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

Re: hieroglyphs and gods

Expand Messages
  • gstamap
    I would like to add in the discussion on hieroglyphs and gods, and especially Stephen s comment on the meta-linguistic aspect of hieroglyphics, the following
    Message 1 of 59 , Jul 26, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      I would like to add in the discussion on hieroglyphs and gods, and
      especially Stephen's comment on the meta-linguistic aspect of
      hieroglyphics, the following passage from Plotinus' Enneads V.8.6.1-9:

      "The wise men of Egypt, I think, also understood this, either by
      scientific or innate knowledge, and when they wished to signify
      something wisely, did not use he forms of letters which follow the
      order of words and propositions and imitate sounds and the
      enunciations of philosophical statements, but by drawing images of
      inscribing in their temples one particular image of each particular
      thing, they manifested the non-discursiveness of the intelligible
      word, that is, that every image is a kind of knowledge and wisdom and
      is a subject of statements, all together in one, and not discourse or
      deliberation." [Trans. Armstrong].

      The passage follows the discussion at the end of chapter five that
      the Intellects' intelligibles are not mental abstractions, but living
      realities with ontological status. The above passage refers probably
      to the divine art of the Egyptian hieroglyphs and is used an example
      for the identification between Intelligence and Being at the level of
      Intellect as well as the non-propositional and non-discursiveness of
      the intelligible world. We all know the Egyptian origins of Plotinus.
      Can we suppose that Plotinus is relying on a kind of personal
      knowledge/experience?

      Giannis Stamatellos

      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Stephen Clark <srlclark@l...>
      wrote:
      > By chance I have just recovered a note I took a while ago from Erik
      Hornung
      > *Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: the One and the Many* tr.
      > John Baines (COrnell UP: Ithaca 1982)p.124:
      >
      > "The mixed form of their [that is, the Egyptians'] gods is nothing
      other than a
      > hieroglyph, a way of
      > 'writing' not the name but the nature and function of the deity in
      question.
      > The Egyptians do not hesitate to call hieroglyphs 'gods', and even
      to equate
      > individual signs in the script with particular gods; it is quite in
      keeping
      > with their views to see images of the gods as signs in a
      metalanguage. As is
      > true of every Egyptian hieroglyph, they are more than just ciphers
      or lifeless
      > symbols; the god can inhabit them, his cult image will normally be
      in the same
      > form, and his priests may assume his role by wearing animal masks"
      >
      > He goes on to say that none of these images give any information
      about 'the true
      > form of a deity': "Every image is an imperfect means of making a
      god visible"
      > and that "scarcely any important deity is restricted to a single
      form and
      > manifestation" (p.125).
      >
      >
      > In other words, maybe the neoPlatonists and other purveyors
      of 'ancient' wisdom
      > were closer to actual Egyptian thought than we usually assume.
      >
      > Stephen
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Quoting vaeringjar <vaeringjar@y...>:
      >
      > > > Now I
      > > > wonder if it is a coincidence that when Iacobus Carpentarius
      > > published
      > > > his Latin translation of the Long Version of the Theology of
      > > Aristotle
      > > > in 1572, he entitled it Aristotelis Libri XIV de secretiore
      parte
      > > > divinae sapientiae secundum Aegyptios. As Carpentarius points
      out
      > > > himself, Bk. XIV, ch. 14 ff. of this treatise does indeed make
      > > > reference to the wisdom of the Egyptians : these sages set up
      > > > hieroglyphs in their temples in order to indicate that the
      > > immaterial
      > > > Active Intellect had created all things. When one considers that
      > > the
      > > > Theology of Aristotle presents itself as “ Aristotle's
      theology
      > > as
      > > > expounded by Porphyry " (and I don't find the attempts by
      > > Zimmermann or
      > > > Cristina d'Ancona to explain away this fact very convincing), it
      > > is
      > > > hard to avoid the strong suspicion that there may well be a
      > > connection
      > > > between Porphyry, Anebo, and the Theology of Aristotle.
      > > > >
      > > > > In a treatise called "On Metaphysics" which is ascribed to
      > > Razi,
      > > > > there is a
      > > > > reference to Porphyry, which I discuss in a forthcoming
      article
      > > on
      > > > > Porphyry's
      > > > > Arabic reception. I don't think there's any reason to believe
      > > that the
      > > > > reference to Porphyry has to do with the letter to Anebo,
      > > however;
      > > > > rather it
      > > > > has to do with Porphyry's commentary on the Physics.
      > > >
      > > > M.C. Fascinating. I look forward to reading your article.
      > > >
      > > > Best, Mike
      > > Thanks to both of you for responding - my interest in the
      fragments
      > > is mostly of a general nature, and fortunately I just received the
      > > Brill edition of Chaeremon, coincidentally of whom several Greek
      > > fragments are from the Letter to Anebo (Brill has it on sale, by
      the
      > > way, at about 30 dollars American).
      > >
      > > But you have really intrigued me here specifically, Michael, with
      > > your citation above, "these sages set up hieroglyphs in their
      > > temples in order to indicate that the immaterial Active Intellect
      > > had created all things." First, I have to admit ignorance that I
      am
      > > not familiar with Carpentarius, nor a "longer" version of the
      > > Theology of Aristotle, of which I have only general knowledge at
      > > best. I really need to study the whole Arabic tradition much more
      > > (hey, but give me a plus at least for getting my hands on
      Chwolsohn
      > > and actually reading large bits of it!), and curiously enough by
      > > grace of synchronicity I just ordered Prof Adamson's book on the
      > > Theology.
      > >
      > > Could you expand a bit on this passage? This is from
      Carpentarius, I
      > > assume, and not the Theology? If his, is it his own I wonder or
      > > quoting from some ancient source? It is very reminiscent of de
      > > Mysteriis VII.2 where Iamblichus says as much about hieroglyphs
      and
      > > describes a god with such power and responsibility, but does not
      > > explicitly there describe him also as "the immaterial Active
      > > Intellect" nor identify him by any name, Egpytian or otherwise.
      > >
      > > By "Active" do we understand Demiurgic? In which case this
      Intellect
      > > might more likely correspond in Iamblichus to the "demiourgikos
      > > nous" whom he associates with Amoun, also Ptah and Osiris in their
      > > productive aspects (pp311-313 in the new translation of Dillon et
      > > al)? Curious.
      > >
      > > Dennis Clark
      > > Issaquah
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      > Stephen Clark
      > Dept of Philosophy
      > University of Liverpool
    • gregshaw58
      Thanks Tim. Let me say that in the Penelope Weaving thread I found your entries to be most illuminating and I think they stirred up some fine responses all
      Message 59 of 59 , Dec 16, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Thanks Tim.

        Let me say that in the Penelope Weaving thread I found your entries to be most illuminating and I think they stirred up some fine responses all around. Great stuff.

        And thanks for getting those commentaries out at such reasonable prices

        Greg

        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Tim Addey <tim@...> wrote:
        >
        > Sorry Greg this volume is still having its updates checked, so we
        > haven't gone to press as yet.... I guess its now more likely to be mid
        > January before we get it back from the printers. And then a least a
        > week before we can get a supply to Opening Mind.
        >
        >
        > gregshaw58 wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > A question for Tim Addey... On the Prometheus Trust website it lists
        > > the following:
        > >
        > > Our next volume in the Platonic Texts and Translations Series will be
        > > Damascius Lectures on the Philebus. We expect this to be available
        > > from mid-December at £18. ISBN 978 1898910 48 0 176pp
        > >
        > > I wanted to order this from Opening Mind, the US distributor of your
        > > books, but as yet it is not listed. Can you give us an idea when the
        > > Philebus commentary will be available?
        > >
        > > thanks,
        > > Greg Shaw
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.