Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Neoplatonism & Religion

Expand Messages
  • Wyman
    Hi everyone, I am new to this group and to the topic, but I am highly interested in your thoughts on the connection of Neoplatonism and religion, esp.
    Message 1 of 21 , Mar 30, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi everyone,

      I am new to this group and to the topic, but I am highly interested in your thoughts on the connection of Neoplatonism and religion, esp. Christianity. I have heard that it is not up-to-date anymore to say that Neoplatonism influenced Christianity, but that Christianity and Neoplatonism provided solutions or answers to questions people in late Antiquity had. Does anyone here know more about the link between Neoplatonism and Christianity? Is anyone familiar with the cultural grounds NP developed upon? I have read something about the development of the concept of the trinity. Is this a concept developed by Christians or Neoplatonists? Can anyone recommend books on this particular topic?

      Thanks, everybody!

      Wyman
    • Jeremy Schott
      Dear Wyman, It’s always encouraging to see new interest in the Neoplatonic and early Christian traditions. Good luck in your studies, whether formal or
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 30, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Wyman,

        It�s always encouraging to see new interest in the Neoplatonic and early
        Christian traditions. Good luck in your studies, whether formal or
        amateur! I would normally reply off-list, but I can't seem to toggle that
        button on this particular browser. Perhaps there are other new students or
        amateurs (used in the positive sense!) who might find this useful. There
        are scholars on this list more senior and expert than myself who can
        probably offer better and more sophisticated insights, but here are some
        thoughts on some basic 'prolegomena' to studying relationships between
        Christianity and Neoplatonism.


        You�re right�the current paradigm understands Neoplatonism and Christianity
        (or at least Christian intellectuals) as two traditions often engaged in
        developing solutions to shared philosophical issues. The �trinity,� for
        instance, is an orthodox Christian dogma/concept, but early Christian
        philosophical thought about the trinity is engaged with many of the same
        philosophical questions concerning ontology and cosmology that
        Neoplatonists were engaged with in their explorations of the One,
        Intellect, and Soul. Of course, orthodox Christians and Neoplatonists did
        not always come to the same conclusions about these shared philosophical
        topics. Nor did they necessarily �do� philosophy is exactly the same
        manner (though Christians and Neoplatonists did share some methodologies as
        well).



        If I were you I�d start exploring the question of �relationships� by
        reading the primary sources, thinking about how Christian intellectuals and
        later Platonists are engaging similar philosophical issues.



        The question of institutional or collective identity (i.e. the sense a
        late-ancient intellectual would have of belonging to a tradition, of being
        a �Christian� rather than a �Platonist�) is an integrally related, but
        somewhat different question. The current socio-historical model for
        understanding these relationships is one of �mutual production�; that is,
        these traditions constructed themselves in no small part in
        contradistinction and reaction to one another (and in reaction to other
        shared �opponents,� e.g. Manichaeans). Group identities were constituted
        through the development of normative corpora of texts, modes of reading and
        exegetical practice, modes of social comportment, and the production of
        biographies and histories.



        A classic place to start might be Ennead 2.9, a text in which Plotinus
        details his objections to �gnostic� ontology and cosmology. Questions
        about 'tradition' emerge in this text as well. Keep in mind that some of
        the �gnostics� are in fact frequenters of Plotinus� circle.



        Hope this offers a start,

        Jeremy Schott



        --

        Associate Professor of Religious Studies

        University of North Carolina at Charlotte

        9201 University City Blvd.

        Charlotte, NC 28223


        On Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 5:33 AM, Wyman <vilniusjewishlibrary@...>wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > Hi everyone,
        >
        > I am new to this group and to the topic, but I am highly interested in
        > your thoughts on the connection of Neoplatonism and religion, esp.
        > Christianity. I have heard that it is not up-to-date anymore to say that
        > Neoplatonism influenced Christianity, but that Christianity and
        > Neoplatonism provided solutions or answers to questions people in late
        > Antiquity had. Does anyone here know more about the link between
        > Neoplatonism and Christianity? Is anyone familiar with the cultural grounds
        > NP developed upon? I have read something about the development of the
        > concept of the trinity. Is this a concept developed by Christians or
        > Neoplatonists? Can anyone recommend books on this particular topic?
        >
        > Thanks, everybody!
        >
        > Wyman
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Goya
        Thanks to Professor Schott for some stimulating remarks. For my part, I ve been working for a couple of years now on the debate between Pagans and Christians
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 31, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          Thanks to Professor Schott for some stimulating remarks.

          For my part, I've been working for a couple of years now on the debate
          between Pagans and Christians over the creation or eternity of the world.
          There are differences, obviously, but I've also found that when the
          Christian Philoponus, for instance, argues against the eternity fo the
          world, he seems to make use of some doctrines of Porphyry, the arch-enemy
          of Christianity, and it's been argued that Porphyry is also behind the
          Christian idea of the Trinity.

          I wonder what List-members think of Willy Theiler's argument that Origen
          was a student of Ammonios Saccas, that Ammonios' system can be
          reconstructed from the parallels between Origen and Hierocles, and that
          where Porphyry parts company with Plotinus on doctrinal questions, he is
          returning to the views of Ammonius?

          Best, Mike


          > Dear Wyman,
          >
          > It’s always encouraging to see new interest in the Neoplatonic and early
          > Christian traditions. Good luck in your studies, whether formal or
          > amateur! I would normally reply off-list, but I can't seem to toggle that
          > button on this particular browser. Perhaps there are other new students
          > or
          > amateurs (used in the positive sense!) who might find this useful. There
          > are scholars on this list more senior and expert than myself who can
          > probably offer better and more sophisticated insights, but here are some
          > thoughts on some basic 'prolegomena' to studying relationships between
          > Christianity and Neoplatonism.
          >
          >
          > You’re right—the current paradigm understands Neoplatonism and
          > Christianity
          > (or at least Christian intellectuals) as two traditions often engaged in
          > developing solutions to shared philosophical issues. The “trinity,” for
          > instance, is an orthodox Christian dogma/concept, but early Christian
          > philosophical thought about the trinity is engaged with many of the same
          > philosophical questions concerning ontology and cosmology that
          > Neoplatonists were engaged with in their explorations of the One,
          > Intellect, and Soul. Of course, orthodox Christians and Neoplatonists did
          > not always come to the same conclusions about these shared philosophical
          > topics. Nor did they necessarily “do” philosophy is exactly the same
          > manner (though Christians and Neoplatonists did share some methodologies
          > as
          > well).
          >
          >
          >
          > If I were you I’d start exploring the question of “relationships” by
          > reading the primary sources, thinking about how Christian intellectuals
          > and
          > later Platonists are engaging similar philosophical issues.
          >
          >
          >
          > The question of institutional or collective identity (i.e. the sense a
          > late-ancient intellectual would have of belonging to a tradition, of being
          > a “Christian” rather than a “Platonist”) is an integrally related, but
          > somewhat different question. The current socio-historical model for
          > understanding these relationships is one of “mutual production”; that is,
          > these traditions constructed themselves in no small part in
          > contradistinction and reaction to one another (and in reaction to other
          > shared ‘opponents,’ e.g. Manichaeans). Group identities were constituted
          > through the development of normative corpora of texts, modes of reading
          > and
          > exegetical practice, modes of social comportment, and the production of
          > biographies and histories.
          >
          >
          >
          > A classic place to start might be Ennead 2.9, a text in which Plotinus
          > details his objections to ‘gnostic’ ontology and cosmology. Questions
          > about 'tradition' emerge in this text as well. Keep in mind that some of
          > the ‘gnostics’ are in fact frequenters of Plotinus’ circle.
          >
          >
          >
          > Hope this offers a start,
          >
          > Jeremy Schott
          >
          >
          >
          > --
          >
          > Associate Professor of Religious Studies
          >
          > University of North Carolina at Charlotte
          >
          > 9201 University City Blvd.
          >
          > Charlotte, NC 28223
          >
          >
          > On Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 5:33 AM, Wyman
          > <vilniusjewishlibrary@...>wrote:
          >
          >> **
          >>
          >>
          >> Hi everyone,
          >>
          >> I am new to this group and to the topic, but I am highly interested in
          >> your thoughts on the connection of Neoplatonism and religion, esp.
          >> Christianity. I have heard that it is not up-to-date anymore to say that
          >> Neoplatonism influenced Christianity, but that Christianity and
          >> Neoplatonism provided solutions or answers to questions people in late
          >> Antiquity had. Does anyone here know more about the link between
          >> Neoplatonism and Christianity? Is anyone familiar with the cultural
          >> grounds
          >> NP developed upon? I have read something about the development of the
          >> concept of the trinity. Is this a concept developed by Christians or
          >> Neoplatonists? Can anyone recommend books on this particular topic?
          >>
          >> Thanks, everybody!
          >>
          >> Wyman
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >


          Michael Chase
          CNRS UPR 76
          Paris-Villejuif
          France
        • Jim Schumacher
          I would recommend that you start with Book XI of the Praeparatio Evangelica by the church father Eusebius. His thesis was that Greek philosophy in general and
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 31, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            I would recommend that you start with Book XI of the Praeparatio
            Evangelica by the church father Eusebius. His thesis was that Greek
            philosophy in general and Platonism in particular paved the way for
            the Christian message, and he correlates Platonism and Christian
            theology (a Greek word coined by Plato) in some detail.

            There is an excellent translation of the PE available for download
            from Amazon for 99 cents.

            Jim Schumacher



            On Mar 30, 2012, at 4:33 AM, Wyman wrote:

            > Hi everyone,
            >
            > I am new to this group and to the topic, but I am highly interested
            > in your thoughts on the connection of Neoplatonism and religion,
            > esp. Christianity. I have heard that it is not up-to-date anymore to
            > say that Neoplatonism influenced Christianity, but that Christianity
            > and Neoplatonism provided solutions or answers to questions people
            > in late Antiquity had. Does anyone here know more about the link
            > between Neoplatonism and Christianity? Is anyone familiar with the
            > cultural grounds NP developed upon? I have read something about the
            > development of the concept of the trinity. Is this a concept
            > developed by Christians or Neoplatonists? Can anyone recommend books
            > on this particular topic?
            >
            > Thanks, everybody!
            >
            > Wyman
            >
            >



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Clark, Stephen
            Good secondary literature includes Prestige God in Patristic Thought, and Lloyd Gerson s Plotinus, and his God and Greek Philosophy. Maybe also David Bradshaw
            Message 5 of 21 , Apr 1, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              Good secondary literature includes Prestige God in Patristic Thought, and Lloyd Gerson's Plotinus, and his God and Greek Philosophy. Maybe also David Bradshaw Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom.

              I've written on this myself in From Athens to Jerusalem (Clarendon Press 1984), and God's World and the Great Awakening (Clarendon Press 1991), making use of Philo in both cases.

              I now think that the obvious comparison of the CHristian Trinity with Plotinus's three hypostases is wrong. The One and the Nous relate fairly well to the first and second persons, but Plotinus' Soul is not the same as the Christian Spirit: actually Nous serves both as Logos and as Spirit.

              But there is still a comparison to be made. Plotinus analyses the divine as Beloved, Lover and Love of It in Enneads VI.8 [39].15 (also Known, Knower and Knowing) which serves quite well at least for the 'social' interpretation of the Trinity.

              I posted a draft paper on Maximus the Confessor's use of logos and logoi on academia.edu a while back. That may be of interest (at least for the references). And there's a chapter on Plotinus in McGhee & Cornwell, edds., God and the Philosophers (Continuum 2009).

              Best wishes

              Stephen Clark


              From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of Wyman [vilniusjewishlibrary@...]

              Sent: 30 March 2012 10:33

              To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com

              Subject: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonism & Religion









              Hi everyone,



              I am new to this group and to the topic, but I am highly interested in your thoughts on the connection of Neoplatonism and religion, esp. Christianity. I have heard that it is not up-to-date anymore to say that Neoplatonism influenced Christianity, but that
              Christianity and Neoplatonism provided solutions or answers to questions people in late Antiquity had. Does anyone here know more about the link between Neoplatonism and Christianity? Is anyone familiar with the cultural grounds NP developed upon? I have read
              something about the development of the concept of the trinity. Is this a concept developed by Christians or Neoplatonists? Can anyone recommend books on this particular topic?



              Thanks, everybody!



              Wyman







              <!--
              #ygrp-mkp
              {border:1px solid #d8d8d8;
              font-family:Arial;
              margin:10px 0;
              padding:0 10px}
              #ygrp-mkp hr
              {border:1px solid #d8d8d8}
              #ygrp-mkp #hd
              {color:#628c2a;
              font-size:85%;
              font-weight:700;
              line-height:122%;
              margin:10px 0}
              #ygrp-mkp #ads
              {margin-bottom:10px}
              #ygrp-mkp .ad
              {padding:0 0}
              #ygrp-mkp .ad p
              {margin:0}
              #ygrp-mkp .ad a
              {color:#0000ff;
              text-decoration:none}
              #ygrp-sponsor #ygrp-lc
              {font-family:Arial}
              #ygrp-sponsor #ygrp-lc #hd
              {margin:10px 0px;
              font-weight:700;
              font-size:78%;
              line-height:122%}
              #ygrp-sponsor #ygrp-lc .ad
              {margin-bottom:10px;
              padding:0 0}
              a
              {color:#1e66ae}
              #actions
              {font-family:Verdana;
              font-size:11px;
              padding:10px 0}
              #activity
              {background-color:#e0ecee;
              float:left;
              font-family:Verdana;
              font-size:10px;
              padding:10px}
              #activity span
              {font-weight:700}
              #activity span:first-child
              {text-transform:uppercase}
              #activity span a
              {color:#5085b6;
              text-decoration:none}
              #activity span span
              {color:#ff7900}
              #activity span .underline
              {text-decoration:underline}
              .attach
              {clear:both;
              display:table;
              font-family:Arial;
              font-size:12px;
              padding:10px 0;
              width:400px}
              .attach div a
              {text-decoration:none}
              .attach img
              {border:none;
              padding-right:5px}
              .attach label
              {display:block;
              margin-bottom:5px}
              .attach label a
              {text-decoration:none}
              blockquote
              {margin:0 0 0 4px}
              .bold
              {font-family:Arial;
              font-size:13px;
              font-weight:700}
              .bold a
              {text-decoration:none}
              dd.last p a
              {font-family:Verdana;
              font-weight:700}
              dd.last p span
              {margin-right:10px;
              font-family:Verdana;
              font-weight:700}
              dd.last p span.yshortcuts
              {margin-right:0}
              div.attach-table div div a
              {text-decoration:none}
              div.attach-table
              {width:400px}
              div.file-title a, div.file-title a:active, div.file-title a:hover, div.file-title a:visited
              {text-decoration:none}
              div.photo-title a, div.photo-title a:active, div.photo-title a:hover, div.photo-title a:visited
              {text-decoration:none}
              div#ygrp-mlmsg #ygrp-msg p a span.yshortcuts
              {font-family:Verdana;
              font-size:10px;
              font-weight:normal}
              .green
              {color:#628c2a}
              .MsoNormal
              {margin:0 0 0 0}
              o
              {font-size:0}
              #photos div
              {float:left;
              width:72px}
              #photos div div
              {border:1px solid #666666;
              height:62px;
              overflow:hidden;
              width:62px}
              #photos div label
              {color:#666666;
              font-size:10px;
              overflow:hidden;
              text-align:center;
              white-space:nowrap;
              width:64px}
              #reco-category
              {font-size:77%}
              #reco-desc
              {font-size:77%}
              .replbq
              {margin:4px}
              #ygrp-actbar div a:first-child
              {margin-right:2px;
              padding-right:5px}
              #ygrp-mlmsg table
              {font-size:inherit;
              font:100%}
              #ygrp-mlmsg select, input, textarea
              {font:99% Arial,Helvetica,clean,sans-serif}
              #ygrp-mlmsg *
              {line-height:1.22em}
              #ygrp-mlmsg #logo
              {padding-bottom:10px}
              #ygrp-mlmsg a
              {color:#1E66AE}
              #ygrp-msg p a
              {font-family:Verdana}
              #ygrp-msg p#attach-count span
              {color:#1E66AE;
              font-weight:700}
              #ygrp-reco #reco-head
              {color:#ff7900;
              font-weight:700}
              #ygrp-reco
              {margin-bottom:20px;
              padding:0px}
              #ygrp-sponsor #ov li a
              {font-size:130%;
              text-decoration:none}
              #ygrp-sponsor #ov li
              {font-size:77%;
              list-style-type:square;
              padding:6px 0}
              #ygrp-sponsor #ov ul
              {margin:0;
              padding:0 0 0 8px}
              #ygrp-text
              {font-family:Georgia}
              #ygrp-text p
              {margin:0 0 1em 0}
              #ygrp-text tt
              {font-size:120%}
              #ygrp-vital ul li:last-child
              {border-right:none!important}
              -->
              BODY {direction: ltr;font-family: Times New Roman;color: #000000;font-size: 12pt;}P {margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;}




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Wyman
              Thank you everyone for all the information and recommendations. I will have a lot to read. :) Stephen, is there a standard source that makes the obvious
              Message 6 of 21 , Apr 1, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                Thank you everyone for all the information and recommendations. I will have a lot to read. :)

                Stephen, is there a standard source that makes the obvious comparison between the Christian Trinity and Plotinus' concept?

                Does anyone have an opinion on Caesar Morgan's An Investigation of the Trinity of Plato and Philo Judaeus? I have not yet read it but I am planning to do so as someone else mentioned it to me. It is from 1795.

                Something I was wondering: Until I read some of the comments made here, I have learned that the concept of the Trinity is a pagan concept and was later adapted by Christians and never heard it the other way around. Unless you talk about the genuine Christian Trinity. There is certainly a difference between those two concepts, but either two cultural groups had at least similar ideas, or one adapted parts from another. Can this be solved at all?

                Again, thanks for the great recommendations!

                Wyman
              • Marco Bormann
                @Stephen Clark I now think that the obvious comparison of the CHristian Trinity with Plotinus s three hypostases is wrong. The One and the Nous relate fairly
                Message 7 of 21 , Apr 2, 2012
                • 0 Attachment
                  @Stephen Clark
                  "I now think that the obvious comparison of the CHristian Trinity with Plotinus's three hypostases is wrong. The One and the Nous relate fairly well to the first and second persons, but Plotinus' Soul is not the same as the Christian Spirit: actually Nous serves both as Logos and as Spirit."
                   
                  I agree with this remark. Christians almost always argued against the concept of a world-soul, often with the argument that movement of planets which oftentimes got associated with the souls or has been seen as an expression of its perfection would be way to simple for a soul. I do have trouble understandig the concept of the Holy Spirit - I try of course to abstract from its theological role. It seems to me to be some kind of unity of the One (God) and the Nous. In Marius Victorinus I found some hints that he for instance sees it as the Nous that realizes the One.
                   
                  But I think it's quite interesting comparing Christian and Neoplatonic views though I am somehow under the impression that from Plotinos or even Ammonios on it is pretty much a one way street where Neoplatonists did never read Christian Trinity as a possible contribuition to their thinking while Christians tokk everthing the could get. But probably this is due to much greater internal struggles among the Christians and probably because their thinking was more metaphorical than the Platonist's.
                   
                  @Michael Chase
                  " it's been argued that Porphyry is also behind the Christian idea of the Trinity."
                   
                  Just a personal remark. I am getting a little suspicious about the mass of stuff that finally get attributed to Porphyrios while at the same time there is not so much left of what he wrote. It looks like a welcome black hole to solve all kinds of philological quests.
                   
                  Marco


                  >________________________________
                  > De : "Clark, Stephen" <srlclark@...>
                  >À : "neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com" <neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com>
                  >Envoyé le : Dimanche 1 avril 2012 16h20
                  >Objet : RE: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonism & Religion
                  >
                  >Good secondary literature includes Prestige God in Patristic Thought, and Lloyd Gerson's Plotinus, and his God and Greek Philosophy. Maybe also David Bradshaw Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom.
                  >
                  >I've written on this myself in From Athens to Jerusalem (Clarendon Press 1984), and God's World and the Great Awakening (Clarendon Press 1991), making use of Philo in both cases.
                  >
                  >I now think that the obvious comparison of the CHristian Trinity with Plotinus's three hypostases is wrong. The One and the Nous relate fairly well to the first and second persons, but Plotinus' Soul is not the same as the Christian Spirit: actually Nous serves both as Logos and as Spirit.
                  >
                  >But there is still a comparison to be made. Plotinus analyses the divine as Beloved, Lover and Love of It in Enneads VI.8 [39].15 (also Known, Knower and Knowing) which serves quite well at least for the 'social' interpretation of the Trinity.
                  >
                  >I posted a draft paper on Maximus the Confessor's use of logos and logoi on academia.edu a while back. That may be of interest (at least for the references). And there's a chapter on Plotinus in McGhee & Cornwell, edds., God and the Philosophers (Continuum 2009).
                  >
                  >Best wishes
                  >
                  >Stephen Clark
                  >
                  >
                  >From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of Wyman [vilniusjewishlibrary@...]
                  >
                  >Sent: 30 March 2012 10:33
                  >
                  >To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  >Subject: [neoplatonism] Neoplatonism & Religion
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >Hi everyone,
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >I am new to this group and to the topic, but I am highly interested in your thoughts on the connection of Neoplatonism and religion, esp. Christianity. I have heard that it is not up-to-date anymore to say that Neoplatonism influenced Christianity, but that
                  >Christianity and Neoplatonism provided solutions or answers to questions people in late Antiquity had. Does anyone here know more about the link between Neoplatonism and Christianity? Is anyone familiar with the cultural grounds NP developed upon? I have read
                  >something about the development of the concept of the trinity. Is this a concept developed by Christians or Neoplatonists? Can anyone recommend books on this particular topic?
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >Thanks, everybody!
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >Wyman
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  ><!--
                  >#ygrp-mkp
                  >{border:1px solid #d8d8d8;
                  >font-family:Arial;
                  >margin:10px 0;
                  >padding:0 10px}
                  >#ygrp-mkp hr
                  >{border:1px solid #d8d8d8}
                  >#ygrp-mkp #hd
                  >{color:#628c2a;
                  >font-size:85%;
                  >font-weight:700;
                  >line-height:122%;
                  >margin:10px 0}
                  >#ygrp-mkp #ads
                  >{margin-bottom:10px}
                  >#ygrp-mkp .ad
                  >{padding:0 0}
                  >#ygrp-mkp .ad p
                  >{margin:0}
                  >#ygrp-mkp .ad a
                  >{color:#0000ff;
                  >text-decoration:none}
                  >#ygrp-sponsor #ygrp-lc
                  >{font-family:Arial}
                  >#ygrp-sponsor #ygrp-lc #hd
                  >{margin:10px 0px;
                  >font-weight:700;
                  >font-size:78%;
                  >line-height:122%}
                  >#ygrp-sponsor #ygrp-lc .ad
                  >{margin-bottom:10px;
                  >padding:0 0}
                  >a
                  >{color:#1e66ae}
                  >#actions
                  >{font-family:Verdana;
                  >font-size:11px;
                  >padding:10px 0}
                  >#activity
                  >{background-color:#e0ecee;
                  >float:left;
                  >font-family:Verdana;
                  >font-size:10px;
                  >padding:10px}
                  >#activity span
                  >{font-weight:700}
                  >#activity span:first-child
                  >{text-transform:uppercase}
                  >#activity span a
                  >{color:#5085b6;
                  >text-decoration:none}
                  >#activity span span
                  >{color:#ff7900}
                  >#activity span .underline
                  >{text-decoration:underline}
                  >.attach
                  >{clear:both;
                  >display:table;
                  >font-family:Arial;
                  >font-size:12px;
                  >padding:10px 0;
                  >width:400px}
                  >.attach div a
                  >{text-decoration:none}
                  >.attach img
                  >{border:none;
                  >padding-right:5px}
                  >.attach label
                  >{display:block;
                  >margin-bottom:5px}
                  >.attach label a
                  >{text-decoration:none}
                  >blockquote
                  >{margin:0 0 0 4px}
                  >.bold
                  >{font-family:Arial;
                  >font-size:13px;
                  >font-weight:700}
                  >.bold a
                  >{text-decoration:none}
                  >dd.last p a
                  >{font-family:Verdana;
                  >font-weight:700}
                  >dd.last p span
                  >{margin-right:10px;
                  >font-family:Verdana;
                  >font-weight:700}
                  >dd.last p span.yshortcuts
                  >{margin-right:0}
                  >div.attach-table div div a
                  >{text-decoration:none}
                  >div.attach-table
                  >{width:400px}
                  >div.file-title a, div.file-title a:active, div.file-title a:hover, div.file-title a:visited
                  >{text-decoration:none}
                  >div.photo-title a, div.photo-title a:active, div.photo-title a:hover, div.photo-title a:visited
                  >{text-decoration:none}
                  >div#ygrp-mlmsg #ygrp-msg p a span.yshortcuts
                  >{font-family:Verdana;
                  >font-size:10px;
                  >font-weight:normal}
                  >.green
                  >{color:#628c2a}
                  >.MsoNormal
                  >{margin:0 0 0 0}
                  >o
                  >{font-size:0}
                  >#photos div
                  >{float:left;
                  >width:72px}
                  >#photos div div
                  >{border:1px solid #666666;
                  >height:62px;
                  >overflow:hidden;
                  >width:62px}
                  >#photos div label
                  >{color:#666666;
                  >font-size:10px;
                  >overflow:hidden;
                  >text-align:center;
                  >white-space:nowrap;
                  >width:64px}
                  >#reco-category
                  >{font-size:77%}
                  >#reco-desc
                  >{font-size:77%}
                  >.replbq
                  >{margin:4px}
                  >#ygrp-actbar div a:first-child
                  >{margin-right:2px;
                  >padding-right:5px}
                  >#ygrp-mlmsg table
                  >{font-size:inherit;
                  >font:100%}
                  >#ygrp-mlmsg select, input, textarea
                  >{font:99% Arial,Helvetica,clean,sans-serif}
                  >#ygrp-mlmsg *
                  >{line-height:1.22em}
                  >#ygrp-mlmsg #logo
                  >{padding-bottom:10px}
                  >#ygrp-mlmsg a
                  >{color:#1E66AE}
                  >#ygrp-msg p a
                  >{font-family:Verdana}
                  >#ygrp-msg p#attach-count span
                  >{color:#1E66AE;
                  >font-weight:700}
                  >#ygrp-reco #reco-head
                  >{color:#ff7900;
                  >font-weight:700}
                  >#ygrp-reco
                  >{margin-bottom:20px;
                  >padding:0px}
                  >#ygrp-sponsor #ov li a
                  >{font-size:130%;
                  >text-decoration:none}
                  >#ygrp-sponsor #ov li
                  >{font-size:77%;
                  >list-style-type:square;
                  >padding:6px 0}
                  >#ygrp-sponsor #ov ul
                  >{margin:0;
                  >padding:0 0 0 8px}
                  >#ygrp-text
                  >{font-family:Georgia}
                  >#ygrp-text p
                  >{margin:0 0 1em 0}
                  >#ygrp-text tt
                  >{font-size:120%}
                  >#ygrp-vital ul li:last-child
                  >{border-right:none!important}
                  >-->
                  >BODY {direction: ltr;font-family: Times New Roman;color: #000000;font-size: 12pt;}P {margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;}
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >------------------------------------
                  >
                  >Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Goya
                  ... M.C. Not Cyril of Alexandria, who cites Porphyry s Trinity as a precursor to the Christian Trinity, and writes (Contra Julianum I, 47), that the Holy
                  Message 8 of 21 , Apr 2, 2012
                  • 0 Attachment
                    > @Stephen Clark
                    > "I now think that the obvious comparison of the CHristian Trinity with
                    > Plotinus's three hypostases is wrong. The One and the Nous relate fairly
                    > well to the first and second persons, but Plotinus' Soul is not the same
                    > as the Christian Spirit: actually Nous serves both as Logos and as
                    > Spirit."
                    >  
                    > I agree with this remark. Christians almost always argued against the
                    > concept of a world-soul,

                    M.C. Not Cyril of Alexandria, who cites Porphyry's Trinity as a precursor
                    to the Christian Trinity, and writes (Contra Julianum I, 47), that the
                    Holy Spirit is the world soul according to Plato, because the Spirit gives
                    life (John 6, 63) and proceeds from the Father, who is alive by virtue of
                    the Son.

                    often with the argument that movement of planets
                    > which oftentimes got associated with the souls or has been seen as an
                    > expression of its perfection would be way to simple for a soul. I do have
                    > trouble understandig the concept of the Holy Spirit - I try of course to
                    > abstract from its theological role. It seems to me to be some kind of
                    > unity of the One (God) and the Nous. In Marius Victorinus I found some
                    > hints that he for instance sees it as the Nous that realizes the One.
                    >  
                    > But I think it's quite interesting comparing Christian and Neoplatonic
                    > views though I am somehow under the impression that from Plotinos or even
                    > Ammonios on it is pretty much a one way street where Neoplatonists did
                    > never read Christian Trinity as a possible contribuition to their thinking
                    > while Christians tokk everthing the could get. But probably this is due to
                    > much greater internal struggles among the Christians and probably because
                    > their thinking was more metaphorical than the Platonist's.

                    M.C. ??????

                    >  
                    > @Michael Chase
                    > " it's been argued that Porphyry is also behind the Christian idea of the
                    > Trinity."
                    >  
                    > Just a personal remark. I am getting a little suspicious about the mass of
                    > stuff that finally get attributed to Porphyrios while at the same time
                    > there is not so much left of what he wrote. It looks like a welcome black
                    > hole to solve all kinds of philological quests.

                    M.C. Perhaps. Yet the authority of Cyril - who was able to read a lot more
                    Porphyry than we can, particularly his Philosophos Historia, is of a
                    different opinion, and his testimony should not, I think, be dismissed
                    without careful scrutiny.

                    Cyril's viewpoint has been studied by a number of respectable scholars:

                    S.R.C. Lilla, The Neoplatonic Hypostases and the Christian Trinity,
                    Studies in Plato and the Platonic Tradition, Aldershot
                    in 1997, 127-189 ;
                    C. Moreschini, “Una definizione della Trinità nel Contra Iulianum di
                    Cirillo d'Alessandria”, in C. Moreschini & G. Menestrina, eds., Lingua e
                    teologia nel cristianesimo greca, Atti del convegno tenuto a Trento
                    l'11-12 dicembre 1997, Brescia : Morcelliana, 1999 (Religione e Cultura
                    11), p. 251-270  




                    Michael Chase
                    CNRS UPR 76
                    Paris-Villejuif
                    France
                  • Marco Bormann
                    thanks a lot for your remarks Michael, I admit that I have not read Cyril yet. I read them chronologically and I just past St. Augustine.   Marco ...
                    Message 9 of 21 , Apr 2, 2012
                    • 0 Attachment
                      thanks a lot for your remarks Michael,
                      I admit that I have not read Cyril yet.
                      I read them chronologically and I just past
                      St. Augustine.
                       
                      Marco


                      >________________________________
                      > De : Goya <goya@...>
                      >À : neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                      >Envoyé le : Lundi 2 avril 2012 14h45
                      >Objet : Re: Re : [neoplatonism] Neoplatonism & Religion
                      >
                      >
                      >

                      >
                      >
                      >> @Stephen Clark
                      >> "I now think that the obvious comparison of the CHristian Trinity with
                      >> Plotinus's three hypostases is wrong. The One and the Nous relate fairly
                      >> well to the first and second persons, but Plotinus' Soul is not the same
                      >> as the Christian Spirit: actually Nous serves both as Logos and as
                      >> Spirit."
                      >>  
                      >> I agree with this remark. Christians almost always argued against the
                      >> concept of a world-soul,
                      >
                      >M.C. Not Cyril of Alexandria, who cites Porphyry's Trinity as a precursor
                      >to the Christian Trinity, and writes (Contra Julianum I, 47), that the
                      >Holy Spirit is the world soul according to Plato, because the Spirit gives
                      >life (John 6, 63) and proceeds from the Father, who is alive by virtue of
                      >the Son.
                      >
                      >often with the argument that movement of planets
                      >> which oftentimes got associated with the souls or has been seen as an
                      >> expression of its perfection would be way to simple for a soul. I do have
                      >> trouble understandig the concept of the Holy Spirit - I try of course to
                      >> abstract from its theological role. It seems to me to be some kind of
                      >> unity of the One (God) and the Nous. In Marius Victorinus I found some
                      >> hints that he for instance sees it as the Nous that realizes the One.
                      >>  
                      >> But I think it's quite interesting comparing Christian and Neoplatonic
                      >> views though I am somehow under the impression that from Plotinos or even
                      >> Ammonios on it is pretty much a one way street where Neoplatonists did
                      >> never read Christian Trinity as a possible contribuition to their thinking
                      >> while Christians tokk everthing the could get. But probably this is due to
                      >> much greater internal struggles among the Christians and probably because
                      >> their thinking was more metaphorical than the Platonist's.
                      >
                      >M.C. ??????
                      >
                      >>  
                      >> @Michael Chase
                      >> " it's been argued that Porphyry is also behind the Christian idea of the
                      >> Trinity."
                      >>  
                      >> Just a personal remark. I am getting a little suspicious about the mass of
                      >> stuff that finally get attributed to Porphyrios while at the same time
                      >> there is not so much left of what he wrote. It looks like a welcome black
                      >> hole to solve all kinds of philological quests.
                      >
                      >M.C. Perhaps. Yet the authority of Cyril - who was able to read a lot more
                      >Porphyry than we can, particularly his Philosophos Historia, is of a
                      >different opinion, and his testimony should not, I think, be dismissed
                      >without careful scrutiny.
                      >
                      >Cyril's viewpoint has been studied by a number of respectable scholars:
                      >
                      >S.R.C. Lilla, The Neoplatonic Hypostases and the Christian Trinity,
                      >Studies in Plato and the Platonic Tradition, Aldershot
                      >in 1997, 127-189 ;
                      >C. Moreschini, “Una definizione della Trinità nel Contra Iulianum di
                      >Cirillo d'Alessandria”, in C. Moreschini & G. Menestrina, eds., Lingua e
                      >teologia nel cristianesimo greca, Atti del convegno tenuto a Trento
                      >l'11-12 dicembre 1997, Brescia : Morcelliana, 1999 (Religione e Cultura
                      >11), p. 251-270  
                      >
                      >Michael Chase
                      >CNRS UPR 76
                      >Paris-Villejuif
                      >France
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • John Dillon
                      ... May I also put in a plug for two articles of mine on this issue: ŒLogos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity¹ (The
                      Message 10 of 21 , Apr 2, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >> > @Stephen Clark
                        >> > "I now think that the obvious comparison of the CHristian Trinity with
                        >> > Plotinus's three hypostases is wrong. The One and the Nous relate fairly
                        >> > well to the first and second persons, but Plotinus' Soul is not the same
                        >> > as the Christian Spirit: actually Nous serves both as Logos and as
                        >> > Spirit."
                        >> >  
                        >> > I agree with this remark. Christians almost always argued against the
                        >> > concept of a world-soul,
                        >
                        > M.C. Not Cyril of Alexandria, who cites Porphyry's Trinity as a precursor
                        > to the Christian Trinity, and writes (Contra Julianum I, 47), that the
                        > Holy Spirit is the world soul according to Plato, because the Spirit gives
                        > life (John 6, 63) and proceeds from the Father, who is alive by virtue of
                        > the Son.
                        >
                        > often with the argument that movement of planets
                        >> > which oftentimes got associated with the souls or has been seen as an
                        >> > expression of its perfection would be way to simple for a soul. I do have
                        >> > trouble understandig the concept of the Holy Spirit - I try of course to
                        >> > abstract from its theological role. It seems to me to be some kind of
                        >> > unity of the One (God) and the Nous. In Marius Victorinus I found some
                        >> > hints that he for instance sees it as the Nous that realizes the One.
                        >> >  
                        >> > But I think it's quite interesting comparing Christian and Neoplatonic
                        >> > views though I am somehow under the impression that from Plotinos or even
                        >> > Ammonios on it is pretty much a one way street where Neoplatonists did
                        >> > never read Christian Trinity as a possible contribuition to their thinking
                        >> > while Christians tokk everthing the could get. But probably this is due to
                        >> > much greater internal struggles among the Christians and probably because
                        >> > their thinking was more metaphorical than the Platonist's.
                        >
                        > M.C. ??????
                        >
                        >> >  
                        >> > @Michael Chase
                        >> > " it's been argued that Porphyry is also behind the Christian idea of the
                        >> > Trinity."
                        >> >  
                        >> > Just a personal remark. I am getting a little suspicious about the mass of
                        >> > stuff that finally get attributed to Porphyrios while at the same time
                        >> > there is not so much left of what he wrote. It looks like a welcome black
                        >> > hole to solve all kinds of philological quests.
                        >
                        > M.C. Perhaps. Yet the authority of Cyril - who was able to read a lot more
                        > Porphyry than we can, particularly his Philosophos Historia, is of a
                        > different opinion, and his testimony should not, I think, be dismissed
                        > without careful scrutiny.
                        >
                        > Cyril's viewpoint has been studied by a number of respectable scholars:
                        >
                        > S.R.C. Lilla, The Neoplatonic Hypostases and the Christian Trinity,
                        > Studies in Plato and the Platonic Tradition, Aldershot
                        > in 1997, 127-189 ;
                        > C. Moreschini, ³Una definizione della Trinità nel Contra Iulianum di
                        > Cirillo d'Alessandria², in C. Moreschini & G. Menestrina, eds., Lingua e
                        > teologia nel cristianesimo greca, Atti del convegno tenuto a Trento
                        > l'11-12 dicembre 1997, Brescia : Morcelliana, 1999 (Religione e Cultura
                        > 11), p. 251-270  
                        >
                        > Michael Chase
                        > CNRS UPR 76
                        > Paris-Villejuif
                        > France
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >

                        May I also put in a plug for two articles of mine on this issue:
                        ŒLogos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity¹
                        (The Philosophy in Christianity, ed. G. Vesey. Cambridge 1989)
                        and
                        ŒPorphyry¹s Doctrine of the One¹
                        (Sophies Maietores: ed. M.O. Goulet-Cazê, etc. Paris, 1992)
                        -- but both available in my collection ŒThe Great Tradition¹, Variorum:
                        Aldershot, 1997.
                        My argument is, broadly, that Porphyry is in fact the driving force behind
                        the developed doctrine of the Trinity as propounded by the Cappadocian
                        Fathers, in particular, and the true analogy to the Trinity is not the three
                        hypostases of Plotinus (as Stephen recognises), but rather the triad
                        ŒBeing-Life-Intellect¹ -- which Porphyry is the only recorded Neoplatonist
                        thinker to relate to the One, rather than to the second hypostasis of
                        Intellect, as is normal. JMD


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • dgallagher@aol.com
                        John, Could you (or others) comment on how Proclus does not accord with Porphyry in this regard. Thank you, David In a message dated 4/2/2012 1:41:13 P.M.
                        Message 11 of 21 , Apr 2, 2012
                        • 0 Attachment
                          John,

                          Could you (or others) comment on how Proclus does not accord with Porphyry
                          in this regard.

                          Thank you,

                          David


                          In a message dated 4/2/2012 1:41:13 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                          jmdillon@... writes:

                          May I also put in a plug for two articles of mine on this issue:
                          ŒLogos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity¹
                          (The Philosophy in Christianity, ed. G. Vesey. Cambridge 1989)
                          and
                          ŒPorphyry¹s Doctrine of the One¹
                          (Sophies Maietores: ed. M.O. Goulet-Cazê, etc. Paris, 1992)
                          -- but both available in my collection ŒThe Great Tradition¹, Variorum:
                          Aldershot, 1997.
                          My argument is, broadly, that Porphyry is in fact the driving force behind
                          the developed doctrine of the Trinity as propounded by the Cappadocian
                          Fathers, in particular, and the true analogy to the Trinity is not the
                          three
                          hypostases of Plotinus (as Stephen recognises), but rather the triad
                          ŒBeing-Life-Intellect¹ -- which Porphyry is the only recorded Neoplatonist
                          thinker to relate to the One, rather than to the second hypostasis of
                          Intellect, as is normal. JMD




                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • John Dillon
                          ... Well, everybody else, including Proclus, would situate the triad Being-Life0Intellect at the second level of reality, Nous, rather than at the level of the
                          Message 12 of 21 , Apr 3, 2012
                          • 0 Attachment
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > John,
                            >
                            > Could you (or others) comment on how Proclus does not accord with Porphyry
                            > in this regard.
                            >
                            > Thank you,
                            >
                            > David
                            >
                            >
                            > In a message dated 4/2/2012 1:41:13 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                            > jmdillon@... <mailto:jmdillon%40eircom.net> writes:
                            >
                            > May I also put in a plug for two articles of mine on this issue:
                            > ŒLogos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity¹
                            > (The Philosophy in Christianity, ed. G. Vesey. Cambridge 1989)
                            > and
                            > ŒPorphyry¹s Doctrine of the One¹
                            > (Sophies Maietores: ed. M.O. Goulet-Cazê, etc. Paris, 1992)
                            > -- but both available in my collection ŒThe Great Tradition¹, Variorum:
                            > Aldershot, 1997.
                            > My argument is, broadly, that Porphyry is in fact the driving force behind
                            > the developed doctrine of the Trinity as propounded by the Cappadocian
                            > Fathers, in particular, and the true analogy to the Trinity is not the
                            > three
                            > hypostases of Plotinus (as Stephen recognises), but rather the triad
                            > ŒBeing-Life-Intellect¹ -- which Porphyry is the only recorded Neoplatonist
                            > thinker to relate to the One, rather than to the second hypostasis of
                            > Intellect, as is normal. JMD
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >

                            Well, everybody else, including Proclus, would situate the triad
                            Being-Life0Intellect at the second level of reality, Nous, rather than at
                            the level of the One. Only Porphyry seems to conflate them (it is all
                            connected with regarding the first two hypotheses of the Parmenides as
                            concerning the same entity, viz. the One). JMD


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • John Michalski
                            I ve been reading this conversation with some interest. Many interesting suggestions have been offered, regarding parallels between the Christian Trinity and
                            Message 13 of 21 , Apr 3, 2012
                            • 0 Attachment
                              I've been reading this conversation with some interest. Many interesting suggestions have been offered, regarding parallels between the Christian Trinity and the various Neoplatonic Triads. But I don't think enough has been said about the most important distinction.

                              From Plotinus on (and before, in Middle Platonism?), all these Triads have been charactized by one thing, their subordinationism - their use of hierarchical rankings. Each level is inferior to its source that lies above it - inferior in Unity, Being, Life, and Power.

                              Christianity, on the other hand, has always struggled against the temptation to subordinationism in its picture of the Divine. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equal, and equally God.

                              Christian theologians may have used Platonic concepts in their attempt to understand and discuss the Triune God (though earliest Christianity was more inclined towards Stoic concepts, like Logos). But that's not their source for this doctrine. The source lay in the Biblical revelation and especially in their experience of worship. "There is this Reality called the Father which we are to worship," they said. "But there's this Reality called the Son which we are ALSO to worship. And there's this Reality called the Holy Spirit which we are ALSO to worship. BUT our roots in Judaism tell us that only GOD is to be worshiped - there's no room in our faith for demigods. And those same roots tell us that God is ONE." So out of the prior reality of Christian worship came the necessity to define God as Three-in-One - as Trinity.

                              And use of Platonic triads as a way to understand this was after the fact, and required as much alteration as adaptation. The intrinsic subordinationism had to be rooted out. 

                              Pax,

                              John

                              --- On Sun, 4/1/12, Wyman <vilniusjewishlibrary@...> wrote:


                              Stephen, is there a standard source that makes the obvious comparison between the Christian Trinity and Plotinus' concept?




                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • stefan marinca
                              Regarding the philosophical sources used by Christian theologians in order to express the doctrine of the Trinity see the article of M. Simonetti. All origine
                              Message 14 of 21 , Apr 3, 2012
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Regarding the philosophical sources used by Christian theologians in order to express the doctrine of the Trinity see the article of M. Simonetti. All'origine della formula teologica uno essenza / tre ipostasi. Marius Victorinus as well as the "arian" Candidus explicitly identifies the Father (= the One) - and also the Son and the Spirit - with the Neoplatonic Triad being-life-intellect. According to Hadot, Victorinus used a Porphyrian source. Perhaps this is the most important evidence of the Christian appropriation of the Neoplatonic (Porhyrian or not, the question is still open) doctrine of the Triad being-life-intellect. 

                                See also Matthias Baltes, Marius Victorinus. Zur Philosophie in seinen theologischen Schriften  


                                All the best, 

                                Stefan


                                ________________________________
                                Da: John Michalski <jmichal2@...>
                                A: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                Inviato: Martedì 3 Aprile 2012 13:10
                                Oggetto: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Neoplatonism & Religion


                                 
                                I've been reading this conversation with some interest. Many interesting suggestions have been offered, regarding parallels between the Christian Trinity and the various Neoplatonic Triads. But I don't think enough has been said about the most important distinction.

                                From Plotinus on (and before, in Middle Platonism?), all these Triads have been charactized by one thing, their subordinationism - their use of hierarchical rankings. Each level is inferior to its source that lies above it - inferior in Unity, Being, Life, and Power.

                                Christianity, on the other hand, has always struggled against the temptation to subordinationism in its picture of the Divine. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equal, and equally God.

                                Christian theologians may have used Platonic concepts in their attempt to understand and discuss the Triune God (though earliest Christianity was more inclined towards Stoic concepts, like Logos). But that's not their source for this doctrine. The source lay in the Biblical revelation and especially in their experience of worship. "There is this Reality called the Father which we are to worship," they said. "But there's this Reality called the Son which we are ALSO to worship. And there's this Reality called the Holy Spirit which we are ALSO to worship. BUT our roots in Judaism tell us that only GOD is to be worshiped - there's no room in our faith for demigods. And those same roots tell us that God is ONE." So out of the prior reality of Christian worship came the necessity to define God as Three-in-One - as Trinity.

                                And use of Platonic triads as a way to understand this was after the fact, and required as much alteration as adaptation. The intrinsic subordinationism had to be rooted out. 

                                Pax,

                                John

                                --- On Sun, 4/1/12, Wyman <vilniusjewishlibrary@...> wrote:

                                Stephen, is there a standard source that makes the obvious comparison between the Christian Trinity and Plotinus' concept?

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




                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • dgallagher@aol.com
                                In a message dated 4/3/2012 6:27:12 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, jmdillo n@eircom.net writes: Well, everybody else, including Proclus, would situate the
                                Message 15 of 21 , Apr 3, 2012
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  In a message dated 4/3/2012 6:27:12 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, jmdillo
                                  n@... writes:

                                  Well, everybody else, including Proclus, would situate the triad
                                  Being-Life0Intellect at the second level of reality, Nous, rather than at
                                  the level of the One. Only Porphyry seems to conflate them (it is all
                                  connected with regarding the first two hypotheses of the Parmenides as
                                  concerning the same entity, viz. the One). JMD

                                  Thank you, John. Appreciate your view regarding "everybody else". Now
                                  evident I must read Porphyry.

                                  David



                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Durigon, Albert Peter
                                  Yes, and it would seem to me, the necessity for the lack of subordination is announced in the doctrine of the Divine Condensation. When the God man became Man
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Apr 3, 2012
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Yes, and it would seem to me, the necessity for the lack of subordination is
                                    announced in the doctrine of the Divine Condensation. When the God man
                                    became Man he became man fully and emptied himself of his divine nature.
                                    Incarnation, founded on "empting ," and Platonic embodiment, founded on
                                    "subordination" and the mixing of levels, diverge and are not compatible.
                                    Christian Incarnation, as Gadamer points out in WuM, is never Platonic
                                    embodiment, which always has a mixing, and hence, subordination, of multiple
                                    levels. And on this empty basis, if history is to be our guide, become
                                    possible, the city of God and the city of man, the Divine and ecclesiastical
                                    hierarchies, and , among other things, the Pantocrator.



                                    From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [mailto:neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] On
                                    Behalf Of John Michalski
                                    Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 7:10 AM
                                    To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Neoplatonism & Religion





                                    I've been reading this conversation with some interest. Many interesting
                                    suggestions have been offered, regarding parallels between the Christian
                                    Trinity and the various Neoplatonic Triads. But I don't think enough has
                                    been said about the most important distinction.

                                    From Plotinus on (and before, in Middle Platonism?), all these Triads have
                                    been charactized by one thing, their subordinationism - their use of
                                    hierarchical rankings. Each level is inferior to its source that lies above
                                    it - inferior in Unity, Being, Life, and Power.

                                    Christianity, on the other hand, has always struggled against the temptation
                                    to subordinationism in its picture of the Divine. The Father, Son, and Holy
                                    Spirit are all equal, and equally God.

                                    Christian theologians may have used Platonic concepts in their attempt to
                                    understand and discuss the Triune God (though earliest Christianity was more
                                    inclined towards Stoic concepts, like Logos). But that's not their source
                                    for this doctrine. The source lay in the Biblical revelation and especially
                                    in their experience of worship. "There is this Reality called the Father
                                    which we are to worship," they said. "But there's this Reality called the
                                    Son which we are ALSO to worship. And there's this Reality called the Holy
                                    Spirit which we are ALSO to worship. BUT our roots in Judaism tell us that
                                    only GOD is to be worshiped - there's no room in our faith for demigods. And
                                    those same roots tell us that God is ONE." So out of the prior reality of
                                    Christian worship came the necessity to define God as Three-in-One - as
                                    Trinity.

                                    And use of Platonic triads as a way to understand this was after the fact,
                                    and required as much alteration as adaptation. The intrinsic
                                    subordinationism had to be rooted out.

                                    Pax,

                                    John

                                    --- On Sun, 4/1/12, Wyman <vilniusjewishlibrary@...
                                    <mailto:vilniusjewishlibrary%40yahoo.com> > wrote:

                                    Stephen, is there a standard source that makes the obvious comparison
                                    between the Christian Trinity and Plotinus' concept?

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





                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Jim Schumacher
                                    Trinitarianism also has an early history (prehistory?) in Middle Platonism. its roots lie in Hellenistic Judaism before the rise of Christianity. Here the key
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Apr 3, 2012
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Trinitarianism also has an early history (prehistory?) in Middle
                                      Platonism. its roots lie in Hellenistic Judaism before the rise of
                                      Christianity. Here the key documents are the deuterocanonical Wisdom
                                      of Solomon and Philo.

                                      The Wisdom of Solomon is available in a lucid translation and
                                      commentary by David Winston. But Philo is more of a project.

                                      Two books by David T. Runia constitute a good survey of the
                                      philosophical significance of Philo: "Philo of Alexandria and the
                                      Timaeus of Plato" and "Philo in Early Christian Literature � A survey."

                                      The first book details how Philo went about squaring Plato's key
                                      dialogue with biblical religion. The second traces out his
                                      appropriation by early Christian writers.

                                      Jim Schumacher



                                      On Apr 3, 2012, at 6:10 AM, John Michalski wrote:

                                      > I've been reading this conversation with some interest. Many
                                      > interesting suggestions have been offered, regarding parallels
                                      > between the Christian Trinity and the various Neoplatonic Triads.
                                      > But I don't think enough has been said about the most important
                                      > distinction.
                                      >
                                      > From Plotinus on (and before, in Middle Platonism?), all these
                                      > Triads have been charactized by one thing, their subordinationism -
                                      > their use of hierarchical rankings. Each level is inferior to its
                                      > source that lies above it - inferior in Unity, Being, Life, and Power.
                                      >
                                      > Christianity, on the other hand, has always struggled against the
                                      > temptation to subordinationism in its picture of the Divine. The
                                      > Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equal, and equally God.
                                      >
                                      > Christian theologians may have used Platonic concepts in their
                                      > attempt to understand and discuss the Triune God (though earliest
                                      > Christianity was more inclined towards Stoic concepts, like Logos).
                                      > But that's not their source for this doctrine. The source lay in the
                                      > Biblical revelation and especially in their experience of worship.
                                      > "There is this Reality called the Father which we are to worship,"
                                      > they said. "But there's this Reality called the Son which we are
                                      > ALSO to worship. And there's this Reality called the Holy Spirit
                                      > which we are ALSO to worship. BUT our roots in Judaism tell us that
                                      > only GOD is to be worshiped - there's no room in our faith for
                                      > demigods. And those same roots tell us that God is ONE." So out of
                                      > the prior reality of Christian worship came the necessity to define
                                      > God as Three-in-One - as Trinity.
                                      >
                                      > And use of Platonic triads as a way to understand this was after the
                                      > fact, and required as much alteration as adaptation. The intrinsic
                                      > subordinationism had to be rooted out.
                                      >
                                      > Pax,
                                      >
                                      > John
                                      >
                                      > --- On Sun, 4/1/12, Wyman <vilniusjewishlibrary@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Stephen, is there a standard source that makes the obvious
                                      > comparison between the Christian Trinity and Plotinus' concept?
                                      >
                                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      >
                                      >



                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • vaeringjar
                                      ... Been trying to find the time to respond to this point, Mike. The review I did of a collection of Charrue s essays touches on a couple of ones included
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Apr 5, 2012
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Thanks to Professor Schott for some stimulating remarks.
                                        >
                                        > For my part, I've been working for a couple of years now on the debate
                                        > between Pagans and Christians over the creation or eternity of the world.
                                        > There are differences, obviously, but I've also found that when the
                                        > Christian Philoponus, for instance, argues against the eternity fo the
                                        > world, he seems to make use of some doctrines of Porphyry, the arch-enemy
                                        > of Christianity, and it's been argued that Porphyry is also behind the
                                        > Christian idea of the Trinity.
                                        >
                                        > I wonder what List-members think of Willy Theiler's argument that Origen
                                        > was a student of Ammonios Saccas, that Ammonios' system can be
                                        > reconstructed from the parallels between Origen and Hierocles, and that
                                        > where Porphyry parts company with Plotinus on doctrinal questions, he is
                                        > returning to the views of Ammonius?
                                        >
                                        > Best, Mike
                                        >
                                        >


                                        Been trying to find the time to respond to this point, Mike. The review I did of a collection of Charrue's essays touches on a couple of ones included there that concern themselves in part with just this subject is in the latest IJPT. For now I would say there is little hope in my opinion of extracting much of Ammonios' at all, despite Theiler's effort, beyond two main points, the importance to him of the agreement of Plato and Aristotle (which comes from Hierocles actually), and one point on the nature of the soul.

                                        But interestingly enough, the subject of that latter point has come up again for me personally just last week, reading Andrew Smith's most useful chapter on Porphyry in the new Cambridge History, regarding Nemesius' use of Porphry perhaps on the substance of the soul, which may in fact go back to Ammonius, and which Charrue discusses in that same essay. I just need to review the details on all of this, and look at Theiler again, before I say anything else!

                                        Dennis Clark
                                      • Goya
                                        ... M.C. Why is that? ... M.C. Yes, I ve discussed these matters as well in my article on Nemesius for the DPhA. The problem with Theiler s hypothesis - apart
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Apr 5, 2012
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
                                          >>
                                          >> Thanks to Professor Schott for some stimulating remarks.
                                          >>
                                          >> For my part, I've been working for a couple of years now on the debate
                                          >> between Pagans and Christians over the creation or eternity of the
                                          >> world.
                                          >> There are differences, obviously, but I've also found that when the
                                          >> Christian Philoponus, for instance, argues against the eternity fo the
                                          >> world, he seems to make use of some doctrines of Porphyry, the
                                          >> arch-enemy
                                          >> of Christianity, and it's been argued that Porphyry is also behind the
                                          >> Christian idea of the Trinity.
                                          >>
                                          >> I wonder what List-members think of Willy Theiler's argument that Origen
                                          >> was a student of Ammonios Saccas, that Ammonios' system can be
                                          >> reconstructed from the parallels between Origen and Hierocles, and that
                                          >> where Porphyry parts company with Plotinus on doctrinal questions, he is
                                          >> returning to the views of Ammonius?
                                          >>
                                          >> Best, Mike
                                          >>
                                          >>
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Been trying to find the time to respond to this point, Mike. The review I
                                          > did of a collection of Charrue's essays touches on a couple of ones
                                          > included there that concern themselves in part with just this subject is
                                          > in the latest IJPT. For now I would say there is little hope in my opinion
                                          > of extracting much of Ammonios' at all, despite Theiler's effort, beyond
                                          > two main points, the importance to him of the agreement of Plato and
                                          > Aristotle (which comes from Hierocles actually), and one point on the
                                          > nature of the soul.

                                          M.C. Why is that?
                                          >
                                          > But interestingly enough, the subject of that latter point has come up
                                          > again for me personally just last week, reading Andrew Smith's most useful
                                          > chapter on Porphyry in the new Cambridge History, regarding Nemesius' use
                                          > of Porphry perhaps on the substance of the soul, which may in fact go back
                                          > to Ammonius, and which Charrue discusses in that same essay. I just need
                                          > to review the details on all of this, and look at Theiler again, before I
                                          > say anything else!

                                          M.C. Yes, I've discussed these matters as well in my article on Nemesius
                                          for the DPhA.

                                          The problem with Theiler's hypothesis - apart from the fact that it's
                                          unverifiable, like much in the history of philosophy, is that it's awfully
                                          hard to sort out all the Ammonii (there seem to have been two, a Christian
                                          and and pagan) and and all the Origenes (likewise, there was a Christian
                                          and a pagan). Schroeder in the ANRW argues that the Christian Origen
                                          wasn't in Alexandria long enough, or at the right time, to have been
                                          Plotinus's fellow-student. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that
                                          Porphyry (who had studied under two students of Ammonius) was confused
                                          when he said Origen was born a pagan and converted to Christianity ad
                                          switched to Paganism, while Ammonius did the reverse.

                                          Whether or not Origen the Christian actually was a student of Ammonius, I
                                          do think there are parallels between Origen, Hierocles and Porphyry that
                                          need to be explained, and none of Theiler's many detractors seems to me to
                                          have accomplished this.

                                          Best, Mike
                                          e
                                          >
                                          > Dennis Clark
                                          >
                                          >


                                          Michael Chase
                                          CNRS UPR 76
                                          Paris-Villejuif
                                          France
                                        • vaeringjar
                                          ... Argh, Mike - I was afraid you would ask just that before I had time to review Theiler. To be honest, I spent the last three months BURIED in studying
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Apr 6, 2012
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > Been trying to find the time to respond to this point, Mike. The review I
                                            > > did of a collection of Charrue's essays touches on a couple of ones
                                            > > included there that concern themselves in part with just this subject is
                                            > > in the latest IJPT. For now I would say there is little hope in my opinion
                                            > > of extracting much of Ammonios' at all, despite Theiler's effort, beyond
                                            > > two main points, the importance to him of the agreement of Plato and
                                            > > Aristotle (which comes from Hierocles actually), and one point on the
                                            > > nature of the soul.
                                            >
                                            > M.C. Why is that?


                                            Argh, Mike - I was afraid you would ask just that before I had time to review Theiler. To be honest, I spent the last three months BURIED in studying Aristotle's Protrepticus, for another review of the new edition of the fragments, right after studying Ammonius. I need to look at Theiler again beyond what I needed to do for the review I did of Charrue's essays. I will try to take a look this weekend.

                                            > >
                                            > > But interestingly enough, the subject of that latter point has come up
                                            > > again for me personally just last week, reading Andrew Smith's most useful
                                            > > chapter on Porphyry in the new Cambridge History, regarding Nemesius' use
                                            > > of Porphry perhaps on the substance of the soul, which may in fact go back
                                            > > to Ammonius, and which Charrue discusses in that same essay. I just need
                                            > > to review the details on all of this, and look at Theiler again, before I
                                            > > say anything else!
                                            >
                                            > M.C. Yes, I've discussed these matters as well in my article on Nemesius
                                            > for the DPhA.


                                            Oh, any chance there is an electronic copy of that could float my way? :)

                                            >
                                            > The problem with Theiler's hypothesis - apart from the fact that it's
                                            > unverifiable, like much in the history of philosophy, is that it's awfully
                                            > hard to sort out all the Ammonii (there seem to have been two, a Christian
                                            > and and pagan) and and all the Origenes (likewise, there was a Christian
                                            > and a pagan). Schroeder in the ANRW argues that the Christian Origen
                                            > wasn't in Alexandria long enough, or at the right time, to have been
                                            > Plotinus's fellow-student. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that
                                            > Porphyry (who had studied under two students of Ammonius) was confused
                                            > when he said Origen was born a pagan and converted to Christianity ad
                                            > switched to Paganism, while Ammonius did the reverse.
                                            >
                                            > Whether or not Origen the Christian actually was a student of Ammonius, I
                                            > do think there are parallels between Origen, Hierocles and Porphyry that
                                            > need to be explained, and none of Theiler's many detractors seems to me to
                                            > have accomplished this.
                                            >
                                            > Best, Mike
                                            > e
                                            > >


                                            I do recall there was not much of possible relevance in Hierocles beyond the view of agreement between Plato and Aristotle, and that Ammonius was likely the first to take this approach - but I suspect you are thinking of something else in particular, right, Mike?

                                            Best,
                                            Dennis
                                          • Wyman
                                            M.C., You were referring to the Contra Iulianum. Can you tell me where to find English (or German) translations of that text? Esp. of the part you quoted from.
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Apr 19, 2012
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              M.C.,

                                              You were referring to the Contra Iulianum. Can you tell me where to find English (or German) translations of that text? Esp. of the part you quoted from. Or even a Latin version?

                                              Thanks,

                                              Wyman

                                              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > > @Stephen Clark
                                              > > "I now think that the obvious comparison of the CHristian Trinity with
                                              > > Plotinus's three hypostases is wrong. The One and the Nous relate fairly
                                              > > well to the first and second persons, but Plotinus' Soul is not the same
                                              > > as the Christian Spirit: actually Nous serves both as Logos and as
                                              > > Spirit."
                                              > >  
                                              > > I agree with this remark. Christians almost always argued against the
                                              > > concept of a world-soul,
                                              >
                                              > M.C. Not Cyril of Alexandria, who cites Porphyry's Trinity as a precursor
                                              > to the Christian Trinity, and writes (Contra Julianum I, 47), that the
                                              > Holy Spirit is the world soul according to Plato, because the Spirit gives
                                              > life (John 6, 63) and proceeds from the Father, who is alive by virtue of
                                              > the Son.
                                              >
                                              > often with the argument that movement of planets
                                              > > which oftentimes got associated with the souls or has been seen as an
                                              > > expression of its perfection would be way to simple for a soul. I do have
                                              > > trouble understandig the concept of the Holy Spirit - I try of course to
                                              > > abstract from its theological role. It seems to me to be some kind of
                                              > > unity of the One (God) and the Nous. In Marius Victorinus I found some
                                              > > hints that he for instance sees it as the Nous that realizes the One.
                                              > >  
                                              > > But I think it's quite interesting comparing Christian and Neoplatonic
                                              > > views though I am somehow under the impression that from Plotinos or even
                                              > > Ammonios on it is pretty much a one way street where Neoplatonists did
                                              > > never read Christian Trinity as a possible contribuition to their thinking
                                              > > while Christians tokk everthing the could get. But probably this is due to
                                              > > much greater internal struggles among the Christians and probably because
                                              > > their thinking was more metaphorical than the Platonist's.
                                              >
                                              > M.C. ??????
                                              >
                                              > >  
                                              > > @Michael Chase
                                              > > " it's been argued that Porphyry is also behind the Christian idea of the
                                              > > Trinity."
                                              > >  
                                              > > Just a personal remark. I am getting a little suspicious about the mass of
                                              > > stuff that finally get attributed to Porphyrios while at the same time
                                              > > there is not so much left of what he wrote. It looks like a welcome black
                                              > > hole to solve all kinds of philological quests.
                                              >
                                              > M.C. Perhaps. Yet the authority of Cyril - who was able to read a lot more
                                              > Porphyry than we can, particularly his Philosophos Historia, is of a
                                              > different opinion, and his testimony should not, I think, be dismissed
                                              > without careful scrutiny.
                                              >
                                              > Cyril's viewpoint has been studied by a number of respectable scholars:
                                              >
                                              > S.R.C. Lilla, The Neoplatonic Hypostases and the Christian Trinity,
                                              > Studies in Plato and the Platonic Tradition, Aldershot
                                              > in 1997, 127-189 ;
                                              > C. Moreschini, "Una definizione della Trinità nel Contra Iulianum di
                                              > Cirillo d'Alessandria", in C. Moreschini & G. Menestrina, eds., Lingua e
                                              > teologia nel cristianesimo greca, Atti del convegno tenuto a Trento
                                              > l'11-12 dicembre 1997, Brescia : Morcelliana, 1999 (Religione e Cultura
                                              > 11), p. 251-270  
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > Michael Chase
                                              > CNRS UPR 76
                                              > Paris-Villejuif
                                              > France
                                              >
                                            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.