to synthesize, if you will, the two First Principles together? As a
                      part of the desire to offer a unified front, as you say, against
                      Christianity? Perhaps his main view is that of the Commentary, but
                      he also wanted to bring the Chaldaean Oracles "into the fold" as it
                      were. If this were the case, then perhaps Damascius is being rather
                      selective and not representing Porphyry's main position, for some
                      reason, focusing on his view of the Pater in triad - ?

                      So what was Iamblichus' take on the Pater of the intellective triad?
                      Or do we know?

                      Dennis Clark
                      San Francisco






                      Yahoo! Groups Links
                    • John Dilon
                      ... One way that Porphyry likes to refer to his supreme principle is the God above all things , ho epi pasi theos. That might be some help. JMD
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jun 4, 2004
                      • 0 Attachment
                        on 4/6/04 7:31 am, Edward Moore at emoore@... wrote:

                        >
                        > ----- Original Message -----
                        > From: "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...>
                        > To: <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
                        > Sent: Friday, June 04, 2004 2:07 AM
                        > Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: More on Fragment of Porphyry's Philosophical
                        > History
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Michael Chase <goya@u...> wrote:
                        >>
                        >> Le 30 mai 04, à 02:45, vaeringjar a écrit :
                        >>
                        >>>
                        >>> The point I wanted to make was that in the direct quotation
                        > Porphyry
                        >>> uses only the pronoun "autou". So we do not know exactly what
                        > the
                        >>> antecedent was for this pronoun, in Porphryry's own text, the
                        > part
                        >>> before this quotation, not provided here by Cyril, who himself
                        >>> refers to "peri henos theou" apparently as the antecedent for
                        >>> Porphyry's "autou", which is hardly surprising in a Christian
                        >>> context.
                        >>
                        >> M.C. I'm not sure I'd stress this point too much. Clearly Syrill
                        > thinks
                        >> Porphyry is talking about an entity of whom we have no knowledge
                        > and to
                        >> whom no name is fitting, but who can only be named from what comes
                        >> after him. In the Neoplatonic system there are not really many
                        > entities
                        >> that fill this bill other than the First Principle.
                        >
                        > DCC: Yes, that thought came to me actually after I posted this, but
                        > still I think it would be nice to have Porphyry's exact term, since
                        > his position concerning the First Principle (let's call it that!) is
                        > obscure. It seems we have two difficulties - one, as you point out
                        > below, there is this apparent discrepency between what Damascius
                        > asserted about the Pater, and then all these other instances -
                        > including the Commentary - where he seems to take the "ineffable"
                        > view. Second, there is the problem shared it appears by the
                        > Neoplatonists of finding some term to denote that First Principle
                        > when it is considered to be ineffable: but since so much of Porphyry
                        > and others is fragmentary, it seems to me that we don't always know
                        > if the use of a term, in especially these very short fragments, is
                        > meant shall we say metaphorically ("let's call it the One or
                        > whatever sicne we have to call it something or we cannot even
                        > discuss it") or more literally to be associated directly with some
                        > certain concept (as in "Pater", apparently). So for that reason I
                        > think it would have been nice to know exactly what Porphyry's term
                        > was in the context of this fragment also. I think as I said in the
                        > original post that it does not add any support at all, in fact
                        > detracts, from the Pater identification. Certainly the language is
                        > very close to that of the Commentary.
                        >
                        >
                        >>>
                        > So it would obviously be
                        >>> much better at least in this case to have more of Porphyry and
                        > less
                        >>> of Cyril!
                        >>
                        >> M.C. I'd suggest you have a look at the Commentary on the
                        > Parmenides,
                        >> which, despite recent objectors like Bechtle and Edwards, I think
                        > is
                        >> likely to be Porphyry. Here the ineffable First Principle is not
                        > the
                        >> One, but Being (*to einai*), form or idea of *to on* . It is not
                        > easy
                        >> to square this conception of an ineffable, unknowable first
                        > principle
                        >> with the conception, also attributed to Porphyry by Proclus and
                        >> Damascius, that the First God is equivalent to the Pater of the
                        >> intellective triad. All I can suggest is to read Pierre Hadot's
                        >> Porphyre et Victorinus (Paris 1968, 2 vols.) which shows how
                        > Porphyry
                        >> attempted to reconcile apophatic Plotinian Neoplatonism with the
                        >> theology of the Chaldaean Oracles.
                        >>>
                        >
                        > DCC: Yes, thanks for the reference - I assumed before looking into
                        > Porphyre et Victorinus, as I posted earlier, that Hadot would use
                        > this fragment to support his attribution to Porphyry, and he does
                        > include it in his discussion, on p115 V.I, where he lays out very
                        > nicely side by side three passages from Plotinus VI.9.30ff, the
                        > History fragment, and the Commentary 1,6. (This was helpful to me
                        > also because it shows that Plotinus actually uses much the same
                        > language of ineffability - I obviously need to read ALL of Plotinus,
                        > since I missed this. Duh.) All this makes the Pater identification
                        > more difficult to understand. Fortunately I was very kindly referred
                        > offlist to an article by Prof. Dillon, "Porphyry's Doctrine of the
                        > One", included in <The Great Tradition>, which proposes a
                        > reconciliation, very subtle and too complex to repeat here and which
                        > I need to study more. I am also curious about what Hadot has to say
                        > in his orginal article on the Commentary from 1961, and also "La
                        > Metaphysique de Porphyre" from the Porphyry Entretiens. And maybe
                        > most interesting is a new book I just got, <Porphyre et le Moyen-
                        > Platonisme>, by Marco Zambon, which I just discovered discusses the
                        > History fragment in detail in a chapter on the Chaldaean Oracles. I
                        > gather from a quick glance there are also some textual problems with
                        > that fragment. More homework before posting further on this subject!
                        >
                        > But I wonder now also, prompted in part by your comments in your
                        > very helpful post on the Categories commentaries, if perhaps
                        > Porphyry wasn't also driven by a desire to accommodate the Chaldaean
                        > Oracles to a point that he just rather forced the issue, was eager
                        > to synthesize, if you will, the two First Principles together? As a
                        > part of the desire to offer a unified front, as you say, against
                        > Christianity? Perhaps his main view is that of the Commentary, but
                        > he also wanted to bring the Chaldaean Oracles "into the fold" as it
                        > were. If this were the case, then perhaps Damascius is being rather
                        > selective and not representing Porphyry's main position, for some
                        > reason, focusing on his view of the Pater in triad - ?
                        >
                        > So what was Iamblichus' take on the Pater of the intellective triad?
                        > Or do we know?
                        >
                        > Dennis Clark
                        > San Francisco
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        One way that Porphyry likes to refer to his supreme principle is 'the God
                        above all things', ho epi pasi theos. That might be some help. JMD
                      • vaeringjar
                        ... is the God ... Thanks, Prof. Dillon. It s clear I need to dig more into Porphyry s relationship with the Chaldean Oracles, and to this end I hope Lewy s
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jun 6, 2004
                        • 0 Attachment
                          --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Dilon <jmdillon@e...>
                          wrote:
                          > on 4/6/04 7:31 am, Edward Moore at emoore@t... wrote:
                          >
                          > >
                          > One way that Porphyry likes to refer to his supreme principle
                          is 'the God
                          > above all things', ho epi pasi theos. That might be some help. JMD

                          Thanks, Prof. Dillon. It's clear I need to dig more into Porphyry's
                          relationship with the Chaldean Oracles, and to this end I hope
                          Lewy's excursus on that subject, and Hadot's essay appended to the
                          later edition of Lewy will help, in addition to the other references
                          I made previously - unfortunately Hadot's Porphyre et Victorinus is
                          rather daunting to me for some reason, not however because he
                          doesn't write very clearly. I think one fragment of de regressu
                          animae in Augustine must be very relevant too. One problem I find
                          with, not only Porphyry, trying to follow a strand of Neoplatonic
                          thought inevitably leads through so many other authors, ancient and
                          modern. This is probably caused in large part because of the
                          fragmentary nature of these thinkers - and when reading a quoting
                          source, I need to understand more the context in which the quotation
                          is found, and so on, until I feel rather like being caught in a web
                          of gems. Or Finnegan's Wake, round 12.

                          I did search a bit for any extant writings of Iamblichus on the
                          Pater of the triad, and I gather we have nothing, although obviously
                          we have to assume he had something to say in his lost work on the
                          Oracles. What references there were to the Oracles were to other
                          points, as much as I could find, and I couldn't find really all that
                          many other references at all to Porphyry in Damascius. I suspect
                          it's a huge loss not to have Iamblichus on the Oracles - we would
                          hope he reported earlier opinions on first principles, and included
                          more of Numenius or other earlier Platonists perhaps?

                          I have been thinking if I wanted to get rich by concocting something
                          like the dread DaVinci Code, I would cook up a potboiler forgery of
                          Iamblichus on the Oracles! It will be a challenge however to work in
                          the Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene, Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk, the face
                          on Mars...

                          Dennis Clark
                          San Francisco
                        • John Dilon
                          ... Dennis -- On this vexed question of P s firs principle, one thing you might do, if you can get hold of it, is to have a look at the sections of what I am
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jun 6, 2004
                          • 0 Attachment
                            on 6/6/04 8:54 am, vaeringjar at vaeringjar@... wrote:

                            > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Dilon <jmdillon@e...>
                            > wrote:
                            >> on 4/6/04 7:31 am, Edward Moore at emoore@t... wrote:
                            >>
                            >>>
                            >> One way that Porphyry likes to refer to his supreme principle
                            > is 'the God
                            >> above all things', ho epi pasi theos. That might be some help. JMD
                            >
                            > Thanks, Prof. Dillon. It's clear I need to dig more into Porphyry's
                            > relationship with the Chaldean Oracles, and to this end I hope
                            > Lewy's excursus on that subject, and Hadot's essay appended to the
                            > later edition of Lewy will help, in addition to the other references
                            > I made previously - unfortunately Hadot's Porphyre et Victorinus is
                            > rather daunting to me for some reason, not however because he
                            > doesn't write very clearly. I think one fragment of de regressu
                            > animae in Augustine must be very relevant too. One problem I find
                            > with, not only Porphyry, trying to follow a strand of Neoplatonic
                            > thought inevitably leads through so many other authors, ancient and
                            > modern. This is probably caused in large part because of the
                            > fragmentary nature of these thinkers - and when reading a quoting
                            > source, I need to understand more the context in which the quotation
                            > is found, and so on, until I feel rather like being caught in a web
                            > of gems. Or Finnegan's Wake, round 12.
                            >
                            > I did search a bit for any extant writings of Iamblichus on the
                            > Pater of the triad, and I gather we have nothing, although obviously
                            > we have to assume he had something to say in his lost work on the
                            > Oracles. What references there were to the Oracles were to other
                            > points, as much as I could find, and I couldn't find really all that
                            > many other references at all to Porphyry in Damascius. I suspect
                            > it's a huge loss not to have Iamblichus on the Oracles - we would
                            > hope he reported earlier opinions on first principles, and included
                            > more of Numenius or other earlier Platonists perhaps?
                            >
                            > I have been thinking if I wanted to get rich by concocting something
                            > like the dread DaVinci Code, I would cook up a potboiler forgery of
                            > Iamblichus on the Oracles! It will be a challenge however to work in
                            > the Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene, Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk, the face
                            > on Mars...
                            >
                            > Dennis Clark
                            > San Francisco
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            Dennis -- On this vexed question of P's firs principle, one thing you might
                            do, if you can get hold of it, is to have a look at the sections of what I
                            am reasonably sure is Porphyry's Commentary on the Parmenides translated in
                            the recently published Neoplatonic Philosophy: Introductory Readings (by
                            John Dillon & Lloyd Gerson, Hackett Publ. Co. 2004) -- or if you can bear to
                            read the whole thing in Hadot's P & V -- or Gerald Bechtle's edition,
                            misguided though it is on the authorship. That makes clearer, I think, P's
                            very nuanced view of the first principle and its relation to what is below
                            it. JMD
                          • Michael Chase
                            Hello Dennis, As far as Iamblichus and the Chaldaeans are concerned, many of the best recent studies are in German: Cremer, F. W., Die Chaldäischen Orakel
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jun 13, 2004
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                              Hello Dennis,


                              As far as Iamblichus and the Chaldaeans are concerned, many of the
                              best recent studies are in German:

                              Cremer, F. W., Die Chaldäischen Orakel und Jamblich 'De Mysteriis,' (=
                              Beitr. zu Klass. Phil. Heft 26): Meisenheim am Glan: Verlag Anton Hain,
                              1969.

                              Nasemann, B., Theurgie u. Philosophie in Jamblichs De Mysteriis (=
                              Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, Bd. 11), Stuttgart 1991.

                              Stäcker, Th., Die Stellung der Theurgie in der Lehre Jamblichs (=
                              Studien zur klassisichen Philologie 92), 1995.

                              C. van Liefferinge's much-touted work on Iamblichus and Theurgy (La
                              théurgie. Des Oracles Chaldaïques à Proclus (= Kernos Supplément 9),
                              Liège: Centre International d'Étude de la Religion Grecque Antique,
                              1999) would have been a much better book, IMHO, if she had not
                              systematically ignored these German works.

                              There has been good progress in Iamblichean studies lately. After his
                              valuable editionn with translation of Iamblichus' De Anima (De anima /
                              Iamblichus ; text, translation, and commentary by John F. Finamore and
                              John M. Dillon (= Philosophia antiqua ; v. 92 )Leiden : Brill, 2002 xi,
                              298 p ; 24 cm ISBN/ISSN: 9004125108 Includes bibliographical references
                              (p. [279]-285) and index) our esteemed list-mate John Dillon is behind
                              the first adequate English translation of the De mysteriis:

                              Title Details:
                              De mysteriis / Iamblichus ; translated with an introduction and notes
                              by Emma C. Clarke, John M. Dillon and Jackson P. Hershbell

                              Series:
                              Society of biblical literature : writings from the Greco-Roman world ;
                              no. 4
                              Writings from the Greco-Roman world (Brill Academic Publishers) ; v. 4

                              Publisher:
                              Leiden : Brill, 2004

                              Physical desc.:
                              lii, 377 p ; 25 cm

                              ISBN/ISSN:
                              9004127208

                              Note:
                              Also has title: Iamblichus : De mysteriis
                              Includes bibliographical references and index
                              Parallel text in Greek and English; commentary in English
                              Contents: On the text and translation of the De mysteriis -- Iamblichus
                              the man -- The De mysteriis : a defence of theurgy, and an answer to
                              Porphyry's letter to Anebo -- Iamblichus's knowledge of Egyptian
                              religion and mythology -- The nature and contents of De mysteriis --
                              Iamblichus, De mysteriis : text and translation -- Book I -- Book II --
                              Book III -- Book IV -- Book V -- Book VI -- Book VII -- Book VIII -
                              Book IX -- Book X

                              -- While Alain Segonds and Henri-Dominique Saffrey are at work on a
                              critical edition of the De myst. which may - or may not - revolutionize
                              Iamblichean studies. New work needs to be done on the text of the
                              Chaldaean Oracles as well.

                              Best, Mike.


                              >
                              Michael Chase
                              (goya@...)
                              CNRS UPR 76
                              7, rue Guy Moquet
                              Villejuif 94801
                              France
                            • Michael Chase
                              Friends, People have occasionally expressed surprise that (Porphyry s) Commentary on the Parmenides did not exercise more influence on subsequent Neoplatonic
                              Message 14 of 18 , Jun 13, 2004
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                                Friends,

                                People have occasionally expressed surprise that (Porphyry's)
                                Commentary on the Parmenides did not exercise more influence on
                                subsequent Neoplatonic thought. This surprise is at least partly
                                well-founded, although it can be argued that the Damascius of the De
                                principiis bears traces of the influence of Porph's In Parm.; cf.
                                Marie-Claude Galpérine, 'Damascius entre Porphyre et Jamblique',
                                Philosophie 26, (printemps 1990), Paris: Éditions de minuit, 41-58.

                                But there may be other sources available. The thought of the Iranian
                                theologian and philosopher Molla Sadra Shirazi (1571-1640) bears
                                remarkable similarities to some doctrines of Porph.'s In Parm. : for
                                Molla Sadra, the ultimate principle is not the One, nor a substance,
                                but the “ act of being ” (Arabic *wojûd*). It has no essence or
                                quiddity, and is hence ungraspable by discursive or conceptual thought
                                (*'ilm sûrî*); we can only approach knowledge thereof by "presential
                                knowledge" (*'ilm hodûrî*). Individual things differ not by their
                                essence or form, but by the intensity of their act of being. At least
                                one of Molla Sadra's reasons for adopting these views seems to come
                                from the tradition of Neoplatonic commentaries on Aristotle's
                                Categories. It was objected that if the First Principle creates and/or
                                causes the subsistence of all beings, then it has a *relation* to these
                                beings, and therefore the First Principle must fall under the category
                                of the Relative (cf. gloss 366 on Sohrawardi's Book of Oriental wisdom,
                                quoted by Christian Jambet, Se rendre immortel, suivi du Traité de la
                                Résurrection / Molla Sadra Shirazi, Paris 2000, p. 50). This problem is
                                eliminated if one no longer thinks of the First Principle as a
                                Substance, but as an Act. It does not seem impossible that Molla Sadra
                                may have picked up this view from Porphyry, perhaps from his lost
                                commentary on the Categories addressed to Gedalios.

                                All this is, of course, highly speculative, and it would take someone
                                with perfect Arabic (mine is rudimentary) and Persian (mine is
                                non-existent) to comb the vast works of Molla Sadra and other Iranian
                                thinkers for possible Porphyrian Gedankengut. That would be a lot of
                                work, but I suspect the results might be interesting.

                                Best, Mike.


                                Michael Chase
                                (goya@...)
                                CNRS UPR 76
                                7, rue Guy Moquet
                                Villejuif 94801
                                France
                              • vaeringjar
                                ... of the ... Mysteriis, (= ... Hain, ... Mysteriis (= ... Jamblichs (= ... Theurgy (La ... 9), ... Antique, ... After his ... anima / ... and ... 2002 xi,
                                Message 15 of 18 , Jun 22, 2004
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                                  --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Michael Chase <goya@u...> wrote:
                                  > Hello Dennis,
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > As far as Iamblichus and the Chaldaeans are concerned, many
                                  of the
                                  > best recent studies are in German:
                                  >
                                  > Cremer, F. W., Die Chaldäischen Orakel und Jamblich 'De
                                  Mysteriis,' (=
                                  > Beitr. zu Klass. Phil. Heft 26): Meisenheim am Glan: Verlag Anton
                                  Hain,
                                  > 1969.
                                  >
                                  > Nasemann, B., Theurgie u. Philosophie in Jamblichs De
                                  Mysteriis (=
                                  > Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, Bd. 11), Stuttgart 1991.
                                  >
                                  > Stäcker, Th., Die Stellung der Theurgie in der Lehre
                                  Jamblichs (=
                                  > Studien zur klassisichen Philologie 92), 1995.
                                  >
                                  > C. van Liefferinge's much-touted work on Iamblichus and
                                  Theurgy (La
                                  > théurgie. Des Oracles Chaldaïques à Proclus (= Kernos Supplément
                                  9),
                                  > Liège: Centre International d'Étude de la Religion Grecque
                                  Antique,
                                  > 1999) would have been a much better book, IMHO, if she had not
                                  > systematically ignored these German works.
                                  >
                                  > There has been good progress in Iamblichean studies lately.
                                  After his
                                  > valuable editionn with translation of Iamblichus' De Anima (De
                                  anima /
                                  > Iamblichus ; text, translation, and commentary by John F. Finamore
                                  and
                                  > John M. Dillon (= Philosophia antiqua ; v. 92 )Leiden : Brill,
                                  2002 xi,
                                  > 298 p ; 24 cm ISBN/ISSN: 9004125108 Includes bibliographical
                                  references
                                  > (p. [279]-285) and index) our esteemed list-mate John Dillon is
                                  behind
                                  > the first adequate English translation of the De mysteriis:
                                  >
                                  > Title Details:
                                  > De mysteriis / Iamblichus ; translated with an introduction and
                                  notes
                                  > by Emma C. Clarke, John M. Dillon and Jackson P. Hershbell
                                  >
                                  > Series:
                                  > Society of biblical literature : writings from the Greco-Roman
                                  world ;
                                  > no. 4
                                  > Writings from the Greco-Roman world (Brill Academic Publishers) ;
                                  v. 4
                                  >
                                  > Publisher:
                                  > Leiden : Brill, 2004
                                  >
                                  > Physical desc.:
                                  > lii, 377 p ; 25 cm
                                  >
                                  > ISBN/ISSN:
                                  > 9004127208
                                  >
                                  > Note:
                                  > Also has title: Iamblichus : De mysteriis
                                  > Includes bibliographical references and index
                                  > Parallel text in Greek and English; commentary in English
                                  > Contents: On the text and translation of the De mysteriis --
                                  Iamblichus
                                  > the man -- The De mysteriis : a defence of theurgy, and an answer
                                  to
                                  > Porphyry's letter to Anebo -- Iamblichus's knowledge of Egyptian
                                  > religion and mythology -- The nature and contents of De mysteriis -
                                  -
                                  > Iamblichus, De mysteriis : text and translation -- Book I -- Book
                                  II --
                                  > Book III -- Book IV -- Book V -- Book VI -- Book VII -- Book VIII -

                                  > Book IX -- Book X
                                  >
                                  > -- While Alain Segonds and Henri-Dominique Saffrey are at
                                  work on a
                                  > critical edition of the De myst. which may - or may not -
                                  revolutionize
                                  > Iamblichean studies. New work needs to be done on the text of the
                                  > Chaldaean Oracles as well.
                                  >
                                  > Best, Mike.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > >
                                  > Michael Chase
                                  > (goya@v...)
                                  > CNRS UPR 76
                                  > 7, rue Guy Moquet
                                  > Villejuif 94801
                                  > France

                                  Thanks for the references, Mike - the Cremer keeps popping up but
                                  the other two I hadn't seen (I hope the UC Berkeley library has
                                  them.)

                                  I just noticed that Iamblichus does give in VIII 2 of de Mysteriis a
                                  statement about first principles in a rather summary manner -
                                  interestingly enough though, to the new translation which Prof.
                                  Dillon has just published of that same passage in <Neoplatonic
                                  Philosophy> from Hackett, he adds a note that we should bear in mind
                                  that Iamblichus is speaking here in the persona of his Egyptian
                                  priest answering Porphyry. I took from this that we shouldn't
                                  construe VIII 2 necessarily as Iamblichus' own position - ? This is
                                  the only statement as such in his own extant writings, I believe - ?
                                  Otherwise we have to draw from Damascius or Proclus what his
                                  position was?

                                  By the way, as Prof Dillon had kindly pointed out previously, there
                                  is a goodly amount of Porphyry among the selections in the new book,
                                  including three of the Parmenides Commentary fragments, and several
                                  of the fragments on the Philosophical History, including the one I
                                  was fussing over lately here, and a great deal of Plotinus newly
                                  translated I gather primarily by Prof. Gerson, (Prof Dillon having
                                  primary responsibility for the Porphyry and the Iamblichus), so I
                                  guess it's safe to say all these translations are new (or drawn from
                                  very recent other new translations). Another great tool for students
                                  I should think. And I noted that an edition of Porphyry's Sententiae
                                  is coming in the future.

                                  It still amazes me how little had been properly edited and
                                  translated of the Neoplatonists until our times. It's quite an
                                  achievement actually, especially in view of the complexity of the
                                  task, and rare to live when major works are being promulgated in
                                  this fashion really for the first time. Not to ignore the Aristotle
                                  commentary series. But somehow I think it will need time for all of
                                  it to get the proper exposure, that perhaps in 50 years some views
                                  that are held today will have change, just because more study will
                                  occur now that it's all more readily available as it never really
                                  was before. Or is this now already a mature field? When I was a
                                  graduate student 25 years ago for the most part we weren't
                                  encouraged to stray past Ovid! Or Aristotle.

                                  Dennis Clark
                                  San Francisco
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