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Re: Neoplatonism & Religion

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  • 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 1 of 21 , Apr 6, 2012
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      > >
      > >
      > > 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?

    • 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 2 of 21 , Apr 19, 2012
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        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?



        --- 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
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