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Re: More on Fragment of Porphyry's Philosophical History

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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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