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Re: Plotinus on Selfhood, a question

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  • vaeringjar
    ... be ... respond ... Arabic. ... worse, ... used ... of ... body, ... specific. ... for ... argues ... Could you elaborate a bit on the equivocation? I
    Message 1 of 24 , Aug 25, 2004
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      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Peter S Adamson
      <peter.adamson@k...> wrote:
      >
      > >> Concerning my of the meaning of "self", in the context of my
      > message,
      > >> I was using it as equivalent to 'soul'.
      > >
      > >M.C. This strikes me as a dangerous oversimplification. It would
      be
      > >interesting to imagine how various Greek philosophers would
      respond
      > to
      > >the assertion (assuming it could be translated into Ancient
      Greek :
      > >" The self is the soul ")
      >
      > It might interest everyone to hear about how this plays out in
      Arabic.
      > Briefly,
      > there are two relevant words here. The word "nafs" means both soul
      > _and_ self,
      > so you can use it in a phrase like "he did it by himself". Even
      worse,
      > there is
      > another word, "dhat", which also means "self" (and here it can be
      used
      > in
      > constructions similarly to "nafs") but is a technical term meaning
      > something like
      > "essence".
      >
      > A notable example of the problems of interpretation this raises is
      > Avicenna's
      > Flying Man argument, which argues, somehow, for the incorporeality
      of
      > _soul_
      > (nafs) by claiming that, even if you are unaware that you have a
      body,
      > you will
      > still be aware of your "self" (dhat), that it exists, to be
      specific.
      > One question is
      > whether he is somehow equivocating. There are many passages in,
      for
      > example, al-Kindi, who I spend most of my effort on, where he
      argues
      > that such-
      > and-such an entity has a feature, or does something, "through its
      > dhat", which
      > could mean either "through itself" or "essentially". Again, the
      > suspicion of
      > equivocation arises; I tend to think Avicenna is less likely to be
      > equivocating
      > than al-Kindi though.
      >
      > Peter Adamson

      Could you elaborate a bit on the equivocation? I didn't quite follow
      that. Can we link these Arabic concepts directly to any Greek ones,
      or are they original with Avicenna and al-Kindi? I don't offhand
      recognize them from any Greek philosophers, but they may just be my
      failing.

      I meant to mention on my book posting earlier that I found a
      relatively new (2002) book also from RoutledgeCuzon, called <Muslim
      Neoplatonists An Introduction to the Thought of the Brethren of
      Purity> by Ian Richard Netton. I haven't had a chance to dip into it
      yet, except to see if he discusses the Sabians or not, and there is
      only a brief mention of that subject.

      I don't believe we have ever discussed Harran here and the theory of
      Simplicius' possibly settling there - ? I find the whole exile and
      return from Persia saga a really intriguing story, and would make by
      the way a great subject for an opera, of the sort such as Hindemith
      wrote about Kepler, very cerebral to say the least. (I got so
      intrigued by all this that I actually managed to get a copy of
      Chwolsohn's Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus - showing if nothing else
      I probably am crazy after all.)

      I have never been able to get my hands on the article written by
      Tardieu where he discusses this theory at length, though I
      fortunately have read the summary in Ilsetraut Hadot's "The Life and
      Work of Simplicius" in <Aristotle Transformed>. I guess her summary
      is good enough though; it certainly appears so.

      What is the present scholarly consensus on the likelihood of
      Simplicius' ending up in Harran? Is there one?

      I once knew slightly someone in Berkeley here who had actually been
      to the site of Harran recently, and he thought he had found some
      rather curious things there, some sort of temple remains associated
      with some worship of the 7 planets, but I wouldn't go to the bank on
      all that. Apparently however it has never been professionally
      excavated, so who knows what might be buried there. Even texts - ?
      As I recall he mentioned also there is yet another dam project
      underway, there nearby Harran in this case, which may threaten the
      ruins. Too much probably to hope before then to dig out an Arabic
      translation of all of Proclus' Commentary on the Parmenides, or a
      Greek orginal of Iamblichus on the Chaldean Oracles - ? Afraid so.
      We will probably never know for sure, if it ends up like Zeugma.

      Dennis Clark
      San Francisco
    • Malcolm Schosha
      ... Arabic. ... worse, ... used ... of ... body, ... specific. ... .............. It is possible that this is somewhat similar to Jewish mystical thinking, in
      Message 2 of 24 , Aug 25, 2004
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        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Peter S Adamson
        <peter.adamson@k...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > It might interest everyone to hear about how this plays out in
        Arabic.
        > Briefly,
        > there are two relevant words here. The word "nafs" means both soul
        > _and_ self,
        > so you can use it in a phrase like "he did it by himself". Even
        worse,
        > there is
        > another word, "dhat", which also means "self" (and here it can be
        used
        > in
        > constructions similarly to "nafs") but is a technical term meaning
        > something like
        > "essence".
        >
        > A notable example of the problems of interpretation this raises is
        > Avicenna's
        > Flying Man argument, which argues, somehow, for the incorporeality
        of
        > _soul_
        > (nafs) by claiming that, even if you are unaware that you have a
        body,
        > you will
        > still be aware of your "self" (dhat), that it exists, to be
        specific.
        >
        ..............

        It is possible that this is somewhat similar to Jewish mystical
        thinking, in which there are five levels of the human soul. Nefesh is
        the lowest level, giving vitality to the physical body, and its organ
        is the liver. Ruach is the source of the person's emotional life,
        based in the heart. Neshama is the basis of the mental faculty, and
        works through the brain. The next two are higher levels than thought,
        and are called Surrounding Lights because there is no physical organ.

        Da'at, which sounds rather similar to the 'dhat' you mention in
        Arabic, is at power of concentration, and is considered a vessel for
        Binah (the faculty of thought).

        Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah) is thought by some scholars to be
        influenced by Neoplatonic thought.

        Malcolm Schosha
      • John Dilon
        ... People might like to have a look at the collection of essays edited by Stephen Everson, Psychology, in the Companions to Ancient Thought series publ. by
        Message 3 of 24 , Aug 25, 2004
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          on 25/8/04 1:37 am, Malcolm Schosha at malcolmschosha@... wrote:

          > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Michael Chase <goya@u...> wrote:
          >>
          >> Le 23 août 04, à 10:23, Malcolm Schosha a écrit :
          >>
          >> Concerning my of the meaning of "self", in the context of my
          > message,
          >>> I was using it as equivalent to 'soul'.
          >>
          >> M.C. This strikes me as a dangerous oversimplification. It would be
          >> interesting to imagine how various Greek philosophers would respond
          > to
          >> the assertion (assuming it could be translated into Ancient Greek :
          >> " The self is the soul ") :
          >>
          >>
          >> The Stoics light understand the question, but I think they'd
          > say it's
          >> wrong, or at least too vague to identify the soul as the self :
          > the
          >> self is rather to be conceived of as the *logos* or the *pneuma*,
          > that
          >> is, a portion of the fiery-airy substance that is at the same time
          > god,
          >> fate, and nature. From another angle, they might identify the self
          > with
          >> the *idiôs poion*, or specific quality that provides the principle
          > of
          >> identity for a being.
          >>
          > ::::::::::::
          >
          > Mike,
          >
          > It is with the Stoics that I have some familiarity. But remember, I
          > am by no means a scholar. I am an artist with an interest in these
          > things. This is a subject that interests me considerably, but I am
          > not sure this forum is the right place for the discussion. But, in
          > fact, the existence of a point of consciousness within the human
          > constitution can be verified existentially by using the right
          > psychological means. (There is a good deal in Stoic philosophy that
          > in these days would be classified psychology.)
          >
          > .............
          >
          > Epictetus, Discourses, 1.1.7-13
          >
          > As then it was fit to be so, that which is best of all and supreme
          > over all is the only thing which the gods have placed in our power,
          > the right use of appearances; but all other things they have not
          > placed in our power. Was it because they did not choose? I indeed
          > think that, if they had been able, they would have put these other
          > things also in our power, but they certainly could not. For as we
          > exist on the earth, and are bound to such a body and to such
          > companions, how was it possible for us not to be hindered as to these
          > things by externals?
          >
          > But what says Zeus? "Epictetus, if it were possible, I would have
          > made both your little body and your little property free and not
          > exposed to hindrance. But now be not ignorant of this: this body is
          > not yours, but it is clay finely tempered. And since I was not able
          > to do for you what I have mentioned, I have given you a small portion
          > of us, this faculty of pursuing an object and avoiding it, and the
          > faculty of desire and aversion, and, in a word, the faculty of using
          > the appearances of things; and if you will take care of this faculty
          > and consider it your only possession, you will never be hindered,
          > never meet with impediments; you will not lament, you will not blame,
          > you will not flatter any person."
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          People might like to have a look at the collection of essays edited by
          Stephen Everson, Psychology, in the Companions to Ancient Thought series
          publ. by Cambridge U.P., in which there are essays by Tony Long, on
          'Representation and the Self in Stoicism', and by Chrsitopher Gill on 'Is
          there a concept of the person in Greek philosophy'. JMD
        • Peter Adamson
          ... The equivocation is because the same word means soul and self , so that e.g. if you prove that a being does something by itself you might then infer
          Message 4 of 24 , Aug 31, 2004
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            >
            > > could mean either "through itself" or "essentially". Again, the
            >> suspicion of
            >> equivocation arises; I tend to think Avicenna is less likely to be
            >> equivocating
            >> than al-Kindi though.
            >>
            >> Peter Adamson
            >
            >Could you elaborate a bit on the equivocation? I didn't quite follow
            >that. Can we link these Arabic concepts directly to any Greek ones,
            >or are they original with Avicenna and al-Kindi? I don't offhand
            >recognize them from any Greek philosophers, but they may just be my
            >failing.

            The equivocation is because the same word means "soul" and "self", so
            that e.g. if you prove that a being does something "by itself" you
            might then infer it does so "through its soul".

            >I meant to mention on my book posting earlier that I found a
            >relatively new (2002) book also from RoutledgeCuzon, called <Muslim
            >Neoplatonists An Introduction to the Thought of the Brethren of
            >Purity> by Ian Richard Netton.


            This isn't actually a new book, but a new edition of an older book
            (about 1980); the only general study of the Brethren of Purity
            (Ikhwan al-Safa') in English. I don't think it does much to discuss
            the Sabeans/Harran question but I may be remembering that wrong.

            >I don't believe we have ever discussed Harran here and the theory of
            >Simplicius' possibly settling there - ? I find the whole exile and
            >return from Persia saga a really intriguing story, and would make by
            >the way a great subject for an opera, of the sort such as Hindemith
            >wrote about Kepler, very cerebral to say the least. (I got so
            >intrigued by all this that I actually managed to get a copy of
            >Chwolsohn's Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus - showing if nothing else
            >I probably am crazy after all.)
            >
            >I have never been able to get my hands on the article written by
            >Tardieu where he discusses this theory at length, though I
            >fortunately have read the summary in Ilsetraut Hadot's "The Life and
            >Work of Simplicius" in <Aristotle Transformed>. I guess her summary
            >is good enough though; it certainly appears so.
            >
            >What is the present scholarly consensus on the likelihood of
            >Simplicius' ending up in Harran? Is there one?

            The scholarly consensus amongst right-thinking people seems to be
            that Tardieu's thesis (that Neoplatonism was planted in Harran by
            Simplicius and then filters down into the Arabic tradition) is
            without merit. It has been convincingly argued against in J. Lameer,
            "From Alexandria to Baghdad: Reflections on the Genesis of a
            Problematical Tradition," in The Ancient Tradition in Christian and
            Islamic Hellenism, ed. G Endress and R Kruk (Leiden: 1997).

            Best wishes,
            Peter Adamson
            --


            ___________________________
            Peter Adamson
            Department of Philosophy
            King's College London
            London WC2R 2LS
          • Sebastian Moro
            Malcolm Schosha wrote:
            Message 5 of 24 , Sep 1, 2004
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              Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

              <Of Stoic philosophy, little remains except some of
              the late Roman
              texts. What I have been trying to understand is if
              there is in Stoic
              philosophy a developed idea of the self, or if this
              did not come
              until the Neoplatonists. For instance, Epictetus
              discusses the
              abilities of the intellectual faculty to understand
              and to form
              judgments. But he does not say if he considers the
              intellectual
              faculty, and the faculty of choice, as themselves
              faculties of a
              conscious self. It seems to me that the Stoics must
              have had some
              concept of the self as a consciousness with the
              potential of
              controlling human life, and that perhaps some of this
              was carried on
              into Neoplatonism. Or, was the entire concept of the
              self as the
              center of human consciousness a new development in
              Neoplatonism?>

              Let me recapitulate several things.
              This thread of discussion started with a very
              interesting question about the notion of �self� in
              Stoicism and whether we have to wait until the
              Neoplatonists for a developed idea of self. I wouldn�t
              say that there are developed ideas. First I�d like to
              say that this is an evolutionist prejudice, and I
              don�t think ideas or philosophical doctrines evolve or
              are created by particular philosophers in a particular
              time. The Neoplatonists themselves would have said
              that the idea of self (or inner man, or soul) was
              present in the inscription in the temple of Apollo:
              �know thyself� (somebody in the thread has already
              mentioned this). The inscription is both previous to
              Stoicism and Platonism. See, Proclus� �Commentary on
              the Alcibiades�, and Plato�s �First Alcibiades� for
              this subject.
              So, if the Ancient Greeks wrote: �know thyself� in the
              temple, they have an idea of self, and manifestly
              Plato has meditated about it. With these antecedents
              the Stoics could have talked about the notion of self
              in terms of �pneuma�, as other person wrote here in
              the forum. We can add to this that it�s interesting to
              study the doctrine of the �hegemonikon� located in the
              heart, as the centre of the person (all the sensations
              and life cohere in this centre) in connection to the
              notion of self.
              I think we can talk in Stoicism about a contrast
              between the peripheral movement of sensations and
              sensible objects, which are changeable in a
              Heraclitean way, and on the other hand, the centre or
              �hegemonikon� (like the Sun as �heart of the world� in
              the Macrocosm), which is immobile. The notion of true
              self has to be connected with this permanent principle
              (the logos, that maintains things unified with
              different tensions from a centre from which this
              �tension� starts and pervades everything in the
              monistic system of the Stoics), while the soul (the
              incomplete self) follows a path of concentration and
              likening to the permanent principle microcosmically.
              This �hegemonikon� is like the charioteer who makes
              the whole a unified thing symbolized through the reins
              that connect the leading centre to the periphery of
              external things. The comparison between the Sun, its
              chariot, the reins (as luminous rays) etc. is related
              to the Apollinean cult (and we find it in the
              Phaedrus).
              This Apollinean imagery is also present in Stoicism
              and has been studied by E.von Ivanka in his book
              �Plato Christianus� (p. 301 of the French version,
              German original: Plato Christianus. �bernahme und
              Umgestaltung des Platonismus durch die Vater,
              Einsielden, 1964, 315-351; there is also an Italian
              version).
              This section of the book is a very interesting account
              of Stoic psychology; he studies there mainly the
              symbols of the centre of the soul and the �apex
              mentis� considering the Stoic source of them. But they
              are not exclusive to Stoicism as E. von Ivanka seems
              to claim; although he studies the relationship between
              this and Neoplatonism, he affirms a Stoic origin of
              these metaphors when it�s very clear that we can find
              them in Plato and before him. I think that this
              presentation of the notion of true-self as a central
              �scintilla anima� (a central tension of logos) in
              Stoicism, is a distorted and materialized version of a
              previous Orphic or Pythagorean doctrine (as the result
              of interpreting literally or cosmically, doctrines
              that had a metaphysic meaning), which the
              Neoplatonists (and others like Philo of Alexandria and
              the Fathers of the Church) restored to its original
              meaning.
              This means that we don�t have to wait to the
              Neoplatonists to have a doctrine of the real and
              true-self, they were clarifying previous forgotten
              doctrines and they saw themselves as Platonists and
              Pythagoreans and not as neo-Platonists and
              neo-Pythagoreans. The Stoics presented them, as
              intermediaries, many doctrines and symbols that helped
              the Neoplatonists to developed a more complex and
              systematical theory of the inner self.
              Maybe I�m neoplatonizing Stoicism, but I have seen
              recently a text in Plutarch�s �On the Delphic E� which
              confirms that this interpretation of the self (along
              with that of the Delphic maxim) is at least earlier to
              Neoplatonism.
              Plutarch says, in the section in which Ammonius talk,
              that the soul is in the world of change, alteration
              and difference, so the symbol of the �E� means, in
              contrast to this, the permanent being of the god. It�s
              a salutation of the person who enters to the temple of
              Apollo, meaning �You are�; the soul has not a complete
              being like the god. The �know thyself� is also a
              salutation (cf. Plato�s Charmides 164 D ss.), an
              exhortation to direct the self (particular, or partial
              soul) toward the unification of the true-self through
              the ablation of the divisible and in imitation to the
              �nous� in Neoplatonic terms (or logos in stoic terms).
              The person who enters in a temple (i.e. the Delphic
              temple) receives and gives a salutation, we can see in
              it a microcosmic parallel of the soul entering to a
              more divine level (like when the chariot of the soul
              in the Phaedrus climbs out the sphere of the world).
              The soul needs to give a salutation, which is the �E�,
              recognizing the permanence and absolute being of
              Apollo, and her own weakness and changeability,
              understood in the other salutation �know thyself�
              which enables the self to give up egoism and
              egocentrism, when the soul begins a path of conversion
              (in Neoplatonism the �know thyself� and Plato�s
              Alcibiades were the beginning of the philosophical
              curriculum).
              I don�t know if this is present in Stoicism, but it�s
              present in Greek religion.
              Plutarch is intermediate between Neoplatonism and
              Stoicism, I think that this orientation toward the
              true self or inner self (which in Neoplatonism is
              �epistrophe�, conversion or return) in stoicism is
              expressed in terms of concentration toward the heart,
              where a fiery particle of the �aither� is located.
              The problem is: do we need to interpret this location
              of the divine principle of the self in a material and
              physical sense in Stoicism, and �pneuma� as material
              and not spiritual? The answer (or clarification) to
              this was Neoplatonism, that clearly defends the
              immaterial interpretation of the centre of the self,
              an interpretation also shared by the Christian
              writers. One could say that already in Stoicism this
              fire was a symbol of an immaterial reality even though
              the expression of it was in material terms, because
              after all they needed to express things in this way
              because they were talking about the body and the
              centre of the life of the body (the heart and the
              �hegemonikon� located there). May be the Stoics were
              adapting these teachings to the mentality of the
              epoch, the same as the Academics adopted scepticism
              externally, according to Saint Augustine, but only as
              a disguise, maintaining secretly the true Platonic
              doctrine (see Tigerstedt, E.N. �The Decline and Fall
              of the NeoPlatonic Interpretation of Plato�
              Commentationes Humanarum Litterarum. Helsinki:
              Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1974. V.52 (1-70), the
              section about Augustine and the New Academy.)
              The other option is that probably, previous doctrines
              of Pre-Socratic and Platonic philosophy were
              misunderstood and materialized by the stoics, so the
              Neoplatonists viewed the need of recovering their true
              meaning. For example the �self� and its two levels
              (let me use terms from other context: anima and
              animus): the soul and its centre (�nous�) symbolised
              with a subtle fire or �aither� called �pneuma�,
              �scintilla�, �apex mentis�, etc.
              These symbols (the spark of divine fire, etc.) are
              present in Orphism, and Pythagoreanism and also in
              other pre-socratics as Diogenes of Apollonia and we
              find them also in many Stoic fragments.

              Sebastian Moro






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            • Tzvi Langermann
              Please note this new book, still up for review at Bryn Maw Classical Review: *Ousager, Asger, Plotinus on Selfhood, Freedom, and Politics. Aarhus Studies in
              Message 6 of 24 , Sep 7, 2004
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                Please note this new book, still up for review at Bryn Maw Classical Review:

                *Ousager, Asger, Plotinus on Selfhood, Freedom, and Politics. Aarhus
                Studies in Mediterranean Antiquity, VI. Aarhus: Aarhus University
                Press, 2004. Pp. 397; ills. DKK 318.00. ISBN 87-7934-098-9


                Tzvi Langermann
                Dept of Arabic
                Bar Ilan University
                Ramat Gan, ISRAEL
                tel: 972-2-673-7837
                fax: 972-2-673-3480
              • Bradley Skene
                I beleive someone asked for refernces on Harran. Here are some observations on Sabian Harran from a forthcoming review of mine. As I recall Talon s article
                Message 7 of 24 , Jun 2 9:35 AM
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                  I beleive someone asked for refernces on Harran.


                  Here are some observations on Sabian Harran from a forthcoming review of
                  mine. As I recall Talon's article seemed reasonably sound, but its
                  importance should not be exaggerated.

                  Lamear's article cited in the excerpt below is the most important work on
                  this topic, and is frequently cited a corrective to Tardieu in recent
                  literature.

                  cheers,


                  Malkhos



                  Francis E. Peters, "Hermes and Harran: The Roots of Arabic-Islamic
                  Occultism," (1990), 55-85, addresses the general problem of the Islamic
                  reception of Greek philosophical occultism. He views the city of Harran (on
                  the upper Tigris) as key in this transmission. Harran was unique in the
                  Islamic world in maintaining its traditional 'pagan' religion into the
                  10thcentury under the cover that they were among the 'Sabians'
                  (actually a term
                  referring to the Mandaeans), a 'people of the book' (along with Jews,
                  Christians, and Parsees) marked out for toleration in the *Koran*.
                  Interpreting Arabic sources, Peters surmises that at some unknown time in
                  the Hellenistic era these 'Sabians' created a Hellenized form of their
                  traditional (Mesopotamian) religion, largely through syncretism with
                  Hermeticism, [1]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt=&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftn1>and
                  that this
                  *melanges* must have been the source of Islamic occultist learning. Peters
                  missed considerable support for his thesis in the works of Michel Tardieu,
                  [2]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt=&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftn2>who
                  theorized that inasmuch as Simplicius, when expelled from the Roman
                  Empire by Justinian, eventually settled the Platonic Academy in Harran and
                  Arabic sources treat the Sabians as the source of much of their received
                  Greek philosophical tradition, Islamic esotericism must be the direct
                  descendent of the exiled Academy. Unfortunately for Peters, however, as well
                  as for Tardieu, their theses actually find little support in the evidence.
                  Arabic understanding of Graeco-Roman intellectual history tended to the
                  fantastic and Romantic (Peters relates accounts of Empedocles having learned
                  philosophy from King David), and the Arabic account of the Academy moving
                  from Alexandria, to Antioch, to Harran, and finally to Baghdad is quite
                  unreliable. The Neoplatonic school had been exiled from Alexandria in the
                  fifth century and thereafter subsisted only in Athens for the last century
                  of its life. [3]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt=&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftn3>The
                  more fantastic version is now believed to have come about from the
                  fact
                  that most of the translations of Greek philosophical works into Arabic
                  (often based on Syriac intermediaries) was undertaken by Sabians form
                  Harranand by Nestorian Christians, whose centre was Antioch.
                  [4]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt=&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftn4>Greek
                  philosophy as a whole was often attributed to Hermes (no doubt because
                  of the prominence of Hermes Trismegistus within the alchemical tradition),
                  who was identified with the Islamic Idris. In fact, there does not seem to
                  have been much translation of either the philosophical Hermetica (as opposed
                  to the alchemical works) or of Neoplatonic books such as Simplicius must
                  have brought with him to Harran. While much later Islamic speculation was
                  pseudepigraphically attributed either to Hermes or to mysterious 'books of
                  the Sabians' in accord the early established historiographical romance,
                  early Islamic esoteric movements seem to have been centered not at Harran,
                  but either in the centre of learning at Baghdad, or more widely in the
                  Islamic world (the Brotherhood of Purity, fore example, seems to have arisen
                  in Basra and Cairo). Such Neoplatonic learning as was received by Islamic
                  scholars need have no origin more mysterious than the translations of well
                  known works such as those of ps-Dionysius the Areopogite, or the epitome of
                  Plotinus' *Enneads* (which circulated In the Islamic world under a false
                  attribution to Aristotle, showing how little was understood of the context
                  and history of Greek philosophy), or of numerous works of Porphyry.



                  ------------------------------

                  [1]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt=&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftnref1>T.
                  Green,
                  *The City of the Moon God: Religious Traditions of Harran* (Leiden: E. J.
                  Brill, 1992), gives a more through exposition of the entire history of the
                  religion of Harran, while A. Kuhrt, "Nabonidus and the Babylonian
                  Priesthood," *Pagan Priests and Power in the Ancient World* Mary Beard and
                  John North, edd. (Ithaca: Cornell Universe Press, 1990), 117-55, especially
                  good on Harran's prominence in the Neo-Babylonian period.



                  [2]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt=&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftnref2>"Les
                  calendries en usage à
                  Harran d'après les sources arabes et le commentaire de Simplicius à la
                  Physique d'Aristote," *Simplicius, sa vie, son oeuvre, sa survie: Actes du
                  colloque International de Paris (28 Sept.-1er Oct. 1985)* I. Hadot, ed.
                  (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1987), 40-57, and "Sâbiens coraniques et
                  <<Sâbiens>> de Harran," *Journal asiatique* 274 (1986): 1-44.

                  [3]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt=&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftnref3>On
                  this see Damascius,
                  *The Philosophical History: Texts with Translation and Notes* Polymnia
                  Athanassiadi, ed. and trans. (Athens, 1999), as well as the accounts of
                  Hypatia's murder: Socrates, *Ecclesiastical History*, 7.14; John of Nikiu, *
                  Chronicle*, 84.87-103, and the so-called 'apocalypse' attached to the end of
                  the Hermetic *Asclepius*, an *ex eventu* 'prophecy' of the Christian
                  destruction of the last remnant of the Museum.



                  [4]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?&ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt=&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftnref4>Joep
                  Lamear,
                  "From Alexandria to Baghdad: Reflections on the Genesis of a Problematical
                  Tradition," *The Ancient Tradition in Christian and Islamic
                  Hellenism*Gerhard Endress and Remke Kruk, edd. (Leiden: Research
                  School CNWS, 1997),
                  181-91.


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • vaeringjar
                  ... &ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt =&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftnref4 Joep ... Problematical ... Thanks for all the references
                  Message 8 of 24 , Jun 2 10:27 AM
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                    > [4]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?
                    &ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt
                    =&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftnref4>Joep
                    > Lamear,
                    > "From Alexandria to Baghdad: Reflections on the Genesis of a
                    Problematical
                    > Tradition," *The Ancient Tradition in Christian and Islamic
                    > Hellenism*Gerhard Endress and Remke Kruk, edd. (Leiden: Research
                    > School CNWS, 1997),
                    > 181-91.
                    >
                    >


                    Thanks for all the references - without going to a lot of trouble,
                    could you summarize this last one a bit, what the main thrust is? I
                    was not aware of it, and am curious. Thanks!

                    Dennis Clark
                    Issaquah
                  • Bradley Skene
                    the section from The most fantastic... on is a summary of it. It basically demonstrates how the idea that Arabic occultist lore had its origin in Harran
                    Message 9 of 24 , Jun 2 10:51 AM
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                      the section from 'The most fantastic..." on is a summary of it. It basically
                      demonstrates how the idea that Arabic occultist lore had its origin in
                      Harran developed as a myth within Arabic culture because of the activity of
                      scribes from Harran in translating Greek and Aramaic texts (it seems that
                      translations into Arabic from Greek often depended on Aramaic
                      intermediaries, now lost), rather than from an actual store of Neoplatonic
                      books kept at Harran. Arabic scholars were far more interested in Alchemical
                      texts rather than the philosophical Hermetica or Neoplatonic treatises, and
                      these do not seem to have played much of a role in Arabic culture except for
                      the ones mentioned.

                      On 6/2/06, vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > > [4]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?
                      > &ik=58a5ee3b5e&view=cv&search=inbox&th=10b0bc1768c4f441&lvp=2&cvp=2&qt
                      > =&zx=awuxu031nfqz#_ftnref4>Joep
                      > > Lamear,
                      > > "From Alexandria to Baghdad: Reflections on the Genesis of a
                      > Problematical
                      > > Tradition," *The Ancient Tradition in Christian and Islamic
                      > > Hellenism*Gerhard Endress and Remke Kruk, edd. (Leiden: Research
                      > > School CNWS, 1997),
                      > > 181-91.
                      > >
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      > Thanks for all the references - without going to a lot of trouble,
                      > could you summarize this last one a bit, what the main thrust is? I
                      > was not aware of it, and am curious. Thanks!
                      >
                      > Dennis Clark
                      > Issaquah
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Michael Chase
                      ... M.C. I guess you mean Syriac. By the way, can you give us some further information about these scribes from Harran ? ... M.C Utter nonsense, I m afraid.
                      Message 10 of 24 , Jun 3 1:21 AM
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                        Le 2 juin 06, à 19:51, Bradley Skene a écrit :

                        > the section from 'The most fantastic..." on is a summary of it. It
                        > basically
                        > demonstrates how the idea that Arabic occultist lore had its origin in
                        > Harran developed as a myth within Arabic culture because of the
                        > activity of
                        > scribes from Harran in translating Greek and Aramaic texts

                        M.C. I guess you mean Syriac. By the way, can you give us some further
                        information about these "scribes from Harran"?



                        > (it seems that
                        > translations into Arabic from Greek often depended on Aramaic
                        > intermediaries, now lost), rather than from an actual store of
                        > Neoplatonic
                        > books kept at Harran. Arabic scholars were far more interested in
                        > Alchemical
                        > texts rather than the philosophical Hermetica or Neoplatonic
                        > treatises,

                        M.C Utter nonsense, I'm afraid.

                        > and
                        > these do not seem to have played much of a role in Arabic culture
                        > except for
                        > the ones mentioned.

                        M.C. I'm afraid these remarks display nothing other than ignorance of
                        Arabic culture.


                        >
                        >
                        Michael Chase
                        (goya@...)
                        CNRS UPR 76
                        7, rue Guy Moquet
                        Villejuif 94801
                        France
                      • Bradley Skene
                        I may indeed have meant Syriac. But you maybe have information on Arabic translations of the complete works of Plato, Iamblichus, and Proclus? Or the
                        Message 11 of 24 , Jun 3 5:54 AM
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                          I may indeed have meant Syriac. But you maybe have information on Arabic
                          translations of the complete works of Plato, Iamblichus, and Proclus? Or the
                          Philosophical Hermetica? I know next to nothing about Arabic Culture, but I
                          know that the tranlsation of Greek philosophical texts was quite limited.

                          For further information on the scribes of Harran, please see the cited
                          article.


                          On 6/3/06, Michael Chase <goya@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > Le 2 juin 06, à 19:51, Bradley Skene a écrit :
                          >
                          > > the section from 'The most fantastic..." on is a summary of it. It
                          > > basically
                          > > demonstrates how the idea that Arabic occultist lore had its origin in
                          > > Harran developed as a myth within Arabic culture because of the
                          > > activity of
                          > > scribes from Harran in translating Greek and Aramaic texts
                          >
                          > M.C. I guess you mean Syriac. By the way, can you give us some further
                          > information about these "scribes from Harran"?
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > > (it seems that
                          > > translations into Arabic from Greek often depended on Aramaic
                          > > intermediaries, now lost), rather than from an actual store of
                          > > Neoplatonic
                          > > books kept at Harran. Arabic scholars were far more interested in
                          > > Alchemical
                          > > texts rather than the philosophical Hermetica or Neoplatonic
                          > > treatises,
                          >
                          > M.C Utter nonsense, I'm afraid.
                          >
                          > > and
                          > > these do not seem to have played much of a role in Arabic culture
                          > > except for
                          > > the ones mentioned.
                          >
                          > M.C. I'm afraid these remarks display nothing other than ignorance of
                          > Arabic culture.
                          >
                          >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > Michael Chase
                          > (goya@...)
                          > CNRS UPR 76
                          > 7, rue Guy Moquet
                          > Villejuif 94801
                          > France
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >


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