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Since there are only two types of generation - from a lesser to a greater state and vice-versa - Ocellus argued that it is just as absurd to state that the universe began in a lesser state and progressed to a greater, as it is to state the opposite, for both statements imply either a growth or a diminution, and since the cosmos is whole and self-contained so he insisted there is no place into which it can either grow or diminish.

Posidonius' doctrine of a void into which the cosmos periodically dissolves held no place in Ocellus' philosophy. Although positing the eternity of the cosmos, Ocellus nevertheless admitted the obvious, that generation and dissolution occurs here on earth. Like Xenocrates and other Platonists, Ocellus understood the cosmos as divided in two parts, the supra-lunar and the sub-lunar, the gods existing in the former and daemons and humans in the latter. It is only in the sub-lunar regions, he argued, that generation and decay occurs, for it is in this region that "nonessential" beings undergo alteration according to nature.

The generation that occurs in the sub-lunar realm is produced by the supra-lunar realm, the primary cause being the sun, and the secondary causes the planets. He apparently did not believe in a transcendent realm beyond the material cosmos. Ocellus' work is one of the earliest examples of Hellenistic-era astrological doctrine. At the end of his On the Nature of the Universe he entreats prospective parents to be attentive in choosing times of conception, so that their children may be born noble and graceful; and in the fragment On Laws he declares that the active supra-lunar realm governs the passive sub-lunar realm.

In his ethical doctrine Ocellus adhered to strict Pythagorean asceticism, holding that sexual intercourse is to be reserved for reproductive purposes only, and that alchoholic beverages are to be avoided. Scholars are not certain whether the eponymous Timaeus Locrus of Plato's dialogue ever really existed.

In any case, the treatise On the World and the Soul attributed to this person is an early to mid-first century B. Given the renewed interest in Pythagorean philosophy in this period, it is likely that the work was widely read. Though containing clear Pythagorean motifs, such as a table of musical tones and their respective numbers, and a section elaborating the geometrical construction of the cosmos, the treatise is, as Thomas Tobin has demonstrated, a Middle Platonic interpretation of the highly Pythagorean-influenced Timaeus dialogue.

According to "Timaeus" the universe has two causes: Mind, which governs rational beings, and Necessity, which governs bodies and all irrational beings. Interpreting Plato literally, "Timaeus" affirmed the temporal creation of the cosmos, and while stating that the cosmos is capable of being destroyed by the one who created it the Demiurge , he denied that it would ever actually be destroyed, since it is divine and the Demiurge, being good and divine himself, would never destroy divinity. In what is possibly a later addition to the text, "Timaeus" assigns numerical values to the various proportions produced by the mixture of the Same and the Different these being the two opposing forces, productive of all motion, growth, and change in the cosmos, as discussed in the Timaeus dialogue.

The substratum of all generated things is matter, and their reason-principle or logos is ideal-form. According to "Timaeus," the Demiurge initiated the creation of souls, but then handed over completion of the task to Nature hypostatized in the feminine who completed their creation and introduced them into into the cosmos, some by way of the sun, others the moon, and yet more from the planets that wander according to the principle of the Different the source of the irrational part of the soul.

Each soul, however, received a portion of the principle of Sameness, which became the rational part of the soul. A soul who received more of this principle would have a happier fate than one receiving less. Here again, as in Ocellus, we have a relatively early witness of astrological doctrine within Hellenistic philosophy.

The ethical doctrine of "Timaeus" involved a taming of the passions and the moderation of bodily pleasures, the final goal being a state of repose conducive to the contemplation of divine things. Several fragments purporting to be from the hand of Plato's contemporary, the Pythagorean Archytas of Tarentum though in fact composed some time during the late second or early first century B. He believed that there is a space outside of the material cosmos in which the cosmos is contained. Time, according to "Archytas" is continuous, not a series of units or parts as in number, speech, and music, and he apparently made some distinction between psychic time pertaining to the soul and natural time, though what this distinction entailed is not clear.

In ethics he is no innovator, simply stating the standard notion that happiness depends on virtue, but virtue is independent of all other things. Eudorus of Alexandria fl. This phrase is from Plato's Theaetetus b where the qualification "as far as possible" simply means to the extent that a mortal can achieve a divine state. Eudorus, however, interpreted it as referring to the intellect, that part of the soul most closely akin to the divine cf.

Dillon, pp. This conception of ethics led Eudorus to depart from earlier Platonists like Antiochus who considered physical pleasures as contributing to, or at least enhancing, the happiness that depends on virtue, and declare that true happiness is of the intellect alone, although he does seem to have allowed a preliminary role for physical pleasure in achieving happiness Dillon, p. In metaphysics and cosmology Eudorus follows largely Pythagorean lines, though some Stoic conceptions are present in his thought.

He departed from earlier Pythagorean philosophy and, in a move likely inspired by "Archytas," posited a supreme principle above the One and the Dyad, even positing this principle as the producer of matter. Traditional Pythagorean philosophy posited a primordial pair of principles, Limit and Unlimited, with no supreme One above this pair.

The monism of Eudorus' doctrine was particularly attractive to the Jewish Platonist Philo of Alexandria in his quest to square Old Testament theology with Platonic philosophy. Eudorus rejected the Aristotelian "fifth element" and followed Stoic cosmology in positing pure fire as the base element of he heavens. He considered the stars and planets to be divine, and insisted that the world is eternal. Eudorus brought together the apparently opposing views of Xenocrates and Crantor regarding the origin of numbers; the former stating that they are produced by the One and the Dyad, the latter that they are produced in the mind of the World-Soul as he contemplates the Forms.

Eudorus taught that number was generated simultaneously with the World-Soul, who was responsible for translating the smallest multiplicity the number three into solid bodies the number four. Finally, we must note Eudorus' revision of Aristotle's Categories , which was to exercise an immense influence on later Platonists, especially Porphyry, who endeavored to find a harmony of doctrine in Plato and Aristotle.

Eudorus interpreted substance ousia as strictly material substance, and concluded that Aristotle's categories only apply to the physical world, not to the purely intellectual realm, where Platonists have always located supreme reality. During the same period Thrasyllus , Nero's court astrologer, prepared a new edition of Plato's Dialogues , arranged in tetralogies, as well as an edition of the collected works of Democritus. Interesting in a different manner is Apollonius of Tyana , who had the reptuation of a magician and wonder-worker, and is a prime example of the prophet-figures influenced by Platonism, Pythagoreanism, and sundry other intellectual streams.

Another example of such a figure is Simon Magus mid-first century A. Simon was considered the first Gnostic by the early Christian heresiologists. Numenius of Apamea fl. Finally, we will discuss Albinus fl. The work of Philo of Alexandria also called Philo Judaeus is the most prominent and philosophically accomplished example of the Jewish-Hellenistic syncretism that flourished at Alexandria beginning at least as early as the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek the Septuagint , during the reign of Ptolemy II Philedelphus B.

We already detect the influence of Hellenistic philosophy on Jewish thought in the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, and the later apocryphal work Wisdom of Sirach ca. So it is clear that by Philo's time Jewish thinkers of the Diaspora were quite comfortable with Greek philosophy. In the work of Philo himself there is an attempt to square Old Testament theology with the Greek philosophical tradition, leading Philo to posit Moses as the first sage and teacher of the venerable ancients of the Greek tradition. The work of Philo was to have an immense influence on emerging Christian philosophy, especially in the work of Origen.

According to Philo, God transcends all first principles, including the Monad, is incorporeal and cannot even be said to occupy a space or place; He is eternal, changeless, self-sufficient and free from all constraint or necessity cf. Tripolitis , pp. God freely willed the creation of the cosmos, first in a purely intellectual manner, and then, through the agency of His Logos Philo's philosophical term for the Wisdom figure of Proverbs He brought forth the physical cosmos.

Philo describes the Logos in a two-fold manner, first as the sum total of the thoughts of God, and then as a hypostatization of those thoughts for the purpose of physical creation. Thus we see Philo linking the cosmos to the intellectual realm by way of a mediating figure rather like the Platonic World-Soul. Borrowing a term from Stoic philosophy, Philo calls the thoughts of the Logos "rational seeds" logoi spermatikoi , and describes them as having a role in the production of the cosmos which, he insists, was brought into being out of non-being by the agency of God.

Philo adhered to standard Platonism when he declared that the cosmos is a copy of the purely intellectual realm.

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  5. 2. The Three Fundamental Principles of Plotinus’ Metaphysics.

However, he taught, following biblical doctrine, that the cosmos was created in time, but went on to state that, although having a temporal creation, the cosmos will exist eternally, since it is the result of God's outpouring of love. The rational beings dwelling in the cosmos are divided by Philo into three types: the purely intellectual souls created first by God , all animals created second , and finally man last of all rational creation, combining the attributes of the first two.

Of the purely intellectual and incorporeal souls, Philo recognized varying degrees of perfection; some of the souls aid humanity, for example, providing guidance and giving signs, while other fell into vice themselves, and aim to lead man astray. These are the beings called angels by the Jews and daemons by the Greeks. Philo's ethical doctrine emphasized the free will of human beings.

According to Philo, the meaning of the biblical statement that humanity is created in the image and likeness of God is that although sometimes constrained by external forces, all human souls are capable of overcoming these constraints and attaining freedom. He further adds, in a formulation that was to have a profound influence on Origen, that God aids souls in their quest for freedom in proportion to their love and devotion for Him and for their fellows.

Plutarch was intensely interested in religion, and his philosophy bears the stamp of a profound religious piety. Like Eudorus, Plutarch understood the highest goal of existence as achieving likeness to god, yet he had little confidence in the ability of human reason to adequately contemplate and understand divinity, believing instead in the possibility of divine revelations.

Plutarch considered all the religions of his time as bearing witness to one eternal truth, though expressed in different ways. His ability to use allegory in order to prove this assertion is most evident in his treatise On Isis and Osiris. Plutarch did not, like Archytas and Eudorus, posit a principle higher than the Pythagorean One, which Plutarch also called, in Platonic fashion, the Good. The Dyad was considered by Plutarch as a disruptive or even downright evil principle, which the One or Monad had to struggle to control.

This tension at the highest ontological level translates into a dualistic cosmology where the principle of reason is described as being in constant strife with unreason. The rational principle, Logos, is both transcendent and immanent. In its former aspect the Logos is understood by Plutarch as the sum-total of thoughts in the mind of god; in its latter aspect, Logos is understood allegorically as Osiris, whose body is routinely torn apart by Typhon, only to be reassembled ever again by Isis. Osiris' body parts are interpreted as the Ideas dispersed throughout the material realm, and rationally maintained by Isis in her demiurgic role as cosmic steward.

Plutarch departed from standard Pythagorean doctrine in declaring the creation of the cosmos in time. In keeping with his Zoroastrian-style dualism, Plutarch posited a simultaneous intellectual conception of the created cosmos in the minds of both the One and its evil counterpart, the Dyad. Thus we see a dualism at the highest level of his thought; however, a dualism that is not akin to Gnosticism, for Plutarch's opposing principles are equi-primordial, unlike the subversive Sophia in Gnostic mythology, who introduces a disruptive element into the intellectual realm.

In the realm of ethics, Plutarch defended free will against fatalism, understanding divine providence pronoia as involving a co-operation between human will and divine agency cf. Numenius has been called both a pythagorizing Platonist and a platonizing Pythagorean. However, the key to his attitude toward philosophy is summed up in his own statement that "Plato pythagorizes" P. Henry , p. He took the mysterious passage about the three kings in the Platonic Second Letter as coming from Socrates, and he likely used this passage as support for the triad of gods which he posited as first principles.

Plato and Pythagoras were considered by him as the twin sources of philosophical truth, with which the traditions of the Hebrews, Egyptians, the Zoroastrian Magi, and even the Brahmins were all in agreement. Numenius' triad of gods begins with the First God, called also the Good, who is eternal, immutable, and at rest, concerned only with the intellectual realm.

He is likened by Numenius to the owner of a farm who, after having sown the fields, leaves it up to his farmhands to cultivate the crops. The Second God, called Mind and Demiurge is responsible for translating the things of the intellectual realm to the realm of matter, thereby establishing a cosmos. In this capacity the Second God is called World-Soul.

However, once this Soul comes into contact with matter, the source of all evil according to Numenius, it becomes divided into a rational and an irrational part, the former remaining in contemplation of the divine realm, and the latter immersing itself in the material realm. It is not clear whether Numenius intended to posit two World-Souls one good, one evil or if he had in mind simply a division within that Soul of an irrational and a rational part.

If Numenius' triad involves a strict separation of three distinct divinities and this is a matter of interpretation then we should speak of a separate World-Soul that is evil. If the triad is intended to imply a three-fold series of activities emanating from the divine realm, then we are correct in assuming that Numenius posited a single World-Soul with two warring parts.

Due to the fragmentary nature of his surviving writings, however, it is impossible to know for sure what he intended. Human souls were described by Numenius as divine fragments of the Demiurge, each one a microcosm of both the intellectual and the physical realm Tripolitis, pp. He taught that all souls contain both a rational and an irrational element, the former derived from the Second God, the latter from association with the material realm. Numenius taught that souls enter the cosmos by way of the Tropic of Cancer, acquiring various characteristics as they pass through the seven planetary spheres.

The soul that leads a virtuous life - which for Numenius meant living a contemplative life detached from bodily things - will re-ascend to heaven the sphere of the fixed stars by way of the Tropic of Capricorn. The soul that fails to lead a correct life will enter Hades located by Numenius in the mists above the world where it will undergo chastisement until reincarnated in another body suitable to its nature.

Numenius taught that certain souls may become so corrupted that they will enter the bodies of animals. In a doctrine that likely influenced Origen in his doctrine of multiple ages , Numenius taught that the series of reincarnations are finite, and will eventually lead the soul back to the divine realm, though how this is accomplished for a soul existing in animal bodies is not entirely clear, since such a soul is presumably not susceptible to any rational exhortations to virtue.

No overtly ethical fragments of Numenius' works survive, but we do know that he considered existence in this realm a struggle, with the irrational part of the soul in constant strife with the rational. Salvation from this state only takes place when the soul leaves the material realm for the divine. One is reminded of St. Paul's lament in Romans where he describes the war taking place between his flesh body, matter and his mind.

Middle Platonism

His mind knows the good, he says, but his flesh continually prevents him from achieving this good. It is possible that Numenius read St. Paul, but more likely that the two thinkers simply were responding to a shared intellectual milieu consisting not only of Platonic philosophy, but Gnostic and Hermetic doctrines as well.

Plato and Aristotle in Agreement?: Platonists on Aristotle from Antiochus to Porphyry

The influence of Numenius extended well beyond his life-time; his doctrines are recorded in the writings of later Neoplatonists like Porphyry and Proclus, and Plotinus himself was at one point accused of plagiarizing Numenius Porphyry, Life of Plotinus In the case of Plotinus, we see a clear Numenian influence regarding the triadic arrangement of principles, although Plotinus developed this basic notion in a quite original way.

Plotinus also responded to Numenius' doctrine of an evil World-Soul, developing in the process a quite sophisticated doctrine concerning matter and the nature of evil. Albinus fl. As an interpreter of Plato, Albinus relied heavily on Aristotle and, to a lesser extent, Stoicism.

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  • The First God is not described as creating the others, but rather as generating them from his mind as he thinks upon his own thoughts cf. Tripolitis, pp. This conception of divine emanation is present later in the philosophy of Plotinus and, in a more developed fashion, in Proclus. The First God is described along the lines of Aristotle's Unmoved Mover, and is said to produce motion through the desire he inspires in the second and third gods. Albinus employs negative or apophatic language when describing the First God, a method of theologizing that would become of immense importance for later Christian Neoplatonists, especially Pseudo-Dionysius.

    Individual human souls, according to Albinus, were created in the same manner as the second and third gods, that is, by a hypostatization of thoughts in the divine mind.

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    Following the myth of the soul in the Phaedrus , Albinus states that the duty of the soul in the material realm is to place unreason in subjection to reason, and to steer one's chariot to the rim of heaven where one's allotted star is waiting to receive the perfected soul. Although Albinus describes the life of the soul as one of constant strife between the rational and the irrational parts, he does not posit, as did Numenius, an evil World-Soul, nor does he totally degrade all material embodiment as the source of evil.

    Albinus described the union of body and soul as akin to that of fire and asphalt, meaning that the one is the vehicle of the other. In the realm of ethics Albinus held the by-now-standard Platonic line of "likeness to god" as the highest goal of existence.

    He taught a doctrine of reincarnation including the entrance of the soul into animal bodies. As in Numenius, it is unclear how souls, once so incarnated, will ever attain to the reason requisite for salvation cf. Witt , p.

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    Albinus anticipated Plotinus in the prime role he allotted to contemplation in the ideal existence of the soul, and Origen in his doctrine of the intellectual generation of souls by the godhead. Between and , Ficino translated these works into Latin, making them widely accessible, as only a minority of people could read Greek.

    And, between and , he translated the works of Plotinus, making them available for the first time to the West. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola —94 was another excelling neoplatonist during the Italian Renaissance. He could not only speak and write in Latin and Greek, but he also had immense knowledge on the Hebrew and Arabic languages. The pope banned his works because they were viewed as heretical — unlike Ficino, who managed to stay on the right side of the church. The efforts of Ficino and Pico to introduce neoplatonic and Hermetic doctrines into the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church has recently been evaluated in terms of an attempted "Hermetic Reformation".

    In the seventeenth century in England, neoplatonism was fundamental to the school of the Cambridge Platonists , whose luminaries included Henry More , Ralph Cudworth , Benjamin Whichcote and John Smith , all graduates of the University of Cambridge. Coleridge claimed that they were not really Platonists, but "more truly Plotinists": "divine Plotinus", as More called him. Notable modern neoplatonists include Thomas Taylor , "the English Platonist", who wrote extensively on Platonism and translated almost the entire Platonic and Plotinian corpora into English, and the Belgian writer Suzanne Lilar.

    The science fiction writer Philip K.

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    Dick identified as a Neoplatonist and explores related mystical experiences and religious concepts in his theoretical work, compiled in The Exegesis of Philip K. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Strand of Platonic philosophy that emerged in the 3rd century AD.

    Not to be confused with Modern Platonism. Related topics. Plato from Raphael 's The School of Athens — See also: Plato's unwritten doctrines. Main article: Emanationism. Main article: Neoplatonism and Christianity. Main article: Neoplatonism and Gnosticism. This section needs expansion.

    You can help by adding to it. July Main article: Platonism in the Renaissance. Main article: Cambridge Platonists. See also: Unitarianism , Transcendentalism , and Universalism. This section is empty. Philosophy portal. In this case, the term was intended to indicate that Plotinus initiated a new phase in the development of the Platonic tradition. Out of the association of people in Rome [ Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2 May In Frank, Daniel H.

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    Frank; Leaman, Oliver eds. History of Jewish Philosophy. Routledge history of world philosophies. London and New York: Routledge. Summer Renaissance Quarterly. Acumen publishing, page 1. In Chisholm, Hugh ed. Cambridge University Press. The roots of Platonism and Vedanta. International Journal of Hindu Studies. Baine ed. Staal, Advaita and Neoplatonism.

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      Atomism Dualism Monism Naturalism. Action Event Process. XVIII, Is love divine or human, a god or a daimon? Is Aphrodite, the goodess of love, to be contemplated at a distance, or is she the earthly rather than heavenly goddess who concerns herself principally with romance? Or perhaps love is a term better applied to friendships, or religious or filial devotion than to romance?

      As perhaps the greatest living scholar of Renaissance philosophy Thomas Leinkauf argues, love is a mixing and mixed virtue. Tom Jones embodies all of these mysterious contradictions, only resolved by the divine goodness who watches over him and those whom he loves, deserving or not. All of his characters are lovers or pursue loves of various kinds. These pursuits demonstrate a lack but they also inspire an astonishing level of resourcefulness. Fielding deploys another Platonic theme by making the contemplation of death an important way of educating his characters.

      Facing death is crucial for Fielding because it lays character bare. The impending death of Squire Allworthy and the public reading of his will, for example, reveal devotion in Jones and avarice in his villainous counterparts. Death also demonstrates the priority of the Christian religion over and above philosophy. I have somewhere read, that the great Use of Philosophy is to learn to die. I will not therefore so far disgrace mine, as to shew any Surprize at receiving a Lesson which I must be thought to have so long studied. Yet, to say the Truth, one Page of the Gospel teaches this Lesson better than all the Volumes of antient or modern Philosophers… I would not here throw the horrid censure of atheism, or even the absolute denial of immortality, on all who are called philosophers.

      Many of that sect, as well antient as modern, have, from the light of reason, discovered some hopes a future state; but, in reality, that light was so faint and glimmering, and the hopes were so uncertain and precarious, that it may be justly doubted on which side their belief turned. In a much more extensive way than Conway, Cudworth famously classifies philosophers as theists or atheists and demonstrates themes and lines of argument in ancient and modern philosophical theism and atheism. In the work of Jacob Boehme , to which More dedicated a lengthy work, the divine spark that lies in every human soul is drawn out by the heavenly Sophia, the feminine personification of Christ.

      Fielding also owned the works of Clement of Alexandria, another source of deification for the Cambridge Platonists. Fielding was attracted to the idea that we are good by participation in the heavenly realm of true goodness. Platonism comes to him by many channels and is essential to his moral vision. Fielding takes aim at the same philosophical and theological targets as his Cambridge Platonist forbearers, and highlights the most important feature of their Platonizing world view — the primacy of goodness, wherein the divine omnipotence is drawn out and channeled by the divine wisdom.

      For all the learning of the one and severe piety of the other, neither man lives by the principles he espouses. The conversion of Square at the end of the history, noted above, is followed by a confession to his villainous behaviour towards Jones. Allworthy, however, although the local magistrate, never had a formal education, so for all of his good will, he lacks the sophistication required to impose moral order in his jurisdiction. Worse than this, he puts those in his charge in material and spiritual danger, including Jones, who, like his adopted father, must be educated by the world because his teachers are morally corrupt.

      Hankey judges that:. The secularization and humanization of the human and cosmic telos and the means to it goes much further when we move from the culmination of conversion as contemplative or ecstatic union with the Divine Good, True, and Beautiful to felicity as marriage of the Protestant gentry. It is evident that such an incredible representation of matrimony must depend on its filling in for the transcendent divine goal of the ancient and medieval quest.

      To conclude, as there are not to be found a worthier man and woman, than this fond couple, so neither can any be imagined more happy. They preserve the purest and tenderest affection for each other, an affection daily increased and confirmed by mutual endearments, and mutual esteem. Nor is their conduct towards their relations and friends less amiable, than towards one another. And such is their condescension, their indulgence, and their beneficence to those below them, that there is not a neighbour, a tenant or a servant, who doth not most gratefully bless the day when Mr Jones was married to his Sophia.

      This felicity in love that Tom and Sophia enjoy, Fielding insists, cannot be accomplished without the oversight of a transcendent providence. Here the Christian religion and its two great commandments remain fully intact, shaping the sense and sensibility of the age. Hankey conflates secularity with Protestantism, and limits the possibility of a cultural sensitivity to the role of transcendence in human destiny to a pre-Reformation and ahistorical golden age of contemplation. Fielding should not be read as a stage along the way towards such developments.

      Lest this become confused with non-conformism, Tom qualifies this by explaining that religious zeal does not exclude love for King and country, even if it represents a higher vocation:. VII, On the contrary, the health and good will of the community requires marriage and the family as its beating heart. As is made clear in the quotation above, Fielding is careful to point out that Jones and Sophia are no less loving towards their friends and community than they are devoted to their matrimonial union. The stability of their marriage reflects the character of the divine providence which made it possible, an indefatigable and irresistible divine persistence which human folly repeatedly attempts to frustrate.

      This is not a replacement of the transcendent aim of the ancient and medieval spiritual quest, but a product of the same conviction in the operation of the transcendent in the human community. This reflects the theology of divine love and goodness championed by Cudworth.